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101. Bahia Honda Channel/State Park Anchorage

101. Bahia Honda Channel Anchorage
Lat/Lon: near 24 39.442 North/081 16.819 West
Location: lies between the two Bahia Honda bridges, off the westerly shores of Bahia Honda Key
Minimum depth: 5- to 9 -feet
Swing Room: sufficient room for vessels as large as 45 feet
Foul Weather Shelter: good, but open to southern, northern and northwesterly winds


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Comments from the Cruisers' Net Community (5)

  1. Mickey -  April 30, 2013 - 7:52 pm

    Waters get very rough at night with a lot of rocking and rolling. More of a jerky roll. Park looks nice but if you want a good nights sleep don’t stay here. winds got to 30 knots and boat next to us drug anchor. winds were SE to S.

  2. Claiborne -  February 1, 2011 - 11:50 am

    Great anchorage with sandy beach and walking trails at the state park. Currents are strong, but a good Delta with chain worked great. We would not suggest this site with any north winds as it makes for an uncomfortable, sleepless night. Make sure you go to the beach on the Atlantic side for a beautiful sunset.
    S/V Arkeoo

  3. Jules Robinson -  December 26, 2009 - 2:16 pm

    I have anchored here, while the currents are strong, the holding is very good and our all chain rode kept us dug in well along with a few other boats during 30-40 knot squalls from the south one night. we didn’t drag and I didn’t see anyone else that did.
    And the state park is very nice for hiking, swimming, sunbathing, bathrooms, showers, snack bar, gift shop etc. they have a tour boat that goes out to the reefs and other amenities. I look forward to returning.
    Cap Jules
    S/V Nemesis
    Dinner Key Marina

  4. jim -  December 12, 2009 - 3:25 pm

    Dont risk anchoring here, pay a few bucks and tie up dockside at the State Park marina. The tide rips between both bridges and you will flip direction every time the tide changes. The current is so strong under the old abandoned bridge that you need to be on a plane in a power boat at peak ebb tide to pass under it ! The north bridge has little vertical clearnace and the abandoned railroad bridge has concrete piers every 100′, so if your anchor slips you will be sanded with concrete.

  5. Claiborne -  August 14, 2009 - 10:05 am

    Bahia Honda State Park
    11 miles west of Marathon
    (305) 872-3210
    Imagine water, water, everywhere as you sail eastward in Hawk’s Channel along the Keys’ island chain. At Big Spanish Channel you take a turn to the north and see an opening in what used to be a section of Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railway. Today, this section is more often called Bahia Honda Rail Bridge. It may very well be one of the most unique entrances to anchor ever.
    As you turn ever so slightly to the right, you see that Bahia Honda’s uniqueness continues. Amid a lush landscape, beautiful palm fronds wave you a welcome in the gentle breeze. Between you and the landscape is a gorgeous white sand beach. It seems the only difference between here and Michener’s Shangri-La is the notice of a row of covered pavillions boasting concrete floors and BBQ grills. Even so, it is all picturesque.
    This is Bahia Honda State Park. With lots of land for long walks and bike rides, Bahia Honda also has a marina, ship’s store, ample changing and bathroom facilities, outdoor freshwater showers (hot showers are available in the camping areas), and the wonderfully unique anchorage that sits front and center of its main beach. All the Park employees are very friendly, cordial, very helpful, and anchoring is free of charge.
    There are other lovely beaches on both Oceanside and Bayside of the Park. The water, during calm weather, is very clear for snorkeling. For safety reasons, it is not permissible to dinghy directly to the beaches. Instead, dinghy tie-up is free at the marina where it is then a short and enjoyable walk to any of the beaches.
    So…what’s not to love about Bahia Honda?
    Anyone who has been there will tell you: Anchoring can be problematic. The problems are: 1) the Bahia Honda anchorage is located in between two bridges (the old railroad bridge and US1); and 2) the bottom is mostly rocky so holding is questionable.
    However, with the know-how, one can anchor at Bahia Honda and have a gloriously trouble-free and extended visit. First, keep in mind:
    – There is no protection from the North or South.
    – The best anchoring areas run parallel to the swimming buoys where plenty of sand and grass provide a good bottom for holding.
    – Fluke style anchors don’t usually hold well here because they are designed to let go in a blow and then reset. The often swift current and rocky bottom can hinder the flukes from taking hold quickly enough to avoid danger.
    Time and again while anchored at Bahia Honda, I have witnessed couples struggling to get a good hold with their anchors. I wait as they try and try again. By the sixth time or so, I’ll get on the radio and ask the Captain if he’d like a few local knowledge tips. By then he’s more than ready to listen to the other things to keep in mind:
    – Let out no more than 30 ft. of rode to set the anchor.
    – Face the current if it is swifter than the wind direction.
    – Back down slowly, slowly, until firm resistance is felt.
    – Rev up (e.g., 3000 RPMs on my 22 HP Yanmar) until the bow snatches downward and whips in a very quick, narrow arc.
    When the snatch and arc occurs, you have found excellent holding and are dug in. Let out the remainder of your rode and let the boat fall back on its own. I find it prudent to then set the MOB (the sooner the additional confirmation you’re not moving, the sooner all can relax).
    Now you have a bit of insight on what it takes to have a safe and stress-free visit at one of the most beautiful anchorages in all of the Florida Keys. Hopefully, if not already, Bahia Honda will be at (or very near) the top of your list of anchorages to enjoy while cruising the Florida Keys.
    Photographs link: s/v September Sea at Bahia Honda Anchorage
    Charmaine Smith Ladd, bringing you “The Low Down from Down Low”


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