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jmiska

Homosassa, FL- anyone boat there or go there?

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A friend and I are considering a trip up the coast to Homosassa. I’ve never boated into the Homosassa river before, but I’ve heard it has a reputation for being a tough, shallow run with a lot of traffic and turns. Having said that, I’ve also heard that it’s a great place to visit. I’ve been there by car many times, but not on the water. Even 35 years ago, my wife’s father would bring them there for scalloping, fishing and swimming. They used a little 13’ Boston Whaler that’s still in the family.

Anyway, It’s about a 35NM run from the Anclote Anchorage (my home water) to the mouth of the Homosassa River and marker 1. From there, it looks like another 10 miles or so into town with varying depths and a winding river (minimal channel). In some areas the channel is listed as a controlling depth of only 3’ (sounds out of control to me), but I do see larger boats in Homosassa village, so I know it must be passable.

I’ve been about as far north as Hudson. From there, the ICW is non-existent, and, on the charts, it looks like an obstacle course of shoals and rocks, especially inside the 3NM line. My plan would be to run north just outside the 3 mile line, as the chart shows good depth and fewer hazards that far out.

Has anyone approached Homosassa from the south, and boated up the river? I’m thinking that my friend and I should maybe take one or both of our boats first by ourselves before we bring our families. It’s a long enough trip, with enough navigational hazards, that it seems like it’s wise to know the water before bringing the distraction that kids bring. Also, we could figure out if it’s worth packing up the families and making the trip with them, or if it was a big waste of gas and time.

Anyone who’s got experience with Homosassa, give me any thoughts you have, please (positive and negative).

Thanks.

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We have two boats. One is a deck boat that we trailer from Tampa to Crystal River or Homossasa every few weeks in the summer. We love the spring water at 72 degrees as apposed to the saltwater summer temps in the high 80's, There is no problem navigating the waters from the offshore markers to the head waters of the rivers except at the lowest full moon tides at least in the Summer. Tides are lower in the winter. Just stay in the markers. Our other boat is a 31' cruiser we keep in Palm Harbor. We've only gone up to Homosassa offshore once. I do not recall the route we took took but I do recall it was dicey with rock pliles trying to cut it short. Next time I would error on running farther offshore than needed and avoid the stress. Go in easterly or southeasterly winds for the best seas. Find the Freezer for the best steamed shrimp you will ever experience!

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Klemen,

Thanks for the reply. Did you take your big cruiser up the river? I've been told recently by friends from Clearwater who go scalloping that, like you indicated, the channel is ok as long as you stay right within it, but also that some of the markers are missing and/or replaced with bouys that may be out of place. I'm somewhat concerned about rocks, as we don't really have many of those in the Anclote, so a mistake doesn't cost much close to home.

Do you have advice on a place to stay during scalloping season? We'd be there by boat only, so the place would have to either have a dock or be a very short walk from a usable dock that allows overnight stays. We'd likely have two boats, mine 24' LOA and my friends, around 26'

It does seem very shallow, for a long way out, north of Hudson. I think running about 4 or more miles out is the best bet, just to stay safe.

It looks like a great time, and something I've been wanting to do for many years. Thanks again for your suggestions.

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Try the Riverside Resort, Check with the harbormaster for your beam, I suspect you would be close to the max capacity of a slip unless they can locate you on a T dock. The condos there are much more confortable than the regular motel rooms but more expensive of course. You can go online to check rates. We have only been there with our trailer boat. It is always mobbed at scallop season so plan ahead. They have rental pontoon boats (and rooms for that matter at McCrae's next door. If you have concerns about the river and the markers, you might want to rent a boat for a half day and explore before your outside trip or even as a substitute. It is a great time and very, very different country and people. Good Luck! By the way in scallop season you will see 500 to a thousand or more boats spread across the flats, especially early in the season.

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