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Archive For: Keys1 – Inside Passage – Dinner Key to Jewfish Creek

  • Boca Chita Key Marina and Visitors’ Center (Biscayne Bay, south of Miami, near St. M. 1106)

    It’s interesting to see the wide ranging opinions that have been expressed here on the Cruisers’ Net about stopping in Boca Chita Key Marina. This facility is part of Biscayne Bay National Park, and is maintained by the US Park Service. I know from our visits it’s a pretty, well sheltered harbor, but entrance channel depths are somewhat suspect! This is a case of some really like it, and some do not. Give this harbor a try and let us know your opinion.

    I have never gone into Boca Chita as we have a dog. I went in today for a looksee and was blown away. Everyone has told me that it is special, it truly is. If this was a commercial place with power and water it would be a bargain at $3 per foot, a great place.
    Charles Hardin

    As Charles says, Boca Chita is an amazingly peaceful place to tie to a sturdy concrete wall in an absolutely non-commercial area. It is truly lovely in the right conditions, and is a good place to wait out
    a heavy blow (not hurricane) in not-so-quiet conditions.
    However, from about Thursday evening or Friday morning until about Monday morning during the warm times, the “locals” (that’s the nicest word I can use) take the place over to the point of paying you to
    leave so a buddy can come in and tie up. At other times, it is Paradise.
    Maybe that’s why the “locals” like it.
    Actually, it is easy to raft off from a friend if it is crowded.
    Bill Donovan

  • Good Review of Dinner Key Mooring Field ( St. M. 1094.5)

    If you’ve been following our fellow cruisers’ postings here on the Cruisers’ Net concerning the waters in and just south of Miami, you already know the city of Miami opened a new, large mooring field just off Dinner Key Marina, a few months ago. While we have had one negative comment here on the Net concerning this facility, all the rest, like Captain account below, have been overwhelmingly positive.

    March 2010. I stayed at the new Dinner Key Mooring Facility from 3/1/10 to 3/6/10 and it was one of the greatest experiences on the water that I have had. The mooring field is located just east of the main Dinner Key Marina. I was greeted by a shuttle boat that took me to shore to square away my paperwork (only $19/day). They have showers and a pumpout boat. It was a great deal.
    A friend asked why did I not just free anchor and sneak onto their facility to use their bathrooms. I answered him that I am not a thief nor do I want to be associated with thieves. Plus, Dinner Key Marina is really serious about their security. I witnessed the Miami Police arrest a tresspasser who thought he was entitled to free everything just because he was sailing.
    Listen, I believe you you should be able to drop anchor in the middle of nowhere, but Miami is a major city and I don’t expect to have access to upland facilities without paying something. It turns out that it’s cheaper to stay overnight at Dinner Key Mooring Facility, with all it has to offer, than to park your car in Coconut Grove over night.
    I almost forgot, the $19/day also includes parking. I LOVE the new Dinner Key Mooring Field!!

    Click Here For The Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Dinner Key Marina

  • Herbert Hoover Marina (Biscayne Bay, south of Miami, near St. M. 1111.5)

    Herbert Hoover Marina is southernmost of several Dade County owned marina faciltiies on Biscayne Bay.

    Entering Biscayne Bay in strong northwest winds we opted for the Herbert Hoover Marina (named after the vacuum icon not the U.S. President) in Homestead, arriving just before sunset. At the northern fringes of Everglades Park, we were greeted by flocks of birds and seagulls. This calm, protected harbor was a welcome relief after rocking and rolling in Plantation Key for the past month. So calm that I couldn’t sleep.
    Jan & Steve

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Herbert Hoover Marina

  • Great Dining in Dinner Key – Coconut Grove (south Miami, neart St. M. 1094.5)

    Sounds yummy, and a good deal to boot!

    Want a real good meal in Coconut Grove? Try “The Ivy” in the Grove. Tell them Bob said, “Give us the local price”. Sunday to Thursday should get you 50% off on your meals. The food is great, desert even better. Also. Happy Hour 4-7 weekdays.
    Bob Gray, Sevierville, TN

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Coconut Grove Sailing Club

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Dinner Key Marina

  • Two Historic Sites Not to Miss in Coconut Grove – Captain Jane Reports

    What a wonderful report from our fearless roving reporter, Captain Jane Tigar. So many cruisers spend time in the Coconut Grove – Dinner Key region of South Miami every year, whether tied to the dock at Dinner Key Marina or on a mooring at Coconut Grove Sailing Club (A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR) or the new Dinnery Key mooring field. Captain Jane informs one and all about two historic sites within walking distance of the docks that “should not be missed.” Give her story a read, and then let us know

