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Old 09-08-2014, 11:42   #1
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Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

Ahoy:
A couple of my sailing buddies and I will be charting a sailboat from Punta Gorda to Key West to Dry Tortugas. We will sailing a Beneteau 344. I have not done this before and know that there is no provisioning on the Dry Tortugas. I am wondering about how much drinking water and extra diesel we will need. The B344 holds 19 gallons of diesel.
Also, any recommendations on anchoring in Marquesas or Dry Tortugas would be helpful.
Thanks all!
Tom
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:59   #2
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

How much do you need will depend on how much that you use ! I am gonna guess that 19 gallons of fuel will last at least 35 to 45 hours of motoring . Water will depend on how many showers that ya take and how long they last . Take short cold water showers and the tank will last a long time . Do most of your bathing over the side with Joy detergent and then a one gallon fresh rinse if ya feel the need ! Twenty nines gallons of water would last my wife and I twenty days !
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:23   #3
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

When are you going? that will tell a lot about fuel consumption and or water needs. During the summer there are many days of light variable winds and it is HOT!!! A gallon a day per person for drinking is the bare minimum in summer and showers are needed more frequently. It takes a lot longer to get anywhere also. It seems its either storming and blowing like crazy or not blowing at all. In winters the winds are more constant and predictable. Ideally spring is the best time to go when the fronts are cool fronts. Winter is fun if you like fast bumpy rides and follow a front down.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:19   #4
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

You need to take as much food and water as the group will consume. The only anchoring in the Tortugas is only allowed in sandy bottom within 1 nautical mile of the Garden Key lighthouse. You are suppose to check in with the park rangers at Fort Jefferson upon your arrival since all boats in the National Park require a permit. You will also need to store your own trash. You must take out what you carry in. It probably will be best if you provision and fill up on fuel and water in Key West rather than trying to do it in Punta Gorda and use supplies getting there and back. It's a great trip and one of our favorites. Chuck
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Old 10-08-2014, 19:21   #5
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

We are going Oct. 9 through Oct. 19.
Tom
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Old 10-08-2014, 19:40   #6
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

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We are going Oct. 9 through Oct. 19.
Tom
The height of hurricane season. Keep a close eye on the long range forecast. Chuck
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Old 10-08-2014, 19:48   #7
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

I would give yourselves a week to get down there and back. If you want to hurry take the ferry, 1 day round trip.
If you anchor out in Key West you can get food via dinghy and the city bus. Get water at the dock when you get fuel.
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Old 10-08-2014, 20:29   #8
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

As for anchoring... I just spent 2 months at Key West which included a week at the Marquesas. I anchored on the West, south and east sides. The depths werent as shown on my somewhat outdated chartplotter. The bottom varied but theres a lot of hard bottom so back down on the anchor to see if you get a set.

I anchored on the southeast end of wisteria when I was at Key west. Here too is a lot of hard bottom covered by a layer of sand. I used two oversized anchors put out 180deg from each other and they held well through several storms. A big cabin cruiser dropped one anchor next to me and ended up in trouble dragging up on tank Island during one of the storms. This is about as close as you can get to the dinghy dock. Its .4 mi. The other close spots to the northeast have deeper water and are kinda crowded. Tha downside of the se spot is you have a constant barrage of boats flying by leaving wakes and you spend a lot of time rocking and pitching. the fury boats seem to come by in an endless stream all day. The dinghy dock is $26 a week or $80 a month. There is now a pumpout boat that serves the area at no cost. pumpout usa. Inquire at the city marina office as to the phone number. Once registered they put a sticker on your boat and pump you out on a weekly basis. Very cool.

Put out what you have at the Tortugas. Ive been there when every boat in the anchorage dragged anchor. That time 4 boats ended up in the shallows, 2 with their masts tangled together that were rafted. pure mayhem. i headed to deep water and stayed there till things settled.
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Old 10-08-2014, 22:05   #9
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

You should plan on 24 hours, Punta Gorda to Key West, 12 hours Key West to Dry Tortugas and 24 Hours from Dry Tortugas to Punta Gorda. You should plan on motoring the entire way so you will have at least a 36 hour motoring trip. Refuel in Key West before going to,the Dry Tortugas. Sailing will just decrease your worst case but when you cruise on a schedule the winds are generally on the nose and the seas are always bigger than desired, so you do a lot of motor sailing in unfavorable conditions.

Depending on how long you will be in the Dry Tortugas, you will need to factor some battery charging time, so add another 6 hours of motor time for charging. You are up to 42 hours of anticipated motor use.

I think you have a 3GM30 and it isn't your boat, so figure .7 gallons per hour while motor sailing - 36x.7=25.2 +6 charging at .3 = 1.8. From Key West through DT then to PGI 27 gallons plus you need some reserve. You have 19 gallons, but that is not all useable, assume 17 usable then carry 10 more gallons in Jerry Cans and that is absolutely minimum. If it were me, I'd carry 15 gallons in jerry cans securely lashed to the boat. Get a marble type siphon hose from Amazon (around $9) to transfer fuel.

