The discussion below is copied from the Cruisers’ Forum, and relates to the several anchorage opportunities adjoining an island which lies withing dinghy distance of Key West Bight. The charts name this isle, Wisteria Island, but all the locals refer to it as Christmas Tree Island.
We are currently behind Wisteria Island. The whole area is surrounded with boats. North of the Island east and west. The cityKWB marina maintains dinghy dock for 26 a week or 80 a month. Just pick a spot with enough swing, lotta boats.
Anchoring on the south side of wisteria (christmas tree) island will give you some shelter from the north but it’s rolly from wakes (especially in the early morn. when the charter boats go out). Holding is fair but use caution. It’s a short dink ride across the channel to the harbor where the dink dock is (payment enforcement haphazard… meaning you never know so just pay). note: going back across the channel in a northerly blow can be extremely rough and wet.
Also remember that K.W. has been pirate country for centuries… and still is. Use common sense and you will have a great time.
Just off of Christmas tree is the place to be. It’s convenient to the municipal docks & out of the way. There are areas where there is 8-10 inches of sand over limestone, and you will think you are dug in well but will drag like a mother in the first squall, so make certain you’re dug in.
Also, an open hatch is considered an invitation. A closed hatch with a big lock will generally be left alone.
Just take care that your anchor does not get stuck in the many custom made moorings around the island. I picked up an engine block once trying to haul anchor. Many derelict boats with questionable ground tackle all over.
Be careful of the shoal in the middle that looks like a great empty anchor spot.
However once you navigate all the above it is a great spot very close to KW and a much better location than the city mooring field. Never had issues with “piracy” in the many years I have gone there. Might be dumb luck though but I do lock up when I leave the boat.