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Archive For: Keys8 – Marathon and Boot Key Harbor

  • LNM: Coffins Patch Light 20, Straits of Florida, 7/6/2017


    This destroyed Light 20 is due east of Marathon in the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary.

    STRAITS OF FLORIDA – ALLIGATOR REEF TO SOMBRERO KEY – TENNESSEE REEF: Hazard to Navigation
    Coffins Patch Light 20 (LLNR 995) is destroyed. Wreckage has been marked with a TRLB WR20, displaying Fl Q R characteristics. Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution while transiting the area. Chart 11452 LNM 27/17

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Coffins Patch

  • More on Missing Sailors, Vicinity of Marathon, Florida Keys

    If anyone has knowledge of Paul Murray’s location, please contact his Dad at the number below or through our Contact number 336-446-9381.

    paulmurray

    Paul Murray

    We are looking for Paul Murray -aboard Sailboat Double Feature (Boot Key Harbor west of Boot Key bridge)
    READ MORE!

    He went to Stock Island (Key West) to help a friend (Donnie) move his boat to Marathon. They ran aground, got in the dinghy and safely made it to shore on June 16. Folks at Robbie’s Full Service Marina at Stock Island tell me that Donnie has gone to New York but no one knows where Paul is. He isn’t answering phone (likely destroyed in boat mishap), isn’t responding to texts or FB messages and hasn’t accessed his bank accounts in last 2 weeks! We have contacted his friends and family but no one has had any contact.
    If anyone has any ideas I can check out or knows anything, please let me know ASAP. I am Paul’s dad.
    Bill Murray and can be reached at 248.974.8218

    4/3/2016 Larry,
    Attached is a corrected version of the Monroe County’s press release about my son’s disappearance:
    Family, detectives looking for information about missing man
    Sheriff’s detectives are hoping to help locate a Marathon man whose family and friends say they have not seen nor heard from him since June 16th.
    48 year old Paul Thomas Murray, who lives on a boat in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, told family members he was going to help a friend move a sailboat from Robbie’s Marina on Stock Island to Boot Key Harbor on June 16th. A short time after that, the sailboat he was supposed to help move, called the “Hornet” was located, grounded on some rocks a short distance away from Robbie’s Marina. No one was on board.
    A friend of Murray spoke with Murray’s father. He said the owner of the boat, Donny Vanaria, and Murray were going to move the boat together on the 16th. A man whose nickname is “Red” reportedly told Murray’s father that he woke up at 4 a.m. on the 17th and the boat was aground; he said neither Murray nor  Vanaria were on board, but Vanaria returned by dinghy and asked Red if he would take care of his dog because he had to leave town.
    Since that time, there have been no reports from anyone who has seen or heard from Murray and his family says there has been no activity on his credit/debit card or cell phone.
    Anyone who knows anything about Murray that might help find him, or find out what happened to him, should contact Major Crimes Detective Dawn Agusto at 305-289-2410.

    7/15/2016
    There has not been any progress in the investigation. The MCSO Major Crimes Unit is trying to investigate but there is a lack of information at this point.
    We think that Paul left Boot Key Harbor on 6-16 to help a man deliver a boat (S/V Hornet)from Stock island to Marathon. They left that evening and the next morning the boat was crashed on the rocks outside Robbie’s Full Service Marine. (it is still there on its side full of water – I will forward a pic). While the owner made it to shore and then left town immediately, Paul was not seen again.
    The sheriff’s office is looking for persons who have specific information about Paul arriving at Stock Island and boarding the boat. Right now, no one has come forward to help us figure out what actually happened.
    Thanks for your interest and help.
    Bill Murray

    6/17/2017

    Keys Police Searching for Two Men Who Vanished 1 Year Ago

  • A Plea for Overhead Clearance at Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL


    Boot Key Harbor and its mooring field is actually bordered on its southern shore by Vaca Key in Marathon. The 65ft vertical clearance cable Peter describes is in the west side of the bascule bridge entering the harbor channel.

