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barefootboy

Anyone ever been to Cape Coral Florida?

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barefootboy

Was spending some days there this summer and was looking at renting a boat. Does anyone have any boat experience there? Thanks

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saxton15

My inlaws have a place there on the canal system.  Though I've never boated around, we've been to most of the marinas.  The gulf connected canals are cool, and all lead to the Caloosahatchee river, which in turns leads to the gulf.  Now that's essentially cape coral itself for boating.  After that you can head up to Pine Island or Sanibel island and cruise around to see some awesome beaches and waterfront restaurants.

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RTS

My best friend from college lives there, and has a place on the canal system and we visit him often.  Depending on how deep into the canals you are staying, it can be a long, long idle speed ride to water where you can partake of water sports.  Like up to an hour or so if I remember correctly.  It's salt water, too, of course.  One you get to the river/gulf, it can be pretty rough water compared to what people generally associate with water suited for water sports.  You'll mostly see fishing boats/runabouts/cruisers for that reason.  Not a lot of wake/ski boats.  Pay attention to the weather, or you could find yourself in trouble with a long ride home if you're in the wrong type of boat.  My old SSLXi would have no business venturing outside the protection of the canals.

You'll need to brush up on marine navigation skills if it is not something you deal with regularly.  There are sand bars everywhere, and not all are marked.  Very easy to run aground a sand bar especially during low tide if you are outside of the marked channels...even just a little.  You'll need to recognize channel markers and know the rules of the road with respect to navigating them.  You'll see a variety of boats...from giant cruisers to sailboats to small fishing boats....all going different speeds, from puttering along under sail to 100 MPH in Cigarette Type Boats...all sharing the channels.  Know how to pass and be passed in the channels...that kind of thing.

Also know that the canals, by virtue of being connected to the Gulf of Mexico, are considered 'open water'...i.e. Ocean, and there is a difference in what safety/coast guard gear you need on board compared to say what we need here in Central Florida lakes....Flares, for one thing, come to mind.  Also, because of this, the area is patrolled by the Coast Guard.   Those folks do not mess around when it comes to anyone doing anything stupid or unsafe...we are talking zero tolerance.  Not a place to try your luck with non-CGA approved ski vests, for example.

That being said, as saxton mentioned, it is really cool to cruise around to the different sand bars, beaches, Sanibel Island (which is awesome), and there are some really, really good seafood restaurants/bars that have as many spots for boat to dock as they do parking spaces for cars...and the sunsets are beautiful.  

It's a very nice area of Florida, and the people are super nice and laid back.

Edited by RTS

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barefootboy

@saxton15 That is what we are planning on! My wife is a beach lover. Thought this would be a good way to see those awesome beaches!

 

@RTS We are renting a house w/ dock on the canal but very close to the river. I hear there are dolphin and manatee in those canals. Manatee may be seasonal though. We are going in June. We are going to rent a Deck boat most likely or large bow rider. They come equipped with a GPS which I am really interested in as far as getting around to different stops. Not sure if they'll show shallow areas. The rentals supply all related safety items and give a good tutorial and instruction. Instruction can be Not cheap. as much as $150. Renting is by no means cheap either but these awesome houses you can rent off vrbo make up for it. Really excited about exploring the beaches and stopping at some restaurants etc by boat! Strangely there is quite a few Germans that have settled there for what reason I do not know. The local websites offer German and even alot of the vrbo reviews were in German. Interesting

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RTS

Yea...don't know what's up with it, but Germans seem to love Cape Coral.  My aforementioned buddy actually owned the house next door to himself and used it as a rental, but someone from Germany made him an offer he couldn't refuse so he sold it to him.  And it was mostly Germans that rented from him in the first place for months at a time.

Yep...bottlenose dolphin are all over the place around there.  As a Central Floridian used to hanging out on the East Coast beaches, the first time I saw one when I was in the water scared the crap out of me, because I assumed it was a shark when I saw its dorsal fin breaching the surface.  They love to get close to your boat when you are at speed and ride your bow wave.  Seen that a couple times down there.  

Edited by RTS

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barefootboy

@RTS my kids are going to go nuts,and wife too, if they get to see dolphins do that. And I would have probably thought the same thing...lol

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