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Florida Keys

Key West is a boating paradise located at the end of the Florida Keys in South Florida. The climate is subtropical with SE winds most of the year. There are wonderful fishing, snorkeling and diving destinations all within a day sail. For a charter of 5 to 7 days or longer, the Dry Tortugas is 70 miles west of Key West with pristine water and coral reefs plus historical Fort Jefferson which can be toured alone or with a guided group. A barrier reef runs from Miami to the Marquesas Keys a short distance south.


The Key's Marine Life
The Key's Marine Life

Well cruising the Florida Key's you can expect to see a variety of marine life from tropical fish, sea turtles to dolphins.

Dry Tortugas
Dry Tortugas

Made up of seven small islands, it is one of the world’s most unique eco-attractions. Its crown jewel, the historic Fort Jefferson, was once used as a prison during the Civil War. Explore and learn of its history with one of our guides and enjoy an array of activities. There’s something for everyone! Book Now and Explore Uncharted Territory at the Dry Tortugas National Park!

Snorkeling Florida Reefs
Snorkeling Florida Reefs

Enjoy snorkeling in just about every part of the Florida Keys. Florida's beautiful reefs, have large coral growth and abundant populations of tropical fish.

The Local Food
The Local Food

Well visiting the Florida Key be sure to enjoy the local cuisine. Eat fresh Lobster, Crab, and locally catch Fish.

East and North Excursion

Day 1: Stock Island to Little Palm Island 24 NM

Leave our charter base and try Little Palm Island. Reservations for dockage and dinner are highly recommend at this private resort. Ashore, watch for the miniature key deer and tropical birds.


Day 2: Looe Key and Marathon 25 NM

Looe is 5 miles south of Little Palm Island. It is one of the most colorful and alive of all the reefs in the Keys. Your destination tonight will be Boot Key Harbor. You'll have a choice of marinas and anchorages.


Day 3: Long Key Bight 23 NM

Take your time, relax and have a slow start to your day. You might want to take side trip out to Sombrero Key for snorkeling. If not and after leaving Boot Key Harbor follow Hawk Channel in a northeasterly direction and set a course to Long Key Bight.


Day 4: Indian Key 8 NM

The plan for today is to take a short sail and then do some exploring on Indian Key, which was the Dade County seat from 1836 to 1840. About 1 mile south of the Indian Key, you'll find mooring buoys marking the remains of the Spanish sailing galleon "San Pedro" in about 18' of water.


Day 5: Duck Key 20 NM

Want to spend some time enjoying luxury in the Keys? Set Sail for the first class Hawk's Cay Resort in Duck Key. Do not go in at low tide!


Day 6: Bahia Honda Key 23 NM

As you depart Duck Key today you will back track with your destination being the anchorage at Bahia Honda Key. Bahia Honda is a state park and you can dinghy ashore where you'll find a gift shop, an old broken railway bridge and a small swimming beach on the bay side.


Day 7: Key West 30 NM

It's time to start heading back for Key West Today. If you make an early start today you might want to make another snorkeling visit to Looe Key. As you approach Key West, give Florida Yacht a call.


Key West to the Dry Tortugas

Day 1: West Channel 20 NM

As you depart the marina you will be turning to starboard. Carefully follow the day markers out through the channel. Your course will take you through West channel staying south of Man Key, Woman Key, and Boca Grande. Approaching the southern tip of the Marquesas Keys, the best anchorage is west of the islands if the prevailing southeast winds are blowing. You can anchor anywhere around the island depending on the wind. Watch the depths carefully as you are approaching the islands.


Day 2: Rebecca Shoals 45 NM

Depart the Marquesas in the morning and continue your westerly course, staying south of the Quicksands, Halfmoon and Rebecca Shoals. Track your position carefully as there is a strong north/south current running through the area. Plot your course past the Yellow “O” marker and leave the Red “2” (south and east of Garden Key) to starboard. Cross Southeast Channel using the Green “3” (between Bush and Hospital Key) as your landmark, leaving it to port turn toward the Red “2” and Green “3” (just north of Garden Key). Motor carefully through the channel between Garden and Bush Keys and your anchorage is just south and east of Garden Key. This anchorage is often full and the water shallows quickly as you approach the boundaries. You can also find anchorages southwest and west of Garden Key.