    Boot Key Harbor, what a great anchorage. However, I can’t bring my boat past the bridge because of the wires. These really need to come down and be rerouted and buried under water. Why hasn’t this been done already ?? It is just a matter of time before this will need to be done and the longer it is delayed, the greater the cost will increase. Disappointing. I sail a 55 foot Beneteau with a 78 foot mast.
    Peter Scherer

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Boot Key Harbor

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

  • City of Marathon Mooring Field and Wet Slip Fees on Boot Key Harbor

    For 2017 rates, go to http://www.ci.marathon.fl.us/government/departments/marina-and-ports/pricing/  and to http://www.ci.marathon.fl.us/government/departments/marina-and-ports/anchorage-mooring-dockage/  for mooring field information.

    January 28th 2012
    Boot Key Harbor City Marina Increases Fees
    Marathon, FL
    by Charmaine Smith Ladd

    Tuesday of this week, the City of Marathon approved an increase in the fees for mooring and dinghy dockage at their public City Marina. An increase has been expected, as the City is challenged to keep their books in the black. However expected the increase in fees, unexpected is the enormous rise in costs for those who choose to merely anchor and access the amenities of the City Marina. Read More

    Mooring rates include dinghy dockage, one weekly sewage pump out (additional pump outs are available at $5 each), parking for one motor vehicle, and access to the marina commons (including laundry and shower facilities).
    Dingy dockage rates include all of the above except one is at anchor and not assigned the use of a mooring.
    Daily mooring increased from $21 to $22.
    Daily dinghy dockage increased from $13 to $22.
    Weekly mooring increased from $105 to $110.
    Weekly dinghy dockage increased from $45 to $85.
    Monthly mooring increased from $275 to $300.
    Monthy dinghy dockage increased from $135 to $225.
    Most transient boaters have no need for a parking space. Laundry is carded and one pays separately for use. Many cruisers shower aboard and do not use the marina for that purpose. Perhaps the City of Marathon should consider lowering fees for those who wish to simply access the City Marina for dinghy dockage. Having amenities listed and paid for on as “as needed” basis would be much more agreeable to those who have no use for many of the services included with dinghy dockage. It is the opinion of this writer that $225 per month to dock a dinghy at a City Marina facility is far too much.
    Charmaine Smith Ladd, SEECN Special Correspondent & Representative
    Executive Director, Mariner’s Barr (Boaters’ Anchoring Rights & Responsibilities)
    csmithladd@marinersbarr.org

    Sorry Charmaine, I would love to visit you there, but I don’t willingly submit to extortion. Those prices are ludicrous for the dinghy dock. I guess that’s a good way to chase away those at anchor, if that is their intention.
    John Kettlewell

    And water is 5 cents per gallon.
    Does anyone know if the mooring field is staying full this winter?
    Ted

    That is INCREDIBLE!!! We were waiting for a weather window and intending to visit Marathon on our way from Key West to Bimini, but your article just changed our plans. Charging the same for a dinghy tie-up as for a mooring is simply insane, what were they thinking? We’d have taken a mooring if we could get one, but we are not about to pay the same if there are no mooring balls available. How very unwelcoming.
    Heather and Derek

    Maybe dockside could reopen a dinghy dock for $50 a month for those at anchor. Bring in business they lost over the years.
    Philip (formerly “Winds of Change”)

    There is no question that the city of Marathon is trying to NOT service the sailing community on a fair and non discriminatory basis. The fee now charged to anchor and use the dingy dock and showers is $225 per month for being on the anchor. The only people that can afford those rates are in general are the snow birds and a few sailors with deep pockets. For a live aboard that works every day he or she cannot afford those rates thus eliminating the less fortunate the opportunity to anchor in Boot Key Harbor within there means. Marathon City Marina is a public marina therefor any rate increases should have been equally charged to the moorings as well as the dingy dock and wet slips.
    However it appears that discrimination against the working class or less fortunate citizen continues in all forms of our government. The lucrative mooring balls were increased by 10% so why were the people who anchor there boats charged a 70% increase with no additional services?
    Ed & Bonnie Spomer S/V Almost Heaven

    Mooring Ball increase 8% / Dingy Dock increase 40% / Slip Rental under 36′ 100% over 36′ $1.00 per foot increase
    The boating community needs help to stop economic discrimination against those who choose to have small boats (Don Street for one) or want to anchor there vessels.
    Ed & Bonnie Spomer S/V Almost Heaven

