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Old 09-27-2019, 08:40 PM   #1
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Question Keys after first of year

Thinking about bringing the boat there for 2-3 months,
docks are pricey anyone know of mooring available?
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:41 PM   #2
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Marathon and Key West boat have mooring fields
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:52 PM   #3
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I have a friend who lives on his 37 Morgan on a mooring ball in the boot key field. He tells me there are spaces left, but they are first come first served. You can not reserve ahead of time.
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:54 PM   #4
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In the winter moorings balls are hard to come by. U can always anchor out
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Old 09-28-2019, 06:16 AM   #5
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I thought January and February in the keys were not all it was cracked up to be. The weather can be blustery which means you have to find good anchorages which are not plentiful in the lower keys. It being cool and windy did not make for really good snorkeling or fishing on many days either.

I guess everybody wants to do it once and once was enough for me...... I will try to go back and enjoy them sometime when the weather is a little bit better

There was virtually no space available except at the most expensive marinas if you did not reserve many months in advance even years in advance and there are not many places to land dinghies ashore where there are good anchorages. There are dinghy landings but again they're not exactly always convenient.
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Old 09-28-2019, 07:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Marathon and Key West boat have mooring fields
And, that's just about it in the Keys. Marathon fills up around November or so every year, the Garrison Bight (Key West) Mooring field never fills up (the joke is, in a north wind, you are protected only by the lee of the Florida panhandle.)

You also have the mooring field at Dinner Key Marina, in Miami, which can also get a lot of fetch. It's just a two or three day trip to Key West from there, and half a day to a pretty nice part of the Keys. I don't know about availability there since Irma as I think a lot of people who were at the DK marina, had to move to a mooring, due to damage.

Marinas are (relatively) cheaper once you get out of Key West, (where the dockage rates are just really insane).
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Old 09-28-2019, 07:26 AM   #7
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I have brought my ride to the Keys four times over the last several years. Twice in Jan (because that is when I have time to do it easily), once in Mar/April, once in Jun. The weather was dang raw in Jan. Better weather than anywhere else on the east coast, but still not great. Cold fronts would come through and it was chilly and windy. Mar/apr was really nice. Jun was just dang HOT.

We occasionally anchored out, but anchoring around KW can be sketchy. You can feel like you have a decent bite, but there can be a relatively thin layer on top of the cap rock and once it starts to blow, off you go! The VHF goes crazy with dragging boats when a squall line comes through.

We stayed a bit at Garrison Bight at the City docks, that was not too expensive and they had plenty of room. I'm sure it varies, and that was several years ago, could be full now. Really need bikes if you are going to go anywhere interesting as they are long hikes.

A few nights we splurged and stayed at A&B docks downtown. Expensive, but fun. Only way we got in there was someone canceling out and they knew we could jump right in.

Spring is really nice weather. Fall is really nice too, but at risk of cyclones. Winter is raw but only when fronts make it through (some winters are mostly free of fronts, some winters they seem to come every week). Summer it is just dang hot, not so much the air, but the sun is intense. Walk out of the shade and sizzle!!

We only got a mooring ball in Marathon, that was pretty nice but not as much to do there as in KW.
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Old 09-28-2019, 09:31 AM   #8
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The concerns about a full Marathon (Boot Key Harbor) mooring field stated above are a bit overstated. That mooring field fills and empties (at the margins, there are lots of semi permanent boats there) with boaters waiting for a decent weather window to cross over to the Bahamas. But when you get there you can call and get on the list for a mooring ball opening.

So if you are going to be there for 2-3 months then it would be worth anchoring out until the Bahamas wave opens up mooring balls. There are maybe three decent anchorages to wait it out: outside of Boot Key Harbor but fairly protected from the N and NE wind, just inside near the defunct bridge (maybe a bit dodgy with run down boats there) and way inside near the now closed Sombrero Dockside Restaurant.

