Pumpkin Key Anchorage, Indian Key Anchroage and Angelfish Creek – Captain Jane Reports
Is there anything better than an article authored by our fearless roving reporter, Captain Jane. We don’t think so! Not only is
Jane a very keen observer, she’s also a marvelous writer and we feel very privileged to have her as a regular Net reporter.
Below, Captain Jane does her usual sterling job of presenting information on two Florida anchorages, with a quick blurb concerning depths on Angelfish Creek.
Her first anchor down spot, Pumpkin Key, is located off the Florida Keys Inside/ICW/Florida Bay route, near the eastern shores of Card Sound. We provide links below to these waters’ entries in the Net’s “Florida Keys Anchorage Directory” listings.
Indian Key lies on the Hawk Channel side of the Keys, abeam of the gap between Upper and Lower Matecumbe Keys. We all collectively think SO LITTLE of this so-called anchorage that we have chosen NOT to list it in our directory. Captain Jane lays bare the reason for our low opinion of these waters as an overnight haven below.
Thanks for another wonderful job Captain Jane!!!!
Captain Jane Reports on Two Anchorages between Miami and Marathon: Pumpkin Key and Indian Key with a bonus comment on Angelfish Creek
First, look at these two peaceful photographs. Don’t they conjure up the ideal idyll of the cruising life? But you and I know better, right? This season, we experienced both the “why are we heeling if we are at anchor” feeling and the epiphany that mooring balls don’t necessarily make you feel secure and comfy.
So here is a current report on two popular places to swing on the hook or a ball while making your way to or from the Keys.
Keys-bound, first up is Pumpkin Key. Depths of 8 to 11 feet, shelter from all but a western blow. Caveat: we are two for two for dragging here; watch yourself carefully when you first drop the hook. It’s easy to hook up with a clump of seagrass and drag at an impressive speed. One afternoon in January it took us and another vessel four tries each to get set in actual bottom. The other vessel switched from a plow to a Fortress style anchor, and we found security doing the exact opposite, same day, same time, same channel. Go figure. That’s the science of anchoring. The good news is, once we were set, the holding was great.
We had the same experience in early February but it only took three tries. Once we got the anchor in, we were secure even while we took a strong blow on our unprotected side.
Next stop on your way to Marathon is Indian Key. It’s a wonderful place to visit, featuring historical sites and a dinghy dock and three free mooring balls. Signs at the dinghy dock say this ungated park is open from 8 AM to 6 PM and we hear it is worth a stroll. We confess that your fearless roving reporter was neither fearless nor roving. Intimidated by rolling and nauseating sea swells, described below, neither of us kayaked ashore to provide you with an up to date site visit report.
For all the poetic appeal of visiting Indian Key, if there has recently been an extended blow, especially from the South is our theory, you can expect large sea swells to be a feature of your stay. But perhaps you enjoy a quiet night swinging — and we mean swinging — on the hook or mooring, with your nose not just in a book but literally slamming into it every 11 seconds.
We made the mistake of thinking that when the wind clocked to something other than south, “rock-a-bye baby the cradle will fall” sensation would stop. We were wrong and, as a result, on top of our own physical discomfort, we had to endure 16 hours of intense guilt-demanding glares from the more sensitive of our two boat cats.
Our advice — visit Indian Key in calm weather. There is no protection from any wind but north and the swells can be quease-inducing. Also, the tackle on the mooring we chose was quite frayed, something to consider if you are looking for shelter in heavy weather. Matecumbe Bight nearby might be a better choice.
S/V Lady Jane
PS: My most excellent first mate thinks I would be remiss if I did not mention that on our winter 2010 passages through Angelfish Creek to and from Hawk Channel, we found no less than 8 feet. We favored the red marker side of the channel. Now I’m not remiss.