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Old 06-14-2015, 10:15 AM   #1
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We went out the inlet at Sanibel and pointed a straight course for Marco Island. The 15-20mph winds and short period swell quickly made me change my course to get closer to shore. After we got within about one mile from shore things calmed and we had a decent cruise to Marco.
We anchored in Smokehouse bay and left at first light to try to beat the winds. That didn't work-- the 50 mile offshore run to Shark River was pretty uncomfortable. There is a low pressure system hanging around and the winds will not stop blowing. Maybe 4' swells on average but very short period.

We ducked into Shark River around 5pm and and anchored for the night. We had some time to dingy explore and have some sundowners before the biting flies started in on us. We closed up the boat, turned on the gen and AC, cooked dinner and had a family game of Monopoly.

Shark river anchorage
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We all thought Shark River was pretty but kind of creepy. We were the only boat there. The tide was really ripping out when we anchored but the Rocna held fine-- we never budged.

Left at first light to head for Marathon. Winds still 15 gusting to 20. In shallow water 13-15 feet so really choppy and rolly.
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I see there is a tropical depression coming in through the Yucatan peninsula so maybe that's causing all this wind?
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If this storm decides to come our way where do I go to ride it out ? I have a slip at the Key West Bight Marina starting on the 15th.
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Old 06-14-2015, 10:48 AM   #2
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Depends on a number of things. But I'd ride it out in the bight or run from it if you can.
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Old 06-14-2015, 11:29 AM   #3
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"If this storm decides to come our way where do I go to ride it out ? I have a slip at the Key West Bight Marina starting on the 15th."

Go to Marathon. Boot Key Harbor is very protected and the moorings are rated to Cat 3.
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Old 06-14-2015, 07:49 PM   #4
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Ok. Thanks.
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Old 06-14-2015, 09:51 PM   #5
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As of this morning that Yucatan storm was forecast to head NW making landfall somewhere just west of Houston. That doesn't mean it can't shake things up over the rest of the Gulf, Keep safe.
Here is an 8PM tracking map 91L: Computer Model Hurricane Forecasts | Weather Underground
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:06 AM   #6
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The run from Marathon to Key West down Hawks Channel should be an easy short hop under current conditions. Might mean some wheel work with the little rollers you'll get from your stern / aft quarter, but you should stay dry.

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Old 06-15-2015, 06:53 AM   #7
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The run from Marathon to Key West down Hawks Channel should be an easy short hop under current conditions. Might mean some wheel work with the little rollers you'll get from your stern / aft quarter, but you should stay dry.


Waves on the stern would be a welcome thing. My wife has had enough beam conditions for awhile. She told me I needed to call a weather person next time we go out in open water. 😞

If winds stay E or SE as they are forecasted today we should be OK in Hawks Channel? No rollers coming in from the side?

I don't want to risk another uncomfortable ride for her, especially since this is our maiden voyage.
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Old 06-15-2015, 08:30 AM   #8
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Question:

Do I have to go all the way out to the red line marking Hawks channel or can I stay in closer to the keys?
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:37 AM   #9
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Stay outside of the 15ft curve and you should be fine...all the reefs in deeper water than that are well marked. In about 10 ft or so you can have brain coral heads that are nearly awash at low tide. Also, stop at Looe Key and have a snorkel for a couple of hours if the weather permits. The reef there is nice.
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:48 AM   #10
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The ride should be fine in the channel proper, your course is going to be almost due West. The channel is well marked and if you want to "cheat" there is depth to do it. Steer well clear of the rocks around 56 off Boca Chica, everything else is pretty soft.
You can always duck into Bahia Honda or Newfound Harbor if you feel its too bumpy, both have good anchorages. Bahia Honda is a State Park, they may have different mooring rules, but it does have one of the best beaches in the Keys.

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Old 06-15-2015, 12:03 PM   #11
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I have a lot of hardware hanging off the bottom, so stay well in the marked channel. Coral reefs are very hard on hardware and fiberglass.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
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...She told me I needed to call a weather person next time we go out in open water...
I know a lot of cruisers that use Chris Parker for their weather forecasts/routing. He has a phone in option. The admiral's happiness is also yours.

https://www.mwxc.com/marine_weather_services.php#phone
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:30 PM   #13
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Yes. No more winging it.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:35 PM   #14
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I know a lot of cruisers that use Chris Parker for their weather forecasts/routing. He has a phone in option. The admiral's happiness is also yours.

https://www.mwxc.com/marine_weather_services.php#phone

Don, Larry

I am having a hard time finding the actual Hawk channel on my chart. There is a red dotted line closer to shore and then another red line farther off shore with some red and green markers.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:46 PM   #15
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I use and recommend: Commanders' Weather
For weather routing. But I also use weather apps and Passageweather a lot.

Also be very aware that if you run aground in the Keys you can be assessed very hefty fines for damage you do to bottom. And I don't mean a couple hundred dollars either. The fines can be in the tens of thousands of dollars and on up.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:46 PM   #16
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Hawk Channel is the waterway inshore of the barrier reef and the Key islands. It is not well defined as a manmade depth controlled channel would be. If you stay in water over 15 ft you won't have any surprises that are unmarked. You don't need to "run the markers" as you would on the ICW. Between KW and Marathon the channel will have some depths approaching 40ft but probably averages 25 feet in the center...which is a broad area. Don't sweat this one.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:50 PM   #17
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Ahhh. Got it. Thanks. I'm used to the well marked ICW routes, so the lack of markers was bothering me.
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:14 PM   #18
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If you need any ideas on things to do between KW and Marathon send me a PM. My family had a home on Cudjoe Key. We had a 20 minute run from the dock to the reefs (Looe Key was a stones throw...with a good arm...from the dock). I enjoyed spearing grouper and cooking it for supper 30-40 minutes later. Kinda cool to sprinkle on seasoning and watch the meat fasciculate from the salt.
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:50 PM   #19
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Ok. Thanks.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:29 PM   #20
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The discomfort from rolling is what could spoil it for my Admiral when we begin full time cruising. Paravanes are likely in my future if we hang out in the Islands. I really don't have the spare room or the proper hull shape for wings, and I'm not sure my boat's bones could handle the torque of a Gyro.
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