Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-13-2014, 12:08 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
City: East Coast
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Inspiration
Vessel Model: 420DB
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 198
Ft Lauderdale to Key West

After successful "snowbird migration" of my boat to Ft Lauderdale, we're looking to do some trips. The first one is trip to the Keys during X-mass/New Years school break.

I'd like to ask for some advice on good itinerary when cruising from FTL to Key West. Any other ports or activities I shouldn't miss? Are there any hazards (besides those that are clearly charted) I should be aware of along the way?

Preliminary, not in any particular order, I was thinking of the following ports:

Key Largo
Islamorado
Marathon
Key West
Marquesas Key
Dry Tortugas

Any help is greatly appreciated. I've never cruised in the keys, so any general advice will be helpful.
__________________
Advertisement

Alex F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 12:15 PM   #2
Guru
 
N4712's Avatar
 
City: South FL
Country: U.S.A
Vessel Name: Oliver
Vessel Model: Nordhavn 47 Hull# 12
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,613
Looks like a pretty good plan.

Where in FTL are you moored?
__________________

__________________
Thanks, Oliver
M/V Oliver
Nordhavn 47 Hull #12
N4712 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 12:17 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
yachtbrokerguy's Avatar


 
City: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Model: I have keys to lots of boats...
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 469
If you plan to stay in marinas for some stops you need to make reservations NOW for the peak Christmas to New Years time period.
I do not know what draft you need but it may be an issue in Key Largo and Islamorada with the time of tides a consideration.
__________________
Tucker Fallon CPYB
www.yachtbrokerguy.com
yachtbrokerguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 12:19 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
City: East Coast
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Inspiration
Vessel Model: 420DB
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by N4712 View Post
Looks like a pretty good plan.

Where in FTL are you moored?
I'm in a private dock just north of Port Everglades.
Alex F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 12:20 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
City: East Coast
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Inspiration
Vessel Model: 420DB
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by yachtbrokerguy View Post
If you plan to stay in marinas for some stops you need to make reservations NOW for the peak Christmas to New Years time period.
I do not know what draft you need but it may be an issue in Key Largo and Islamorada with the time of tides a consideration.
Thanks Tucker. I have 4' draft.
Alex F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 12:21 PM   #6
Guru
 
N4712's Avatar
 
City: South FL
Country: U.S.A
Vessel Name: Oliver
Vessel Model: Nordhavn 47 Hull# 12
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,613
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F View Post
I'm in a private dock just north of Port Everglades.
Oh ok enjoy!
__________________
Thanks, Oliver
M/V Oliver
Nordhavn 47 Hull #12
N4712 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 12:27 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
yachtbrokerguy's Avatar


 
City: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Model: I have keys to lots of boats...
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 469
With a 4' draft you should be fine but if you are travelling "bayside" you will have to be careful at low tide even in the channel in some areas. Hawk Channel on the ocean side has plenty of depth all of the time.
__________________
Tucker Fallon CPYB
www.yachtbrokerguy.com
yachtbrokerguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 01:07 PM   #8
Guru
 
Brooksie's Avatar
 
City: Cape Cod, MA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Island Seeker
Vessel Model: Willard 36 Sedan
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 954
If you are planning to anchor overnight in Marquesas, you will be disappointed, there is no room in there if you draw any water.
Brooksie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 01:23 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
City: East Coast
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Inspiration
Vessel Model: 420DB
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooksie View Post
If you are planning to anchor overnight in Marquesas, you will be disappointed, there is no room in there if you draw any water.
Does this mean that it's considered more of a day stop?
Alex F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 01:39 PM   #10
Guru
 
Brooksie's Avatar
 
City: Cape Cod, MA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Island Seeker
Vessel Model: Willard 36 Sedan
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 954
I don't know your boat draft or comfort level. I have overnighted there but I was not comfortable with it. So yes, maybe count it as a stop then stay if you like it.
Brooksie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 01:42 PM   #11
Guru
 
caltexflanc's Avatar
 
City: North Carolina for now
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Small Incentive
Vessel Model: Boston Whaler 130 Sport
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,802
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F View Post
Does this mean that it's considered more of a day stop?
Yes. But interesting! Do you have a dinghy? I'll also ask, anchor out or marinas over night?

