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Old 10-05-2011, 09:59   #1
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Wink Cruising in the Keys - HC or ICW ?

Hi all:

We are new to cruisers forum and are planning to do our first ten day cruise from Hillsboro Beach to the Keys on our 30 foot sailboat with a 4'9 draft. We are excited as we do all the planning etc, lots to do but have some questions about whether we can really do the ICW all the way to Channel Five with our draft. We are thinking of doing that way down and then doing HC on way back depending on weather. We plan to leave around May20 to 21st. What do you all think is it better to just do HC and go out angelfish creek after anchoring in Pumpkin Key or can we keep going down ICW with our draft? The marinas like Marina Del Mar and Pennekamp, Holiday Isle and Hawk's Cay look great but all on HC and worried about the currents and all with a 30 foot. Thanks in advance for all your input and experience
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:48   #2
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Re: Cruising in the Keys-HC or ICW?

The ICW is work while in good weather HC is a delight. No currents, clear water, lovely snorkeling.

Sailing out of Coconut Grove I have done HC a dozen times on my 31 ft Tri and to avoid mosquitoes we used to spend the night on the snorkeling and diving mooring balls on the outer reef.

However, HC can be uncomfortable in bad weather. Fastest way back to Hillsboro is to go outside the reef in 200ft of water, you get a 1 knot lift from the current.

Enjoy
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:48   #3
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Re: Cruising in the Keys-HC or ICW?

I often do the ICW through the Keys with a similiar draft. It is marginal in a few spots especially near Tavernier. If you play the tide it is no problem. Agree with the previous post that with laid down weather Hawk Channel is less tense.
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Old 10-05-2011, 13:54   #4
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Re: Cruising in the Keys - HC or ICW ?

Thank you for replying. these responses so far are a big help. Is Angelfish creek ok then to use if we decide then to do HC? I know we can do Biscayne Channel but since we would anchor in Pumpkin Key I guess Angelfish Creek would be better as only one mile north of there?
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Old 10-05-2011, 15:56   #5
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Re: Cruising in the Keys - HC or ICW ?

Yes, Angelfish Creek is well marked and deep enough. By the way don't get too hung up on Pumpkin Key. Unless we get a strong late cold front or some other unusual weather you can anchor almost anywhere along Elliot Key or Key Largo in the prevailing light southeasterly breeze. As noted above you may actually want to anchor more to the middle of the bay as mosquitos are usually more a problem than wind or chop. Watch out for the crocodiles too.
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Old 10-05-2011, 18:45   #6
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pirate Re: Cruising in the Keys - HC or ICW ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
Yes, Angelfish Creek is well marked and deep enough. ..you can anchor almost anywhere along Elliot Key or Key Largo in the prevailing light southeasterly breeze. As noted above you may actually want to anchor more to the middle of the bay as mosquitos are usually more a problem than wind or chop. Watch out for the crocodiles too.
2nd that. And Angelfish creek was just gorgeous in the 70-80s. Hope it still is.

Crocs: Mr Gordon Sinclair of the Coconut Grove Sailing Club told me circa 1975 he saw a saltwater croc in Biscayne Bay just south of the club. While Gordon was a good sailer, he was a sailer who drank beer. Still, I think he knows what he saw.

Hawks' Channel: I'd sure like to try all the new anchors down by Elliott Key. Tough grass/sand/coral. I haven't been there in awhile but that couldn't have changed. Wind would pick up (and it always did) and let the dragging begin.

Your timing is good. You'll want to get back home and HC is faster.

And welcome to the forum.
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Old 11-05-2011, 07:48   #7
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Re: Cruising in the Keys - HC or ICW ?

Thaniks for all your great comments!
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Old 11-05-2011, 08:53   #8
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Re: Cruising in the Keys - HC or ICW ?

Both HC and the ICW are interesting trips. You might want to make the decision at Angel Fish Creek. If the weather is good, go outside on the way down and inside on the way back. If the weather is bad when you get to Angel Fish, go down on the inside and hope the weather improves so you can return on the outside.
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Old 24-05-2011, 15:48   #9
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Re: Cruising in the Keys - HC or ICW ?

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Good to have you here.
kind regards,
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