Day 3: Fort Jefferson

Dinghy ashore and explore Fort Jefferson. Be sure not to leave your dinghy on the beach where the daily sea planes take off and land. Also take a walk or snorkel around the sea wall which creates a “moat” between the fort and the sea, and is brimming with fish.


Day 4: Loggerhead Key

Take a day trip over to Loggerhead Key. This is a great place to explore and go snorkeling but it does NOT make a good overnight anchorage. You can exit the anchorage at Garden Key either the same way you came in or go out through the channel which is southwest of Garden Key. The anchorage at Loggerhead is east of the island just off the light in the center. From here you can dinghy ashore and walk around the island or dinghy around the southern tip to the reefs off the western side of Loggerhead Key. Before dark, head back over to Garden Key to anchor for the evening. Use both anchors as the holding ground is “iffy”.


Day 5: Dry Tortugas

Spend another day relaxing and enjoying the Dry Tortugas. Bush Key is protected bird Sanctuary and during nesting season it is interesting to dinghy slowly around the island observing the bird life ashore and all the sea life in the shallow water.


Day 6: Marquesas Islands

It is time to start back to Key West today. Plan on making a stop again at the Marquesas on the way back especially during the winter time when there are limited day light hours. If you make an early start and are making excellent time, you may be able to make it back to Key West. Be sure you can make it to Key West with day light to spare.


Day 7: Oceanside Marina

If you stopped in the Marquesas yesterday, continue on to Key West today. You should be able to get in early if you want to have some time to explore Key West. Pull into the fuel dock at Oceanside Marina, fuel up and pump out before docking.


Day 8: Home

Your boat is due back today at 10 a.m. Please make sure to bundle your linens, remove trash (trash containers are located at the beginning of the dock), top off the fuel tank and pump out, if you haven’t. Please see the charter manager before departing the marina. Have a safe trip home.


7-Day Miami to Key West (One Way)

Day 1: Hawk Channel 105 NM

OVERNIGHT BOARDING is an option if you are arriving in Miami the day before your charter. If you arrive by 1pm we can do your check out and you could get your boat provisioned then head out for an evening of dining and people watching on exotic South Beach. morning if you get an early start you can head for the South end of KEY LARGO. You depart our marina and exit into the ocean sailing Sough for the entrance to HAWK CHANNEL. Hawk Channel is the body of water between the Florida Keys and the offshore reef and it varies in width from ¼ mile up to 2 miles wide at some points. This is a long day sail (about 10 hours) so you will need to make an early start this morning if you want to make a marina tonight. After passing Hawk Channel marker Green “35” on Mosquito Bank you will see a Red “2” for Key Largo Channel (not Largo Sound Channel) leave it to starboard as you turn almost due north toward the rock sea wall. This channel is silting in from the North - leave the Red “2” about 200 feet to your starboard side and put the northeast corner of Rodriguez Key on your port stern. As you approach the sea wall move at a slow speed you may be reading the grass bottom on the depth sounder. DO NOT TRY TO ENTER THIS CHANNEL AT LOW TIDE!!! If you are going in on a full moon, you may have to wait until half tide to get in. You will enter behind the sea wall and proceed to the last channel to port. He corner is a tight right turn with a big mirror on the last piling to see down the opposite channel. Check the mirror for traffic with your binoculars. Also listen to channel 16 on the VHF for “securite” warnings which all the tour boats use to announce their arrivals and departures. If a tour boat is approaching this corner at the same time you are, tell them you will stand by and wait for their turn. The marinas are at the end of this channel, Marina Del Mar to port and Key Largo Harbor to starboard. They both have shore side facilities and swimming pools. There is also a grocery store and drug store next door…and ice cream shop across the street! It is worth the short taxi ride to the “Fish House” for one of the best seafood meals in the Keys! As you leave MIAMI BEACH MARINA turn to port and then to port again into GOVERNMENT CUT CHANNEL (remember Red Left Leaving). After you pass Green marker “9” you can turn out of the channel to starboard setting a course for the first two HAWK CHANNEL markers Red “2” AND Green “3” just West of FOWEY ROCK LIGHT. Hawk Channel is considered an inbound channel from Fowey Rock to Key West so remember Red Right Returning. As you are sailing South and decide you do not want to make Key Largo you can anchor at CEASAR CREEK either North or South of the channel depending on the winds. You will continue South past the Green “35” on Mosquito Bank. The Red “2” is the beginning of the channel into Key Largo- leave it to starboard as you turn almost due North toward the rock sea wall. You will enter behind the sea wall and proceed to the last channel to port. (Do not enter Largo Sound channel) The marinas are at the end of the channel on the port side. This is a very narrow channel with a very wide Tour Boat going in and out occasionally. Listen to channel 16 for “Security” warnings of their arrivals and departures. -1- Alternatively if you want a later start today you can have a nice easy sail South through beautiful BISCAYNE BAY. Biscayne Bay is completely protected by shoal water which makes for smooth sailing no matter what the winds are doing. Your destination is either ELLIOT KEY or PUMPKIN KEY this evening where you will find a comfortable anchorage for the night. Leave MIAMI BEACH MARINA and motor in a Southwesterly direction leaving the flashing Red “16” to starboard. Rapidly cross the main ship channel and proceed along the South side of Dodge Island in Fisherman’s Channel. Watch out for the large cruise ships and the Fisher Island ferries which use this major channel. Stay in Fisherman’s Channel as you pass South of Dodge Island, you are in an inbound channel here so remember Red Right Returning. The last inbound Channel marker is “25”. You will then see a Green “57” which is an Intracoastal Waterway Marker (these are identified by a gold day-glow marker above the number) Leaving the Green “57” to port turn South to enter the Intracoastal Waterway. DO NOT TURN SHORT OF THIS MARKER OR YOU WILL BE AGROUND!!! In the Intracoastal Waterway the Red markers are always between you and the Mainland. Green markers are between you and the Sea. (Remember Red Dirt, Green Sea.) After going under Rickenbacker Causeway Bridge you will be in the main part of Biscayne Bay. As you are sailing South you will pass yellow markers “B” and “C” which indicate the boundaries of Biscayne National Park. They are also good reference points for sailing South through the bay to Featherbed Banks- the Western most channel - Intracoastal Waterway Markers “3” and “4”. You can anchor along Elliot Key or continue South to Red “8”, run through the channel and anchor on either side of Pumpkin Key depending on the wind. Here and throughout the Keys you are often in National and State Parks and Preserves. Please remember “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but your wake.” DISTANCE: 25 MILES TO ELLIOT KEY 30 MILES TO PUMPKIN KEY 50 MILES TO KEY LARGO MARINA DEL MAR: 1-800-451-3483 OR KEY LARGO HARBOR 1-800-843-5397


