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Old 02-27-2015, 01:08 PM   #1
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Smile Proposed trip to the Keys-- trying to get ready

So after posting up about the delivery guys in the SP Cruiser who abandoned ship off Cape Hatteras, it got me thinking more about my proposed trip from Sneed Island to Key West this June (and then back again), and what I should prepare for so I don't end up like them. I realize this trip is not as dangerous as where they were, but this boat is new to me (I will only have a total of about 6 days of running it before I attempt this trip) plus I will have my wife and two teenage boys aboard.

Questions:

1. I was not planning to run directly across but probably stop at Shark River. During June, taking this route, will I be able to duck in anywhere else if the weather changes suddenly? How is the weather in June for this trip?

2. For anyone who has made this trip, are there any special precautions I should make, other than lots of mosquito spray?

3. Do I need an EPIRB? I have the best Boat US towing policy.

4. Should I add an extra Racor before this trip so I can switch in case of trouble? I only have one, like the guys off Cape Hatteras did. I would rather add this extra Racor when I get back to Texas when I can do it myself, but if have to pay to have it done now I will.

5. How bad are the crab trap floats? Do I need take any precautions for these? Can I just snorkel down and cut the line if I wrap one on my prop?

Thanks...
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Old 02-27-2015, 01:15 PM   #2
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Yes the crab traps are abundant.

I don't think you'll need an EPIRB but it doesn't hurt to have one.
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Old 02-27-2015, 01:46 PM   #3
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Keep Florida on your left on your way south and you'll have lots of places to hide if you have to.


Traps shouldn't be too bad in June as both Stone Crab and Spiny Lobster seasons are closed. If you pick up a trap line in your prop, you won't have much choice but to cut it. It would be nice if you could just untangle it but that is unlikely.


June is the start of hurricane season but it is unusual to see one that early. Just keep an eye on the weather reports. You'll know several days in advance if one pops up.
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Old 02-27-2015, 01:52 PM   #4
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I would have an EPIRB or at least a PLB. Remember from Marco it is about the same distance to Marathon as Key West. The Keys run very close to an east/west orientation.

Crab traps are abundant as you get closer to the islands. Take the direct route to Key West, and you will have less floats to deal with. Watch the weather closely. You usually get pretty good forecasts in that area. Usually a named storm will be tracked for several days.

The trip from Marco is about 100 miles. From Sanibel it is about 120 or so miles. We usually run it from there, but in good weather we can do it in 4 to 4 1/2 hours.

Key West is a funky place with lots for everybody to do. Lou loves it.
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:30 PM   #5
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You should be fine with your fuel situation as long as you know how to quickly change filters. I also have a single engine and keep thinking about dual racors. But have not taken the plunge into my wallet to add one. The weather situation in June should be fine. Tropical storm development is rare and should be predicted by forecasters. There are frequent severe thunderstorms in South Florida in June. Usually you will get warning on VHF radio and can see them coming a long way off. Be prepared to have significant winds and seas build in them. They usually are short lived though. Active Captain will give good info on all places to shelter along your planned course. Spend some time on the site reading about the various rivers and anchorages. And the bugs will drive you nuts.......
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:33 PM   #6
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I would have an EPIRB or at least a PLB. Remember from Marco it is about the same distance to Marathon as Key West. The Keys run very close to an east/west orientation.

Crab traps are abundant as you get closer to the islands. Take the direct route to Key West, and you will have less floats to deal with. Watch the weather closely. You usually get pretty good forecasts in that area. Usually a named storm will be tracked for several days.

The trip from Marco is about 100 miles. From Sanibel it is about 120 or so miles. We usually run it from there, but in good weather we can do it in 4 to 4 1/2 hours.

Key West is a funky place with lots for everybody to do. Lou loves it.
Talking about weather, what do y'all' use? Does anyone here use a weather forecasting service like Chris Parker or something similar?

Hurricane season:

Since this trip is planned for June, I suppose I need a hurricane contingency plan. With a 2-3 day advance warning, I guess it's possible to get back to LaBelle and haul out. Or do places like this fill up fast?
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:36 PM   #7
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Have a way to put screens between you and the bugs at night, or else.

Be at anchor early in the afternoon so you can watch the pretty thunderstorms building from a safe place.

Take your time and enjoy. If you pick up a trap the water temp is in the 80's so no problem.
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:44 PM   #8
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You should be fine with your fuel situation as long as you know how to quickly change filters. I also have a single engine and keep thinking about dual racors. But have not taken the plunge into my wallet to add one. The weather situation in June should be fine. Tropical storm development is rare and should be predicted by forecasters. There are frequent severe thunderstorms in South Florida in June. Usually you will get warning on VHF radio and can see them coming a long way off. Be prepared to have significant winds and seas build in them. They usually are short lived though. Active Captain will give good info on all places to shelter along your planned course. Spend some time on the site reading about the various rivers and anchorages. And the bugs will drive you nuts.......
OK thanks Billyfeet.

I started to look around that area on Active Captain (that's how I found about Shark River), but I'll study some more.

We did a charter in the Pine Island Sound years ago in an old Gibson houseboat of all things. Anchored in a great spot (I thought) surrounded by mangroves, and the bugs ate us alive.

