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Old 16-10-2013, 12:02   #1
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Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

Greetings All,

Long time lurker - first time posting. Currently living in Bradenton, FL and we are planning a 2 week cruise for November.

Options:

1. Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct, is this far enough offshore that we'll be able to avoid most of the crab traps? We ran into these last March in Florida Bay by surprise (and at 2 am) and it was not fun. I'd like to avoid if possible (and definitely at night)

or

2. Bradenton to Venice(or Stump Pass) to Charlotte Harbor to Marco to Key West to Dry Tortugas. Or other suggestions

Would it be better to do a straight shot one way or the other? Any experiences/tips welcome. This will be our first trip to the Dry Tortugas and Key West. We would definitely like to go to the Dry Tortugas and Key West just trying to decide if we want to do a straight shot (one or both ways) or take our time. Thank You!
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Old 16-10-2013, 12:43   #2
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

I made that trip in 1980 as a 17 year old with my parents and sister aboard our Irwin 30. We sailed directly from Bradenton to the Dry Tortugas...something like 36 hours maybe? Got some nasty weather during the night. I don't think you'll have problems with crab traps.

I would suggest sailing down directly, and then coming back up along the coast in hops, anchoring each night. There are plenty of good anchorages to choose from.

Have fun! We went in April, if I remember correctly (because of spring vacation from school).
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Old 16-10-2013, 14:36   #3
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

Hi Masco,

I dont think those crab traps will be that far off shore if your thinking of taking the direct route. We ran into these as well coming up from the 10000 islands / Naples area, its very shallow there, even miles off shore. The nice thing is there are warning towers installed that flash a yellow marker, they should be on the chart. Don't get in shore of these.

As far as stumps pass goes, I run this all of the time with a Yamaha Jetboat and it is constantly ever changing. I don't think I would attempt it with something that draws more than a few feet.

Venice would be a much better choice as you could stop at the crows nest marina or keep going south just another half mile past Crows nest on the ICW and and be in the Venice anchorage. Venice inlet is a very nice inlet to get in and out of. Then jump down to Charlotte harbor / Boca grand pass is nice and big and navigable also. Then you can snuggle up behind Cayo Costa and Punta Blanka island. I guess you could do jumps all the way down, but you would burn all your time making the hops. The map below is interactive, its a pretty good tool.

Cruiser's Net Archive Cruisersnet Marine Map

Depending on how big your crew is, will be how much fun you will have doing the over night sail, only you know how to answer this. If you guys are up to it, do it. The more watch standers the better, if your not used to overnight sails, you might be worn out the first day after arriving, and that could spoil some of your fun. Its around 24 hours from Burnt Store to the Tortugas.

Hope that helps.
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Old 16-10-2013, 14:56   #4
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Used to live in Bradenton and have done many runs to the DTs. Either route you mention works, just depends on your objectives and weather patterns at the time. Ive done straight runs to the DTs from Pensacola, Tarpon Springs, Tampa Bay and Ft. Myers....thats the easy part. Getting back can be a bitch.

Once you get S of mainland FL there tend to be prevailing Easterlies through the Keys and FL Straits. So, DTs to Keys is typically a bumpy slog to windward. Doable, but bumpy. The run back up in the lee of the coast from KW is easier providing you dont get strong Notherlies from a front. And hou have plenty of places to duck in between KW and Bradenton.

KW to DTs is much easier, but then you need to get back to Bradenton. Most of the time you are more likely to catch a good window for working your way back N than East. And, winds in the lee of the mainland.

So, you might consider a KW first, W to the DTs, and then catch a window back to the mainland and hop your way back along the coast to Bradenton.

You can leave the boat somewhere along the way if you run out of time. I used to do this and then just hop a bus back down later.
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Old 16-10-2013, 15:11   #5
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

Hope the idiots in Congress will do their jobs and get the government running again soon. But until then do remember that Ft Jefferson in the DT park is closed. I understand that you can't even anchor in the park.
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Old 16-10-2013, 15:26   #6
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Hope the idiots in Congress will do their jobs and get the government running again soon. But until then do remember that Ft Jefferson in the DT park is closed. I understand that you can't even anchor in the park.
No anchoring in the DTs!

