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Archive For: Keys4 – Inside/Florida Bay – Cross Bank to Channel Five

  • Good Words for Caribee Marina, Islamorado, Inside Route, Florida Keys

    Caribee Marina - Click for Chartview

    Caribee Marina – Click for Chartview

    Caribee Boat Sales and Marina at 81500 Overseas Highway in Islamorado, FL, does not currently offer transient slips, but according to Skipper Dixon, they know how to treat visiting cruisers!. Their phone is 305-664-3431 and their website is http://www.caribeeboats.com/

    We’ve anchored off Lorelei Restaurant in Barley basin several times but didn’t know about Caribee Marina until today. We needed gas for our dinghy. Someone told us to dinghy down creek to Carabee which is SW of Lorelei. The service was great. We bought 3 gallons @ the guy couldn’t have been nicer if we bought 300 gallons.
    Mary Dixon

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Caribee Marina

  • Good Words for Lorelei Cabana Bar and Marina, Florida Keys Inside Route Statute Mile 1160

    lorelei

    Lorelei Marina – Click for Chartview

    Lorelei Cabana Bar and Marina lies perched on the northwesterly shores of Upper Matecumbe Key, hard by the southeastern corner of the popular Islamorada anchorage. This review comes from our friends at Trawlers and Trawlering.

    Our favorite bar/restaurant in the keys is the Lorelei in Islamorada. It includes a small marina, and the local anchorage is 300 yds away. They have the best happy hour specials we have found, and there is nearly always live entertainment at the tiki bar from around 5PM on. There’s a nice small grocery a few blocks south, and the local public library another couple blocks south.
    Mark Richter

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Lorelei Cabana Bar and Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Lorelei Marina

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Islamorada Anchorage

  • Discussion of Depths in the Keys Inside Route, Florida Keys

    There are two possible routes for cruising the Florida Keys, the offshore Hawk Channel passage, and the “Inside Route.” Hawk Channel features more, but not all, marinas, while the Inside Route offers the greatest bonanza of wonderful anchorages to be found anywhere in the Southeast. Trouble is that I have personally sounded 5 feet at low tide directly between the markers in places on the FL Keys inside route. Mind you, only in places, but nevertheless, this is a real concern for those piloting vessels that draw more than 4 feet. Skipper Zimmers expressed his concern in the question below and received several answers via the AGLCA Forum.

    We are in Marathon and arrived here from Key Biscayne via Hawk Channel. We want to return on the ” inside” via the ICW from Marathon to Biscayne Bay. We have a Nordic Tug with a 4.5 foot draft. Is the ICW deep enough for that draft?? Thanks,
    Herb Zimmers aboard GiddyAp

    We draft 4 feet and have done it several times. Never had a problem.
    Steve and Gina Smith
    M/V Island Time

    Herb, You should have no problem. Just pay attention to your charts and stay in the channels through the cuts. Those are the places you can get into trouble if you get distracted.
    Chuck Baier

    Try to go on a rising tide
    Mike and Rosie

    I carry a five foot draft and the last time I went the inside route, I ran hard aground right around marker “60″ on a low tide. I could see I was scraping the bottom for a mile for finally stopping. I used my dingy to heel me over and got loose and never touched bottom again.
    On a high tide, I wouldn’t have touched anywhere.
    R. Holiman

    We did the inside from Biscayne Bay to Marathon. We draw 4 ft and at low tide we had some mud in our wake near R80 to Steamboat channel. What was more of a problem was the crab pots and now some are marked with green, brown and blue floats. Our friend had his boat hauled yesterday and the props were wrapped with a bushel basket full of ropes. I may have been out of the channel sometimes but it seems the pots are in the ICW with no regard for boats.
    May be the prop shops are paying the crabbers to place the green floats in the ICW:)
    Sonny Reeves

    We just arrived in Marathon from Key Biscayne. Our Cabo Rico draws 4’10″. Although we encountered some less than 5′ depths, we made it through with no drama. We did time our passages through channels with the tides.
    Beth

  • Good Words for Whale Harbor Channel – Wilson Key Anchorage, near Inside Route Statute Mile 1156.5

    Wilson Key Anchorage - Click for Chartview

    Wilson Key Anchorage lies off the eastern half of the Whale Harbor Channel, and is entered from the Florida Keys Inside route.

