Posted by Claiborne Young | Posted on 05-13-2010
The two messages below were copied from the “GL” (Great Loop) mailing list. Both were in response to a question about what cruisers could expect while cruising through the Florida Bay waters between the Florida Keys (Marathon or Channel Five) to Cape Sable (south of Marco Island and Everglades City).
Florida Bay usually isn’t too bad with an east wind because there is so much shallow water upwind of you. There are two strategies that you might consider.
1. Leave early in the morning. Like at first light. The wind is usually less in the morning.
2. From Islamorada, go to Old Dan Bank, then Through the “Yacht Channel” at Arsenic Bank and then past Sprigger, Schooner and Oxfoot Banks on your way to East Cape at Cape Sable. It only about 15 miles from Islamorada to Yacht Channel and then less than 20 miles to East Cape. The course is generally NWish so you should have a good trip, even in 20 kts.
The water will be choppy but doable. The biggest problem between Islamorada and the southern tip of FL will be seeing the crab pots in the choppy water. After you get off the southern tip of FL you can hug the coast and have smooth water all the way into Shark River. From Shark to Goodland should also be fine in those east winds, you will run out of the crab pots for the most part and have pretty smooth water.
Been there, done that,
Todd & Brenda Lanning
1985 40′ Oceania Trawler