    Sometimes, it’s so tempting to stay in our cocoon like boats — after all, once you are on board, why would you want to get off a boat except for laundry, land heads and supermarkets — and West Marine?
    The parade of winter storms of ’09-’10 taught us how important it is to remember to get off our boats and explore the communities we visit and as much as I cherish the lonely anchorages where it’s just us, the wind, the water, the birds and the under water life, I admit that civilization has its charms. Dinner Key is one of those places that has some serious charm. Here are two places where we found charm and connection to the essential spirit of Coconut Grove, both within walking distance of the Dinner Key City Marina.

    Close-up of part of the restored ceiling art and murals in the historic Dinner Key City Hall. Photo by Jane B Tigar

    City Hall is well worth a visit and it’s literally next door.
    If you’re here on a week day, worth a visit is City Hall, adjacent to the marina (to the right facing the land). It’s so close you can probably see it from your slip or your mooring ball. Since 1954, City Hall has been right here in the former Pan American seaplane terminal. Pan American World Airways’ flying boats were based here in the 1930s and ‘40s and Dinner Key became a main hub for air traffic between North and South America until seaplanes went out of style. At that point, Pan Am moved its hub to Miami.
    The terminal has been carefully restored and you can now see wonderful art deco murals commemorating aviation history along with Zodiac symbols on the ceiling that had been painted over in the ’50s. There is also a small display of fascinating photographs from the seaplane era, including one of Charles Lindbergh. For more information about this historic site, check out the City of Miami website:

    Barnacle House - Steve Dimse, Florida Park Services Specialist, giving us an engaging two-person "I can't believe you came out in this cold weather" tour

    Step through a Time Portal at Barnacle Historic State Park.
    The Barnacle Historic State Park is reason alone to visit Dinner Key and do so on a weekend or Monday. A 20-minute walk (just under a mile) from the marina, up Main Avenue on the left hand side, you will see a little off-set treed area with a historic marker and a path. Follow that path — in a moment you will forget the bustling commerce and you will enter a real “hammock” of indigenous Florida vegetation and towering ancient live oaks.
    You are now in the late 1890s when Miami was undeveloped and natural. Here you can explore the five acre park that was once the homestead of a real character of a guy from Staten Island who “discovered” Biscayne Bay. Ralph Middleton Munroe, a relative of the poet Longfellow, and a follower of the transcendentalist movement, settled in Biscayne Bay, first in a tent camp, and then in a house that, thanks to the generous donation by his heirs, is now the centerpiece of this Florida state park. Ralph Middleton Munroe built the Barnacle House in 1891 and it is furnished with some of his original furnishings plus antiques and other items donated by his family. He was a yacht designer, naturalist, seaman, and civic activist whom the US Parks Service describes as “one of Coconut Grove’s most charming and influential pioneers.”
    Note, the park is closed Tuesday through Thursday. It is open Friday through Monday from 9-5. Tours are at 10 and 11:30 AM, and again at 1 and 2:30.
    Check with the Park about special events. Wednesday nights at 6 PM there is a yoga class. If you are visiting the weekend of January 15, the park is hosting Shakespeare in the Park with a production of Taming of the Shrew. Sunday, January 24, 2010, there is an Old Time Dance with live music and someone teaching traditional American folk dance steps. There seems to be one or two events a month. For more information:
    If you do visit Barnacle House, and we hope you do, please post a comment here and let us know if you, too, felt the multi-faceted genius Ralph Middleton Munroe come alive. That visit alone gave us a feeling of deep connection to Coconut Grove. As you walk around town, you may see historical markers referencing his contributions to other parts of life in Coconut Grove. In fact, I’m transmitting this story to the Salty Southeast while using the free wifi in the public library, a charming historic site itself, surrounded by palm trees and garden and only a short walk across the street from the Dinner Key Marina. It’s on land donated by Ralph Middleton Munroe who started the first library in the area, acquiring and delivering books by boat. It is also the site where Munroe’s first wife is buried. Just next door to the library, is another historic site, the women’s club built in the 1890s, also on land donated by Mr. Munroe.
    Jane Tigar
    S/V Lady Jane