The inside route starts getting skinny from about Channel 5 on west to Marathon, then skinnier still Marathon to Key West. 4 feet should be OK; I sanded about 6" of my 5ft deep keel twixt Islamorada and Marathon the one time we took the inside. Crab and lobster pots were rife inside the channel as well, but that can be seasonal (we went down in January) Don't forget Elliot Key/Boca Chita along the way. And if you haven't been to No Name Harbor on Biscayne that's a fun "day" stop too; and take a tour of Stiltsville right nearby. There are a few fun stops between Marathon and Key West, depending on your preferences and dinghy situation.
__________________
George

"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and what some guy says he's gotten away with"
caltexflanc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 02:12 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
City: East Coast
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Inspiration
Vessel Model: 420DB
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
...Do you have a dinghy? I'll also ask, anchor out or marinas over night?...
I have excellent dinghy, center consol with 40HP, which can take me anywhere. Anchoring overnight is what we do on a regular basis. But, I might do the combination marina/mooring/anchoring, depending on the port and dinghy docking availability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
...The inside route starts getting skinny from about Channel 5 on west to Marathon, then skinnier still Marathon to Key West. 4 feet should be OK; I sanded about 6" of my 5ft deep keel twixt Islamorada and Marathon the one time we took the inside...
Ouch, that's a bummer for me. I don't think I should take a chance, since my props are half exposed. It sounds like I need to go on the outside, to be in the safe side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
...Don't forget Elliot Key/Boca Chita along the way...
I've heard about Elliot Key, but don't know much about it. What's the attraction there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
...And if you haven't been to No Name Harbor on Biscayne that's a fun "day" stop too; and take a tour of Stiltsville right nearby....
Thank you for reminder. I completely forgot about Stiltsville.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
... There are a few fun stops between Marathon and Key West, depending on your preferences and dinghy situation...
If you could share some popular attractions there, that would be great. We can anchor in deeper water and take our dinghy all over.
Alex F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 03:03 PM   #13
Guru
 
siestakey's Avatar
 
City: Sarasota,FL/Thomasville,GA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Steppin Stone IV
Vessel Model: Marine Trader Kelly Trawler 46
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,271
Send a message via Skype™ to siestakey
Keep us updated on your adventure
siestakey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 03:55 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
City: East Coast
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Inspiration
Vessel Model: 420DB
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 198
Has anyone stayed at "Pennekamp State Park Largo Sound - Moorings" in Key Largo? I'm thinking if it's worth a shot or should I just go to a marina?

A friend suggested that Pilot House Marina or Marina Del Mar would be a good choice of marinas.
Alex F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 05:17 PM   #15
Guru
 
djmarchand's Avatar
 
City: East Greenwich, RI
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bella
Vessel Model: Mainship Pilot 34
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,882
If you go outside and like to anchor, then I would suggest this itinerary:

FTL to No Name Harbor- The harbor is tight for anchoring, but you can tie up to the bulkhead during the day and anchor outside of the entrance if the weather is settled. The state park at No Name is beautiful and you can bicycle all around it. But weekends and also the holidays are a zoo with the Cuban Navy invading it, but also fun. They don't seem to pay any attention to the day only tie up rules.

No Name to Rodriguez Key- Exit the channel south of Cape Florida and go down the Hawke Channel. Rodriguez is just a stop, nothing to see. Anchor on the N or SW side depending on the wind.

Rodriquez to Marathon- Boot Key Harbor is mostly filled with moorings managed by the city. Sometimes you have to wait for one to open, but there are anchorages outside if the weather is settled or inside the bridge (open at all times now). Sombrero Dockside is a fun place to have a drink, burger and listen to music. If you are there during potluck night at the City Marina (where you pay for your mooring) don't miss it. There will be a hundred cruisers there.

