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Old 12-02-2012, 09:59   #1
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Location: Tarpon Springs, FL
Boat: 1991 Hunter Vision 36
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Tarpon Springs to Key West - Best Window ?

We are planning on a trip down to the Keys in March, hopefully the weather will provide a nice departure window for us. We have read a few other opinions that this might be the time to look at doing such a trip. This will be our first "shake down"cruise to see how we like it. We'll be making the trip with two, possibly three dogs (we're going to try to leave the elder with a friend). Is there any general opinion on march as a good window to depart? We plan to gunkhole along the way when and where reasonable, recommended spots are certainly welcome! Hopefully, it will be MUCH warmer then too
Any advice on this welcome- thanks- Newb, Hunter Vision 36
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:31   #2
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Re: Tarpon Springs to Key West - best window?

We have taken April to visit south to the keys the last two years. Our boat is in Hudson.

Statistically from my research April is the best month:

Cold fronts are all but gone.
Winds are moderate from NE to SE in general.
Bugs are not up in large numbers yet.
Snowbirds are leaving or gone.

March still has cold fronts in general but if one is going south (like today) it would be a great ride!

This years warm winter may make March better than April.

That off the top of my head.

Last year we had a south component in the wind all the way down and a north component all the way back. Go figure.
Who knows what is next.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:47   #3
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Re: Tarpon Springs to Key West - best window?

Great cruising route. I used to live in Bradenton and kept my boat in Tarpon Springs. Have made the run to/from Tarpon Springs and the Keys/Dry Tortugas a few times. Made a two month mini-cruise of this route once -- great trip. Spring season (March-May) is probably the best window....after the cold fronts settle down, but before you get into hurricane season or lots of summer time t-storms.

Made the run from Tarpon Springs to Dry Tortugas in February one year and got fog...big thick New England style fog over most of the route...even had some fog in the Dry Tortugas!

Prevailing wind direction is generally favorable for the south bound run. If you really want to make some time south bound then catch a cold front.

Note that if you are running at night, offshore to the west of the everglades, you may encounter lots of trawler traffic -- this is also designated as a Naval training area.

Lots of great stops along the way....Manatee River...Pine Island Sound...Venice...Naples...Ft. Myers...Ten Thousand Islands...

The last time I made this run...I never came back...that was in 2004.
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