I do need to practice on the single Racor change. The setup has an electric prime pump but it's not working. Need to fix that.
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:46 PM   #9
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you can go without a plb or epirb...but I would rather take one and the dingy to Key West than the boat.
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:55 PM   #10
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you can go without a plb or epirb...but I would rather take one and the dingy to Key West than the boat.

I have read this over and over, but I don't understand.

Take the epirb and the dingy, but not the boat?
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:55 PM   #11
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Don't try running the backcountry at night. Too many traps. Even out of season they are out there, abandoned, whatever.

Fine grass on water surface too, you will find out if your sea strainers are set up right.

My gennie one clogged often, still haven't fixed that.
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:59 PM   #12
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Proposed trip to the Keys-- trying to get ready

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
Don't try running the backcountry at night. Too many traps. Even out of season they are out there, abandoned, whatever.

Fine grass on water surface too, you will find out if your sea strainers are set up right.

My gennie one clogged often, still haven't fixed that.

Wish my boat had an engine temp alarm in case I'm not staring at the gauge. How hard is that to rig up?


Instead of wiring it to the dash (I don't want to snake wires) do you think a loud alarm could be set up in the engine compartment? The pilothouse is right above the engine so I'm pretty sure I would hear it.
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Old 02-27-2015, 03:19 PM   #13
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We use one of those temp sensors meant for home, you know the ones that have a wireless unit you place outside and it tells you the temperature in the house and outside. We put the remote sensor in the engine room and can see the temp inside at all times.

I wonder if any come with alarm features?

Works well so far.
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Old 02-27-2015, 03:24 PM   #14
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June should be a fairly benign month to go- no fronts and small chance of a hurricane.

I would go direct from Marco to Key West as others have suggested. You can do it in daylight hours if you leave at dawn and cruise at 8 kts.

If by some small chance a hurricane threatens, pick up a mooring in Marathon. Your boat might not survive a direct hit, but Boot Key Harbor is very protected and there is lots of help in that area to be had. If a hurricane comes directly towards you, get off your boat and ride out the eye passage in the town marina. You will have lots of company. But if the hurricane passes 50 miles away you can ride it out just fine on a mooring.

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Old 02-27-2015, 03:30 PM   #15
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We use one of those temp sensors meant for home, you know the ones that have a wireless unit you place outside and it tells you the temperature in the house and outside. We put the remote sensor in the engine room and can see the temp inside at all times.

I wonder if any come with alarm features?

Works well so far.

That's sounds interesting. So you didn't put the sensor directly on the engine but just in the engine room?

I was thinking about water temperature.
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Old 02-27-2015, 03:58 PM   #16
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Of course we have an engine temp gauge. But i tell you the ambient temp gauge does a fine job as a backup letting us know how things are. It actually was the first sensor to recognize a temperature difference with a clogged heat exchanger.

On my wish list is an EGT gauge, but that's for another time.
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:06 PM   #17
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Proposed trip to the Keys-- trying to get ready

What's a better reading to catch an overheat before problems happen?EGT or water temp?

I still like the engine room temp gauge idea. Cheap and easy.


http://www.monnit.com/Products/Bundl...rature-Sensors

This seems pretty cool. Two sensors, but not enough range for exhaust gas temp. So I could monitor engine water temp and what else?

Plug the USB into your laptop and read the data. Battery powered. Totally wireless.
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:16 PM   #18
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EGT would be my choice. In fact many small planes have EGT sensors on each of the cylinders. Easy to spot a problem that way (trust me I know). Is that much needed on our engines. I don't think so. One sensor will do.

We're actually just monitoring ambient room temp with it. It still was the first sensor to show the heat exchanger was blocked.
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:30 PM   #19
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BTW when you get to key west if you stop at stock island marina it'll be 1/3 the price of the spots downtown. It also has the cheapest fuel in the area with brand new clean facilities. We were just there a few months ago.
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:31 PM   #20
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As someone who has cruised that area (including twice in June, it will be hot!) and the Keys a number of times here's my opinion:

Key West is far better and much more economically visited by car, unless you are enroute to somewhere else, in our case, SW Florida.

The cruising in SW Florida is fantastic, especially if you are more "wilderness cruisers" rather marina hopping from one populated place to another. So many great anchorages and places to explore. Bypassing them all for the sake of a Key West visit seems like a real shame to us.

You can duck in behind a variety of small keys on the way, the last civilization is Everglades City, which with Chokoloskee is funky Old Florida but fun; we always liked to anchor in Russell Pass or off Indian Key and explore with the dinghy. Shark River is beautiful with almost unlimited dinghy, even big boat adventures. Also if weather is from the easterly, anchoring off the secluded beaches of Cape Sable is nice.

Yes, get an EPIRB, you need it anyway (especially for your trip across the Gulf back to Texas) and you will be away from civilization. Do not take any short cuts or rely on charted depths on the Cape Romano Shoals!

Yes, get that second Racor now, same issue as the EPIRB. You are in a good area to have it done; if you suspect your fuel, get it polished!

EGT and coolant temp are important to monitor, and to add a belt to those suspenders, a raw water flow alarm. All of these are reasonably priced from places like Aqualarm. Engine room temp is a "nice to know", but you will be boating in hot weather to begin with.

The crab floats down there tend to be black, so yes, keep an eye out. And they are around in June, season or not. If you are in any kind of seas, stopping and going under the boat to cut free is dangerous.
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