Marathon to Key West- You can anchor on either side of Wisteria Island or on the SW corner of Flemming Island, but most are rolly. Or take a mooring east of Flemming Island at Garrison Bight. You can dinghy in to Key West Bight where you can tie up after paying the daily fee. If you are at a mooring at Garrison Bight the dinghy dock is included but it is a long trek to the action on Duval or the cruiser/bohemian hang outs at Key West Bight.

I haven't made the run to Dry Tortugas but it is only 60+ NM from Key West so you don't have to stop at Marquesas Key but depending how fast you cruise you may have to leave before dawn during winter days.

David
djmarchand is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2014, 12:51 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
City: East Coast
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Inspiration
Vessel Model: 420DB
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
If you go outside and like to anchor, then I would suggest this itinerary:

FTL to No Name Harbor- The harbor is tight for anchoring, but you can tie up to the bulkhead during the day and anchor outside of the entrance if the weather is settled. The state park at No Name is beautiful and you can bicycle all around it. But weekends and also the holidays are a zoo with the Cuban Navy invading it, but also fun. They don't seem to pay any attention to the day only tie up rules.

No Name to Rodriguez Key- Exit the channel south of Cape Florida and go down the Hawke Channel. Rodriguez is just a stop, nothing to see. Anchor on the N or SW side depending on the wind.

Rodriquez to Marathon- Boot Key Harbor is mostly filled with moorings managed by the city. Sometimes you have to wait for one to open, but there are anchorages outside if the weather is settled or inside the bridge (open at all times now). Sombrero Dockside is a fun place to have a drink, burger and listen to music. If you are there during potluck night at the City Marina (where you pay for your mooring) don't miss it. There will be a hundred cruisers there.

Marathon to Key West- You can anchor on either side of Wisteria Island or on the SW corner of Flemming Island, but most are rolly. Or take a mooring east of Flemming Island at Garrison Bight. You can dinghy in to Key West Bight where you can tie up after paying the daily fee. If you are at a mooring at Garrison Bight the dinghy dock is included but it is a long trek to the action on Duval or the cruiser/bohemian hang outs at Key West Bight.

I haven't made the run to Dry Tortugas but it is only 60+ NM from Key West so you don't have to stop at Marquesas Key but depending how fast you cruise you may have to leave before dawn during winter days.

David
Thanks for the tips, David.

No Name harbor sounds like fun, I'll add it to my itinerary as possibly my first stop.

I would probably skip Rodriguez Key, since it's just a stop, or I may use this stop on my return trip, just to break it up.

Marathon sounds like a good stop, so I'll definitely have it on my itinerary.

I'd like to do Dry Tortugas, but I think the weather will be the driving factor. I'll leave couple of extra days, in case if there's a window of opportunity.

We're looking to celebrate New Years in Key West. If anyone has any recommendations on good place (restaurant or special event), please let me know.
Alex F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2014, 03:02 PM   #17
Guru
 
BandB's Avatar
 
City: Fort Lauderdale
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 13,171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F View Post

We're looking to celebrate New Years in Key West. If anyone has any recommendations on good place (restaurant or special event), please let me know.
It's always New Years Eve or Mardi Gras in Key West. A couple of tips. Fireworks all around but the main ones are off of the White Street Pier over Key West Harbor.

No Times Square but a 6' shoe filled with a drag queen drops from the Bourbon Street Pub, a Conch Shell drops at Sloppy Joe's and a Wench drops from the mast of a schooner at the Historic Seaport. Also Cannon blasts at that location. The Schooner Wharf Bar is a happening place. Oh and at Ocean Key resort a key lime wedge drops into a huge margarita.

Be sure you do have your dock reserved and anything else as this is an extremely busy time at Key West.