I don't know the water capacity of the Beneteau 344 and since it is not your boat don't trust the water for drinking or brushing teeth, just showers only and use bottled water for food prep and drinking. You should figure 64 ounces of water per day per person for drinking. Get bottled water in PGI and reprovision water in key West before going to DT. You will only shower on the boat while at anchor In the Dry Tortugas. You will use more water showering than the normal cruiser, so figure about 5 to 7 gallons per person per shower. You can get dock water in Key West and shower at the marina. Conch Harbor is a good marina with good support and on the east side of the bight. They have fuel there. It is accessible to all the shore life in Key West.

Your biggest challenge will be deciding whether to go out to the Dry Tortugas. Get a good weather program such as Sailpro and start studying the weather patterns at least a month before you leave. I have made the trip you are going on - on a schedule, and have only made it out to the Dry Tortugas once in a sailboat. We took the Ferry out there one other time when the weather was rough and last time passed due to small craft warnings. We were there in November, went direct there from PGI then to Key West. We had 25 knot winds for the two days at DT and it took 18 hours, slugging against 10 foot waves coming east to Key West. It was not a fun trip getting back to Key West. It works best going west from Key West to DT, then back to PGI.

It is a great place, but October can be dicey weather wise and it is still hurricane season and you need to stay on top of the weather. Hurricane Charley went right over the Dry Tortugas and hit Punta Gorda in October. That time of the year they can get going pretty fast, so watch the weather!

Food provisioning is another matter. We generally eat sandwiches that can be prepared easily in large seas when open ocean. Take lots of candy bars, snacks and eat-a-snacks. While in Key West we have eaten out.

Good luck on your trip and again, stay on top of the weather and you will have a wonderful time.


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Old 10-08-2014, 23:02   #10
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

Hey Tom,
We sailed there on a 24' boat from Flamingo (bottom of Fla. mainland) in about 27 hours. Difference being, we sailed in late March and had a 20 knot wind chasing us there - as well as fighting us back!
(had to motor sail back to Marquesas, anchored off the West side there for the night.)
As I remember it, clawing your way back to the shallows at the West end of the Marquesas is a bit of a bugger, but after that should be easy, even with an Easterly.
We spent only 4 days there, but didn't find provisioning of any real concern ( although, we have been accused of being minimalists!) Our shower was a weed sprayer I painted black and left on the deck for the day, as mentioned, salt water scrub, fresh water rinse.
Of other possible relevance to you, the ferry service that runs from key west out there daily was happy to sell us cold beer and water bottles as well as other snacks ( again, 2011- maybe different now?)
Also perhaps relevant - don't let anyone try to convince you that taking the ferry out there is as good as taking the ferry to spend the day.
The best part of every day we were there? Watching the ferry and all of its contents disappear over the horizon leaving us to wander the fort until sunset ( even though technically, you're supposed to be gone by then, but nobody seemed to care).
Having said that, I agree fully that a good look at the forecast that time of year is wise...
Les
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Old 11-08-2014, 05:55   #11
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Tom.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:39   #12
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

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Originally Posted by Niagara Les View Post
"Also perhaps relevant - don't let anyone try to convince you that taking the ferry out there is as good as taking the ferry to spend the day."
Duh, I meant as good sailing out there on your own...
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Old 19-08-2014, 19:24   #13
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

we just did this trip but the other way. we leave Charlotte harbor early in the am and go to the dt and than to key west to resupply. if you leave from ky you must leave early do not go in the the dt at dusk or night. that way we make it to the dt and if a weather issue arises we can always cut they days there short and make it to the keys in 10 hours. Its hot we had 4 persons on board and only use our boat water for showers ect so we went thru 1.5 gal drinking water a day crystal light 2 adults 2 kids. we freeze 4 of the gallons and put that in the fridge to help with power draw. gas was correct above we carry 10 gal to get us to the dt to the keys and than fill up again to come home. you will motor most of the way. think about power issues with out some way of recharging the batteries you will have to use the motor, make sure you calculate your use and recharge correctly not to drain your batteries. you cant jump your boat out there. food is simple 1 breakfast 1 lunch 1 dinner a day x crew x days plus snacks and alcohol. going to the keys first will keep you near the shore and possible storms we hit a good one on the way home form about 9 till 3am. also check your tides for coming and going that will help your time. if you leave with the out tide. did i mention it was hot very hot you will need a wind sock. this is one of our favorite trips have fun.
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Old 21-08-2014, 13:45   #14
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

My name is Chris, after reading some of the posts about Dry Tortugas sailing you seem to be pretty familiar with the Key West/Dry Tortugas areas. I was hoping to ask you a few quick side questions about anchoring in the DT?

I am planning a trip out in Feb from Fort Myers...two questions.