Day 2: Rodriguez Key

If you sailed to Key Largo yesterday- have a relaxing morning and then take a short side trip out to the reef for snorkeling and diving. MOLASSES REEF, FRENCH REEF, AND GRECIAN ROCKS are the three reefs closest to you. There are several reefs which have permanent mooring buoys making snorkeling off the stern of the boat a breeze! These reefs are protected areas do not drop anchor on a reef!!! After a long day of sailing yesterday I would suggest shooting back into Key Largo for another evening at the marina or anchor off of RODRIGUEZ KEY. If you took the second option yesterday, you will be departing Biscayne Bay / Card Sound through ANGELFISH CREEK this morning for Hawk Channel. Angelfish Creek is very narrow at the Western and Eastern ends and can get down to 5ft at low tide. As you are approaching the Western end of Angelfish Creek stay close to Red “14” and “12”. Remember “Red Left Leaving!” As you are exiting the Eastern end of the channel stay centered in the channel and as you pass Marker “1” and “2” set a safe course for Hawk Channel. Once out in Hawk Channel you can plot a course to one of the reefs for an afternoon of snorkeling or diving. CARYSFORT REEF, THE ELBOW AND KEY LARGO DRY ROCKS are all along your way and since they are close together you can stop at more than one. From any of these reefs it is a quick sail into Key Largo for the evening. NOTE: Each major reef has a tower marking it. Around the tower will be white diamond markers on the stakes showing the outer edge of the reef. DO NOT SAIL BETWEEN THE TOWER AND THE MARKERS. Outside the diamond markers are the white mooring buoys which you can pick up for snorkeling and diving.


