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Old 12-21-2014, 10:20 AM   #1
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Favorite FL Keys anchorages

Just arrived Key West. Looking for suggestions on favorite Keys anchorages we can explore over the coming winter. Our ideal anchorage has good holding, good all 'round protection from wind and waves, and nearby places ashore to land the dink. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences and suggestions.
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Old 12-21-2014, 12:49 PM   #2
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I've anchored many times around what I think is called christmas or tank island to the NW of downtown, and dinked into town. Bottom holding is iffy. There is sand and eel snot for a bottom, and underneath is flat cap rock. Anchor sets, and seems to hold ok, but that depends on the layer you have above the cap rock. Unless anchor finds a hole to grab in the rock, it will drag.

I was fortunate when a front came through with some 30-40kt winds, I was splurging with a slip at A and B docks. The VHF was going nuts all night with boats dragging hooks, bumping into each other and ending up on the shoals.

So just be careful and make sure you are on the boat if the winds come up.

There are some pay-for moorings available, which I never used, but presumably are more drag resistant than your own hook.
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Old 12-21-2014, 02:12 PM   #3
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If you want to anchor near Key West proper, the anchorages are all rolly and difficult to get a good anchor set. I have anchored on both sides of Wisteria Island trying to get out of the swell with no real success. The SW corner of Flemming Key only has room for a few boats but is protected from the prevalent NE wind.

The moorings to the east of Flemming Key are your best bet for holding but may be rolly also.

Dinghy access is either by daily fee at one of the marinas in Key West Bight or comes with your mooring fee at Garrison Bight. The latter is a good walk from the Duval Street action, Mallory Square or the cruisers bars at Key West Bight.

In addition to the normal tourist stuff, the Green Parrot Bar a block or so south of Duval has some great jazz groups and a Jam session Sunday afternoon with no cover.

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Old 12-21-2014, 04:18 PM   #4
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Boca Chica Bay has good holding and protection, but is the "boonies" first island out of town, Stock Island, in the old days known as Shock or Rock Island.

Next good anchorage North is Newfound Harbor. I noted some of my other favorites on this thread:

Ft Lauderdale to Key West

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Old 12-22-2014, 08:33 AM   #5
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Thanks to all for your help. Good points all. I'm discovering, contrary to popular notions and to my dismay, there's a dearth of good anchorages in the FL Keys.
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Old 12-22-2014, 09:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Thanks to all for your help. Good points all. I'm discovering, contrary to popular notions and to my dismay, there's a dearth of good anchorages in the FL Keys.
I kinda of agree with that. There are some good cruising guides that may be helpful. In KW, we've always just ponied up and got a slip. Expensive but we budget for that. Winter anchoring around KW can be a challenge due to winds and poor holding as Ski mentioned, might just be worth the expensive of a slip, for peace of mind.
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Old 12-22-2014, 10:21 AM   #7
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I'm discovering, contrary to popular notions and to my dismay, there's a dearth of good anchorages in the FL Keys.
In Key West there are few choices for a non local, and your satement has more truth for the lower 30 miles of the island chain than the upper 80.

Captain Papy's Cruising guide is my favorite,

Cruising Guide Florida Keys, Bahamas Cruising Guide, Frank Papy

and once you get above Newfound Harbor just below the 7 mile bridge there are a great many anchorages on the Bay Side of the chain. (Little Palm Island at the entrance to Newfound Harbor is where they filmed PT109)

Above Channel 5 at Lower Matecumbe just about anywhere on the Bayside is a good anchorage with some outstanding choices that are convenient to shopping and dining and outstanding sunsets.

The choices are fewer on the Hawks Channel side, but there are several like behind Tavernier and Rodriguez Keys.

In the summer when things are calm we overnight on the reef, sometimes for days when things are calm as the reef provides good protection from the prevailing E-SE winds.

For those not willing to venture into the Bay, there are much fewer choices but above the 7 mile bridge the ICW is bayside and well marked with plenty of draft.

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Old 12-22-2014, 05:09 PM   #8
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Good thoughts. Any particular favorite spots on the bayside above Channel 5?
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Old 01-07-2015, 04:25 PM   #9
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Lower matecumbe key in matecumbe bight, protected from ne to sw winds .Get behind the bank. At long key channel 5 there is long key bight. Tarpon basin at marker 50 -48A just off the ICW. In Barnes sound any where just remember the bugs come out BEFORE dark.
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