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Old 22-03-2021, 07:02   #31
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Re: Fort Pierce to the Keys Observations++++++++++++++++++++

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Hello, it seems that you missed the PS in my original post. I didn't use the pluses. A friend's cat walked across the keyboard. I was able to edit the post to make that note but not get rid of the plus signs.

Not to worry though, I have dispensed an appropriate punishment. I cooked the cat and made a stew out of it. It was yummy. If you are nearby, I still have some left if you would like to try it!
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Old 22-03-2021, 07:04   #32
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Re: Fort Pierce to the Keys Observations

ArmyDaveNY,

I hope you have a great trip. I did the trip from West Palm to the Dry Tortugas in 2017 in our Nordic Tug 32 with a draft of 3'9". On the way south,I took the inside to Channel 5 bridge and found that I could not get any closer to shore, to explore, than 3 miles in most places, it was way to shallow. The result was that exploration was limited until you reached access to the outside. Also, plan your anchorages in advance. On the inside, just about any where, but on the outside many inlets had no where to anchor, you had to go to a marina.

We are planning the same trip this year (I could not find insurance during hurricane season to go to the Bahamas) and would like to know what and where you found to explore.
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Old 22-03-2021, 07:47   #33
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Re: Fort Pierce to the Keys Observations

A couple of posters have mentioned Haulover Inlet.
That is a FIXED BRIDGE WITH ABOUT 10' OF CLEARANCE.

Bob
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Old 22-03-2021, 07:48   #34
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Re: Fort Pierce to the Keys Observations

Great trip - done it many times
There are a few places on the ICW south of Biscayne Bay that don't have 6' of water at low tide
there are only 3 places a sailboat can cross from the ICW to the ocean or Hawke Channel - Snake Creek draw bridge, Channel #5 and the Moser Channel at Marathon. if you are in the ICW that's the only way out or in
The ICW really doesn't run below Marathon - to get to Key West inside you will have to go out the Moser Channel to the Gulf. Anything west of the Moser is pretty skinny.
The Hawke Channel is very navigable BUT watch the markers. there are numerous obstructions, especially around Key Largo
And there are places 10 miles offshore on the reef where the water is 1' deep
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Old 22-03-2021, 08:08   #35
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Re: Fort Pierce to the Keys Observations

I live near Ft Pierce and am now in Key West. I always sail outside.
I usually stop for a rest in Biscayne bay for a rest, then sail the Hawk channel on the south west side of the keys straight through to Key West.
By the way. I have never seen a manatee in the ocean.
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Old 22-03-2021, 08:59   #36
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Re: Fort Pierce to the Keys Observations

If you are moving a 27' boat south, stay inside!.

If caught outside it can get gnarly in a 27. Coming in the lesser inlets, without local knowledge, is hazardous. With knowledge, the tidal flows can be intense. Ride the ICW! Just watch the red side of the ICW north of Jupiter, that marker is almost in the shallows, so give it room.

Run a full main, no jib and an engine all the way.
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Old 22-03-2021, 09:15   #37
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Re: Fort Pierce to the Keys Observations

6’6” draft?
I tried it inside once years ago with a five foot draft and turned around to go back outside.

Inside from Stuart you still want to play the tides so you are motoring with them as much as possible. South of Lauderdale the bridges are a pain, better to go outside and come in when needed at night.

Personally I prefer the west coast route but usually started from there to begin with. Very little traffic as we arranged to leave Estero Island late in the afternoon and sailed south over night. Occasionally saw a workboat or a drone following us but very little traffic until reaching Florida Bay where the crabbers were working. Arrive Florida Bay around dawn so you can dodge crab pots. We went 7 or 8 knots and would make Marathon just after noon. Best of luck!
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Old 22-03-2021, 11:06   #38
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Re: Fort Pierce to the Keys Observations

Not trying to highjack this thread but I was wondering what the availability of moorings are along the ICW in Florida generally speaking. In two years, Covid 19 restrictions aside, we are planning on heading down the ICW from Canada and would like to pick up moorings when possible as opposed to anchoring out so we can have access to marina facilities.
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Old 22-03-2021, 11:26   #39
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Re: Fort Pierce to the Keys Observations

Important note: you don't want to be moving the boat inside on a weekend. The ICW is full of powerboats and anchorages are packed. The inside route from Palm Beach to ft Lauderdale is interesting with the mansions and huge yachts but frustratingly slow with all the drawbridges.

I'd take Hawk channel if you don't like plowing through sand on the inside below Biscayne bay; we draw 5' and I swore never again. Night sailing on Hawk Channel is beautiful and pretty easy as well.

-Lamar
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Old 22-03-2021, 11:51   #40
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Re: Fort Pierce to the Keys Observations

You will have to make reservations
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Old 22-03-2021, 15:41   #41
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Re: Fort Pierce to the Keys Observations

There's an interesting Navy Seal Museum in Ft. Pierce. Avoid travel on the weekend, especially in the Daytona, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami areas unless you like to party and get waked. Depending on your air draft, there are many bridges that must be opened and are on restricted schedules.
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