Cape sable

Use this forum to announce, plan, and discuss events, cruises, regattas, shows, sailing destinations, events your club is planning, etc.

Moderators: Catigale, Paul S, Heath_Mod, beene, Hamin' X, kmclemore, tangentair

User avatar
Ixneigh
Admiral
Posts: 1906
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:00 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Key largo Florida

Cape sable

Post by Ixneigh » Wed May 16, 2018 7:55 pm

Im cruising again. My destination is the gulf side of lower keys.
However I did divert to cape sable to investigate the famed beach. It's very nice. However the water is the color of coffee. I spent a day and a half anchored off the beach but unsettled weather made me leery even with that big anchor. Didn't want to be caught on a Lee in a big squall. There is a more sheltered but less pretty anchorage in towards Flamingo ranger station. By virtue of shallow waters. There is also a canaleadi g to lake Ingram that offers protection in anything up to tropical storm. I did not venture Into the lake. The canal had sand flies deer flies mosquitos and 3 other bug types. I'd only use it for a safe harbor.
Flamingo was too far out of my way to visit. I hated the murky water. The beach area is well worth the visit though. Go in good weather and collect some of the millions of shells.
I returned to the keys to seek clearer waters. Spent the day at bamboo key slowly lurking the boat around the shallows there. There was a very deep pit but I was afraid to swim in it. The park just north of the ramp in this area had no tresspass signs up. The ramp was open and maintained. I anchored that evening right at the end of the 7 mile bridge (gulf side) and this turned out to be a very rolly area. I'd avoid it in the futute.
Next stop was little money key area where I picked up a few empty conch shells.i anchored in the shallows in big Spanish channel for tonight. The hurricane has damaged the trees here. Many are dead.

Notes on the boat
Rudders collect seaweed quickly. There is always a bunch in this area. Since my course was not to weather I usually left the board up.
The halyard tackle I set up works well.
Shroud lashings instead of punchplates are working but need to be snugged up frequently. I may finally have them stretched now. No ring pins though :)
I can now sail the boat pretty well in any water she will float in. The lifting the rudder trick helps her go about with no board down. Good for exploring iffy areas in mild conditions.
Judy's sails have been working great. Sure need a slab reefing hank on jib.
Love my upgraded 4 part mainsheet.
Hate my Lawrence "hook" chart plotter. Seems to freeze up and I have to restart it.
Couple squalls had me thinking about weighted dagger boards again. Boat just can't fly enough sail to operate effectively in strong conditions. Fortunately they didn't last too long.

Ix

User avatar
Ixneigh
Admiral
Posts: 1906
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:00 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Key largo Florida

Re: Cape sable

Post by Ixneigh » Sat May 19, 2018 6:58 pm

Content Key is an exquisite jewel if you havent been there.

Image

The approach is tricky. From the gulf it's shallow unmarked and rocky. From the flats it's shallow unmarked and sandy. The beach is tidal. There is a few tiny beaches on the island itself. One featured a set of beach chairs. There is no litter anywhere.
Cant tell you how gross it is to see a big bag of trash in a place like this. The water is soooo clear. The little harbor has enough room for a few boats and is great to swim in. Holding is good. Lots of current though.

Image

Ix

User avatar
ris
First Officer
Posts: 411
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:27 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: Frostproof Florida

Re: Cape sable

Post by ris » Sun May 20, 2018 6:59 am

Great pics. We wanted to spend a couple of weeks south of Marco Island down to cape sable this past spring but stuff got in the way. So post some more pics. Maybe next year.

User avatar
NiceAft
Admiral
Posts: 4033
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Upper Dublin,PA, USA: 2005M 50hp.Honda4strk.,1979 Phantom Sport Sailboat, 9'Achilles 6HP Merc 4strk

Re: Cape sable

Post by NiceAft » Sun May 20, 2018 8:58 am

The lifting the rudder trick helps her go about with no board down. Good for exploring iffy areas in mild conditions.


Ix,

Could you expand on this more, I don’t know what you are referring to.

Ray

User avatar
RussMT
Admiral
Posts: 5527
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:01 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Bozeman, Montana "Luna Azul" 2008 M 70hp Suzi

Re: Cape sable

Post by RussMT » Mon May 21, 2018 5:42 pm

Ix, you really do have some amazing places to explore. I've google earthed some you mention and they seem like interesting places. Maybe not the mosquitoes. :wink:

I stumbled on one of your Keys videos. A fascinating place that took me down an internet rabbit hole.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1B019a6bqL0

How Toilet Seat Cut in Islamorada Came to Be
https://www.allatsea.net/how-toilet-sea ... ame-to-be/

Image


Thanks for posting. We can live vicariously.