    Hi Jane
    Thanks for a great post. I’ve just returned from a 10 day stay aboard our boat “Cloud Nine” at Dinner Key Marina. You’re right. We can see the Miami City Hall from our slip and I never set foot inside the building. I will be sure to visit on my next trip for sure. My husband, Tom is currently in Dinner key and I will pass this site on to him. We loved the Coconut Grove Arts Festival over President’s day weekend.Much to see and do in this charming town
    Keep up the good work.
    Pam Frech
    Cloud Nine

    Great post ,good to see the old Monroe house has been preserved. I had a friend that I worked with at Bertram Yacht yard in the mid 60’s that was the care taker of the house when the Monroe where out of town. My wife would Join them on weekends at the house which was a great treat. The gardens and front lawn down to the water were magnificent in the evening.
    S/V Seamist
    Dave Skiff

  • Good Words About the Dinner Key Mooring Field (Miami – Coconut Grove)

    Both the messages below paint a very different picture of the Dinner Key Mooring Field than what was shared in an earlier posting here on the Cruisers’ Net ( There has also been an earlier, very positive posting concerning this mooring field ( Read all this info, and make your own decision, but it certainly looks as the tide of opinion in the Cruising Community is now running in favor of this facility.

    While I am in favor anchoring, from time to time moorings have great advantage. And in the case of the Dinner Key area this couldn’t be truer. For years I have passed though this area, but tended to anchor away from the crowds which I might ad looked mainly unseaworth and derlict. I did this because I have experienced many times vessels draging anchor. The dinner key area has really cleaned up for the better. My experience at the dinner key mooring field was terrific. The staff was professional and the facilites were clean. I hope that the moorings continue in the future as I hope to return.
    Captain Thomas Ryne
    S/V Sea Dog

    I stayed at the Dinner Key Mooring Facility all of January 2010 and it was one of the greatest experiences I had in my 25 years of sailing. They have a great staff, shuttle service and a pumpout boat. The view of downtown Miami is increadable!! My vessel is 40 feet LOA.
    Why didn’t the 47ft Soulmates stay in the big marina – funny, they have an expensive boat but I guess their too cheep for their britches.
    Capt. Bob

  • Gilberts Marina (Jewfish Creek, St. M. 1134)

    Gilberts Marina overlooks the western banks of Jewfish Creek, south of the new high-rise Jewfish Creek bridge. Many cruisers consider Jewfish Creek to be the northern Genesis of real Florida Keys cruising, at least for those going by way of the Inside/ICW/Florida Bay route. I would not argue with that sentiment!

    The docks are being rebuilt. The marina is very basic, but a safe place to get fuel and recharge the batteries, etc. We stopped hereon Super Bowl Sunday and joined the crowd to watch the game. It was very quiet last night
    The bar patrons are not a problem and restrooms/showers clean enough. I have seen worse in marinas that do not share with a bar.
    The new bridge has cut down on the bar business a lot.

    Click Here For The Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Gilberts Marina

  • Coconut Grove Sailing Club Mooring Field Recommended (near St. M. 1094.5)

    Transient Moorings in Miami at Coconut Grove Sailing Club, 24 hour launch & security, Short walk to Coconut Grove, Daily & Monthly Rates (305)-444-4571 EXT  16, manager@cgsc.orgIt’s seriously nice to hear good things about our newest SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!!!
    Coconut Grove Sailing Club lies along the Dinner Key – Coconut Grove waterfront, south of Dinner Key Marina. Slip space is not a possibility (except for dinghies), BUT visitors are encouraged to pick up a mooring. Excellent facilities are available in the clubhouse, and Coconut Grove’s many attractions are within easy walking distance.

    We are currently moored at CGSC and recommend it. The rate you have on the site is out of date – currently $35. That includes full access to the club and 24-hour launch service. Fresh Market a few blocks away plus tons of great eateries. The movie theater at Coco Walk is currently closed, but is scheduled to reopen in April.
    One gripe – birds are a real problem here between November and March. The rain today will wash our boat a bit, but the gulls and “black” birds are a real issue. The club says we can tie up at the dock before we leave and wash down. There is room for about four boats at the dock with 4.5 feet at the inner spaces. I have seen members tie up overnight, but no guests are allowed to stay there for long.

    When I checked out yesterday, the Sailing Club only charged me $20, as you stated originally. They made an error in quoting me the higher price.

    Click Here For The Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Coconut Grove Sailing Club

  • Great Experience In the Dinner Key Mooring Field (Miami – Coconut Grove, near St. M. 1094.5)

    There was an announcement here on the Cruisers’ Net several months ago, informing one and all that the new mooring field at Dinner Key (southern Miami) was now open for business. Looks like Captain had an excellent experience there.