1. Time of year recommendation? (Feb works well for us)
2. What is the holding like out at the DT?
3. Room in protected waters...is there any real concern about being able to find a place to anchor once out there?

I'm thinking I don't mind sitting out a northerly blow if I've got good holding...from the aerial shots on Google Earth the anchorages look like nice sand but I'd hate to find out it's a hard-pan under a foot of sand while it's blowing 30+.

Any insight along those lines would be appreciated.

Chris

Quote:
Originally Posted by J Clark H356 View Post
You should plan on 24 hours, Punta Gorda to Key West, 12 hours Key West to Dry Tortugas and 24 Hours from Dry Tortugas to Punta Gorda. You should plan on motoring the entire way so you will have at least a 36 hour motoring trip. Refuel in Key West before going to,the Dry Tortugas. Sailing will just decrease your worst case but when you cruise on a schedule the winds are generally on the nose and the seas are always bigger than desired, so you do a lot of motor sailing in unfavorable conditions.

Depending on how long you will be in the Dry Tortugas, you will need to factor some battery charging time, so add another 6 hours of motor time for charging. You are up to 42 hours of anticipated motor use.

I think you have a 3GM30 and it isn't your boat, so figure .7 gallons per hour while motor sailing - 36x.7=25.2 +6 charging at .3 = 1.8. From Key West through DT then to PGI 27 gallons plus you need some reserve. You have 19 gallons, but that is not all useable, assume 17 usable then carry 10 more gallons in Jerry Cans and that is absolutely minimum. If it were me, I'd carry 15 gallons in jerry cans securely lashed to the boat. Get a marble type siphon hose from Amazon (around $9) to transfer fuel.

I don't know the water capacity of the Beneteau 344 and since it is not your boat don't trust the water for drinking or brushing teeth, just showers only and use bottled water for food prep and drinking. You should figure 64 ounces of water per day per person for drinking. Get bottled water in PGI and reprovision water in key West before going to DT. You will only shower on the boat while at anchor In the Dry Tortugas. You will use more water showering than the normal cruiser, so figure about 5 to 7 gallons per person per shower. You can get dock water in Key West and shower at the marina. Conch Harbor is a good marina with good support and on the east side of the bight. They have fuel there. It is accessible to all the shore life in Key West.

Your biggest challenge will be deciding whether to go out to the Dry Tortugas. Get a good weather program such as Sailpro and start studying the weather patterns at least a month before you leave. I have made the trip you are going on - on a schedule, and have only made it out to the Dry Tortugas once in a sailboat. We took the Ferry out there one other time when the weather was rough and last time passed due to small craft warnings. We were there in November, went direct there from PGI then to Key West. We had 25 knot winds for the two days at DT and it took 18 hours, slugging against 10 foot waves coming east to Key West. It was not a fun trip getting back to Key West. It works best going west from Key West to DT, then back to PGI.

It is a great place, but October can be dicey weather wise and it is still hurricane season and you need to stay on top of the weather. Hurricane Charley went right over the Dry Tortugas and hit Punta Gorda in October. That time of the year they can get going pretty fast, so watch the weather!

Food provisioning is another matter. We generally eat sandwiches that can be prepared easily in large seas when open ocean. Take lots of candy bars, snacks and eat-a-snacks. While in Key West we have eaten out.

Good luck on your trip and again, stay on top of the weather and you will have a wonderful time.


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Old 21-08-2014, 13:48   #15
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Re: Provisions from Key West to Dry Tortugas

My name is Chris and I'm planning a trip to the DTs from Fort Myers in Feb...what is the holding like once you get out there? It all looks good from Google Earth but if it blows I'd hate to find out at 3am that it's sand over hard-pan.

Thanks,

Quote:
Originally Posted by scuba0_1 View Post
we just did this trip but the other way. we leave Charlotte harbor early in the am and go to the dt and than to key west to resupply. if you leave from ky you must leave early do not go in the the dt at dusk or night. that way we make it to the dt and if a weather issue arises we can always cut they days there short and make it to the keys in 10 hours. Its hot we had 4 persons on board and only use our boat water for showers ect so we went thru 1.5 gal drinking water a day crystal light 2 adults 2 kids. we freeze 4 of the gallons and put that in the fridge to help with power draw. gas was correct above we carry 10 gal to get us to the dt to the keys and than fill up again to come home. you will motor most of the way. think about power issues with out some way of recharging the batteries you will have to use the motor, make sure you calculate your use and recharge correctly not to drain your batteries. you cant jump your boat out there. food is simple 1 breakfast 1 lunch 1 dinner a day x crew x days plus snacks and alcohol. going to the keys first will keep you near the shore and possible storms we hit a good one on the way home form about 9 till 3am. also check your tides for coming and going that will help your time. if you leave with the out tide. did i mention it was hot very hot you will need a wind sock. this is one of our favorite trips have fun.
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