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Old 25-12-2011, 12:36   #1
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Keys Info

I am planning a trip to Key West in Jan, leaving from Ft Lauderdale. Any suggestions on some good stop over points, routes, snorkeling?
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Old 25-12-2011, 13:53   #2
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Re: Keys Info

Hey there. I have spent a lot of time in this cruising ground and would be happy to give you some tips. First of all, try to get away from Lauderdale at such a time that you can make it to the lighthouse at the south end of key biscayne before sunset. There is an awesome little hidey hole with a restaurant there in Bill Baggs state park. It is a great place to hang in the morning and then you can you can spend a day snorkeling in the various cuts just to the south near stiltsville and work your way into a nice anchorage in the lee of Elliot or Sand Key. The next day, if you line up the entrance (seaside marker) to Angelfish Creek and the tower on Ajax reef and run towards Ajax, you will run up on some awesome big coral formations that are like 4' at the top and 15' at the bottom. These are some of your best diving opportunities of the whole trip. That night you can anchor near Rodriguez key. Cruise on down Hawk channel and cross to the bay side at the seven mile bridge near marathon. BE SURE TO LISTEN TO THE WEATHER AND CHECK FOR FRONTS! Dont get caught on the Florida Bay side when a front comes through. If you wind up on the bay side, there is a great anchorage near big pine key in the creek between no name key and big pine key (porpoise creek.) check the holding tho if there is a blow...the bottom is smooth rock. from there if you leave spanish harbor and head down Florida Bay there is just wilderness on your left until you get to the Key West channel. Just be sure you are snug and well protected if a front comes through. It will blow like stink from the northwest then shift slowly eastward until it clocks back to the southeast before the process repeats when the next front arrives.
There are some nice ledges to dive on the way from big pine to key west. not much around key west for snorkeling until you get down to sand key hopefully on your way to tortuga! good luck and have fun!
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Old 25-12-2011, 15:05   #3
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Re: Keys Info

In addition to the backcountry of the lower Keys I'd check out the Ocean side, Cudjoe Bay and Saddlebunch Harbor are great , quiet anchorages and diving on the reef in this area is great.IE American Shoals, Looe Key and Maryland Rocks. Staying at Boot Key Harbor in Marathon will show the best of the cruising population of the Keys. Enjoy, be warned the passage to Dry Tortugas should not be taken lightly. Dave
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Old 25-12-2011, 15:50   #4
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Re: Keys Info

Have a look at www.ActiveCaptain.com. It is a great resource for your intended cruising area. You must register but that's free and easy.
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Old 26-12-2011, 11:46   #5
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Re: Keys Info

Awesome information. I will definitely check this out
Thanks again for your time.
Jerold
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Old 29-12-2011, 07:56   #6
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Re: Keys Info

Dry Tortugas wasn't a bad trip when the weather was good, but on the way back there was a storm in the Atlantic. We got hit by HUUUGE rollers that looked like small mountains several minutes apart. The seas were only 3-4ft, but these big guys hit like a ton of bricks, you could see them coming from the horizon.
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Old 31-12-2011, 18:11   #7
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Re: Keys Info

I agree with Dave on Cudjoe. There are lots of ways to skin that cat. Bottom line: check your weather and stay in the lee. Same with capn billl you can get your butt kicked in a transit to/from tortuga but if you are keeping a weather eye you will be fine.
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