    Recently spent the night here and found it to be a very nice anchorage. Very well protected and quiet. I found the bottom to be grassy but got a good set on the anchor.
    Dan

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For Whale Harbor Channel – Wilson Key Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Whale Harbor Channel – Wilson Key Anchorage

  • Recent Passage through Snake Creek Bridge and Overhead Powerline Clearance

    Snake Creek Bridge - Click for Chartview

    Snake Creek is the northernmost (and easternmost) channel in the Florida Keys that provides reasonably reliable access from the Florida Keys Inside (Florida Bay) Route to Hawk Channel, or the other way around. Several earlier articles here on the Cruisers’ Net, as well as my own soundings, indicate that MLW soundings on the extreme Hawk Channel end of the Snake Creek channel, have risen to 5-foot levels.
    Snake Creek, is one of only three passages (the other two being Channel Five and Moser Channel) between Miami and Big Pine Key that cruisers can (reliably) use to cruise between the inside and outside Florida Keys routes.
    So, timely operation of the bascule bridge crossing Snake Creek is an important consideration for cruisers. Below, Captain Dennis found the bridge tender a bit balky, and he also comments on some nearby powerlines.

    I just went through Snake Creek bridge yesterday in a Hunter 285. They publish that they open on demand other then restricted hours. They have change the restricted hours a couple times in the recent past so I won’t quote those hours now, but during the restricted hours they still open on the hour and on the half hour when requested. After just missing the 10:00 am opening, when we could not get a response on the VHF radio from the bridge attendant, we whistled for passing at 1030 at 11 and again at 1130 before we finally got an opening. The bridge attendant’s phone number is 305-664-3632. the mast on our hunter is 44 and a half feet above the water. I estimate that we cleared the power lines by 6-10′ so your 70′ stick is way too high. I tried to call just to see for cities reference, but all I got was a recording.
    Capt Dennis with Sailshare

    We went through the snake creek channel twice in a leopard 46 with a 70′ mast without incident. The lower wires are telephone and data cables. This was done in Feb 2011.
    T. Macpherson

    We have taken a 50′ Prout 3 1/2′ draft with 70′ bridge clearance under the Snake creek bridge wires at low tide. The bridge tenders said we were pretty close to the lowest wires, maybe within a foot or two.
    Captain Harold Ochstein

    January 14, 2014
    We took 42ft cat through Snake Creek 12/30/13 – Took it on rising tide with no issues, except – bridge tender would not respond. After waiting 15min and requesting response again, then waiting another 15min requesting response, another captain came on and said he was waiting also and that bridge would open at 4. It did open at 4pm, however no response what so ever from bridge tender. I asked some of the locals at fuel dock, and they indicated this was pretty common complaint.
    Brenda & George Lindberg

    Don’t know why they have not replaced that bridge yet. I lived in the Keys in the 80′s and 90′s and that bridge was stuck in the up position more than twice that I can remember. Great for the boaters, but once it was stuck for over 24 hours. Hundreds of people south were stuck, missed flights and also the nearest hospital was in Marathon. Monroe County needs to hire more friendly people as bridge tenders.
    Frank Collins

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Snake Creek

  • Shallow Water Confirmed at Entrance to Snake Creek From Hawk Channel, Florida Keys, near Islamorada

    Snake Creek - Click for Chartview

    For several years now, there’s been a concern about MLW depths on the Hawk Channel side of the Snake Creek Channel. (See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=105412) The shallow water is a real problem, as Snake Creek is the only really reliable route for cruising sized craft to cruise from the Florida Keys Inside Route to Hawk Channel, or the other way around, between Angelfish Creek and Channel Five. Captain Robinson’s observations confirm that shallow depths reported earlier are still present.

    Went out with a handheld depthsounder yesterday Oct. 6, 2013 at 3:00 pm, one hour before low tide and measured 4.5′ on the hawk channel side just before the channel where the chart reads 4′. Measured 6′ on the bayside next to each of the red markers at 3:30 PM.
    Jules Robinson

    Snake Creek has been this shallow for years. Any sailing cruisers should be using Channel Five and never attempt Snake Creek.
    Jim

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Snake Creek

  • Praise for Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina, FL Keys Inside Route, Near Statute Mile 1155

    Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina - Click for Chartview

    Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina, owned and operated by the city of Plantation Key, Florida, is one of only a handful of facilities, south of Jewfish Creek, and north of Channel Five, which offer ready transient dockage on the Florida Keys Inside Route. We have always found Plantation Yacht Harbor to be a superior facility in every sense, and yours truly recommends this marina without hesitation. Just understand that the word got out long ago, so make your dockage reservations early!