    Ed & Bonnie: I agree with what you wrote, but the increase in the daily dinghy dock fee from $13 to $22 is actually about 69%! Obviously they are trying to force everyone onto the moorings, but there are times of the year when all the moorings are full, and there are also many of us that just prefer to anchor. If someone just wants to go ashore for dinner or to buy some groceries, add $22 to your bill. Imagine the uproar if a parking fee of $22 per day was put in place ashore.
    John Kettlewell

    The boating community in Boot Key Harbor is outraged to say the least. There is an effort to protest the unfair increases beginning with a first meeting on Friday February 10th @ 11:15 est. The meeting will be at the Marathon City Marina TiKi Hut.
    Ed & Bonnie Spomer S/V Almost Heaven

    Cruising News:
    Mooring Ball increase 8% / Dingy Dock increase 40% / Slip Rental under 36′ 100% over 36′ $1.00 per foot increase The boating community needs help to stop economic discrimination against those who choose to have small boats (Don Street for one) or want to anchor there vessels.
    Edwin Spomer

    We have not been to Marathon in a while. However it does hold a special place for us.
    Anyway I was just having a look at the increase in prices. Nothing really seems out of place. However my personal take on the drastic increase in Dinghy Dockage, is that the city wants people to take a mooring rather than just anchor and use the facilities. This may be over the top just a little as if the anchorage is reduced in size and people are foreced to anchor out side (during our past visits we had no choice but to anchor outside due to limited swing room) while waiting for a mooring. A suggestion would be to have a reduced Dinghy Dockage Rate while on the waiting list for the mooring field…. Otherwise yes if people want to use the shore side facilites then the demand on Water usage, Laundry, etc is exactly the same whether or not someone is on a mooring ball. You could also reduce the dinghy dockage rates a little if there was a way to control what part of the facility the person/cruiser was using…. IE – no laundry & no showers, then all they are doing is tieing up thus a less of a load on the system.
    Just a thought…
    Capt. Cameron Murray

  • Seeking Fellow Boater in Marathon. FL

    If you know or have seen Wayne Shosie, please contact SSECN or Laurel Long at the info below.

    Hello, I’m trying to contact Wayne Shosie on MV “Blue Max”. I’ve been told he is in the anchorage at Boot Key Harbor City Marina Marathon, FL.
    Thanks for any assistance you can give.
    Contact info: Laurel Long
    904-472-5546
    laurel382@gmail.com

  • Good Words for Marathon Marina and Boat Yard, Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL


    Marathon Marina and Boat Yard lines the northern banks of the western Boot Key Harbor approach channel, west of the now permanently open bascule bridge.

    We have stayed here several times and love it. The pool has the best view around and the people are friendly. Brought the boat down from Naples and booked a month and will go back and forth. I would recommend this marina highly.
    Nancy Meyers

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Marathon Marina and Boat Yard

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon Marina and Boat Yard

  • Monroe County to Expand Pumpout Services, Boot Key, Marathon, FL


    This expansion of pumpout services in the Marathon area is certainly good news for cruisers. Our thanks to Chuck Baier and Susan Landry for forwarding this article by William Axford in KeyInfoNet.com.

    The city of Marathon is looking to expand wastewater services for boats by providing Monroe County with a location to receive vessel waste for the Middle Keys.
    Should a location be provided, the city will most likely be working with Key Colony-based company Pumpout USA, which is contracted with the county to remove vessel waste.
    Chuck and Susan

    The Great Book Of Anchorages http://www.tgboa.com
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    Marathon to expand wastewater services for vessels
    Boaters are not charged for pumpouts
    BY WILLIAM AXFORD
    waxford@keynoter.comSeptember 24, 2014
    The city of Marathon is looking to expand wastewater services for boats by providing Monroe County with a location to receive vessel waste for the Middle Keys.
    Should a location be provided, the city will most likely be working with Key Colony-based company Pumpout USA, which is contracted with the county to remove vessel waste.
    At Tuesday’s city council meeting at the Marathon Government Center, council members were expected to approve a resolution amending the city’s wastewater utility fees and rates, implementing a $112 a month fee to dispose of waste at a city facility.
    There is also a 14-cent-per-gallon surcharge.