    The Dinner Key Mooring Facility was the most professionally operated and best value I have ever experienced. I will definately visit there again!
    Capt. EJ Maguire

  • Dinner Key Marina and Coconut Grove – Captain Jane Reports (St. M. 1094.5)

    Our fearless roving reporter, Captain Jane Tigar, turns her discerning eye to Dinner Key!

    View from the marina office entrance. Note the wide fairway and how long a walk it can be from your boat to the gate!

    A convenient stop on your way to the Keys is Dinner Key — not just for dinner, of which there is plenty offered — but maybe even for a day or two checking out the historic sites, not the boring it’s good for you kind of sites, the really fun kind of interesting sites as you’ll see in part 2 of this report.
    This was our first visit and as some of the best things in life are, it was one we had not planned. Out mast too tall for the 56-foot Julia Tuttle Bridge, we seized a brief weather window to make the outside run from Lauderdale to Miami but needed a safe place to sit out the next storm. So, having at least advanced our position if not to The Keys to at least a place with Key in its name, we found ourselves waiting out the weather at Dinner Key Marina owned by the city of Miami. At $2.50 a foot plus tax for a slip with hook-ups, it’s hardly a bargain by more northern standards, but it’s a real deal compared with close to $4 a foot in nearby Miami and, for our touring tastes at least, there’s much more to do and see within walking distance of our boat.
    There are almost 600 slips at the modern cement fixed docks; during the second week of January, transient slips appeared plentiful. During this stormy weekend, we found ourselves comfortable and well protected from the winds and waves on adjacent Biscayne Bay.
    Moorings are plentiful here — over 200! — for boats 40 feet LOA and under at $18 plus tax per night. Call ahead though as there are moorings in depths of as little as 4 feet; marina staff told us there was plenty of room for a 5-foot draft and that despite the written maximum of 40 ft, they could take a boat up to 42 feet LOA. Depths may improve by spring as a $1.4 million 7-month dredging project in the marina has been underway since December 2009. There is shuttle service that runs on demand during the week and on the half hour during weekends between the mooring field and the main dock; schedules are at the office.
    In contrast with Vero Beach Municipal Marina, this is the kind of marina a cynic would imagine a city marina would be. We were welcomed on VHF Channel 68 with somewhat unclear directions to our slip. This was followed by what my first rate first mate calls “the unobtrusive” style of docking assistance. Not only did no one in a bright colored parka wave to us and with a smile point out our slip, no one even at the last minute offered to take a line. There was, to put it simply, no one to help us. On the other hand, fairways are twice as wide as most marinas so it is easy to maneuver and spin around. Oh, and what the heck, it’s good to know that the marina staff has confidence in our docking skills. Be sure, however, to ask which side of the numbered pier your slip is on. The slips are not numbered with all the odd numbers on one side of the pier and all even numbers on the other.
    Clean showers and heads are adjacent to the marina office, all of which is in what I call prison architectural style. If you are at a slip, bear in mind that it can be a very long walk to these facilities. The good news is pump outs are easy — a mobile pump out service is available. Laundry machines look good, but this is such a huge marina for the number of machines, I would not count on this as a laundry stop unless you don’t mind practicing the fine art of getting on line for a set of machines. I’ve seen more machines at marinas a fourth of its size.
    There is no fuel available at Dinner Key Marina, but there is fuel at two adjacent locations, though at Grove Harbour Marina where there is a Shell sign, we were unable to find anyone to help us and we refueled much later down the water way.
    While we did not sense the lively community “it’s camp!” spirit of Vero Beach City Marina and Marathon City Marina, perhaps this was due to everyone huddling in their boats during the cold snap that caused our four-day stay here.

    DIY Docking at Dinner Key Marina

    Dinner Key — still worthy of its name.
    At first glance, Coconut Grove looks like an over-developed city — much like Lauderdale, just smaller. But if you walk just a few blocks from the Marina, it quickly morphs into a charming village of shops and restaurants. If you want to eat out, it appears the Dinner Key appellation still holds and you have a lot of non-chain choices — Italian, Thai, Japanese, Argentinian, French, Spanish … From the marina office, walk to your left and then follow the edge of the marina, past the small commercial fishing vessels and to the main street. Cross the street and head slightly up hill and you’ll start to see the “charming” part of Coconut Grove, hang a left onto Main Avenue and you’ll find lots to choose from.
    For us, this stay, partly due to the excellent provisioning opportunity here (see below) was Dinner on the Boat Key, so we have no restaurant reviews to share. However, it was the weekend of Taste of the Grove, a food and music charity fundraiser held in Peacock Park adjacent to the marina. We can tell you that the items we sampled there at lunch, promising non-chain restaurants include: Atchana’s East/West Kitchen inside the Mutiny Hotel, just across from the Marina; Mayfair Grill at the Mayfair Hotel (excellent pork and jicama salad; and great skirt steak). First mate Michael vouches for Al Fresco’s penne a la vodka. The food at the Ideas restaurant which features “authentic food from Spain” also looked good, but we got full too soon. The Chart House also had attractive looking offerings. We also passed by a restaurant called Focaccio Rustica that looked excellent.