    We are on the T Dock…We have been at marina for a year…The dock-master and assistants are fine people. Nice clean restrooms and showers, laundry facilities, pump out at each dock, electric and wifi. A very quiet marina, with great boaters (both transient and f/t). Being in Founders Park is a BIG plus. Yes, you have to pay to use the pool…but it is worth it. The tennis courts are available anytime, the beach is great, AND there is a 2 acre fenced dog park!!! If you want to go out to eat, it is only a taxi call away. Diesel, gas, ice…all available. Highly desirable for the sunsets too!!!
    Laurie Facsina

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina

  • Report from Cowpens Northeastern Anchorage, Florida Keys Inside Route near St. M. 1154.5

    NE Cowpens Anchorage - Click for Chartview

    The northeastern anchorage is on the northeastern reaches of charted Cowpens Anchorage. This body of water comprises the southeasterly section of Cotton Key Basin and borders on Plantation Key. Wouldn’t want to get caught here in fresh western or southwestern winds, but otherwise, this spot makes for a good Florida Keys place to drop the hook!

    Anchored 3/31/13 off south west anchorage. We were located right outside Plantation Yacht harbor in about 6 feet of water. A short dinghy ride to the beach at Founders Park.
    Russ

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For Cowpens Northeastern Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Cowpens Northeastern Anchorage

  • Report from Islamorada Anchorage, Inside Route Statute Mile 1160, Upper Matecumbe Key.

    Islamorada Anchorage - Click for Chartview

    Islamorada Anchorage is found in Barley Basin on the northwest side of Upper Matecumbe Key, north of Little Basin and southeast of marker #86. Lor-e-li Restaurant, Cabana Bar and Marina lies within dinghy distance, southeast of the anchorage on Upper Matecumbe Key.

    Anchored in the Southwestern part of Barley basin in light winds. Good holding and more than adequate depth for 5′ sailboat draft. Took 10 minute dinghy ride into Lor-e-li restaurant dock which was the quintessential beach restaurant/bar experience. Good food and service. Crowded at sunset. Live music on a Tuesday evening. Many more land patrons than boat patrons. All in all a very good experience.
    Victor

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Islamorada Anchorage

    Click Here To View This Facility’s Full Listing of Services on the Florida Keys Marina Directory

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Islamorada Anchorage

  • Good Depths in Bowlegs Cut, Florida Keys Inside Route, Statute Mile 1165

    Bowlegs Cut - Click for Chartview

    Capt. Victor confirms earlier reports that all hazards have been removed and markers in place in this narrow channel through Peterson Keys in Florida Bay. Channel Five Bridge is 4.5 nautical miles southwest of Bowlegs Cut. BTW, any idea why several official charts spell “Bowlegs” with a “y” – “Bowlegys”?

    Bowlegs Cut
    Headed through Bowlegs Cut without a problem and again at low tide there was more than adequate draft for 5′ sailboat. After Bowlegs Cut there was no problems heading out to Hawk’s Channel through the Channel 5 bridge on our way to Marathon.
    Victor

    I can’t speak about “bowlegys” but my Garmin chartplotter has mispelled signs as “sings” in multiple places.
    Al

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Bowlegs Cut

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Channel Five Bridge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Channel Five Bridge

  • Report from Lignumvitae Key Mooring Field, Inside Route near Statute Mile 1162.5

    Lignumvitae Key Mooring Field - Click for Chartview

    The Florida State Park mooring field reviewed below lies off the northwesterly shores of Lignumvitae Key, which is itself found near the Indian Key Channel and Lignumvitae Channel, off the Florida Keys Inside Route near Islamorada.

    We spent a night on the western side of Lignumvitae Key due to east winds of 18-20 knots. We were well protected in the lee of this island with good holding in sand with our Delta plow anchor. There was again, only one mooring ball at the northern tip of the key and since it was very exposed to the east wind we decided not to use it.
    Victor

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For the Lignumvitae Mooring Field

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Lignumvitae Mooring Field

  • Stopover in Shell Key Anchorage and Mooring Field, off Florida Bay, Statute Mile 1161

    Steamboat Channel - Click for Chartview

    Shell Key Anchorage and Mooring Field is a series of 5 five mooring buoys off the Shell Key’s northwesterly shoreline, maintained by the State of Florida. Florida Keys Inside Route passes through Steamboat Channel, which divides Shell Key Bank.