    “The city is trying to make sure we have a way for vessels to remove their untreated sewage within the areas of the Keys,” said Zully Hemeyer, head of the city’s utility department. “We do not want to discharge waste near shore waters because of the potential health risks. This is just another way we can ensure the water is kept clean.”

    For the full article, go to: ARTICLE NO LONGER AVAILABLE

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon, Fl

  • Faro Blanco Resort to Re-Open, Marathon, FL


    Our thanks to Chuck and Susan for sending this notice of the re-opening of Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Clubmarina. Open the link below for more on this beautiful resort.

    For those of you familiar with Marathon in the Florida Keys, you know that Faro Blanco Resort has been closed for a very long time. It has been announced that the all new Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club is scheduled to open in December.

    Chuck Baier and Susan Landry

    The Great Book Of Anchorages http://www.tgboa.com

    Navigation Notices http://www.marinalife.com/navigationUpdates/index.cfm

    Our Blogs Trawler Beach House http://trawler-beach-house.blogspot.com/

    Voyages of Sea Trek http://sea-trek.blogspot.com/

  • Port of Entry Facility in Marathon, FL to be Completed by Spring of 2015


    SSECN first reported this story in January of 2014 (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=133372) at which time the facility was to have completed by December of this year. Our thanks to Chuck Baier of Beach House Publications for sending this article by William Axford from KeysInfoNet.com.

    New Customs entryway in Marathon is getting closer
    By WILLIAM AXFORD
    Renovations to bring a U.S. Customs and Border Protection office to Florida Keys Marathon Airport are set to start in the next 30 to 60 days.
    The construction at the airfield’s terminal is the first step in having a Customs agent at the airport and making it an official port of entry for travelers entering the U.S. in the Keys. It could open in spring 2015.

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

  • High Praise for Marathon Marina and Boat Yard and Staff, Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL


    Marathon Marina and Boat Yard lines the northern banks of the western Boot Key Harbor approach channel, west of the now permanently open bascule bridge.

    Great Marina! We have pulled our trailerable Macgregor Sailboat from Atlanta to the Marathon Marina for the past 3 years. Each visit is a great one. The staff takes such good care of us, even though we are not a mega sailboat. Wifi works well throughout the marina. There is a great restaurant with wonderful food right on the premises. They have updated their pool to a lovely saltwater pool (no more blood shot eyes from chlorine). There are grocery stores, a West Marine, and plenty more restaurants, well within driving distance or a $5 taxi drive.
    On our last visit we needed a haul out due to engine trouble. The crew operating the machinery were very professional. They took such great care of our boat and the rate was reasonable.
    On our first visit to the Marina, my wife was getting ready to toss me a stern line when she fell into the cockpit of our boat and broke her foot. Judy from the office was such a help. She instructed us where we could get medical attention and offered to help in any way we needed.
    For those who wish to attend a worship service on Sundays, there is a great church just down the road called Marathon Baptist Church. The Pastor is very caring and the congregation of locals are welcoming and warm hearted.
    We continue to return knowing we will enjoy every day of our visit to this wonderful marina.

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Marathon Marina and Boat Yard

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon Marina and Boat Yard

  • More on Depths on Sister Creek, Marathon (Alternate Passage from Hawk Channel to Boot Key Harbor)


    Sister Creek is an alternate entrance to Boot Key Harbor, which runs, more or less, north from Hawk Channel. In the “sagging utility lines posting (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=84316)” both Claiborne and our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, cautioned that boats drawing more than 4 feet should not attempt to use Sister Creek to access BKH.

    At normal high tide I have entered with 6’2 draft and no bumping, several times seeing depths once inside in the teens.
    Cory

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

  • A Month-Long Stay at Sombrero Marina, Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL

    Sombrero Marina - Click for Chartview

    Sombrero Marina – Click for Chartview

    Sombrero Marina resides on Boot Key Harbor’s southerly banks, near the bay’s easterly limits, just east of unlighted daybeacon #5A. Skipper Reeves points out the marina’s pro and cons.

