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Old 12-01-2012, 12:37   #1
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Cruising the Bayside of Upper Keys

I will be cruising the Florida Keys all of March.In the past,I have always used the oceonside for passages.I own a 43 Irwin with a draft of 5 ft(without beer!) and I am looking for suggestions for moving through the Bayside down to Snake Creek
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:50   #2
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Re: Cruising the Bayside of upper Keys

Stick to the marked channel and you’re fine... that said there’s a lot of side trips if you want to risk it in the unmarked swash channels. They’re easy to navigate in daylight as the water is clear.
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Old 12-01-2012, 13:12   #3
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Re: Cruising the Bayside of upper Keys

Five foot is about the limit for SOME spots along the Bayside. You should try and do the passage at a high tide as much as possible. Why the choice to use Bayside? Chuck
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Old 12-01-2012, 13:14   #4
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Re: Cruising the Bayside of upper Keys

I would like to recommend cruisersnet.net. It has great info on the keys; anchorages, marinas, news, lots of stuff on the keys and all the ICW too.

One of their featured writers, Charmaine Smith Ladd sails on and off the beaten path in the Keys, and she draws 5'6" !! I believe she recommends a chartplotter

It is absolutely lovely, just watch out for the crab pots.
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Old 12-01-2012, 13:44   #5
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Re: Cruising the Bayside of Upper Keys

To see new sights and possibly calmer anchorages
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Old 12-01-2012, 14:25   #6
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Re: Cruising the Bayside of Upper Keys

We were cruising the bayside for Christmas week (as in, 3 wk ago), and we saw some 4.5' readings IN THE CHANNEL, so there is some silting. I do draw that, though, and never did bump, so maybe it was critters/growth on the bottom.

And yes, the crab traps are insane, not set in transects, and right damn IN the channel. Someone oughta call DMR ;-)

Love the inside. More to see. Calm empty anchorages. Even got a green flash sunset!

edit: the shallow bits were west of Snake Creek IIRC. You should be ok
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Old 12-01-2012, 17:27   #7
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Re: Cruising the Bayside of Upper Keys

I just looked at the chart and decided to pretty much stay on the outside and I can move along in 3.5 feet. Skeered I guess? Everything looked so narrow.

Would like to know how it works out as we will probably be back down there for April.
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Old 12-01-2012, 18:16   #8
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Re: Cruising the Bayside of Upper Keys

Stay inside the channel. I've be aground a few times up in there. The scenery is pretty nice and if you have a dinghy and the time, a side trip up is pretty cool.

I've been told, (but never have seen any) there are a lot of Bull Sharks in there.
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Old 12-01-2012, 18:29   #9
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Re: Cruising the Bayside of Upper Keys

We love the bayside of the Keys. You can anchor almost anywhere and always find a spot out of the chop. We came through the bayside about 2 weeks ago and couldn't believe the crab pots. That's the least amount of pots we've seen on the bayside in 20 years! Good for the recreational boater bad for the commercial fisherman. I agree 5' would be pushing your luck especially between Snake Creek and Islamorada.
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Old 12-01-2012, 18:32   #10
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Re: Cruising the Bayside of Upper Keys

I frequent this area and recommend anchoring off the Caribbean Club in Blackwater sound,- dinghy dock there. Tarpon Basin is better wind protected if needed. In Buttonwood Sound you can carry your draft into the deeper side of Sunset Cove and anchor off Snooks (I don't know if they have reopened after fire damage in 2009 or '10). The 4.5' spot mentioned above is a concern, but you can work with the tide; however, the Bayside tide is fickle wind influenced and not perdictable when the wind is blowing water in or out of the bay.
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Old 12-01-2012, 18:54   #11
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Re: Cruising the Bayside of Upper Keys

I draw 4’6” and went through in July... the only time I bought real estate was when I was somewhere I really didn’t belong anyhow... FWIW, the bayside is some of the prettiest cruising you can get in the CONUS.
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