Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Tarpon Basin is crossed by the FL Keys Inside Route, just south of Blackwater Sound and Dusenberry Creek. There are at least 3 good spots to drop the hook here, and creative skippers will find more. Our thanks to Skipper Reeves for this report and photos.
On our cruise North to Jekyll Island from Marathon we used several anchorages and found some interesting free city docks. Tarpon Basin is a good stop over anchorage with a free dingy dock. Going North exit the creek and head for marker R48. Turn in to basin before R48A stay near north side of basin. Close to shore we found 5-7 ft. On in towards anchored boats we found 7-9 ft and stayed to the north of city docks.
A mooring-field feasibility study, presented to Monroe County commissioners at their March 19 meeting in Marathon, concluded that Key Largo Bay, particularly Buttonwood Sound, would be the location of a new managed mooring field. For more on this story by Kevin Wadlow in KeysInfoNet.com, go to http://www.keysnet.com/2014/03/26/495698/key-largo-bay-likely-to-be-first.html?sp=/99/106/
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.
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.
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:)
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.
Upper Keys Sailing Club occupies the sharp point of land, west of the twin charted “Micro Trs,” south of the charted position of Newport, depicted as facility #35 on chart 11451 (off the Florida Keys/Florida Bay Inside Route).
We have visited here many times over the years, and can say with some expertise, this is an informal, but unfailingly friendly, spot to coil your lines for a day to two. Advance arrangements by telephone are strongly recommended, as the docks are by no means manned on a regular basis!
Once you are tied to the piers, be sure to check out the small clubhouse on the grounds. You will probably find a very convivial gathering of fellow cruisers here many evenings, and a good time will be had by all!
These folks could not have been nicer or more accommodating. The facility is small and an eclectic mixture of weekend-use boats from J-boats to a pristine Island Packet to major-project live-aboards. The walk to stores and restaurants is about 1/2 a mile. One caution is that the gates to the marina are locked at 9pm.
Rich and Helen
Tarpon Basin is crossed by the FL Keys Inside Route, just south of Blackwater Sound and Dusenberry Creek. There are at least 3 good spots to drop the hook here, and creative skippers will find more.
One of our readers, Captain Mary Dixon, sent us the link below, which leads to a truly interesting article, which appeared in KeysNet.com (http://www.keysnet.com), about boats anchored long term in Tarpon Basin. As you will see, the problems reported in this article center around a small group of (I will NOT call them “crusiers”) people living on anchored vessels in Tarpon Basin. This unfortunate group is making life difficult for everyone, including fellow boat owners whose vessels are anchored in Tarpon Basin. Here is a case where many of those living on the water are asking for change, as well as the shorside powers that be! And, if this situation is not resolved soon, the responsible boat owners in Tarpon Bay may lose their rights to a public dinghy dock, which has been a great resource for all legitimate mariners!
With special permission from KeysNet.com publisher, Captain Wayne Markham, we have reprinted a portion of his article below. Follow the link in Captain Dixon’s note, or below the excerpted portions of the story, to read the entire text. Many thanks Captain Markham!!!!
Interesting development for Key Largo Tarpon Basin. http://www.keysnet.com/2013/
Reprinted by Permission from KeysNet.com
Key Largo liveaboards beg to keep access
By KEVIN WADLOW
Posted – Saturday, August 24, 2013 10:35 AM EDT
Reluctant to evict the solid citizens of the Tarpon Basin liveaboard community because of a few scofflaws, Monroe County commissioners decided Wednesday to seek more law enforcement.
It was a problem that cropped up literally in the commission’s own back yard, the bayfront park behind the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center at mile marker 102.5.
“We’ve had people showering naked next to the dumpster. People bathing in the fountain, naked,” county Building Official Jerry Smith told the commission. “We deal with this on a daily basis.”
Commissioner Sylvia Murphy said the small park once attracted sunset-watchers and children’s parties. Efforts were made to accommodate a number of well-behaved boaters who started using a small dock at the site to tie their dinghies.
“We were very good to the people who live on the hook out there,” Murphy said. “For two and a half years, it was wonderful. Then all of a sudden, a different quality began to take place.”
Now the park has been overrun by a small group of sketchy characters who create anxiety among visitors and county staff, she contended.
Several boaters who rely on the government-center property for shore access appealed for the county to oust the “bad apples” before banning everybody from the dock.
“The undesirables showed up when you closed other areas” used for liveaboard landing spots, said James Chapman. “You pushed them to us.”
He added, “They’re mostly gone now because they were arrested or their boats sunk.”
Murphy agreed the boaters who attended the Wednesday session “are the good ones. You’re not the problem, and you can’t solve it,” she said. “I don’t know what else we can do, except close off the dock to dinghies.”
“If you choose to close this off, you’re saying Key Largo is a town and island that is inaccessible by the water,” said liveaboard Chadwick Acevedo, married and employed. “What kind of island has no water access for the public?”
The boaters describe themselves as working locally for modest wages or retirees living a fixed income. Local marinas are too expensive, they said.
County Mayor George Neugent, a former liveaboard, said the proposed ordinance to curtail use of the park “gives me heartburn.”
