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Old 30-04-2010, 08:42   #1
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: St. Augustine, Fl
Boat: Gulfstar 37 sloop
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Advice on Florida East Coast to Keys

My cruising was supposed to start two years ago, but another boat that wasn't tied off very well changed my plans during TS Faye year before last. After an exhausting and expensive restoration (much improved anyhow) project, the boat is ready...again. So I'm thinking about heading south for the first time. I live on the east coast of Florida, but have not yet ventured farther than Savannah to the north, or Ponce inlet to south. I hear bad things about finding anchorages the farther south you go (to many people and few resources), and am trying to plan this trip with some idea anyhow, of where I will be anchoring each night. I would like to spend some time offshore. Destination is just South. Maybe Biscayne Bay or the park. I've got three weeks. Looking for advice on anchorages along the way, and in a general sense, snags to avoid. Is there a good publication I need to peruse? I'm trying to take some of the apprehension out of the decision to slip the lines and just go! The budget is not unlimited but I'm willing to spend some nights in the marina if it's reasonable.
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Old 30-04-2010, 09:36   #2
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Stirfryd, Have a look on our blog, Voyages of Sea Trek and scroll down the left column to post number 0019. Marathon to Key Biscayne . Each post after that covers our trip north to South Carolina, the opposite direction you are going, but it might give you some insight. There are several good cruising guides that cover that area, perhaps someone other than myself can recommend a few.
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

The Trawler Beach House
Voyages Of Sea Trek
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:15   #3
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When I traveled the east coast of Florida this past winter my stops south of you were:

Mosquito Lagoon.
Melbourne area (many places to pull over)
Fort Pierce area
Palm Beach/Lake Worth

Places south of there I've anchored on previous trips have included:

Lake Boca
Lake Sylvie (Fort Lauderdale, limited to one night)
Several places in Miami Area.
Once in the Keys, there are many options.
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:46   #4
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From St Augustine to the Keys, traveling outside is the way to go. Unfortunately, anchorages are non-existent until you get to the Keys. You have to duck inside to find any viable anchorages.
- - With a short time frame you can run the coastline from St. Augustine to Fort Pierce in an over-nighter 155nm or about 26 hours at 6kts. Fort Pierce is an all-weather entrance port and there is a good overnight anchorage just halfway down the entrance channel on the south side abeam the C.G. station. There is another good anchorage off the ICW on the south side of Causeway Island for longer stays.
- - Ft Pierce to Lake Worth only 48 nm or about 8 hours at 6kts. An easy run and at Lake Worth you hang a left and go south along the west side of the outer barrier island to a huge anchorage area just past the red"6" marker. There are a lot of people who stage here for a run to the Abacos.
- - Ft Pierce to Miami (Biscayne Bay) is another over-nighter of 120nm or 20 hours at 6 kts. You leave in early afternoon and get to Miami mid-morning - a pleasant time to arrive at Government Cut and then work you way down to Biscayne Bay. There are numerous anchorages on the east and west side of Biscayne Bay, although there is a new "city moorings" field at the Dinner Key/Coconut Grove old anchorage.
- - So in 3 legs you are in Miami and ready to do your Keys runs. Along the Hawk Channel there are numerous anchorages so that the longest run you need to do is Miami to Key Largo - I always anchor in the lee of Rodriquez Key. Just be sure to get the latest Florida Keys Park Regulations and rules about anchoring - where you can and cannot anchor for "environmental" reasons. There can be devastating fines if you drop the hook in the wrong place. I have made it in 3 easy days from Miami to Key West or you can putt along much slower and do some snorkeling/diving at the hundreds of sites along the route.
- - Although I would suggest hop, skip and jumping it down to Key West and then on to the Dry Tortugas or the Marquesas Keys and then leisurely work you way back north planning your stays/stops based on weather and how much time you have left.
- - I have taken the ICW all the way to Ft. Lauderdale - if you can meet the draft requirements which is basically 5 ft or less to avoid having to worry about tides, etc. But you are talking about a whole week of motoring not counting any stops along the way. The Waterway Guide flip book has all of the route and anchorages marked and there are plenty until you get to Lantana. Then they virtually disappear and also your nm made per day drops to a fraction due to endless stops for bridge openings every half hour or less. In Ft Lauderdale area it took me 5 hours to go 10 miles. So I always run outside from Lake Worth to Miami.
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:06   #5
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There are two resouces I can recommend for anchorages:

Skipper Bobs ICW Guide gives info on anchorages along the ICW.

Register for Active Captain on the internet. It gies info on most of the available anchorages.

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east coast, florida

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