    Easy Provisioning Stop
    For those who prefer to dine on board, this is an excellent provisioning stop. If you don’t follow your iPhone GPS directions, the Fresh Market, a high end super market, is a 10-minute walk to the right (facing the land) basically tracking the shore line and walking through parking lots, going past City Hall in its historic building and Grove Harbour Marina.
    If you are here on a Wednesday, which we were not, check out the Green Market in town; it’s open from 11 to 4 PM. It’s supposed to have locally grown organic produce, local honey and local prepared foods. It’s in the Mayfair Atrium, in the main “cute” shopping area described above.
    While we would have preferred no storms and no record cold snaps, we thank the inclement weather for getting us stuck at Dinner Key.
    Jane Tigar
    S/V Lady Jane

    Stayed at Dinner Key as well, agree with the total lack of signage, very little (none) help from the staff, moored out in the middle of Biscayne bay, nasty chop. Old men have more water pressure than the showers, pump out was doityourself with no assistance and the pump didn’t work. Too many white shirts with VHF radios, nobody gets their hands dirty.They can learn a lot from Vero Beach. Not a good experience
    Peter Marrek

    Our experience exactly ….including non responsive dock hands, ….difficulty in finding slip numbers….etc. etc.
    But we love the downtown area and have taken public transportation to downtown Miami….recomend on sunday only. we checked in here upon returning from the Bahamas and had to go to the cruise ship area to check in.
    Pierre McCormick

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Dinner Key Marina

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

  • Angelfish Creek – Passage Report as of 1/12/10

    I don’t think any channel in the Florida Keys has occasioned more comment here on the Cruisers’ Net than Angelfish Creek. For those who don’t already know, this creek provides a means to cruise from the Inside/Florida Bay Route (from Card Sound), to Hawk Channel and the briny blue. There has always been some question about depths along this route, and we have received many reports here on the Net about an underwater “rock,” near the point where the marked passage meets up with the deeper waters abutting Hawk Channel.
    I have personally sounded the Angelfish Creek on many occasions, and never seen less than 5 1/2 to 6 feet, and I’ve never found the infamous underwater rock. Other veteran Captains insist the rock is indeed out here. I guess yours truly and Captain Dunn (see below) were just lucky enough to avoid this obstruction.
    Even though we have had a recent question and answer string concerning Angelfish Creek here on the Net, I thought Captain Dunn’s report below was detailed and helpful enough to warrant a fresh posting. So, voila!

    Subject: Angelfish Creek Passage on Jan 12, 2010 and Anchorage Resort and Yacht Club, Jewfish Creek, Key Largo
    Cruising News: This is our first trip to the Keys in our 5.5′ draft sailboat. We came down the ICW from Miami to the very nice Anchorage Resort and Yacht Club on Jewfish Ck, Key Largo. I had read and asked for a week and worried about the passage out to Hawks Channel through Angelfish Creek. The dock master at Gilbert\’s Marina where we filled the diesel tank the morning of departure said “wind has been out of the north for several days and the water will be blown out of the creek and under no circumstances to try the passage”. Totally confused at that point, I called the Tow Boat US Key Largo operator on the VHF and asked his opinion. He told me that I should have no problem, especially if I went out on mid to high tide. We anchored for the night on the lee of Pumpkin Key, great anchorage, and left the next morning on the late incoming tide.
    All I had been told was to stay in the middle of the channel, especially at the west and east ends of the Creek. The mention of the infamous rock just before the deeper water of Hawks Channel loomed in my mind. All went very well. I never marked a true depth of less than 8.5′ and never
    felt the “rock”.
    I hope this helps others. I did follow the channel carefully, stayed in the middle at all times, and went out on a late to high tide.
    Captain Paul Dunn

  • Slow Fueling at Grove Harbour Marina (near Dinner Key Marina, St. M. 1094.5)

    Grove Harbour Marina is located in the complex of marinas and marine service firms at Dinner Key/Coconut Grove.