As if we needed another reason to throw the self serving bums out.
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Old 17-10-2013, 05:24   #7
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And, be aware that there can be a lot of trawler traffic at night off the SW coast of FL. For example, on the rhumb line between Ft Myers and the N entrance to the DTs.
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Old 17-10-2013, 07:53   #8
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Belizesailor nailed it. Not fun going from dt to kW, but fine the other way. The straight jump is the way. As said, the more crew the easier the watches.

Also of note - it is possible to buy supplies from the daily ferry such as ice, water, lunch, sunblock, COCKTAILS. You can also shower on the ferry.
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Old 17-10-2013, 08:29   #9
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by F51 View Post
Hope the idiots in Congress will do their jobs and get the government running again soon. But until then do remember that Ft Jefferson in the DT park is closed. I understand that you can't even anchor in the park.
Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
No anchoring in the DTs!

As if we needed another reason to throw the self serving bums out.
A mute point now, but they did allow anchoring in the park during the shutdown.
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Old 17-10-2013, 10:14   #10
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

Hi All,

Thanks for the feedback so far. Just two of us for crew and we have done overnight sails in the past (OK, only 2) and it was OK with one person on watch and the other getting some sleep. We have never however been as far offshore as the Tortugas and we are mindful of weather etc.

Still tossing around ideas on the best route (weather permitting). The Marqueasas are an interesting stop as well.

We have been to Stump Pass recently (and it WAS dicey going in, not really enthusiastic about trying it again). We were close to a high tide and I think a bit lucky. As the water was completely churned up you couldn't visually determine depths and the temporary markers out had us scratching our heads...Are we really supposed to go THERE? Although it was lovely once we were there.

Venice anchorage is not very good from what I've heard? I wouldn't mind staying at the Crow's Nest but the $70+ for a transient slip isn't really interesting.

Our boat has 4'3" draft.
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Old 17-10-2013, 11:31   #11
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If I remember right, the DTs are about 70 miles from KW. They are also more or less laying on an arc drawn with center of the radius on about any West Coast of Florida departure point from St Pete to Naples which means that From say Venice the DTs are just about the same distance as Key West or Marathon. We used to leave from Boca Grande Pass but that was because we liked spending a day or six hanging out around Cayo Costa.

We quit going to the DTs years ago, too many rules and regulations same for the Keys. Just pass through on your way to the Bahamas
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Old 17-10-2013, 19:01   #12
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

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Originally Posted by Capt RonB View Post
If I remember right, the DTs are about 70 miles from KW. They are also more or less laying on an arc drawn with center of the radius on about any West Coast of Florida departure point from St Pete to Naples which means that From say Venice the DTs are just about the same distance as Key West or Marathon. We used to leave from Boca Grande Pass but that was because we liked spending a day or six hanging out around Cayo Costa.

We quit going to the DTs years ago, too many rules and regulations same for the Keys. Just pass through on your way to the Bahamas
Not quite. DT is ~148nm from Venice, ~120nm from Ft. Myers, ~98nm from Marco Island, ~70nm from Key West.
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Old 17-10-2013, 19:08   #13
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Another good option is to make the jump from boca grande. It's about 24 hrs straight through. What's your timeframe?
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Old 18-10-2013, 07:00   #14
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Not quite. DT is ~148nm from Venice, ~120nm from Ft. Myers, ~98nm from Marco Island, ~70nm from Key West.
Sorry I mis stated what I meant to communicate.

If you depart from Venice, the DTs, KW or Marathon are all about the same distance 150-160nm.

If you depart from Boca Grande the DTs, KW or Marathon are all about 130nm

If you depart from Cape Romano the DTs, KW, or Marathon are all about 80 nm give or take.

There's no point in going to the DTs via KW since it adds 70nm to the trip unless you have an urge to do the Duval crawl or see Fantasy Fest
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Old 18-10-2013, 08:02   #15
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Re: Bradenton, FL to Dry Tortugas direct or ?

Current thought is we may just go directly from Bradenton to Dry Tortugas. If we left Bradenton at the crack of dawn (or before) and sail overnight that should get us there in the daylight the following day.

While originally thinking Key West was interesting I'm thinking this less likely to be the case. Been to Key West before (not by sailboat)and it doesn't look like there are good anchorages etc. and there is nothing specifically I want to do.

From Dry Tortugas not sure where to go. Would like to go to Marquesas, Little Shark River and never been to Marco so maybe head that way and back up.

Of course that's a lot of places (DT, Marquesas, Shark River) with no provisions so will need to plan carefully
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