Then there are just all the regular Key West hangouts. Just walking Duval Street and taking it all end can be fun. People watching is the number one tourist attraction sometimes.
BandB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2014, 04:32 PM   #18
Guru
 
caltexflanc's Avatar
 
City: North Carolina for now
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Small Incentive
Vessel Model: Boston Whaler 130 Sport
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,802
Ok, a few notes and tips on the inside route, as far as Channel Five. Again, with four feet draft you should be dandy that far, as we certainly were with five. From Ch 5 to marathon you are also probably O, but that's up to you.

No Name has been covered, FYi we always anchored out a little west of the channel that runs along the shore there and dinghyed into the harbor, for privacy, though you can get some wakes. The Boater's Grill in No Name used to have great Cuban/Carribean
food but we haven't been there in five years. Avoid the weekend if you can.

Next stop Elliot Key / Boca Chita. You boat would definitely fit into the little harbor at Boca Chita, but again avoid the weekend! No services, just a sea wall. We always just anchored over off Elliot Key, about a half mile to mile due west of the university dock there, its a huge anchorage, pick your spot. We'd then take the Whaler to BC. BC is a fun little hour or two visit especially if the "light house" is open, and it's usually a festive scene with the boats tied up and various picnics etc. Elliot Key has a small "marina" to take your dinghy to, along with a ranger station and museum. It has miles great hiking trails from former roads and is a nature preserve.

Not far on down the ICW from EK is Pumpkin Key, where we anchored off the north side. PK is private, but from there you can take the dink and explore the waterways off Anglefish Creek, including a tour through harbor and canals of the Ocean Reef Club to gawk at yachts and abodes of the "1%"... maybe the "1/2%". Makes for a fun afternoon.

Thence on down to Tarpon Basin and Key Largo proper. Lots of spots to drop the hook, we preferred the north-western basin, usually more private. There is a public dinghy dock on the mainshore and Publix and other stores are a block or two away.

The ICW begins its western turn not long after, on towards Islamorada. A lot people really like Plantation Harbor marina, which is pretty, has a nice pool and public park right there and walking distance to the main drag. Only been there by car ourselves, as we loved to anchor out a little further on down the line, in the bight between Lorelei's ( a Keys institution) and Little Basin, using the dinghy to reach either (the latter through a small canal). On the Basin is Worldwide Sportsman a subsidiary of Bass Pro Shops, smaller than a BPS, with a replica of Hemingway's "Pilar" and a nice outdoor restaurant for lunch (we'd Loreleis for drinks and maybe dinner). This is a great base for dinghy exploration, you can take the dink over to Lignumvitae Key for an interesting and pretty tour (it's a state park) or you can take the big boat and anchor off Shell Key or Lignumvitae. From there it is on out Channel Five, or inside, to Marathon.

We stayed on a mooring in Marathon, once for six weeks and once for a couple; we really enjoyed it and it is quite a cruiser's community. We also stayed at Marathon marina off and on a few days at a time and made a lot of long time friends there too.

One of our favorite couple-of-day trips was to go on over to Bahia Honda and anchor out a day or two in the harbor there between the bridges. My avatar picture was taken by a nice fellow cruiser from the old bridge that has been cut out to allow tall boats to get in from the ocean side. An hour or two after we had got settled in, there was a knock on the hull and there they were in their dingy with a print, people we'd never met before, but long time friends since (they has a nice American Tug 34). You need to be careful and patient setting the anchor at BH, there are a little few spots with no holding and there is a fairly strong reversing tidal current. There is a small boat / dinghy dock ashore with a nice little beach and a visitor center and shop. A further back along the ocean side is the best beach in the Keys, great beach combing and hanging out. We'd take long dinghy rides and explore up by Big Pine and No Name Key, stopping at the little marina and store on the latter, just before the bridge, getting gas, and then walking over to the greatness of No Name Pub, which is actually on Big Pine, not No Name. Great pizza, cold beer and prototypical Keys atmosphere.

We also anchored out a couple of times in various spots in Newfound Harbor. Going in, you pass by swanky Little Palm Island, you can treat yourself and $plurge on dockage there if you like and great meals, or dinghy over but definitely call ahead.