Day 3: Windley Key 22 NM

You have two destinations to choose from today. The first is a great marina and the second is an interesting anchorage. FIRST DESTINATION: Depart Key Largo today for WINDLEY KEY. Along the way you have a choice of several reefs for snorkeling. PICKLES REEF, DAVIS REEF, and HENS AND CHICKENS to name a few. Hens and Chickens reef is on the edge of the main channel making for easy access as you are sailing South. After passing Hens and Chickens set a safe course for Whale Harbor Channel. Do not cut this corner short… it is best to stay in 8 feet of water until you can see down the channel. After passing Red “8” you will see a secondary channel taking you into Windley Key. At Windley Key you will find HOLIDAY ISLE BEACH RESORT AND MARINA, one of the best resorts in the Keys! Holiday Isle has something to please everyone- five restaurants, arts and crafts shops, windsurfing, parasailing, jet skiing, swimming pools and white sand beaches… all Florida Key’s style. DISTANCE 15 MILES HOLIDAY ISLE BEACH RESORT AND MARINA 1-800-327-7070 SECOND DESTINATION: After passing Hens and Chickens continue Southwest approximately 6 miles to the North end of Lower Matecumbe Key where you will see INDIAN KEY ANCHORAGE (This would not be a comfortable anchorage in a strong East to Southeast wind.) At Indian Key anchorage you can dinghy into the dock on Indian Key and walk around what used to be a thriving little community. Indian Key was the Dade County seat from 1836-1840 when the Indians burned it down after being threatened by the local leader. There is an observation platform on the island so don’t forget your camera. While you are at Indian Key Anchorage you may like to do a little more exploring. Lignumvitea Key which is Northwest through Indian Key Channel (accessible by dinghy or tour boat) has a virgin hammock including many native species of vegetation. There is also a coral rock house, a cistern, and a windmill built in 1919. There are walking tours Thursday through Monday- call ahead for information. DISTANCE 22 MILES LIGNUMVITEA BOTANICAL SITE 305-664-4815 or CELL PHONE 305-451-8679 If Indian Key is not a tenable anchorage continue another 8 miles to LONG KEY BIGHT, this is a very protected anchorage either South or North of the bridge.


Day 4: Duck Key 25 NM

You have time to wile away this morning at Holiday Isle and enjoy all they have to offer. If you prefer you can take off for snorkeling our on ALLIGATOR REEF (no one has spotted a real alligator yet!) this morning. If you are at Indian Key spend a lazy morning on the boat or go off exploring. Your destination this morning is HAWK’S CAY MARINA the first class resort at DUCK KEY. Departing either your anchorage or marina you will continue sailing in a Southwesterly direction until you pass Hawk Channel marker Red “44”. You can then set a safe course for the Red “2” at the top of the “Duck’s Head” (Do not try to go into Duck Key Channel!) After passing the Red “8” make a quick turn to starboard inside the sea wall. Follow the sea wall all the way around staying to starboard when the channel splits. As you enter the marina it can get quite shallow, but it is a soft bottom if you should touch down. All the facilities of the resort are available to you as a marina guest. Both fresh and salt water pools with a pool side bar. With tennis courts, a workout room, and parasailing there is enough to keep anyone busy. A couple of nice restaurants and a morning breakfast buffet are available if you prefer to eat ashore. There is also a dolphin show everyday. A great place to kick back and bask in luxury for a day or more! DISTANCE 25 MILES HAWK’S CAY RESORT 1-800-432-2242


Day 5: Sombrero Reef 15 NM

You have two choices again today. FIRST CHOICE: Spend the morning at Hawk’s Cay Resort and then take off for snorkeling at SOMBRERO REEF this afternoon. It is another great spot to see the tropical reef and try to identify all the brightly colored fish. MARATHON or BOOT KEY, is your port of call this evening with several marinas to choose from.Once again you will be sailing in a Southwesterly direction. You will pass the Southwest tip of Boot Key and then turn to the Northeast setting a safe course for the channel entering Boot Key Harbor. You will see FARO BLANCO MARINA OCEANSIDE on your port side before you go under the draw bridge. Alternatively SOMBRERO LIGHTHOUSE MARINA is at the end of the canal on the Northeast end of Boot Key Harbor. Be aware there is an overhead power line 65 feet high and a draw bridge to enter Boot Key Harbor. Both of these marinas come highly recommended with excellent restaurants and facilities. You can also anchor out at BOOT KEY either in Boot Key Harbor or Off the Western end of Boot Key. Marathon is an active little city where you will be able to buy additional provisions and anything else you may need. The grocery store is accessible by foot from Sombrero Lighthouse Marina and by taxi from Faro Blanco. DISTANCE 15 MILES FARO BLANCO MARINA 1-800-759-3276 SOMBRERO RESORT AND LIGHTHOUSE MARINA 305-743-2250 SECOND CHOICE: Your second choice today is to simply stay at Hawk’s Cay Resort and do as close to nothing as you can get away with!


