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Old 11-02-2011, 08:59   #1
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Marathon, FL vs Stock Island / Key West

We're currently staying on a mooring ball in Marathon FL. We just took the bus to Key West and found that we like that city much more than the town of Marathon. There is a city marina there that has mooring balls for $300 per month, just like here in Marathon.

Does anyone have any opinions or experience with the Stock Island Key West mooring field to compare to the one at Marathon?

We sure do sleep well here in Marathon at night. The mooring field is quiet and calm. There is a definite value to regular good nights sleep! I wonder if the mooring field at stock island is as calm or if it is plagued by big wakes and such.

It would seem that Stock island would be a much better place to be for easy access to Key West, musical events, and performances, etc...

Capt'n K
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:05   #2
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Much rougher in Key West harbor! The wind howls right through there, and there are tons of wakes. In terms of shelter Marathon is far superior.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:26   #3
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of course the mooring field in marathon is better all around but you are still stuck in marathon. The mooring field in kw can get rough and this time of year the dinghy ride to dock can be a little wet but you are in KW with unlimited things to do go for it
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:02   #4
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The hamburgers are better in Marathon...
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:15   #5
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We also prefer Key West to Marathon for things to do and see. It's a great walking town. The local bus system is extensive, easy and affordable too.

From our experience the "sociability" factor with other cruisers is MUCH higher in Marathon. It is almost nonexistent in Key West. But given the difference facilities between the two, that's understandable. (Nothing available in the way of boaters lounge or anything else at Garrison Bight, and don't forget to check out the prison motif for the heads/showers)

When the wind cranks around to the north in Garrison Bight it will indeed get rough, other directions are not so bad. When the fronts are rolling though one after another you can plan on staying on the boat about one day in four, or having a really wet ride to the dinghy dock. This year seems to be much better than last year, weather wise.

Depending on your location in the mooring field it can also be a long ride into dinghy dock. If you are planning to be there for awhile, and find yourself stuck on the north end, you will have opportunities to move closer in as other boats check out.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:27   #6
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I like the mooring field in Key West, and so I don't have to type it all again, here is the link.

Key West, ahhhh… | Southern Crosses

Pay attention to the short pennants...
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:43   #7
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key west anchoring / mooring vs. marathon

Thanks for all the replies!!!!!
So it now seems to me that these are the options for staying near key west:
1) anchoring west of fleming key
2) mooring east of fleming key
3) anchoring east of stock island

Here is a link to a map I made of the three spots:
Key west anchorages - Google Maps


It seems strange to me that the mooring balls are east of fleming key. That leaves you completely exposed to the north and east, which are the terrible wind directions this time of year. A few people have recommended anchoring to the west of fleming key to get protection from the nasty north and east stuff. That makes sense to me. But when it turns south and west, you are exposed again.

For those reasons it seems like it may make more sense to anchor east of tock island, as that anchorage is protected from most all directions. Not so convenient to downtown though, and we'd have to take a bus or have a long bike ride to get to the downtown area.

Anyone have any advice on stock island versus anchoring or mooring off of fleming key?

It sure is nice to have the cameraderie and community of sailors here in Marathon, but the town is quite bland compared to key west.

Capt'n K
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:53   #8
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Your getting some pretty accurate advice above.

I would recommend staying in Marathon and taking the convenient 3 dollar bus when you want to see Key West, besides it's a pretty ride.

Marathon has taken a great attitude towards its cruisers and the atmosphere amongst all is much more positive than KW.

I had to correct many typos just now as I am in the KW mooring field, it's blowing only 18-20 but the water from the open is rough.
Many forget about the long dinghy ride into the swells, you get good and wet.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:36   #9
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When anchoring anywhere near Key West, remember....

So is everyone and everything else... That is why we prefer the ball.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:52   #10
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If you search the forum, there are several threads where I opined about KW vs Marathon. If you are cruiser/boat-centric, stay in Marathon.... for EVERYTHING else, go to Key West
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:03   #11
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i heaerd KW was significantly more expensive... I also heard marathon was more cruiser/liveaboard friendly.. Marathon is supposed to be better for community relations, ie other boaters watch out for you and all that... where as KW has a little more problems...

I have no idea how far away they are from each other, but for $3 each way, I would take the bus... but then again, i am not into 'doing things', bars, restaraunts, etc...


I hope to be in Marathon this time next year...
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:23   #12
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Anchoring west of Fleming Island would be an option, and certainly lots of boats do just that, but remember there is a healthy current running through there, plus it gets it's share of wind as well. As endoftheroad, and others, can probably attest to, if you want free entertainment just tune the VHF to 16 when the wind picks up in KW. From the west side of Fleming the calls will start coming...boats dragging, dinghies on the loose and even people in the water. Last year in one blow we listened as the the Coast Guard received calls of three boats dragging - one without an engine, and six dinghies gone on walk-about, one with a guy in the water talking on his hand held telling the CG not to worry - "he was drifting right towards them and they could pull him out when he got there"! As usual, even when you are anchored securely, many others are not, and they are the ones that will get you.

I've never anchored by Stock Island so can't speak to that. Via bus or bike you shouldn't have a problem getting around town from there, and you should be a little closer to the Publix which, I think, is the exchange point from the Marathon bus to the local bus. (?)
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Old 12-02-2011, 15:10   #13
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Check out Robbies Marine on Stock Island, it's a boatyard with some slips, very reasonable, and you can get work done on the boat. Stock Island is a hoot.
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Old 12-02-2011, 15:55   #14
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Is Robbie's Marine the first yard to Port as you enter Safe Harbor?
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Old 12-02-2011, 16:18   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weehappy View Post
3) anchoring east of stock island

Capt'n K
s.v. Wee Happy
Hi Capt'n K, Personal peeve of mine, but I would stay away from your Stock Island pick due to the fact it's within spitting distance of a Naval Air Station. I don't know how bad NASKW is, but having lived in and around several bases, screaming military jets landing and taking off at any time of the day or night can be very distressing.

-Brent
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