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Old 01-21-2019, 02:50 PM   #21
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Steve,

I donít think 4 days is going to be enough time. Yes you can shoot over directly from Ft Meyers, and Iíve done it once before (actually in reverse) but you better make sure you have good weather. With only 4 days will you be able to wait on a good weather window? Plus, I wouldnít strike out on an 11 hour open water cruise as my first one. But thatís just me.

I have found that when I have limited time for a cruise I tend to get in a rush and make stupid weather decisions.
Yeah I think I forgot to add that this is totally dependent on the weather. And honestly Iím going to need help with that.

We are leaning towards just focusing on Marco Island.
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:11 PM   #22
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Another question, are we missing out by not spending much time in the Ft Myers area?
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:21 PM   #23
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Can you anchor for the night in the gulf? Common sense tells me it would probably be a rough night and I would worry about getting run over.

Would we be missing out by passing up Marco Island? I’ve heard it’s pretty nice but that’s all I know.

The charts look confusing south of ft Myers. Does the ICW stay inside or do you have to go outside?

Thanks
I have done the Marco Island to Key West trip twice, both going to KW. There is nothing particularly charming about MI. Ft Myers Beach is a lot more fun, almost KW like IMO.

I can't see the point of anchoring in the Gulf even if you could do so. It is too deep.

The channel does continue for a bit south of MI, but it is shallow and winding and won't save you any time.

So.... I would just get up early and leave Ft Myers at maybe 4:00 AM and if you say you can make Key West in 11 hours then you will be there well before dark. From the San Carlos pass sea bouy outside of Ft Myers it is a straight shot to bouy #1 of the KW northwest channel. Follow that channel in to approach KW from the west.

There are three mooring possibilities in KW: Key West Bight which is close to the Duval street action but marina rates are about $4.00/ft/day. The marinas at Garrison Bight are a little cheaper but further from the action. The third possibility is the moorings off of Garrison Bight

But it all depends on the weather.

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Old 01-21-2019, 03:38 PM   #24
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Letís talk about the keys...

You may have already done this, but for a limited cruise time what about cruising Pine Island Sound? Thatís one of my favorite areas.
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:57 PM   #25
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With only 4 days, what happens if the weather is good so you go. Then it turns bad, how do you get home? With such a short schedule you may be tempted to leave to get home on your schedule and this usually turns out poorly.
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:03 PM   #26
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Sorry for the highjack, will try to keep it brief: Where do you go in Pine Island Sound? I live in Punta Gorda in the winter and am exploring that area with my tiny trawler. I have anchored out overnight in Boca Grande across from the Pink Elephant, Cayo Costa and Matlacha across from Berts Bar. Any others? I know about the joint at Cabbage Key but not much of an anchorage there.



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Old 01-21-2019, 04:04 PM   #27
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I’m sorry guys, I wasn’t clear. We will have 3-4 days just to get to the keys and leave it there
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:12 PM   #28
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Ok, now you tell us... That is probably dooable. I would not have any heartburn over an 11 hour run. Have you put some hours on the boat and feel that it is reliable? We bought a previous boat in Seattle. Did a couple local shakedown cruises then took off for LA. Had several runs of 30 to 40 hours underway. I had an experienced crew. We had dead calm to holy crap we are going to die times. But obviously we made it ok. Good luck with your cruise. Better than sitting on the dock.
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:57 PM   #29
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Letís talk about the keys...

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Sorry for the highjack, will try to keep it brief: Where do you go in Pine Island Sound? I live in Punta Gorda in the winter and am exploring that area with my tiny trawler. I have anchored out overnight in Boca Grande across from the Pink Elephant, Cayo Costa and Matlacha across from Berts Bar. Any others? I know about the joint at Cabbage Key but not much of an anchorage there.



David

The only other place I can mention we visited thatís not on your list is Captiva Island. Cayo Costa was our favorite spot.

Disclaimeró when I say itís one of my favorite places, Iíve only cruised through the Sound a few times and have not spent much actual time anchoring out. Always ďon the wayĒ to somewhere it seems. Each time I cruise through there tell myself I need to come back and spend a week just poking around, anchoring out, exploring. It all looks so picturesque and interesting
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Old 01-21-2019, 05:30 PM   #30
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Yes, many years ago we anchored off of Tween the Waters on Captiva. Seemed upscale and not so welcoming to us poor cruisers. But will have to give it another try, maybe further north than BTW.

Thanks, so lets turn the thread back to the OPs topic.

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Old 01-21-2019, 05:54 PM   #31
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Do you have a dinghy?

What is your cruise speed?

City of Ft Myers and FM Beach have plenty to do for a week trip.
Sure you can anchor in the Gulf for a night if its light and variable winds. That said, I would rather find an anchorage on Active Captain or find my own.
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Old 01-21-2019, 06:05 PM   #32
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Regarding spending more time in upper Keys to be closer to air transport:

MIA is a HORRIBLE airport to fly in and out of. Baggage delays, crowded, rudeness, you name it. We lived in Marathon 12 years and flew frequently. We tell everyone to fly in and out of Key West, then connect to Miami. When you do this, especially using American Airlines, you miss most of the bad stuff happening at MIA. The Key West airport is small, new, and the people there are great! Yes, its a couple hundred dollars more, but well worth it, in my opinion.
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Old 01-21-2019, 06:13 PM   #33
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Our usual path in and out of the Keys from the west coast of FL is direct to Marathon instead of KW. Southern most departure on the West coast is Marco Island. Maybe pull in for the night, fuel up, then jump to Marathon. Either leave the boat on this segment in Marathon (catch the shuttle to KW airport), or continue on from Marathon to KW.