Day 6: Looe Key 22 NM

Today if you are still at Hawk’s Cay you have a fairly long day sail to NEWFOUND HARBOR-about 6 hours of sailing. SOMBRERO KEY is on the way if you want to allow time for snorkeling. If you made it to Marathon last night you have a much shorter sail and plenty of time for a side trip to LOOE KEY, one of the BEST reefs on your trip for snorkeling. From Looe Key you can sail almost straight North to Newfound Harbor. If you are approaching from Hawk Channel pass marker number “50” and set a safe course for Newfound Harbor Channel marker Red “2”, give it a wide berth and then turn Northeast into the channel. After passing Red “4” anchor off the side of the channel or continue further before pulling off. Be very careful here, it shallows abruptly when you leave the channel. There is a strong current through this anchorage so anchor well!! At Newfound Harbor you will discover LITTLE PALM ISLAND, an exclusive private resort island. It is a beautiful place to stop but be aware there is a $100.00 minimum docking fee. You can also anchor out and go ashore for dinner. The food is superb but pricey ($30 - $50 per person). Reservations are highly recommended for docking and dinner ashore as they are a small facility. While ashore, watch for the adorable miniature Key Deer and all the tropical birds. If you look just North of Green “3” you will see a tiny island which is great to dinghy to and explore the shallows around the island. DISTANCE 30 MILES FROM DUCK KEY 15 MILES FROM MARATHON LITTLE PALM ISLAND 1-800-343-8567 An alternative anchorage for tonight is BAHIA HONDA KEY which is before Newfound Harbor. As you pass Bahia Honda Key and clear the visible sand bar off the Southwest tip, turn Northeast and go through the cut in the old railroad bridge. Anchor between the two bridges and dinghy ashore to the small marina which is part of Bahia Honda State Park. The park is a wonderful place for walks and cook outs but it does close at dusk. BAHIA HONDA STATE PARK 305-872-2353 DISTANCE 22 MILES FROM DUCK KEY - 8 MILES FROM MARATHON


Day 7: Conch Harbor Marina 25 NM

CONCH HARBOR MARINA where Florida Yacht keeps their boats. The last Hawk Channel Marker you pass is Green “57”. From that point sail a safe course to enter the Main Ship Channel just North of the Red “12” and after passing Red “14” turn slightly starboard to enter Key West Harbor Channel. Just before the Red “24” you will see Key West Bight Channel marker Red “2” look for the Texaco sign and that is the fuel dock for Key West Conch Harbor Marina. Call Florida Yacht on Channel 16 or Key West Conch Harbor Marina to get docking assistance. Top off your fuel tank and Florida Yacht Charters personnel will assist you into your slip. One nights dockage is included in your drop off fee at Conch Harbor Marina. DISTANCE: FROM NEWFOUND HARBOR 25 MILES FROM BAHIA HONDA KEY 30 MILES In Key West you can shop till you drop on DUVAL STREET and find plenty of places for sustenance along the way. Don’t miss the sunset festival held every evening at MALLORY SQUARE at the end of Duval Street. Your boat is due back at 10 am tomorrow so don’t stay out TOO late and party! FAIR WINDS AND SMOOTH SAILING, Captain Jenny Kerr


