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Old 01-12-2016, 06:29 AM   #1
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Southwest Florida coast knowledge

We will be making a trip down the coast this spring (April May timeframe). I am fairly familiar with many of the ports from Destin down to Fort Meyers. But am a not familiar from there down to Key West. Since we draw slightly over 4 feet on or Jefferson 52 I wanted to get some feedback on what ports are easy to get into without being concerned with tides. Really trying to aviod an overnighter to Key West if we can easily avoid it and also want to see some new spots. Some questions, Naples, Marco Island, Everglades city for an overnight anchor, same for Little Sharkey. Others? We like to run 8 to 10 knots most of the time. Thanks for your suggestions.
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Old 01-12-2016, 06:36 AM   #2
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A daylight trip from Marco Island to Key West is quite doable, particularly if you cruise at 8-10 kts. It is about 90 NM. Anchor at Factory Bay in Marco and leave at dawn. You will pull into Key West 10-11 hours later.


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Old 01-12-2016, 09:40 AM   #3
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Southwest Florida coast knowledge

Last summer we hopped from Fort Myers to Key West, stopping to anchor at Marco Island and Shark River. I draw about 4'.

We anchored in Smokehouse Bay in Marco, across from the marina there. Kind of a winding channel getting in there but don't remember any depth issues. You can dingy over to a nice Winn Dixie. Surrounded by condos so not too scenic but very protected and quiet. Only one other boat there-- it was nice and quiet.

The Little Shark River anchorage was very interesting and kind of spooky. We had no depth problems-- anchored at the spot shown on Active Captain. We were the only boat there. We cruised around in the dingy to explore a bit before the bugs ran us back inside. Pretty aggressive biting flies, but we were there in June. Was still an interesting spot I thought and worth the stop. Don't think I would swim there! No cell service IIRC.

It was a fun trip!
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:49 AM   #4
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Southwest Florida coast knowledge

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Little Shark River.
Haha. Just kidding.
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:01 AM   #5
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Marco is a great spot for anchor or Marina, and with your boat, a straight run from there to KW makes sense.

I would think it easiest to avoid Little Shark River and the rest of Florida Bay in a 52 footer. Leave Marco at 6am and you'll be in KW by 4:30pm no problem.

You're in the best weather of the year at that time.


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Old 01-12-2016, 11:16 AM   #6
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A daylight trip from Marco Island to Key West is quite doable, particularly if you cruise at 8-10 kts. It is about 90 NM. Anchor at Factory Bay in Marco and leave at dawn. You will pull into Key West 10-11 hours later.


David

What he said.

But just remember that 90 nm is as the crow flies. So you have to allow time to get out the pass and then in from NW channel to Key West harbor.
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Old 01-12-2016, 02:01 PM   #7
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From Fort Myers and heading south.

Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach are both worth a visit. For us, Sanibel is a one day stop only.

We love Naples for multiple day stops.

We heard so many negatives about Marco Island, but we love it. Yes, we like the resort aspect, but we also love taking our RIB and just exploring all around, so much to see.
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Old 01-12-2016, 02:34 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your inputs. Keep them coming. Right now I like the idea of leaving Fort Myers Beach and stop in Marco Island. A good run to Key West but doable. At that time of the year (late April) do we need to book slips far out or can we just call the day before?
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Old 01-12-2016, 03:19 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your inputs. Keep them coming. Right now I like the idea of leaving Fort Myers Beach and stop in Marco Island. A good run to Key West but doable. At that time of the year (late April) do we need to book slips far out or can we just call the day before?
Key West is pretty busy year round now. I'd book as far out as you can.
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:46 PM   #10
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What he said.

But just remember that 90 nm is as the crow flies. So you have to allow time to get out the pass and then in from NW channel to Key West harbor.
I plotted it on Active Captain and got 91 miles going out of Marco Island from Factory Bay, outside far enough to clear Romano Shoals, then to the entrance marker to NW channel and down the channel to KW.

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Old 01-12-2016, 06:16 PM   #11
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The 10,000 Islands have so many cool gunkholing opportunities. They were a destination for us, the complete opposite of a fly-by. Further on, LSR and in most weather Cape Sable are other good and beautiful anchorages. From there you can pass go right to Marathon if you so desire.
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Old 01-12-2016, 07:18 PM   #12
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If you like to anchor out 10,000 islands is worth the stop. I must say we much prefer Marathon along with the middle Keys and upper Keys to Key Weird, I mean Key West. If all you want to do is party go to Key West. If you want relaxed island time the rest of the Keys are great.
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Old 01-12-2016, 08:48 PM   #13
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We probably will come back through Marathon, then up along the coast and hit some of the less inhabitted anchorages both in the keys and along the west coast.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:33 PM   #14
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I plotted it on Active Captain and got 91 miles going out of Marco Island from Factory Bay, outside far enough to clear Romano Shoals, then to the entrance marker to NW channel and down the channel to KW.

David
Like I said, 90nm as the crow flies.

But seriously, you're right. I guess I just remembered it, incorrectly, as being longer.
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Old 01-12-2016, 11:39 PM   #15
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As was mentioned April/May time frame is the best weather window. If your uncomfortable doing 90 miles open water you can go from Marco to one of the Shark Rivers then on to Marathon and Boot Key Harbor and then < 50 miles to Key West. Land in sight the whole way. The distance from Marco to Marathon is about the same as Marco to Key West.
Always book res in Key West in advance, but late May to Oct should be OK.

Smokehouse Bay is the place to anchor in Marco. I've done both non stop to Key West from Marco and thru Marathon. Don't really have a preference, just what you're comfortable with and how much time you have. Non stop is a long day at 8-10 kts and if you loose one you'll be entering Key West after dark.
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Old 01-13-2016, 07:19 AM   #16
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We anchored off Key West (Fleming Key) once, other than that found it much easier to keep the boat in Marathon and take the bus or a car to KW. Besids, the money saved pays for a lovely lunch for two at Louie's Backyard, and other pleasures.
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:03 AM   #17
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I think all the information posts should include weather the area is one to anchor or a marina slip is required.
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:13 AM   #18
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So much great information. It gives me lots of options which is what I want so I have flexibility with the weather. On our return can we comfortably get into Shark river, and thousand islands without being concerned with tides?
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:30 AM   #19
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So much great information. It gives me lots of options which is what I want so I have flexibility with the weather. On our return can we comfortably get into Shark river, and thousand islands without being concerned with tides?

I had no problems entering the river and I draw about what you do. Just don't get too close to the bank when you anchor as it get shallow quickly. Anchor where the spot is on Active Captain.
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Old 01-14-2016, 12:12 PM   #20
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No problem getting in and out of Little Shark, but other places and something like Everglades City is much more questionable.


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