Then if you have a weekly or monthly mooring ball contract, head down to Key West for a few days when the weather settles. It can be quite nice there anchored out or on a mooring ball in between frontal passages. Or take the bus from Marathon to Key West for the day.

I do agree with the advice above that the keys don't have many other anchorages with dinghy access to shore.

And on the way down or back up north, consider stopping for a day or two in No Name Key on Key Biscayne. But only in mid week. On weekends the Cuban Navy takes over the place.

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Old 09-28-2019, 09:41 AM   #9
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Since hurricane dorian destroyed the Abaco's all the winter boaters that visit there are searching for slips in the keys. Good luck finding one.
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Old 09-28-2019, 10:57 AM   #10
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S/F: I well imagine you are correct.
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Old 09-28-2019, 11:20 AM   #11
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Hopefully they will understand that the Keys are not the Bahamas and that just a little further south than they are used to, will be plenty of Bahamian splendor with even warmer weather.


The Keys are crowded enough...that kind of overflow would make me consider not even trying to go there.
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Old 09-28-2019, 11:24 AM   #12
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Yep. Time to discover Andros. Or raggeds, or...
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Old 09-28-2019, 11:31 AM   #13
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Hopefully they will understand that the Keys are not the Bahamas and that just a little further south than they are used to, will be plenty of Bahamian splendor with even warmer weather.


The Keys are crowded enough...that kind of overflow would make me consider not even trying to go there.
That's our feeling, too. We quit going to the Keys after we started going to the Bahamas, except as a waypoint. Unless your idea of a good time is Duvall Street and lots of bars, the Bahamas have the Keys beat to death. Even the water quality is so much better, it's hard to believe until you see it.

I think it's the uncertainty of crossing over that sticks so many people there. Last time we were in Marathon, at a marina, the boats on either side of us told us they had been preparing to go to the Bahamas for some time; one for two years, and one for five years.

I had to ask, "You know it's only like 44 miles away from Miami, right?"
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Old 09-28-2019, 11:35 AM   #14
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As a native of the area I must encourage all of you to avoid the keys, yes it’s terrible down here. Weather is either bad or worse, no dockage, no moorings, no fishing or diving. Yes, you carpetbaggers please stay away (except Scott who’s welcome anytime). I’ll suffer and cruise the area and send reports.
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Old 09-28-2019, 11:38 AM   #15
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Diver Dave. Andros? Really? I been there four times and other than bonefishing it doesn’t offer much. IMHO
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Old 09-28-2019, 02:29 PM   #16
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I just texted my Blowboat friend from boot key, he says there are quite a few empty spaces available at this time. Now he wants to know when we are going to make the trip down. We could be there in a day or 3 if we were only retired.
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Old 09-28-2019, 02:40 PM   #17
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Irv...I'll bet you are to Miami and the Keys as Don 'The Don" is to Ft Pierce.... You show up and there is miraculously a slip, mooring ball or prime anchoring spot with your name on it.


Sure Boot Key has spots now...it's early.... the trick is when it fills up and the weather widows to the Bahamas are few and far between...who wants to anchor out in unprotected areas or the hassle of being in that one creek with all the other crazies for weeks on end.
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Old 09-28-2019, 04:37 PM   #18
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Keys after first of year

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Diver Dave. Andros? Really? I been there four times and other than bonefishing it doesn’t offer much. IMHO


Great camping, flying, biking, very good barrier reef, world class sinkhole diving. Cheap villas on the beach. Clear water, much of it protected.
Dockage: no. Horseflies:yes. Fuel: usually. Fresh drinking water: lots
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Old 09-28-2019, 05:53 PM   #19
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Scott when I show up the closed sign gets raised.

DD. Andros does have have water and good fishing but not many marinas and last time I took the creeks from the east to west side I almost didn’t make it and that boat drew 4 feet. Got to tell you I never go to Andros for camping, biking of flying.
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Old 09-28-2019, 06:00 PM   #20
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South bight with 4 foot below? U R brave
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