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
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.