Would have to look at charts (which are not handy at the moment) to see what the mileage diff is.
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Old 01-21-2019, 06:35 PM   #34
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First night out, Iíd get a mooring in at Sarasota. A nice place to stop to set the pace. FMB the next day?
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:51 AM   #35
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Could you provide more information? Desired cruise speed, how long a day do you want - or NM goal?
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:06 AM   #36
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steve: That's not enough time. Marco doesn't offer much IMO. Go north to Sanibel Captiva, Charlotte harbor, area. Nice easy trips and lots todo and see.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:10 AM   #37
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If you plant to leave the boat in the keys you must have a dock reserved. where is it?

If It were me I would leave the boat near a good airport so that you can easily come and go even for a few days.

Honestly there is nothing magical about the keys.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:31 AM   #38
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Hey guys. We rarely spend more than a month or two in one particular location. We fly standby so being near a commercial airport serviced by American is a must, and pretty easy in Florida.

We want to go to the keys since we are literally right there. After we are done with they keys we will continue (over time) up to Charleston. Then back down to the Bahamas. We do one to two 3-4 day trips a month. Fly down to the boat, do our thing, then fly home.

But like I said, I think we are going to hold off on the keys for now and just explore ft Myers and Naples for now. We have never seen this part of Florida and we’d hate to skip it just to get to the keys sooner rather than later.

Maybe next month we’ll go to the keys and leave it there for a bit. We cruise at 8.5 kts. We’ll probably do what most do and leave from Marco Island.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:47 AM   #39
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If you plant to leave the boat in the keys you must have a dock reserved. where is it?

If It were me I would leave the boat near a good airport so that you can easily come and go even for a few days.

Honestly there is nothing magical about the keys.
I agree: itís a nice place, but the magical boat left long ago. Duval is a tourist trap selling the same fake nostalgia for Margaritavilla that the French Quarter does for Madrid Gras. Hordes of tourists choking the sidewalks leaving a trail of cigarette butts and plastic cups and straws, dozens of nearly identical bar/restaurants serving the same fried menu, even more ďboutiquesĒ and tourist shops selling Chinese souvenirs at outrageous prices. The only magic is whatís used to turn a $35 dinner on Stock Island into an $85 dinner in Old Town, the same way a $3.50 Bud Light turns into an $8 Bud Light once you arrive on Duval.

If I want to pretend Iím in old Key West wasting away in Margaritaville, Iíll do at Hogfish on Stock Island and keep the change.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:33 AM   #40
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Re: Pine Island Sound

Been cruising in that area for about six years now. There is plenty to do and see for a 4-5 day destination.

- Captiva: Very nice little party district with live music from multiple bars. You can drink on the street, rent golf carts from YOLO, great sunset view on the outer beach at The Mucky Duck, excellent food at The Bubble Room or The Green Flash. You can anchor if you have <5' draft in front of the Tween Waters hotel, or in calm weather in front of the Green Flash. The Green Flash has a nice dock that you can tie a <40' boat up for a lunch berth, and the owner seems to be pretty laid back about leaving your tender tied up there while you walk up the street to hit the bars (I usually buy a round and an app as "payment" for the dink moorage). If you want a fancy marina experience South Seas Marina is fantastic but expensive. Moorage comes with resort access to their extensive pools, hot tubs, etc.

- Useppa Island: If you can find a member to bring you there as a guest, it's the real gem of the sound. I joined almost immediately on moving the boat to that area. Beautiful island, unique culture, most relaxing place ever. Google them and check out the website.

- Cayo Costa: Nice state park kept very clean by the park service. Good shelling. You can anchor in Pelican Bay for an overnight, take the dink to the state maintained dock, and catch the free shuttle ride for the 1 mile ride across the island to the outer beach.

- Outer Beach: If the wind is from the East the best part of Pine Island Sound is the ability to anchor a short swim off some really pretty beaches. If you leave the sound via the gap between Cayo Costa and Boca Grande you can see on the charts there's a deep gut that runs South along the beach. The "entrance" to this gut is shallow so you can't get over it if you have a deep draft (w/ 3'2" under me I have at least 4 feet under the keel when I go over). It's clearly marked on the chart. Obviously this is only to be done in calm seas and preferably with wind from the East.

Gasparilla is also nice with a cool historic lighthouse and a decent marina.

If you want any work done, get a slip in Burnt Store Marina just South of Punta Gorda. That's where I keep my boat. Good fuel dock, good bar/eats, and a the harbor master keeps a book full of service people who do work on boats in the marina.

Punta Gorda is cool too.

Stay out of Matlacha Pass if you can. Narrow, winding, shallow, easy to run aground. It's even worse South of the bridge.

Sorry ramble. Hope this helps someone out.

Dave
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