    Despite having personally walked over to Grove Harbour Marina adjacent to Dinner Key Marina and inquired about fueling up the day before and  having received directions and opening hours, late this morning, no one answered our hails on 16 and we circled for 15 minutes while trying to reach the fuel dock by phone. After several calls, someone claiming to be in the know said someone was coming but it was like waiting for Godot. We gave up and left. I hope this is an aberration.  Based on our experience, I wouldn’t count on this for a fuel stop.
    Captain Jane Tigar

  • Anchorage Resort & Yacht Club (Jewfish Creek, Statute Mile 1134)

    Anchorage Resort & Yacht Club sits just south of the new, high-rise Jewfish Creek Bridge, and on the opposite shore from Gilberts Marina. Many cruisers consider Jewfish Creek to be the northerly genesis of real cruising in the Florida Keys, at least for those choosing the Inside/Florida Bay/ICW route.

    Subject: Anchorage Resort and Yacht Club, Jewfish Creek, Key Largo
    Cruising News: We came south in the ICW from Miami in out 5.5 ft draft sailboat for our first cruise to the Keys. We found this marina in the guide book and noted a BOAT US discount for $1.50/ft for transient dockage. This is a wonderful marina in all respects. The docks are easy to approach. There is no extra charge for water or electric. There is a pool, hot tub, shower and restroom, grill for cooking out on their patio, and a great sunset view. The folks are friendly and do not bother you with unnecessary rules or regulations. I highly recommend this as a lay over for anyone. No fuel at their docks, but just across the creek is fuel. The new fixed high rise bridge over Jewfish Creek makes easy waterway travel.
    Paul Dunn

  • Rickenbacker Marina (Key Biscayne, near Miami, near Statute Mile 1091.5)

    I am sorry to hear that things are not going well at Rickenbacker Marina. This faciltiy is owned by the city of Miami, and its fortuntes rise and fall with the city’s current state of affairs.

    We were long term customers here, both mooring and slip.
    The moorings are in the middle of allot of power boat and jet ski activity, in and around the marina, and also exposed to northerly winds which tend to be the stronger winds we get in the winter, what I did and would recommend, pay for the mooring to have access to the marina facilities but anchor in the marine stadium that has excellent holding and is very well protected, gets just a chop even in high winds. You’ll sleep well there. Bear in mind that I have heard over and over that anchoring will be prohibited there but last I heard boats were still anchoring there. On the plus side the moorings are well maintained, screw type and our boat at the time an Oday 39 survived hurricane Wilma on the mooring.
    The dingy dock at the marina is just a mud bank under some mangroves so your shoes get muddy and your dingy will quickly foul from the wet decaying leaves inside your boat. That was always a headache. If you are there for just a few days you can put up with it. The bathrooms are in poor condition so you may prefer to shower on your boat.
    The marina facilities are in urgent need of a renovation and last I heard the City of Miami had a complete renovation plan for Virginia Key that included the marina putting up some millions for a major refit. Don’t know if the renovations have begun yet or if they will ever materialize.
    As for the slips, they have no finger piers which was a major headache with our now double ender, not so bad with other type boats but not ideal at all, and just two pilings outboard, not ideal for tying up either, and with no central pilings it’s very easy to end up banging into the boat alongside on a windy day. With all the power boat action outside the marina and mega yachts passing by on the inter coastal, strong wakes come in and really thrash the boats especially on weekends but sometimes even in the middle of the night I thought I was going to fall out of my bunk. Double up the lines and get a slip as far in as your draft will allow and if you have a choice don’t get a slip beyond 3/4 out on the piers. On the plus side security is extremely tight, cameras everywhere. Nothing get’s lifted at these docs without it being filmed.
    An excellent, very friendly and helpful staff, unfortunately at a marina needing a breakwater and major renovations / redesign. Hopefully it will get done.
    Jules Robinson

  • Impressions of Boca Chita Key (ICW/Biscayne Bay, near Statute Mile 1106)

    Boca Chita Key is part of the Everglades National Park, and is located south of Miami, on Biscayne Bay. The approach channel can get a bit skinny at MLW, but the harbor is well sheltered!

