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Old 18-06-2007, 16:48   #1
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Upper Keys anchorages in August

This is (sort of) a follow up to a previous post of mine

marinas/slips in FL keys in August

We've pretty much given up on finding transient slips and have decided to buy an inflatable kayak (thanks PBzeer). We'll be leaving Miami early August (I know, it's hurricane season...) for a 4-1/2 day (4 night) trip. Can anyone suggest a good itinerary that would include reasonable places to anchor at night? We have a 5-1/2 foot draft and a 56' mast. We can go inside or out, and don't mind long days of sailing (10 hours). Preferably, we'd like to find anchorages that will allow us to row to shore for a bite after anchoring/mooring (we hate cooking at night), even if it's only some of the time.

Thanks very much for your input. Pete
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Old 18-06-2007, 22:59   #2
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I have not found a bad spot on the ICW down to Marathon. All resturant reviews have been good. I suggest that you do the ICW. There is some shoaling that is indicated on the charts (2 areas that I recall), suggest that you go through these areas during high tide. Try to avoid weekend if you can and call ahead and find out about dockage.

Very nice trip.
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Old 19-06-2007, 01:40   #3
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Upper Keys: Whale Harbor in Islamorada to Key Biscayne

Unfortunately, I donít recall my source for the following.


Arsnicker Keys - Biscayne Bay 25 - 22.631N 80 - 18.459N
Anchoring behind keys. Approach from the south, too shallow from the north. Once inside do not go too north, there is very little water the farther north you go. No land facilities nearby.

Pumpkin Key @ Angelfish Creek
Good deep water. A lot of cruisers go out to the Bahamas through Angelfish Creek. Protected on South side, depending on the wind. Easy day sail from Miami.

Near Manatee Marina in Manatee Bay.
Very shallow, you're in the wilderness here.

Largo Sound in John Pennekamp State Park.
If you going to stay overnight the rangers will make you take a mooring. This is a very protected anchorage. The entrance is from the south. There are all kinds of facilities nearby. Mangroves all around.

Blackwater Sound.
Accessible from the ICW. Plenty of water, shoreside facilities abound as you are right in the middle of downtown Key Largo. Only protected from the west.

Key Largo Near Pt. Charles 25 - 04.850 80 - 26.918
Marinas all around. Plenty of water, but its tight. Not more than a few boats. Extremely well protected.

Behind Rodriguez Key
Terrible in unsettled weather. Holding ground stinks. Be very careful, not recommended.

Snake Creek Bridge 24- 57.281 80 -35.278
Nice anchorage if you are coming from inside, on Bay side of Snake Creek.
Community Harbor in Tavernier

Behind Tavernier Key
It's tricky but awful. Not recommended.

Whale Harbor
Steer clear of anchoring in Whale Harbor if at all possible. Many people hanging out & having parties on the famous sandbar, lots of boats coming from Holiday Isle. Add to that the Keys famously bad holding ground and it can spell disaster.

Matacumbe Bight
Populated area, recommended. Plenty of water 4 to 7 feet.

Channel 5 - South side of bridge.
There is plenty of water right by the bridge Channel 5. Follow the channel on the south side. On the north side no place is good, very shallow.

Tom's Harbor @ Duck Key
Ocean side. Current strong in Tom's Harbor Channel. Stick to the channel. Shallow draft vessels only, 4 to 5 feet.

North side of Vaca Key
Plenty of water, good marinas but bad holding. In settled weather, ok.

Boot Key Harbor - Entrance from Ocean side
Big boats have been anchoring on West side of Boot Key, which is protected from the east only. Access to all kinds of good facilities.

Boot Key Harbor Anchorage
8 feet max. depth, 65 ft. max to clear the cables. 5 feet through Sisters Creek. Good facilities, protected. Now a managed mooring field. Not charging for moorings until Sept. 2002. Contact the Marathon City Marina on the VHF for availability. Free anchoring still allowed.
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