Full article can be read at:
Mariners piloting craft that draw LESS THAN 5 feet have a whole host of what might be described as “wilderness anchorages” available off the ICW/Inside route between Buttonwood Sound and the Waterway’s intersection with northern Tavernier Creek. Be SURE to have a well functioning chart plotter aboard before trying this, and be aware that there is the possibility of keel meeting up with bottom. If you can overcome these limitations, be ready for an evening you won’t soon forget!
We anchored here on 4/2/13. We were at least a 1/4 of a mile or more off Bottle Key. No one else around. We were open to a 10 kt East wind that kicked up around 3AM, but we held firm. Very quiet. Mosquito’s were a bit hungry though.
Always good to get reports of “no grounding” since we post so often of shoaling on the AICW.
Miami to Plantation Key
Happy to report that from Miami to Plantation Key in Islamorada via Biscayne Bay, Card, Little Card, Barnes and Blackwater Sounds was no problem with a sailboat drafting 4’10″. Sticking to the ICW Magenta line and even at low tide, there was no grounding.
Mangrove Marina is one of only a very few facilities offering transient dockage on the Florida Keys Inside Route between a point south of Jewfish Creek, and Snake Creek. To access Mangrove Marina, depart the Inside Route just northeast of the Tavernier Creek intersection, between markers #64A and #65.
Note that Mangrove Marina also features a full service repair yard!
With the weather forecast predicting a change in wind direction to WSW on Wednesday night and Thursday, we knew we would soon need to move, so today we headed north 20 miles to Mangrove Marina, located at Tavernier in a very
protected and lovely harbor. This is a great spot for relatively shallow draft vessels to sit out bad weather. They have lots of live-aboards here, nice restrooms/showers and laundry (6 washers and 6 dryers), shopping nearby (half mile), plus a rental car place just a couple of blocks away.
So, we’re opting to drive to Key West from here while the wind continues to howl for the next several days.
Sharon and Ken Vogel
M/V Docker’s Inn
Our good friend, Captain Sterling has done it again!!!!!! Really, fellow cruisers, do NOT miss this one!!!
Click her to see our winning entry
_FRIGHT B4 CHRISTMAS 2012 – YouTube_
See you in Paradise!
Our good friends at SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR Key Lime Sailing Club wish everyone a hearty, Happy New Year with these very special offers and Florida Keys news linked below:
Sunset Cove is one of the most popular anchorages in the northern Florida Keys. This haven is located on the waters of southeastern Buttonwood Sound, in charted Sunset Cove, near statute Mile 1143 off the Florida Keys Inside Route.
We consider the report below by Captain Nelson to reflect a very unfortunate situation. It appears as if the local government is doing its best to try and make dinghy access from the Sunset Cove anchorage as difficult as possible. Not exactly a welcoming attitude for the cruising community.
Then, turning the coin to the other side, Captain Bill’s remarks about those aboard what I call, the “live aboard hulks,” points out the very real problem in Florida involving this type of “vessel” and derelicts (abandoned vessels). By the way, please remember, I define “live aboard hulks” as boats that people are living on, that will probably never move again, except possibly downward to the bottom.
There is a new 6′ fence across the county access so you can’t come ashore unless you go to the hotel or Bayside.
My last time there will be my last time ever. Seems that some drugged out vagrants live on a few derelict sailboats. One sang and yelled for hours and hours keeping us all up until 3 am. Wish I had my red rider in these situations.
For now this place is cruiser unfriendly and vagrant friendly.
I can understand the problems that Florida is having with its drugged out and substance dependent types – they’re no different than elsewhere.
The problem is that Florida has not figured out that you and I and other snowbird cruisers are NOT the problem.
Until they do, I’m simply either staying out of Florida, or spending as little time and money as possible there. This trip, I’ll tank up in Georgia, and fill my diesel jerry jugs before crossing the border. If they want to treat us this way, we can retaliate with our wallets.
ASSUMING THERE ARE REGULATIONS BY FISH & WILDLIFE AND/OR COAST GUARD GOVERNING: THE LENGTH OF STAY, NOISE AND WHATEVER ELSE, WHY DON’T THESE REGULATORY BODIES SIMPLY ENFORCE THEM THEIR REGULATIONS AND NOT BE HOSTILE TO THESE VISITORS TO OUR FABULOUS FLORIDA KEYS??
I am sometimes asked who was the very first to support the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net when our site first came on the scene back in early 2006. Well, the answer is Captain Paul and the Key Lime Sailing Club. I received a telephone call from Paul while he was traveling in the Philippines. His enthusiastic support of what we were trying to do really gladdened our hearts, and made everyone’s day.
And so, it is with much gratitude that we present the report below about this interesting facility having survived Tropical Storm Isaac with only very minor damage.
South Florida and the Florida Keys experienced heavy rains and strong winds brought by the Hurricane Isaac last Sunday. Thankfully Key Lime Sailing Club made thru the storm without any damage. The nearby restaurant Category 3 is one of the few places in Key Largo that kept their shop open during the storm and continued serving their delicious delicacies including their special stuffed hamburger. We are currently praying for the safety of places still on the path of Hurricane Isaac.
