Other than Pine Island Sound, no area on Florida’s Gulf Coast has more gunkholes than the state’s panhandle. Carrabelle and Saint James Island are the eastern-most of the sheltered waters that continue westwards all the way to Brownsville, Texas on the Mexican border.
I’m ending this book here. The area between Destin and Carrabelle is unknown to me. I’ve traveled between Destin and the Sabine River, the dividing line between Louisiana and Texas. These are all semi-protected waters with a long string of barrier islands between the mainland and the Gulf of Mexico. The only hitch in traversing the entire GICW is getting across the Mississippi River; especially if your boat is low-powered. You lock into the river on the east bank from the New Orleans Industrial Canal and then have to shoulder your way a couple of miles upstream to lock through on the west bank.
Dog Island to the South and West of Carrabelle starts the chain. Tyson’s Harbor, tucked away on eastern end of the island presents a good anchorage in 7 feet or so of mud and sand bottom sheltering boaters from everything except a north wind. Close in to shore on the northeastern end of the island you can anchor in 7-9 feet of water over a sandy bottom. Watch your weather. It’s wide open from north to southwest winds. Shipping Cove, near the western end of the island has a deep-water anchorage of some 17 feet of more above a sand and mud bottom. It’s open to any winds out of the north.
Up close to the mainland, you can anchor not too far east of the channel leading into the Carrabelle River in six feet or so with sand and mud for holding. This is fine to get out of north winds but open to just about everything else.
Inside the river you can anchor south of the green marker #17 in five feet of water over firm sand. If you choose to do this be sure you don’t swing out into the channel and block traffic.
There are a couple of marinas on the river, both offering gas and diesel. The largest is The Moorings and they offer an excellent free breakfast if you tie up there. An IGA grocery store and an Ace Hardware store are practically across the street. Within a mile there’s a number of restaurants, banking and a post office.