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Old 12-29-2016, 04:41 PM   #1
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Tavernier to Key West on the bay/gulf side??

Hello all...Im interested in taking the inside route from Tavernier to Key west next month rather than Hawk channel. Im only in a 26 footer but have never taken this route before. As long as I stay out in the deeper water and avoid the shallows, shoals etc...is there anything wrong with this route? It appears pretty straight forward from Tavernier to Long Key just staying in the channel markers and then just bouncing a little north westerly out into the little deeper water from there to the Key West Channel. Any comments? Thanks very much in advance.
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:26 PM   #2
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Hello all...Im interested in taking the inside route from Tavernier to Key west next month rather than Hawk channel. Im only in a 26 footer but have never taken this route before. As long as I stay out in the deeper water and avoid the shallows, shoals etc...is there anything wrong with this route? It appears pretty straight forward from Tavernier to Long Key just staying in the channel markers and then just bouncing a little north westerly out into the little deeper water from there to the Key West Channel. Any comments? Thanks very much in advance.
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What is your draft? Most likely not a problem, so long as you do not mind dodging all the crab traps. It is pretty shallow in some places, though, and it is hard for me to understand why you would not just take Hawk Channel. ???
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:40 PM   #3
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Our draft is only 2' and I know the outside (Hawk Channel) is the more straight forward route but it can be pretty rough and was hoping the inside would be a bit smoother...also just looking for a different view and gain more experience taking a new route.
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:44 PM   #4
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Our draft is only 2' and I know the outside (Hawk Channel) is the more straight forward route but it can be pretty rough and was hoping the inside would be a bit smoother...also just looking for a different view and gain more experience taking a new route.
Well, we ran it with a 4.5' draft, so it should be a piece of cake for you. Lots and lots and lots of crab traps, though. Hawk Channel is not usually rough, because of the protection of the reef. But I can understand wanting a different view and the experience, so go for it. Just watch out for those blasted crab traps!!!
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:50 PM   #5
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Thanks...another goal is to go from Tavernier where we have a condo and a boat (part time) to Naples where my parents spend 6 weeks every spring. I've been sitting on my iPad here in Tennessee playing on Garmin BlueChart making routes and dreaming...LOL. Thanks again!!
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:56 PM   #6
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At 2 feet draft definitely go for it, it is a much prettier route with lots of places to stop, anchor and explore.
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:59 PM   #7
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Thanks...another goal is to go from Tavernier where we have a condo and a boat (part time) to Naples where my parents spend 6 weeks every spring. I've been sitting on my iPad here in Tennessee playing on Garmin BlueChart making routes and dreaming...LOL. Thanks again!!
Um, bop over to Key West and then do a straight shot up to Naples. That is the best route. There are the siren calls of shorter routes, but that is just on paper. Trust me on that one. Just keep in mind that there are fishing boats out there doing their thing. Give them a wide circuit -- they are tough guys making a living, and will not cut you any slack. So cut them some.
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Old 12-29-2016, 06:04 PM   #8
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At 2 feet draft definitely go for it, it is a much prettier route with lots of places to stop, anchor and explore.


And thats what we want to do is explore some different routes and scenery's and also hone my Nav skills at the same time...as we plan to retire on a MY/trawler and travel/live aboard in a few years.
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Old 12-29-2016, 06:28 PM   #9
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Actually, I should not be so opinionated. We drew 4.5' and you draw 2'. So cutting closer inside from the Keys up to Naples is most likely not a problem for you. But I still have bad dreams about sailing for hours and hours and hours over a bottom with no water whatsoever showing under my keel. :-)

And with that confession, I still say that the straight shot from Key West to Naples is the best. It is a lot easier to sleep when there is plenty of water underneath your keel. But others may differ, and they would probably be right also.
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Old 12-29-2016, 06:31 PM   #10
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I hope to try both routes at some point and will let ya know my thoughts...
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Old 12-29-2016, 07:47 PM   #11
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I've made that trip a number of times but be careful because after the seven mile bridge the markers on the inside are sometimes not there so you will probably run north to the gulf and continue on. Lots of wrecks in the gulf and really good fishing. The south route and Hawks Channel is probably shorter from the seven mile bridge, that the route I took in 2016.
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Old 12-29-2016, 08:41 PM   #12
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Based on my experiences, John (jwnall) is right to favor the K.W. - Naples route. Just pay attention to the forecast. You'll be doing this in January, so the prevailing easterlies may have you in beam swells for a time after clearing Northwest Channel. That'll settle down as you close the lee of the Capes.

Alternatively, a typical winter cold front might approach from out the northwest, in which case just wait it out in K.W. for another day or three. You don't want to go bashing into those seas piling up as they enter shallower waters. Usually the fronts weaken by the time they get that far south, but I've seen them maintain their power a lot further than Naples or even K.W. Once the front passes, go. The Gulf should be flat and beautiful for a few days.
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:21 PM   #13
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Based on my experiences, John (jwnall) is right to favor the K.W. - Naples route. Just pay attention to the forecast. You'll be doing this in January, so the prevailing easterlies may have you in beam swells for a time after clearing Northwest Channel. That'll settle down as you close the lee of the Capes.

Alternatively, a typical winter cold front might approach from out the northwest, in which case just wait it out in K.W. for another day or three. You don't want to go bashing into those seas piling up as they enter shallower waters. Usually the fronts weaken by the time they get that far south, but I've seen them maintain their power a lot further than Naples or even K.W. Once the front passes, go. The Gulf should be flat and beautiful for a few days.


Good info...Keys to Naples is a March trip so might be in better shape than January. 2nd week of January it's just Tavernier/Key West.
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Old 12-30-2016, 12:08 AM   #14
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You're in a 26' boat that only draws 2', yes?

Then all routes are open to you.

That said, unless it's a perfect day I would not run straight from KW to Naples in a 26' boat. I'd run up towards the Cape Sable area and run as close to the lee shore as you need to from there.
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Old 12-30-2016, 07:17 AM   #15
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You're in a 26' boat that only draws 2', yes?

Then all routes are open to you.

That said, unless it's a perfect day I would not run straight from KW to Naples in a 26' boat. I'd run up towards the Cape Sable area and run as close to the lee shore as you need to from there.
It would be a trip starting in Tavernier so the northerly turn from about Long Key would keep me closer to the Lee shore anyway. All good info and thank you all again.
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Old 12-30-2016, 07:22 AM   #16
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I'm not sure I entirely understand your question. The ICW is well marked and plenty deep from Tavernier to the 7 mile bridge and Moser Channel. From there the choice is North to the Gulf or South to Hawks Channel.

Is your question about the ICW from Tavernier to Moser Channel? Nice run, well protected, easy day marks and eyeball piloting all the way to the 7 mile bridge. Not much going on from Islamorada to Marathon but still well marked.

West of Moser Channel Hawks Channel is the best route and even if its a little rough it's a pretty short run. You could stretch the run down the back side to Bahia Honda to cut over to Hawks Channel there too if its a rough day.

As for the weather in the winter, if its from any Northern quadrant Hawks Channel could actually be smoother than the ICW.


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