--Russ

User avatar
Ixneigh
Admiral
Posts: 1906
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:00 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Key largo Florida

Re: Cape sable

Post by Ixneigh » Wed May 23, 2018 5:57 pm

The last five or so days I have been in the shallow waters behind the big pine key area. The weather has been cloudy rainy and windy. I travel on the tide over charted depth of as little as a foot. Tide range is 2.5 feet. I've been mostly motoring so I can charge the batteries and check out small keys, shoals and other listed dangers. With poor light, sailing here is unwise.
After leaving content key, I moved south as far as Marvin key. A few takeaways:

Charted "coral head icons" dont seem to mean anythi g that I saw. I ran right over looking for coral. Didn't see any.
Shallow, rocky areas abound and may not be shown. Good light is really a must. In cloudy weather it's difficult to read the water, and we are talking inches here. And go slow. You can usually feel your way through.
Many areas have more water than shown. If you see some place you want to anchor, go have a look. It might be more than charted.
There is zero land on the keys in this locale for the most part. All those little islands are mangrove thickets. The keys that have land are:
Content Key- Sandy beach, small. Low tide beaches.
Tarpon Belly key- old fill and spoil island. Nice place to camp or have a cookout. No beach.
Sawyer Key-hard cap rock and jagged shore, no beach.
Marvin Key-high and low tide beach, (has a palm tree on it)
Snipe point has a small beach.
The gulf side of all this small keys has shallow rocky areas and some coral heads (I was told) but I've seen the rocky areas myself and you don't want to chance them. Approach any of these from the gulf with extreme caution. If the water is murky you may not be able to see it. Do not approach in onshore Conditions.
There is one marked channel onto the shallows at Sawyer Key. I don't know what it's like in strong westerlies with an outgoing tide. Probably sucky. This channel leads to tarpon belly key. Even larger boats can use it.
I had usable cell signal throughout this area. (Sprint)
There might be someplace to get fuel water ice but it's going to be miles away over marginal water. Maybe little torch key. I wouldn't count on it. Bring everything from marathon if you need to.
Big Spanish channel is well marked and straight forward. I sailed it both ways. You have a choice to go out into the gulf or cut across the shallows.
Strong winds will affect how much water there is.
You really need a chart plotter here.
It helps to be familiar with the bottom sea life. Turtle grass doesn't like to be exposed. Niether do those big tire sponges. At low water they will still be covered.
The rocky areas that nearly bare at low water will just have brown algea.
Bugs would be an issue in summer
They were only mild for me this trip.
There were lots of rays. Be careful if you like to wade.


This afternoon I cleared the east entrance of big Spanish channel, after having explored an area that has intrigued me for decades. Any return visits will likely be limited to Content Key, the nicest area in my opinion.

Ix

User avatar
Ixneigh
Admiral
Posts: 1906
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:00 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Key largo Florida

Re: Cape sable

Post by Ixneigh » Wed May 23, 2018 6:18 pm

The lifting rudder trick:
While sailing with no board, slowly over iffy areas, the M model won't come about reliably or at least mine won't. My skegs enable the boat to sail better with the board and rudders up but they slightly hinder tacking.
So, my new trick is to Sheet the main in, start your turn, the pull both rudders out of the water until the stern swings around. It takes a bit of practice. I only use this method when I've got the rudders in the horizontal position. That's usually a no no, but in shallow water and average winds, with care, I can sail like that without hurting them. For most owners this is usually not really needed since the boat can motor quite well with the trim up. But sometimes I just like to ghost along under sail, such as sneaking up under the Lee of an island, in water so shoal even the jet skies stay away.

Ix

User avatar
Ixneigh
Admiral
Posts: 1906
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:00 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Key largo Florida

Re: Cape sable

Post by Ixneigh » Wed May 23, 2018 6:21 pm

The stretch from key largo to Islamorada on the bay side, can all be done right up close to shore. On a nice day with a warm easterly breeze, it's a delight. Toilet seat pass is the highlight ;)

Ix

User avatar
Sumner
Admiral
Posts: 2374
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:20 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26S
Location: SE Utah
Contact:

Re: Cape sable

Post by Sumner » Wed May 23, 2018 7:48 pm

Ixneigh wrote:The last five or so days I have been in the shallow waters behind the big pine key area...........................

..........................This afternoon I cleared the east entrance of big Spanish channel, after having explored an area that has intrigued me for decades. Any return visits will likely be limited to Content Key, the nicest area in my opinion.

Ix
Great info. I'll keep a link to it. I've really wanted to explore that area. I might try and get into some of the deeper channels with the Endeavour but the Mac is perfect for that area.

