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Old 09-12-2017, 11:38   #1
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Advice for travel from Ft. Meyers- Key West

Hi-

We are embarking on our first long distance trek from the West Coast of Florida to the Keys for Christmas. We draw 6 feet and want to hop along the west coast to the Keys. Seeking recommendations for navigating from Marco Island to Key West. Should we plan on overnight sailing directly to Key West, or can we stop in Shark River and travel to Marathon or any other stops along the way? Are there any safe weather hiding holes along there, or should we wait until we have a clear window directly to Key West? Any recommendations appreciated. Thank you in advance.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:20   #2
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Re: Advice for travel from Ft. Meyers- Key West

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Originally Posted by waterhappy View Post
Hi-

We are embarking on our first long distance trek from the West Coast of Florida to the Keys for Christmas. We draw 6 feet and want to hop along the west coast to the Keys. Seeking recommendations for navigating from Marco Island to Key West. Should we plan on overnight sailing directly to Key West, or can we stop in Shark River and travel to Marathon or any other stops along the way? Are there any safe weather hiding holes along there, or should we wait until we have a clear window directly to Key West? Any recommendations appreciated. Thank you in advance.
You can dodge in from the gulf at Big Spanish Channel just east of Big Pine Key and anchor safely Then continue to Key West in the Gulf
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Old 10-12-2017, 05:49   #3
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Re: Advice for travel from Ft. Meyers- Key West

We've made the trip you describe, albeit originating in Manatee, several times and given our prior experience I'd go direct from Marco the Key West. The trip's only about 90 miles so 18 hours or so is a safe assumption for timing. The side trip to the Little Shark River merely adds a lot of miles and time going out of the way. Time your departure for your desired arrival time in KW depending upon where you'll be staying. (We stay at the Galleon Marina which is easy in/out and close to most everything yet far enough away from the waterfront bars/dives that there's less noise in the wee hours when sensible folks want to be sleeping.) Wherever, normally, one wants to arrive while the Marina staff are still in attendance so we try to get in by no later than 4:00 pm. A later afternoon arrival also seems to make a passage down the northwest channel into KW somewhat easier. From Marco, that would mean a departure around 10:00 the night before. The route is quite straight forward and at this time of year one is not likely to encounter the squalls that come off the Everglades during the warmer months, making the passage easier. Night travel also, generally, spares one most of the "fast mover" traffic, which can be a pain in the neck, although one does have to watch for the shrimpers and commercial fishing boats although they're normally fairly well illuminated and relatively easy to spot. (Just stay out of their way.) If you time your travel for a period when there's a good moon, the Gulf sea is quite lovely at night with iridescence in you wake as you pass.

From KW you can mosey up to Marathon at your leisure and then traverse Florida Bay on your return trip with, then, a stop at the Little Shark River if that's your fancy as the timing will be convenient.

FWIW...
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Old 10-12-2017, 19:32   #4
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Re: Advice for travel from Ft. Meyers- Key West

With 6 ft draft you will have problems in the route 5 channel on bayside. By the dogleg cut near arsenic bank unless it's high tide
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