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Old 18-10-2013, 08:02   #16
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

Sounds like you have come up with a good plan. A straight run there, though I think noon to mid afternoon the next day depending on conditions and average speed, will probably ( maybee ) be a more conservative time frame.

If your planning on Shark river, you will be running into a lot of crab pots, and have accurate tide tables, that whole 10000 island area is very shallow and lots of blood sucking insects...LOTS!

Good luck and update us after the trip!

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Old 01-11-2013, 07:51   #17
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

I've done the trip from various points on the west coast of Fl. 8 or 10 times I think now. Your departure date means that you WILL have one, two or three cold fronts pass through during your cruise. They really rip through the anchorage in the Tortugas and 60 knots there is not unheard of. In addition the holding is notoriously poor. It's crunchy, course shell and sand in a thin layer over limestone. Having said that, if you ground tackle is oversized and you don't try to return during a frontal passage you'll have a great time.

With only two weeks, I suspect that hopping down the coast may have you run out of time as you wait out the fronts. You don't want to be in the Tortugas and have to leave because of your schedule. You have to play the weather.

I would wait to leave on the tail of a front and come back in the calm between fronts. At the last of the calm, the wind turns southerly and you'll be able to strike the coast at any point you have time to reach. Once in the ICW it's and easy motor against the northerly wind in the ditch.

Good luck and have fun,

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Old 01-11-2013, 08:39   #18
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

Having been there at least 15 times, I've sat in the anchorage at DT in 50kt blows watching a lot of others drag all over the place. I never moved. The key to anchoring is utilize common sense, go in with good sun overhead and drop the anchor in bright colored water. I've never found hard bottom under sand, either it's sand deep enough to swallow the whole anchor or it's grass. You can also anchor west of the swim area, I've found good holding over there also.

It's a great place, but do take caution of the weather, it's not fun for the non-diehard sailor trying to get there/home when it's blowing 25+.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:54   #19
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Holding in the DTs varies a lot depending upon your location in the Ft Jefferson anchorage. Holding is good about mid anchorage and toward the N end (I've even run up and literally dropped my anchor in the beach on a particularly stormy night when the anchorage was overcrowded). But if you get too far E you get into coral rubble.
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Old 09-11-2013, 18:24   #20
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

Shark is nice, but bring the bug spray!
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Old 10-11-2013, 18:46   #21
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

Sailed to and from DT just before the shut down. It took me six weeks to get from Boot Key to DT and back. Never sailed at night, and had the hook down by 4:30. Best advice I can give is make friends with the capt of the fast boat from Key West. You can buy ice, water, and food. The fast boat will also buy items on request from Key West.

The key to a successful trip is no time table. Another boat went to DT on the same time frame as I did but had to leave due to time constraints and ran into very bad weather and wound up calling Sea Tow. I spoke to the capt of the fast boat almost daily and on his advice returned with a West wind and 1-2 foot swells.

Anchoring is problematic. I spent most of the time West of the fort when the wind was out of the East. Moved North of the spit when the wind came out of the South. Probably the best holding is around Bird Key, but there is no protection from the wind in any direction.

On leaving (and on the way there) I stopped at the Marquesas first and spent several nights there. About 12 miles East of the Marquesas is Boca Grande (there are probably a dozen Boca Grandes in Florida) and I spent several nights there to. I really enjoyed the fishing and diving in both places and they are a lot less crowded than DT.

It bears repeating if you pick your weather window (the rangers post the NOAA weather report in the chart room at the dock daily and the fast boat captain is also a good source) this is an easy trip. If you have a time table and leave at the wrong time you may run into real trouble.
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Old 24-11-2013, 16:15   #22
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

let us know what you did and how it went,
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:40   #23
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

To the OP: How did it go? We are considering making a run to DT at the end of this week (If, of course, the winds and waves are favorable). Any insights from your trip?

I have 8 days and will also be leaving and returning to Bradenton. Thanks!

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dry tortugas

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