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Old 21-06-2008, 01:44   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Dunedin, Florida
Boat: PEARSON 422
Posts: 113
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Marco Island and marathon - Cruiser friendly!

We just completed a 6 week dive cruise to the keys and I have so much info to pass along I don't know where to begin. I guess I will start by trying to improve the bad reputation that a few cities have garnered in the past few years.

Marco Island - stamped as cruiser unfriendly due to the court battle over anchoring rights started when a sherrif marine unit cited a local for anchoring to long in one place. However, we found Marco Island to be very plesant and cruiser friendly. We stayed for 5 days waiting for a window of opportunity to cross Floriday Bay in good weather. We anchored in Factory Bay and used the dingy dock at the Marco River Marina. The sheriff did drive by every morning and afternoon but did not give us a second glance. Also, from the Marco Rive marina it is a short walk (5min) on Bald Eagle Drive to Collier Blvd where there is anything a cruiser could want. Publix, Walgreens, west marine, ice cream shops, restaurants, car rental, a night club(etc). Marco Island is very scenic and I recommend a dingy excursion to Coconut island for a "day at the beach."

Boot Key Harbor - Stamped as cruiser unfriendly when they put in a mooring field and put the city in charge of managing the mooring field with strick rules. I heard/read stories of marine enforcement boarding boats in the middle of the night to hassle cruisers and boats being "kicked-out" of the harbor because they were unkempt. However, we found Boot Key Harbor and Marathon City Marina to be very cruiser friendly and the mooring worth every penny. They actually went above and beyond the call of duty to accomodate us with a couple special requests.
I have been making trips to the keys for over 20 years and now that there is a moring field managed by the city the harbor water is significantly cleaner. The people who complained, i feel, probably were the ones pooping in the water and discharging oily bilge sludge. Now, if only we could find a way to bring the reefs back to life.
Within walking distance, of the dingy dock, there is a west marine and free wifi at the local library. We also found out there is a bus to Key West that is only a dollar. We really had a blast in Marathon and felt welcome. It is a shame that the area is depressed and many businesses are closed or closing.
"be careful out there boss and stay on the trail. ther'se geurillas in them woods."
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