Have fun!
__________________
George

"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and what some guy says he's gotten away with"
caltexflanc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2014, 10:45 PM   #19
Guru
 
Capt.Bill11's Avatar
 
City: Sarasota/Ft. Lauderdale
Country: USA
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 5,422
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F View Post

We're looking to celebrate New Years in Key West. If anyone has any recommendations on good place (restaurant or special event), please let me know.
Louie's Backyard, Blue Heaven, Pepe's
Capt.Bill11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2014, 09:16 AM   #20
Senior Member
 
Keysdisease's Avatar
 
City: South Florida
Country: USA
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 461
As far as actual routing, I consider the ICW through Biscayne Bay to Channel 5 just South of Islamorada and then crossing over to Hawks Channel for the remainder to be the best route. It is direct and scenic and offers protected water and plenty of anchorages as well as plenty of interesting stop overs.

A note: When in the ICW in the Upper Keys the water to the North is Everglades National Park. This doesn't really effect travel but be advised if you wander to starboard you're in the Park and there are additional rules.

As mentioned No Name, Boca Chita and Elliot Key are all good first anchorages in the Bay. In the Upper Keys, again as mentioned, Pumpkin and Tarpon Basin make great anchorages. In Blackwater Sound you can anchor off the Caribbean Club (where the movie Key Largo was filmed) and dingy into Sundowners for dinner Key Largo Restaurant offering waterside in the Florida Keys: Sundowners

Buttonwood Bay between marker 54 and 55 is a good anchorage (as long as the wind stays East) and is near "downtown" Key Largo. Snooks has good food and is an easy dingy ride Key Largo Restaurant, Key Largo Weddings, Key Largo outside Dining, Wedding Reception, Snooks Bayside Restaurant and many stores are close by.

Near Snooks the Upper Keys Sailing Club welcomes transients and has the best sunsets in the Upper Keys. Dockmasters Guy and Sally monitor 72 or e-mail or call: HOME | Upper Keys Sailing Club They can accommodate your draft at least on the end dock.

As mentioned Plantation Yacht Harbor, now Founders park is an excellent marina with many features. Islamorada, Village of Islands Florida

Next, as previously mentioned in Barley Basin is the Lorelei as well as Bass Pro Lorelei Cabana Bar And Restaurant - Islamorada Florida Keys - Join us at the Lorelei Cabana Bar and Marina for Breathtaking views of our world famous Sunsets and Live Music 7 nights a Week Lorelei is highly recommended for a sunset dinner.

A little further South (West) is Indian Key State park which includes Lignum Vitae Key. A great day trip to Indian Key that has a very checkered history Welcome to Florida State Parks and very close by a favorite tourist stop is Robbies Marina where for a couple of bucks you get a bucket of pinfish and get to hand feed 100lb wild tarpon Robbie's in Islamorada, Florida Keys: Fishing, boat rentals Very touristy but worth the stop, just don't lose any fingers.

South (West) of here you cross over to Hawks Channel for the trip to Marathon. Enter between Knights and Boot Key in the well marked channel from the west end near the 7 mile bridge for several marina options.

As previously mentioned Bahia Honda State Park is a good anchorage with one of the few white sandy beaches in the Keys. Interesting geography that there are few "traditional" white sand "Florida type" beaches in the Keys, people kind of expect them, there are a few but not many.

A very nice anchorage further west is Newfound Harbor. As you enter to starboard will be the very exclusive Little Palm Island Resort Florida Keys Resorts | Florida Keys Hotels | Little Palm Island Resort where long ago PT109 was filmed. If you enjoy snorkeling Looe Key is a very nice dive straight offshore Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary | Big Pine Key & Lower Florida Keys

From there its a short hop to Key Weird where I lived for quite some time, not sure how long. I am told I had a very good time and I'm sure you will too.
__________________

Keysdisease is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:49 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012