Sumner

============================
1300 miles to the Bahamas and back -- 2015

The MacGregor 26-S

The Endeavour 37

Trips to Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Canada, Florida

Mac-Venture Links

User avatar
Ixneigh
Admiral
Posts: 1906
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:00 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Key largo Florida

Re: Cape sable

Post by Ixneigh » Thu May 24, 2018 6:03 am

The large boat could go comfortably in the marked channel. From there you could take the dinghy (with motor) to many Interesting places. Hopefully you would have nice sunny weather to see the incredible colors here.
Ix

User avatar
Sumner
Admiral
Posts: 2374
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:20 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26S
Location: SE Utah
Contact:

Re: Cape sable

Post by Sumner » Thu May 24, 2018 12:35 pm

Ixneigh wrote:The large boat could go comfortably in the marked channel. From there you could take the dinghy (with motor) to many Interesting places. Hopefully you would have nice sunny weather to see the incredible colors here.
Ix
Looks like Harbor Channel, Cudjoe and Johnston Key channels are all doable and a few of those you could go quite a ways in with the under 5 foot draft of the Endeavour. Looks like Tarpon Belly Keys has a sandy beach. Could see some day boats using it on Google maps.

Our real goal is to get back to the Bahamas before I'm too old to do it. I'll be 75 next spring, when hopefully, we will try again after getting the transmission overhauled. After that, while we can, the Keys might be as far as we get and would give us something to do if we put the boat up for sale then. I'll check with you for ideas if we get to spend time in that area. I've spent hours with Google Earth and the NOAA charts on OpenCPN looking at that area and marking possible good anchor locations,

Sumner

============================
1300 miles to the Bahamas and back -- 2015

The MacGregor 26-S

The Endeavour 37

Trips to Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Canada, Florida

Mac-Venture Links

User avatar
Tomfoolery
Admiral
Posts: 5198
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:42 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: Rochester, NY '99X BF50 'Tomfoolery'

Re: Cape sable

Post by Tomfoolery » Thu May 24, 2018 12:56 pm

Sumner wrote:Our real goal is to get back to the Bahamas before I'm too old to do it.
I've become much more acutely aware of the clock ticking lately, and want to do some things before it's too late too. And this morning I found out my younger brother by 6 years had a heart attack yesterday evening and had stents inserted this morning. But at least he's alive.

I only recently had a discussion with the admiral about some places I want to visit while we're still young enough to do it (by boat). :)

OK, back to our scheduled Destinations discussion.

User avatar
Sumner
Admiral
Posts: 2374
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:20 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26S
Location: SE Utah
Contact:

Re: Cape sable

Post by Sumner » Thu May 24, 2018 1:04 pm

Tomfoolery wrote:
Sumner wrote:Our real goal is to get back to the Bahamas before I'm too old to do it.
I've become much more acutely aware of the clock ticking lately, and want to do some things before it's too late too. And this morning I found out my younger brother by 6 years had a heart attack yesterday evening and had stents inserted this morning. But at least he's alive.

I only recently had a discussion with the admiral about some places I want to visit while we're still young enough to do it (by boat). :)

OK, back to our scheduled Destinations discussion.
Before we return....I lost a wife to Leukemia when we were in our 30's and Ruth a couple years ago and since passed out in rush hour traffic in Dallas and ended up with a pacemaker. Since my 30's I haven't taken life for granted. If something is important do it now. Hope your brother comes out of this fine,

Sumner

User avatar
Ixneigh
Admiral
Posts: 1906
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:00 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Key largo Florida

Re: Cape sable

Post by Ixneigh » Thu May 24, 2018 3:33 pm

Younger...that might make anyone pay attention :?

No doubt, small boat operation is best done before the porch swing lounging. The Mac can be a handful because of the windage too. Not very stable either.

Btw there is no sandy beach at tarpon belly. It's gravel, not that great. The location is with popular with weekend campers. Again, every area I visited here had no litter at all. Amazing. (Compare with huge piles after a holiday weekend at elliotts key)
The other channels can accommodate larger boats but aren't marked, and even with good light, aren't obvious from the gulf.
Also, the chart of this area is inaccurate. A deep channel that was charted had filled in and another channel had opened. Use the chart as a rough guide.
I actually anchored in that filled in one with a lunch hook and the wind came up and blew the boat over into the flats. These deep channels through the flats are a brilliant, beautiful blue color.
Ix

User avatar
Tomfoolery
Admiral
Posts: 5198
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:42 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: Rochester, NY '99X BF50 'Tomfoolery'

Re: Cape sable

Post by Tomfoolery » Fri May 25, 2018 4:10 pm

Sumner wrote:Before we return....I lost a wife to Leukemia when we were in our 30's and Ruth a couple years ago and since passed out in rush hour traffic in Dallas and ended up with a pacemaker. Since my 30's I haven't taken life for granted. If something is important do it now. Hope your brother comes out of this fine,
Just got a text from him - he's getting out in a couple of hours, and feels like "why am I even here?" presumably since the stents have improved flow. And thanks for the well wishes. I knew about Ruth, but not the other stuff. No wonder you take nothing for granted. :|

Post Reply