Key Lime Sailing Club and Cottages will be adding a new boat to the fleet. It is a 35’ Pontoon boat that can be used for bayside snorkeling and island tours. It will be ready this coming December for private charters and group charters. So book now for December or early next year and be one of the first guests to experience this new KLSC attraction!
Each cottage rental comes with designated 22’ sailboat that you can use for free for your entire stay! Use our kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, dinghies, snorkel gear, fishing gear, and bicycles all you want, also at no extra cost. Plus we give out a free Sunset Cruise to all our guests once or twice a week in Paul’s Catamaran around Florida Bay. Best vacation deal ever only at Key Lime Sailing Club!
Sailing lessons and sailboat charters are also available!
Check out our websites http://www.keylimesailingclub.com and http://www.keylargocottages.com for more info, you can also visit our Photos page and see uploaded photos of our dear guests and friends having a vacation to remember.
Sunset Cove is one of the most popular anchorages in the northern Florid Keys. This haven is located on the waters of southeastern Buttonwood Sound, in charted Sunset Cove, near statute Mile 1143 off the Florida Keys Inside Route.
The excellent report below, written by Florida Keys Keynoter reporter Kevin Wadlow appeared on KeysNet.com and is reprinted here with his permission. KeysNet website is http://www.keysnet.com and is a good source of local perspective on all things in the Keys.
Boaters Oppose State Pilot for Sunset Cove
A managed anchoring area proposed for Key Largo’s Sunset Cove fails to meet requirements for a state pilot program, says a staff report to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Monroe County’s draft ordinance to create several new managed anchoring zones reaches the FWC board at its Sept. 5 meeting in Tampa.
FWC Division of Law Enforcement staff who reviewed the county plan endorsed it, “contingent upon the Sunset Cove Managed Anchorage Zone provision being removed.”
A pilot program for five Florida coastal areas was enacted in 2009 to “explore potential options for regulating the anchoring or mooring of non-liveaboard vessels outside the marked boundaries of public mooring fields.”
Sunset Cove lies about 50 miles from the nearest existing mooring field, FWC staff said.
“Staff understands the Sunset Cove provision was originally added to the ordinance due to the amount of public comment received from residents” in a June 2011 meeting,” the report says. “Unfortunately, Sunset Cove is 45 to 50 miles from the Marathon mooring field… These were the mooring fields identified as part of Monroe County’s original application package for the pilot program.”
“There is also strong opposition from the boater groups on this provision,” the report says.
The FWC board members must approve local ordinances created under the pilot program. The board can amend or overrule its staff recommendation.
Monroe County officials only recently received the FWC staff report, said local Marine Resources Administrator Rich Jones.
The Keys ordinance also designates managed anchoring zones in the Lower Keys at Boca Chica Basin, Cow Key Channel and Key West Harbor; and in Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor and Sister Creek.
“Monroe County did something unique” by requiring proof of monthly sewage pumpouts for boats in the managed zones, FWC staff noted. A photo used in the state report to illustrate septic problems shows a toilet seat positioned over an open hole in a boat’s deck, with ocean water visible below.
Monroe County rules also would bar boats from the managed areas if they “exhibit pre-derelict vessel conditions” such as being unable to navigate, or appear to be in imminent danger of sinking. Of 39 comments received by the FWC on the Monroe County anchoring law, 18 were logged as “negative” with 12 being “positive.”
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?
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.
Briney Bug- Panama City, Fl
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 ;-).
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.
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!
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!
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
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.
Mangrove Marina is currently one of only three marinas (the other being Plantation Key Yacht Harbor) which offers plentiful transient dockage along the Florida Keys inside route, from south of Jewfish Creek to Islamorada. There is also a full service repair yard here. If your vessel can stand some 4 1/2 foot MLW depths, what’s not to like!
Great new look at the marina great tiki hut happy hour bbq very helpful staff and great prices close to shops.
Sunset Cove Anchorage is located on the waters of southeastern Buttonwood Sound, in charted Sunset Cove, near statute Mile 1143 off the Florida Keys Inside Route. And, as Andree points out, Buttonwood Sound lies west of US #1 Highway Marker 99.
Buttonwood sound is at MM 99.
I was anchored there for a few years. The dinghy dock was right off Bay side resort but now year 2012 there has been a fence put across the path, part of the “dock” was the resort’s property. You can still dinghy there , it is a small
space though off the dead end street. Snooks burned down since than and was rebuilt it is now reopened. It is a nice quiet anchorage, first row seat to fabulous sunsets and Snooks’ nice live band music.
Sunset Cove falls under the new anchoring regulations that are part of the Monroe County Pilot Program. The main one folks there will have to deal with is proof of pumpout. Save your receipts and keep a pumpout log.
Mangrove Marina is currently one of only two marinas (the other being Plantation Key Yacht Harbor) which offers plentiful transient dockage along the Florida Keys inside route, from south of Jewfish Creek to Islamorada. There is also a full service repair yard here. If your vessel can stand some 4 1/2 foot MLW depths, what’s not to like!
My wife and I have lived here three years. It is a great Marina, close to shopping, hospital and other amenities.
Great staff and enjoyable people.