Key west and marquesas

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Ixneigh
Admiral
Posts: 1918
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:00 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Key largo Florida

Key west and marquesas

Post by Ixneigh » Fri May 10, 2019 10:25 am

Key west has few good Anchorage’s fof small boats. Trump he problem is that the only shore access is a long way from the mooring fields of permitted anchor zones. The live aboard a all have big dingies and motors. The only place that you can anchor and easily access land is cow key channel. This is mostly houseboats. It’s not very attractive but it’s shallow and well protected. It’s crowded. Holding bottom is good. The sea wall is where people leave thier dinghys. Careful of the old moorings from when this area was the famous “houseboat row” I gouged the bottom of my boat on one. They are not too far from the sea wall. A nice overnight area is right off cow key. The bottom is shallow a long way out for some protection, and there’s no current. And no surge.
Wisteria island anchorage across the channel from Key west is crowded and has surge on the west side, or big wakes frim boat traffic on the east side. Whatever little area you visit, they are the cool guys and all the other places have all the theft and drama. Bring a cable lock for your dinghy regardless. A grocery store called Fausto’s will deliver groceries to any location on the island for five bucks. I had them bring me some fresh stuff. Worked great. Met the guy at the sea wall at cow key channel. I did tip him additionally.
From key west south there are the mule keys. The only one of interest to cruisers is boca grande and the beach there. It’s a settled weather destination. You can go through the Lakes Passage in windy weather like I did. Not much to see, but protected. The marquesas are four miles away it’s claim to fame is a Long Beach on the west side. Moonie harbor is reachable through a number of unmarked but navigable channels. Lots of fish. I didn’t catch any though.

Time of year
This time of year is the winds predominantly easterly. Returning home means upwind in exposed waters. However, you are less likely to experience the cold from driven wind shifts while anchored by these islands. Of course my motto is don’t anchor anywhere overnight you wouldn’t want to experience a big squall and wind shift. It can happen.

Tides
I’ve gotten into trouble a few times underestimating the tidal range. Might want to check the bottom when looking for shallow water Anchorage and remember there can at times be less water then shown in the chart. I had to move the boat in the middle of the night when the four foot depth turned into two feet, and the wind had shifted to kick up waves in the once quiet location. This seems to be especially true on the gulf side of the lower keys.

Ix

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