    We enjoy Boca Chita and have stayed here several times. During the week there are usually a few cruising boats as well as a couple smaller boats which have brought campers to the island. There is no charge for day use but overnight in the Marina is $20.00 (half price for a Senior Park pass). One must pay everyday by check or cash, so come prepared with correct amount of money. This is $5 more than last year. You get a campsite with each boatslip and campsites alone are $15.00.
    On the weekends, Boca Chita can become a big Cuban party. Large and small boats pack in rafted up two deep, the domino boards come out, a pig is roasted in a box and Spanish is the language spoken. Everyone is friendly and the regulars all know each other. Despite the “no generators after 10 PM rule”, the large boats run gen sets all day and night which can be annoying if one prefers the rustling of the palm trees in the salt breeze. We are here Christmas eve and we will see what Christmas weekend brings. We are told that New Years Eve is an especially big party, complete with music over loud speakers etc. As long as the wind is blowing, Boca Chita is a great place. If calm, the mosquitoes take over even in the winter. There is no water or electric and trash needs to be taken out. There are flush saltwater toilets which have been recently upgraded a bit with new paint and lights at night.
    Jean and Mel on DOVEKIE

    Boca Chita Key Marina Harbor - That's DOVEKIE in the corner, center

    Boca Chita Key Marina Harbor - That's DOVEKIE in the corner, center

    Click Here To View the South Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Boca Chita Key Marina and Visitor’s Center

  • Caesar Creek – Rubicon Key – Reid Key Anchorage

    Caesar Creek is a shallow inlet which runs off Biscayne Bay, south of Miami, and eventually leads to the briny blue. The shallowest portion of the so-called channel is found on the Florida Bay side, and MLW depths can easily run to 4 feet. We’ve only anchored here a couple of times over the years, and I don’t remember the mosquito problem Captain Jim describes below, but I have no doubt he is quite correct, if the wind begins to die.

    Stay here only if the wind is howling otherwise the mosquitoes will run you off. If you have the best screens, the buzzing will keep you awake all night. If its calm, anchor in the Atlantic east of Elliott or keep motoring south to Florida Bay.

    Click Here For The Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For Caesar Creek – Rubicon Key – Reid Key Anchorage

  • Unhappy News Concerning the New Dinner Key Mooring Field (Miami, FL)

    Hmmmmm, sounds like the new mooring field at Coconut Gove (Miami) has some real administrative problems.

    We came into the new dinner key mooring field on Dec 1, and they asked us to take a mooring on the outskirts of the field that was a fair dingy ride in and is subject to wakes from boats in the channels before they begin to slow down — we are a 40′ Jeanneau ds40 with a 5′ draft –
    As we dinghied in we noted several 40′+ boats with deeper draft closer in so we asked if we could move closer in as most of the field is currently empty —
    we suggested a mooring number and told to go ahead and move which we did. Now we are told that the mooring we moved to is a 30′ mooring and the original mooring we were on was a 40′ mooring – in fact i would estimate that over 2/3 of the mooring field is designed for boats less than 40′ and we were told that they can not accomadate any boat greater than 42′ – when i told them a 47′ boat just left for the islands they agreed and told us that the boat was told they could no longer use the field because they were too big –
    There is also a very very tiny dingy dock
    Trying not to be to prejudical, it appears if this is a test field for the florida anchoring problem they designed it for failure – in fact you may just want to anchor on the other side of the mooring field and not have to pay which is right next to the 40-42′ moorings
    just my thoughts
    chuck patty and svsoulmates
    miami fl

    As for the engineering of the field I guess what is done is done for now. Short of building a break water all around the field, I don’t know. It’s an unprotected area, so it will be rolly polly from wind, waves and wakes. I suppose the center of the field and closer to land may be the best spot to be in if you have a choice and a lesser draft.
    But in regards to the dingy dock I was told that the larger floating dingy dock by the boat ramp will eventually be available to the mooring customers, once the mooring customer showers, baths and offices are installed. However for security purposes my preference would be where they have it now, well inside the marina and close to the harbormasters office, better a small safe dingy dock than one exposed to the street and to the unsavory characters that hang around the boat ramp at night.
    Hope things improve.
    S/V Nemesis
    Dinner Key Marina

    I keep my boat (70 feet) in Florida most of the winter and in Nantucket Harbor during the summer. In Nantucket we’re on a mooring, there is a Town-owned and operated pump-out boat running 7 days a week, launch service, two good-sized dingy docks and even delivery service. The Harbormaster’s building, at the foot of the Town Dock where the dingy docks are has nice bathrooms with clean showers. The water in the Harbor is clean, so clean that the Harbor is used for commercial scalloping in the fall and winter, and it is certainly clean enough for swimming. The health of the scallop population is dependent on clean water and healthy beds of sea grass. If boats were anchored instead of on moorings the sea grass beds would be destroyed in a season or two.
    Contast this with Florida where mooring fields are few and far between, pump-out facilities (let alone pump-out boats) are scarse and out-of service much of the time, and amenities of any kind are limited to say the least. I don’t get it. Florida’s waters are just as precious as New England’s waters. I’ve been reading for years about the damage done to coral by yachts anchoring on top of or too close to the reefs. If there was a mooring field close by (but not too close) and an anchoring ban enforced it strikes me that the problem would be at least partially solved.
    Just my opinion.