    We stayed @ Sombrero Dockside for 1 month. Never could get internet as promised. The people on the docks are wonderful and are very welcome to new comers. They love the place. Dave the Prince of Poop is a hard worker and will POUT on Thursdays and Mondays if needed the fee is $5 and $10. Dave is always cheerful even when replacing old dock boards in the hot sun. The parking lot is right at the docks and locals/tourists speed through the curve fast so watch out when biking/walking to nearby stores. There is a golf course across the street with a nice walking trail. A patch of grass is provided as a dog walk and some users from the marina never pick up after their large dogs.
    The Dockside Cafe is on the grounds and is a good place for a cold beer and has a great Mahi sandwich, but the music is so loud the acoustics so bad you can’t hear the music for the sound level. I assume the singers are good.
    The tiny kitchen is quickly overwhelmed by the crowd and service depends on the size of the crowd. You share the showers and such with the bar. The laundry is in a shed and seemed to always have one or more machines out of order. The huge demand for dock space in the winter keeps the place full at $23 @ Ft plus elect and pump outs.

    Sombrero Marina

    Sombrero Marina

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Sombrero Marina Dockside

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

  • Praise for Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL

    Boot Key Harbor - Click for Chartview

    Boot Key Harbor – Click for Chartview

    Home to a very popular, busy anchorage and mooring field (usually has a waiting list), Boot Key Harbor lies in the heart of Marathon and north of Vaca Key. This review comes from our friends at the “T&T” (Trawlers and Trawlering) nautical mailing list.

    Boot Key harbor in Marathon has a few hundred mooring balls at a reasonable rate that includes dinghy dockage, showers, car parking and laundry access. The harbor has better breezes than on the mainland or in canals.
    There are many restaurants nearby, Sunset Grill facing west adjacent to the 7 Mile Bridge being our favorite. There are many other favorites too with great Happy Hour specials such as Lazy Days. The popular Salty’s however recently burned to the ground. There is a local theatrical group and movie theatre plus Publix, Winn-Dixie and Kmart are nearby. Next door is the city park with ball fields, tennis courts and amphitheater. During the winter months there are numerous flea markets, festivals and other special event.
    Its 50 miles to Key West by city bus, inexpensive.
    Rick aboard “Dark Star”, 44′ Marine Trader DC

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

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

  • Lightning Strike in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL, off Hawk Channel

    Boot Key Harbor - Click for Chartview

    Boot Key Harbor – Click for Chartview

    Boot Key Harbor lies east of Marathon and north of Vaca Key. The crew of Mi Amante was very fortunate indeed to have escaped with only equipment damage.

    We were hit by lightning at Boot Key Harbor the night before Thanksgiving. Suffered a lot of electrical component damage but we lived. 1:30AM – ‘CRACK – BOOM!”. Our neighbor on her mooring ball saw the strike – “sparks everywhere at the top of your mast!”. We are fortunate…
    Mo s/v Mi Amante

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

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

  • Mooring Fees In Marathon, FL

    Marathon, FL – Click for Chartview

    The current rates for mooring are: $22 daily, $110 weekly and $300 monthly. For more information on pricing, go to: http://www.ci.marathon.fl.us/government/departments/marina-and-ports/pricing/

    What are the fees for mooring balls and anchoring in Marathon?
    Jim Upfold

    Jim, Dinghy dockage and mooring balls from the city rent for $22 per day, with lower rates for longer terms. Basically it costs as much to anchor as to moor, unless you don’t go ashore much. Anchoring itself is free, if you can find a spot in the small remaining area.
    John Kettlewell

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

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

  • Biodiesel Available at Burdines Waterfront Marina, Boot Key Harbor, Marthon, FL

    Burdines Waterfront Marina - Click for Chartview

    Burdines Waterfront Marina – Click for Chartview

    Burdine’s Waterfront Marina overlooks the Boot Key westerly approach channel’s northerly banks, just a quick hop east from Pancho’s Fuel Dock.

    Please make your cruiser’s aware that B100 biodiesel is available at Burdines in the Florida Keys. It is locally produced, not imported from Miami.
    Nancy Lillie
    Marathon BioDiesel, Inc
    305-522-9136
    888-842-9315 Fax

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Burdines Waterfront Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Burdine’s Waterfront Marina

  • More Navigation Advice on Marco Island to Marathon

    Captains Dave and Nan Fuller offer good advice and recommendations of routes and stops on the sail from Marco Island to Marathon, as originally posted on the AGLCA Forum, www.greatloop.org.