    Steamboat Channel and Shell Key
    From Plantation Key we headed towards Steamboat Channel. Prior to the Steamboat Channel, there was some sailor angst about shallow water at low tide even on the ICW Magenta line, but we never touched bottom. Steamboat Channel had adequate depth and we went through without any problems. Spent overnight on the northwest side of Shell Key. Good holding with a Delta plow anchor. There was only one mooring ball visualized and of course taken by late afternoon.

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Shell Key Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Shell Key

  • Good Words for Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina (FL Keys Inside Route, Near St. M. 1155)

    Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina - Click for Chartview

    Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina, owned and operated by the city of Plantation Key, Florida, is one of only a handful of facilities, south of Jewfish Creek, and north of Channel Five, which offer ready transient dockage on the Florida Keys Inside Route. We have always found Plantation Yacht Harbor to be a superior facility in every sense, and yours truly recommends this marina without hesitation. Just understand that the word got out long ago, so make your dockage reservations early!

    Overall nice marina with slip pump-outs, nice showers, and laundry room. Tim is helpful and friendly, but the pool, tennis courts, and beach are a pay for use city facility. The resteraunts are a mile away, bt you can dingy to one of them(1 mile). $3.00 a foot.
    John Pholeric

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina

  • Florida Keys Inside Route Discussion

    Over the week of August 13-18, several posts appeared on the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) Mail List concerning the general cruising characteristics of the Florida Keys Inside route. Those messages are reproduced below. Incidentally, the entire SSECN staff highly recommends the T&T list if you own one of these roomy, fuel efficient vessels.
    Just to add my 23 cents worth, I have always considered a 5-foot draft to be the cutoff for safe cruising of the Florida Keys inside route. On numerous occasions, I have sounded 5-feet directly between the markers in the Key Largo region, particularly where the main channel passes the marked entrance to Tavernier Creek.
    If your vessel draws 5-feet or preferably less, don’t let these soundings discourage you. Some of the most wonderful anchorages, not to mention the views, you will ever enjoy lie off the FLK inside route!

    Looking for info on the practicability of taking the inside route from Miami to Marathon.
    I draw 5 feet. What is the opinion of the boaters that have done this route. Is it doable?
    Thanks
    Larry

    Larry,
    We’ve done the inside route and we draw 4’9″. Never had a problem, but then we watch the water, not a screen. It is marked adequately. Neither Jill or I can recall anyplace where another 3″ would have made a difference. There is a tide down there, though I doubt it is much more than 2 feet. If those 3″ might make a difference, plan to transient at high tide during a new or full moon, might want to consider spring tides too.
    Rudy
    Briney Bug- Panama City, Fl

    Larry,
    I have gone the inside route from Miami to Marathon a number of times, both in Pooh (draft 4’8″) and my previous sailboat with 5′ draft. Should be little problem. Not to say the water isn’t skinny; we often are reading
    depths of 5.0 to 5.2 feet on parts of this route (shallowest is just north of Islamorada), but haven’t touched bottom.
    Steamboat Pass, just south of Islamorada used to be a problem, but this has been dredged and is now good for around 6 feet (deep water ;-).
    Mark Richter

    Sorry Larry, but I disagree. I carry 5′ draft and have soft grounded in the center of the channel on two different trips on the inside route several years apart. I won’t try it a third time.
    Paul

    Time of year can make quite a difference. In the winter, northers will blow water out of Florida Bay. But don’t let that discourage you. It’s wonderful cruising!
    Regards,
    Randy Pickelmann
    Morning Star

    The trick is to wear polarized sun glasses, use you eyes.
    The water is usually clear, and it looks scary shallow, it is, but with 5 ft u can make it.
    The channels are well marked. The tide is about 6 inches in the upper keys,wind can effect water levels more than the tide.
    Go for it!
    See you in paradise!
    Capt. Sterling