  • Angelfish Creek, December, 2009 Report

    I don’t think any body of water in the Florida Keys has garnered more postings here on the Cruiser’s Net than Angelfish Creek. Some, like Captain Holm below, have no problem, while others have had an unfortunate encounter with an “underwater rock.”

    Subject: Angelfish Creek
    Cruising News: We went out through Angelfish Creek 2 days ago, with some trepidation after all the negative reports and our C-Map based plotter showing 3 ft depths.
    Two hours after HW on the ocean side, our lowest depths were over 8 ft on the inside and over 7 feet on the ocean side. It is wide, well marked and straightforward.
    Doug Holm
    Acme Cat – Nonsuch33 with 5.5 ft draft

    We have been through Card Sound/Angelfish Creek 2 times now and the depth is great. We draw 5 ft. and have not had any problems. We also were concerned about the depth and acquired local knowledge and were told that there was not a problem for our draft. On Christmas Eve 2009, we set out with 20 knot headwinds and stayed in the middle of the channel and followed a 120 foot Lazarra out through the channel an hour before high tide and found 7 ft. where the chart and chartplotter showed only 4 ft. We went to Carysfort Reef and tied off to a mooring ball and had a rough 20-25 knot East winds until 7 a.m. when they became southeast to east at 10-15 knots. We were prepared to make our crossing to the Bahamas from there, but elected not to go from there on Christmas Day, due to the 5 foot seas. We returned to Angelfish Creek and anchored in 10 ft of water and are staged for the next weather window to make our crossing to Gun Caye. The current in Angelfish has not been in issue in the two days that we have been here. We did however observe numerous crab trap floats from the exit to Angelfish to the Atlanti Shelf. Our concern leaving at Midnight was that we wouuld foul our prop and if we decide to leave from the mouth Angelfish at midnight, then it will be necessary to post a crew with a spotlight at the bow for approximately 4 miles to the shelf. The advantage of going to Carysfort Reef (7 miles south of Angelfish Creek is that there are free moorings for the night and behind a reef for protection and has 2-4 feet below the surface.
    Bill & JoAnne

    Another helpful site for weather reports of wind is:
    Bill & JoAnne

  • Transient Moorings Available at Coconut Grove Sailing Club (Maimi – Dinner Key, St. M. 1094.5)

    Coconut Grove Sailing Club is the southernmost of the facility’s set along the Miami – Dinner Key – Coconut Grover waterfront. They feature a well sheltered harbor, and, if my own experience is any judge, some of the friendliest folks you will ever find!

    Subject: Transient Moorings at Coconut Grove Sailing Club
    Cruising News: CGSC has transient moorings available for sailboats up to 40FT. $35/night, includes 24 hr. Launch, Bath/Showers, dinghy dock, BAR and Restaurant available to guests… Safe Protected moorings convenient to Coconut Grove. Website:
    Marc Buller

  • Boca Chita Key Marina and Visitors Center (Biscayne Bay, Statute Mile 1106)

    The Boca Chita Key Marina and Visitor’s Center lies a short hop off the Inside/ICW channel, south of Dinner Key. This facility is part of the Biscayne Bay National Park. I’ve always found holding good depths from the Waterway to the dockage basin, to be a bit of challenge.
    More on this facility at:

    June 2009: Took 52 foot cruiser in with five-foot draft but waited for a +1.0 foot tide which gave me a foot or more under the keel. Good wall with cleats for tie up. No power or water. $20 charge per night. Mosquitoes found us quickly even in middle of day. Kind of funny to watch boat loads of weekenders arrive in bathing suits, haul coolers and grills from open boats to picnic tables, and then start swating with vigor. Some left quickly. Reminds me of the Everglades in Summer. We hid inside in the air conditioning for two days and then escaped with most of our blood left. Much nicer, I am sure, in cooler, dryer weather.
    Hank Haeseker

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Boca Chita Key Marina

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