    We made this leg of our Loop in August 2013, and it was the roughest open water we have yet encountered, probably because we were on a deadline to get > to the Keys. Our Carrabelle to Tarpon Springs leg was glassy smooth as we were patient and waited nearly 3 weeks for a suitable weather window. I mostly used NOAA and Weather Underground for my weather forecasts from Ft. Myers to the Keys but did not make a go-no go decision based on weather as it was predicted to remain the same for several days and it was within my personal tolerance of seas 2-3 feet. We had wind from the northeast and east during the three day trip from Ft. Myers to Islamorada. Day one, we traveled from Ft. Myers to Marco where we met a close friend and his wife for dinner and then the next day we left Marco for the Little Shark River anchorage in the Everglades. Everyone told us to beware of bugs, but there was
    sufficient wind blowing day and night so they were almost zero problem in August. I was even able to grill out after dusk and only had a few horseflies to deal with. We highly recommend Little Shark River as an anchorage as it is well protected in every direction except southwest and if you go a little deeper up river, it offers protection in every wind direction. The trade-off will be the amount of bugs to deal with. After spending one night at anchor, we continued around the Cape and to the Keys. We have friends in Islamorada, so we did not go to Marathon by boat. We spent a few days in Islamorada and rented a car to go to Key West and be tourists.
    If I take this route again, I will stay further offshore going around the Cape. We basically followed the boundaries of Everglades National Park and went over so much shallow water that I finally shut off my depth alarm. We never hit bottom, but this is an area where shallow water is the rule and the charted depth pretty much matched what we experienced. Interestingly, the closer we came to shore, the bumpier it became and the further off shore, the smoother. This was with a 25 MPH east wind. We had constant 2 foot seas with occasional 3 and 4 footers. I think that the bottom profile is such that because of a slow slope, it gives the wave energy extra lift making for steeper waves and the deeper water makes them more of a roller profile. Normally, when you are behind a reef, you experience smoother water than on the windward side, but that was not the case here. Waves were on
    our port forward quarter resulting in nearly constant spraying and were more bothersome than uncomfortable. However, our dinghy came loose and was thrashing about on the davits and we just had to let it swing as it was not safe to go on our swim platform to secure it. It did some damage to the
    davit mounts and bracing that required repairs, but the dinghy sustained zero damage.
    I am not an expert on weather in this area, but my understanding is that typically the winds are out of the northeast (bad weather) or east (prevailing) or even southeast (best possible for this leg). I understand it is rare to have winds out of the west quadrants unless associated with a storm. We spoke to one skipper in Marco who had come from Key West the previous day and said they got beat up by 6 footers in the same wind conditions, but they took a much deeper water track than hugging the coast as we did. There is only one area you will need to watch with a well-marked channel marking the opening between two reefs. You make an S turn and it is very easy – no problems. As you approach the Keys, crab pots are EVERYWHERE and can only be described as a mine field, even in the middle of the marked channel. Keep a sharp lookout, go slow, and forget your depth alarm – it will be useless.
    If you follow Tom’s weather musings for the Big Bend crossing, he posts a disclaimer that his advice is dispensed based on a specific boat with its characteristics and his tolerance for risk which clearly falls on the conservative side. I share his risk philosophy of being conservative as this is supposed to be fun boating – not a race or a delivery captain mission. Each skipper is responsible for their own decisions after gathering all available data. You should make your decision based on your personal risk tolerance, your boat’s ability to handle different sea conditions, your level of competence and training, and your personal tolerance for what conditions you are willing to accept. Keep in mind that this leg is open water and is a LONG way from help if something goes wrong. VHF radio coverage is spotty in places, and cell phones simply won’t work as you go around the Everglades. I personally carry an EPIRB just in case the VHF or cell phone won’t summon help. You should be prepared to be self-sufficient for this leg or travel with a buddy boat.
    If you can be patient and are not on a specific timeline, you can pick a suitable weather window and have a non-memorable open water trip to the Keys.
    Dave & Nan Ellen Fuller

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