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Old 11-12-2010, 10:43   #1
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Great Places to Live at Anchor in the Keys ?

I'm purchasing my first boat down in the keys this week - was curious as to any suggestions other have about great places to drop an anchor and relax for a couple months?

Cheers!
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:13   #2
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Islamorada, Marathon/Boot Key, Key West - try all three...
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:13   #3
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Key west Just need a decent dinghy
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:17   #4
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Consensus is there is no great anchorages in KW.
SE/NW of Wisteria Is. or west side of Fleming Key. All be uncomfortable with the wrong wind, and KW can be expensive if money is a concern.
Search and you'll find a couple of threads on the subject.
Where is the ultimate destination for you boat?
Tom
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:22   #5
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......Where is the ultimate destination for you boat?
Tom

Not sure exactly. The plan is to sail south through the islands of the Caribbean, back up and around to Central America. Then play around the Costa Rica/Nicaragua area for a bit. After that, I guess wherever the wind takes us, literally.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:36   #6
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I just don't understand all the Key West Bashing.... Any anchorage other than some lonely bight only big enough for one boat, will at times be rough. You want calm all the time? Get a slip!

To the OP: Throughout the Keys there are many beautiful places to anchor. The suitability of each to YOUR needs is the determining factor in which one is for you. If you need employment, your best bet is KW, followed by Marathon, then Largo, then Islamorada. If you are interested in provisions/repairs, again KW is 1st. Similarly if you enjoy spending time ashore; there is much more to do "in" KW than the other Keys.

KW has two City-owned Dinghy docks; one at Key West Bight, one at Garrison Bight. The later being solely for the use of the City-owned Mooring field. The one in KW Bight is open to transients for a fee (I think $80/month last I checked). There used to be a nice grocery store there at the dock, but alas has closed.

If you are planning a long stay and want a real secure mooring, there are literally TONS of old ship chain, shrimp boat anchors, and such scattered about. Many find it advantageous to shackle to such. Otherwise typically a CQR or Bruce type anchor holds best around KW, but I've sat on Danforth styles in some pretty good blows there.

The City-owned mooring field is another option, but gets pricey at (about) $250/month which includes shore side showers/toilets, Pump-out, and an exclusive dinghy dock with security fence.

In another thread on the same topic, I posted some pix locating all of the above.
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Old 11-12-2010, 14:05   #7
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How about a mooring instead of an anchor? Boot Key seems to be the most protected...
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Old 11-12-2010, 14:08   #8
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boot key was a little boring to me
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Old 11-12-2010, 14:29   #9
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Yup, Boot Key is very protected. There is a very nice shore-side facility and park there. A Home Depot is nearby as well. A couple days in Marathon won't hurt anyone... but after that you've seen it all!
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Old 11-12-2010, 15:25   #10
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I like the community in Boot Key Harbor the best. Most are passing through and have been somewhere and are going somewhere. Key West is the end of the road and many of the boats haven't moved in years. Nice folks for the most part but many can't really be called cruisers. Dave
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Old 12-12-2010, 19:15   #11
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Cool Boot Key Harbor

We loved Boot Key Harbor on Marathon. Mooring balls and great water taxi service that takes you to shore for $2.00 (Designated Driver for the bars) and delivers the morning paper too. Dinghy dock in case you want to dinghy ashore using your own dinghy. Protected harbor in case of high winds--because you can't always anchor in the Florida Bay .....great comraderie...good home base for day trips out to the smaller islands....
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Old 12-12-2010, 20:27   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janae View Post
I'm purchasing my first boat down in the keys this week - was curious as to any suggestions other have about great places to drop an anchor and relax for a couple months?
The anchorage and state park at Bahia Honda Key is worth a few days, as is the Dry Tortugas, which has a good anchorage at the fort. Get a Skipper Bob's and anchor everywhere - that will take you more than a couple of months, as well as help prepare you for your adventures ahead. There are mooring balls at some of the reefs - doesn't get any better than that.

Hopefully you are already aware that the Keys is a no discharge zone, and that the beautiful fish and coral must live in everything you put down your drains - learn about environmentally-friendly cleaning products and practices BEFORE moving onto your boat, and find out where you can pump out!

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If you are planning a long stay and want a real secure mooring, there are literally TONS of old ship chain, shrimp boat anchors, and such scattered about. Many find it advantageous to shackle to such.
If you are currently in the Keys you know it is blowing 25 - 30 kts at the moment. We got a mooring ball at Garrison Bight for the next few days to get some sleep through the current blow, but the fee doesn't do us a bit of good since it is too windy to row into the harbor to use the laundry and showers - some of that old ship chain or shrimp boat anchors would have been perfect for the occasion. Where exactly is some of this old ship chain and shrimp boat anchors you speak of???
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Old 14-12-2010, 06:23   #13
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Anchorage

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Originally Posted by Janae View Post
I'm purchasing my first boat down in the keys this week - was curious as to any suggestions other have about great places to drop an anchor and relax for a couple months?

Cheers!
THE PLACE MAY BE IN SIMILAR SOUND OFF GEIGER KEY.
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Old 14-12-2010, 06:44   #14
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The Frech side of Simpson Bay Lagoon. You can shop for everthing you need by dinghy and there is no charge for anchoring. There are many lveaboars in the Lagoon and there is a cruising community. Any kind of repair service is in the lagoon. Wether is great but a rare hurricane hits the island - last one was last year.
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Old 14-12-2010, 10:21   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShipShape View Post

If you are currently in the Keys you know it is blowing 25 - 30 kts at the moment. We got a mooring ball at Garrison Bight for the next few days to get some sleep through the current blow, but the fee doesn't do us a bit of good since it is too windy to row into the harbor to use the laundry and showers - some of that old ship chain or shrimp boat anchors would have been perfect for the occasion. Where exactly is some of this old ship chain and shrimp boat anchors you speak of???
The nearest is in the "Sea Plane Cut" due east of the mooring field, which will also put you in the lee of Sigsbee.... BUT even though the cut is 12-14 feet, the approach is 4-5 on a good tide and about 3-4 on a low.... I get my 4'9" in no problem from the west. IF you can get in it, drag a grapnel around.... you almost can't miss hooking chain. The links are about 6-8" and 10# each. It makes a very nice progressive load and can be with a short rode with no issues. The dinghy ride into Garrison from there is about as calm as you're going to find in a Norther.

Unfortunately the time to look for such things is when it is calm; not during a blow! I have an excellent mooring north of Christmas, but it is occupied at the moment by a friend. FWIW, at the mooring field it is not uncommon for a boat to break free in a blow. You may consider coming on into Garrison and taking a slip at the City Marina (305)809-3981... this blow should be mostly done by Thurs.
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