3rd January 2007, 03:43 AM
Although I'm a west coast sailor, I'll be in the Sanibel area next week and would like to visit the local launch sites. Since you sail Pine Island Sound, I'm hoping you can recommend a launch site on Pine Island itself?
The KOA in St. James City says there are no public beaches on P.I., but that there is a small kayak launch area near them. Is this the place?
The map suggests that driving from P.I. to the Sanibel Causeway via Cape Coral and Ft. Myers could be a pain. At $50/night the P.I. KOA is probably as cheap as RV camping gets in Ft. Myers, but I wonder if there are any better local camping options?
Also, can a 70 cm FW fin be used here, and is there any local sail repair service available?
Thanks so much for your advice,
3rd January 2007, 06:03 AM
The only "public" launch I know of on Pine Island is at the "Monument" on Pineland Road.
If you have Google Earth, here's the Lat/Long for the tiny parking lot that is for sure "public access" to Pineland Sound.
26 deg. 39 min. 33.68 sec N 82 deg. 09 min. 10.33 W
It's a small lot and quickly fills up with kayakers and fisherman.
Most windsurfers sail from a block or so further on up Pineland Road.
Randy Wayne White (the best selling author and Starboard sailor) has a small access alongside the Mote Marine property.
Randy and the Mote Marine Aquarium folks are pretty good about letting a few sailors walk across their private property to launch just to the south of Randy's pier.
Check with any local sailors you see (Cindy and Lisa, Jim the barber,
Dr. Butcher, Tim) about where to park. Along the road is OK, but watch for water meter boxes, etc. in the grass beside the road.
Cindy and Lisa (Sailfix) used to do about the best sail repairs in Florida (Sailworks, Gaastra, Ezzy warranty repairs) but they aren't fixing sails anymore.
If it's blowing, you may find the local Pineland crew parked along the road and out sailing.
If you introduce yourself to the locals, and try to "fit in" with all the local protocol, you should be welcome to sail at this site.
If you just "show up" and no one is sailing, perhaps better to park in the monument lot and sail from there.
About the largest fin you can use in Pineland Sound is a 36-40 cm weed fin (depends alot on the tides and wind direction).
St. James City is clear at the other end of Pine Island, (aprox. 12.5 miles from Pineland) so I'm not so sure the KOA in SJC is really where you want to camp.
I take it you have an RV?
Nor sure what the Sanibel Causeway Toll fee might be for an RV, but for my truckand trailer (4 axles < 15,000 lbs.) its like $12.00 ($6.00/ axle)
just to cross the first drawbridge (same cost even if you go all the way over to Sanibel).
You can sometimes sail off to the left, before the toll booths, but I've mostly sailed on the 1st Spoil Island (after the drawbrige and tool booth) on the right heading out towards Sanibel.
I hope to be back here in Pineland before next week (I'm off to fix a ship in Washington State tomorrow), so maybe we can hook up.
Hope this helps,
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