Posted by Claiborne Young | Posted on 12-06-2009
The Cudjoe Channel cuts south from the so-called “Back Route” leading from Marathon to Key West. This interesting passage cuts north past Pine Key, and then out into the open waters of the Gulf. At this point, mariners heading for Key West, turn to the (you guessed it) west, and skip along off the northern face of the undeveloped Keys, until reaching Northwest Channel, which leads, in turn, to the many delights of Key West.
There are numerous anchorage possibilites off the “Back Route” after turning to the west. Cudjoe Channel is one, but this anchor down spot has the interesting advantage of often affording a view of the “Fat Alberts.” These are massive weather/radar ballons that the US Navy flies at the end of a long, long tethers from Cudjoe Key. The only trouble is they sometimes break free, and the Navy has to scramble a couple of fighters out of nearby Boca Chica Key to shoot them down, lest they drift into Cuban airspace.
Just a note about Fat Albert. It has a diesel generator in it so they have to bring it down every so often to fill the diesel tank. it can fly in up to about 60 MPH winds so it is not that dependent on the wind speed. it is also interesting how often it points in a different direction than the wind direction at sea level.