    I don’t know where Mr. Kennedy traveled in the ICW on the inside, we have found the inner passage from Miami to Spanish Key to be a chalky green only rarely clear. We obey the day markers backed up by GPS. If your draft is 6-plus you are cruising for a bruising. If you need Sea Tow they are not allowed to move you until the environmental police arrive. The fines are prodigious..
    We have made the trip back and forth seven times.at different times of the year. Mr. Kennedy obviously has had a different experience.
    One thing is beyond dispute If you need Sea Tow you are in bad trouble
    Peter Denton
    Susie Q
    42′ Draft 4′

    Now that I know that Captain Sterling runs a tourist boat in the Keys, I must defer to his greater experience. I guess I was there at the wrong time. But it remains true that if you are passing over water that is 4,5or 6 feet it is impossible to tell the difference even if the water is crystal clear. Several of the passes are that shallow. Call me naive but I advise extreme caution. Remember you do not have advantage of some one who has local Knowledge.
    Peter Denton
    Susie Q

  • Report from Shell Key Anchorage and Mooring Field, off of Florida Bay

    Shell Key Anchorage and Mooring Field is a series of 5 five mooring buoys off the Shell Key’s northwesterly shoreline, maintained by the State of Florida.

    We had good holding here in 5-15 knots from ESE through SW. Nice quiet anchorage that was almost bug-free too.
    John Byrne

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Shell Key Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Shell Key

  • Intermittent Contact at Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina (FL Keys Inside Route, St. M. 1155)

    Hmmmm. Kind of concerns me to hear Captain Dixon’s report below concerning Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina. This is one of only a handful of facilities that offer transient dockage on the Florida Keys Inside route between the southerly mouth of Jewfish Creek and Channel Five!

    Tried unsuccessfully to reach PYH marina for 2 days by phone or vhf. They didn’t even return a message we left on their answering machine. We wanted to get fuel, water & pumpout. Also wanted to get a slip so we could go buy new boat batteries. We finally moved on to Coral Bay Marina at Lorelei anchorage who were very accommodating. Coral Bay is more like a boatyard, but they have ordered our batteries and we are in a nice slip. A mini grocery store and liquor store are right behind the marina. Afternoon of second day I was able to reach PYH by phone and they said they are in and out, and in the future just tie up at the fuel dock and they’ll get to us. I kept calling because I wanted to know what is going on with them because we’ll be back up that way. We had hesitated to do that because the fuel dock is not easy to get to and there isn’t room for more than one boat. We’ll do that in the future because there aren’t many pumpout places on the bay side of upper keys.
    Mary Dixon

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina

  • Coral Bay Marina (FL Keys Inside Route, St. M. 1160)

    Coral Bay Marina is one of several marinas clustered around the FL Keys Inside route, in the heart of Islamorada. It overlooks the southeasterly banks of the canal cutting off from the extreme northeasterly corner of Little Basin.

    Called this marina because we needed new boat batteries, they answered the phone right away. Marina was very accommodating, even ordered the batteries for us with one day service. The Trading Post and a liquor store is a 5 minute walk through a path behind the marina. Not a resorty type of marina, it’s a boatyard, but they have a pumpout which is nice since there are few on the bay side of upper keys. We are in a nice big slip with long finger piers on both sides.
    Mary Dixon

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Coral Bay Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Coral Bay Marina

  • Matecumbe Bight Anchorage (FL Keys Inside Route, St. M. 1166)

    Matecumbe Bight Anchorage is located off the Florida Keys Inside Route, just south and west of Lignumvitae Key. This is not a spot where you want to be if fresh northerly winds are in the offing, but there’s good shelter during times of southerly breezes.
    I’m familiar with the “creek” described below by Captain Dixon. It’s a tiny, SMALL CRAFT ONLY cut-through from the Lignumvitae Channel. During daylight hours, I’ve used this passage myself as a short-cut, but running it after dark at planing speed, well, the thought of this activity gives me the shudders.

    Matecumbe Bight. Anchored here May 5, 2012. Things were good until shortly before dark. Fishing boats started buzzing us. One came so close to our bow that I thought he was going to hit us. One boat stopped by and told us we were in the fishing boats “runway.” So, even though it was dark, we pulled up anchor and moved farther NE behind the mangroves. There apparently is a creek that you can see on the chart, but not the naked eye, the fishing boats use.
    Mary Dixon

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For the Matecumbe Bight Anchorage

    Click on Chartlet Below to Open a Chart View Window,
    Centered on the Location of This Anchorage:

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