8-Day Miami To The Florida Keys

Day 1: Biscayne Bay

Biscayne Bay is protected by a shoal offshore which makes for smooth sailing and well-protected anchorages. Cast off your lines, leave the marina via Dinner Key Channel and motor in a easterly direction passing the mooring field. Once you pass the mooring field you will be in the main part of Biscayne Bay. Most of the channel markers you encounter along the way are ICW markers. Heading south in the Intracoastal Waterway, the red ICW markers are always between the mainland and the green ICW markers are between you and the sea. (REMEMBER RED DIRT, GREEN SEA). As you are sailing south, you will pass an odd assortment of houses built on stilts, called “Stiltsville”. You will also pass yellow markers “B” and “C” which indicate the boundaries of Biscayne National Park. Have a nice, easy sail south through beautiful Biscayne Bay, which carries an average depth of 10-12 feet, sometimes less, which takes a bit of getting used to. All FYC charter boats are shallow-draft, but if you stray outside the channel markers, you may run aground on a sand bar. If the tide is falling, you’d best contact a towing service. If the tide is rising, sit tight and you’ll probably float off soon. What you don’t want to do, is try to use the engine to motor off, which can damage the boat (sand gets sucked into the raw water intake) and damage the fragile sea grass beds, resulting in possible park fines. Your destination this evening is either ELLIOT KEY or if you are making good time, continue on to round, little PUMPKIN KEY, which always has a lee side. This is an easy first day out, even if our “winter” winds are blowing; (but don’t worry, the temperature rarely drop below 70 degrees F). They are several good reference points for sailing south through the bay to Featherbed Bank’s ICW “3” and “4”. (The more westerly of the two channels through Featherbed Banks). You can anchor along Elliott Key or continue south to red “8”, run through the channel and anchor on either side of Pumpkin Key, depending on the wind. Here and throughout the Keys, you are often in national and state parks and preserves.


Day 2: Hawk Channel – Key Largo 28 NM

narrow at the western end of Angelfish Creek, so it is important that you stay in the middle of the channel, close to Red “14” and “12”. Remember “RED LEFT LEAVING” Angelfish. As you are exiting the eastern end of the channel, stay centered in the channel and as you pass Marker “1” and “2”, set a safe course for Hawk Channel. Hawk Channel is considered an inbound channel from the entrance (outside Biscayne Bay) all the way to Key West, so remember “red right returning” heading south. Go on a rising tide, never low tide, go out into at least 12 feet of water before making your turn down Hawks Channel. Once out in Hawk Channel, you can plot a course out to a protected reef for an afternoon of snorkeling or diving. Be aware of the approximate bearing to your next Hawk Channel marker, so you don’t confuse other channel entrance markers, and verify the numbers as you pass the markers. (It’s the “sail by numbers” game!) There are several reefs that have permanent mooring buoys you tie onto without anchoring. CARYSFORT REEF, THE ELBOW, AND GRECIAN ROCKS are just a few of your choices, and bunched close together, so why not visit them all? Please Note: Each major reef has a tower marking it. Around the tower will be white diamond markers on stakes showing the outer edge of the reef. DO NOT SAIL BETWEEN THE TOWER AND THE DIAMOND MARKERS. Outside the diamond markers are the white mooring buoys which you can pick up for snorkeling and diving. Never, ever anchor on a reef, and even casually touching coral or brushing it with a flipper can kill it. Head into port this evening at the south end of KEY LARGO where there are a few different marinas to choose from. After passing Hawk Channel marker green “35” on Mosquito Bank, you will see a red “2” for Key Largo channel (not Largo Sound Channel), leave it to starboard as you turn almost due north toward the rock sea wall. This channel is silting in from the north, so leave red “2” about 200 feet to your starboard side and put the northeast corner of Rodriguez Key on your port stern. As you approach the sea wall move at slow speed, you may be reading the grass bottom on the depth sounder. DO NOT TRY TO ENTER THIS CHANNEL ON LOW TIDE! If you are going in on a full moon, you may have to wait until half tide to get in. You will enter behind the sea wall and precede to the last channel to port. The corner is a right turn with a big mirror on the last piling to see down the opposite channel. Check the mirror with your binoculars for traffic. Also listen to channel 16 for “Securite” warnings which all the tour boats use to announce their arrivals and departures. If a tour boat is approaching this corner at the same time, you are to tell them you will stand by and wait for your turn. The marinas are at the end of this channel, Marina Del Mar to port and Key Largo Harbor to starboard. There is a grocery store and drug store right next door and an ice cream shop right down the street. It’s worth the short tax ride to “THE FISH HOUSE” for one of the best seafood meals in the Keys. Marina Del Mar-1-800-451-3483 Key Largo Harbor Marina 1-800-843-5397


Day 3: Key Largo 17 NM

Depart Key Largo today for Indian Key Anchorage, which is off the northeast end of LOWER MATECUMBE KEY. Along the way, you again have a choice of several beautiful reefs for snorkeling: CONCH REEF, DAVIS REEF AND PICKLES REEF. If you have never tried snorkeling on a tropical reef before, you will be amazed by the new world you find just a few feet below the surface of the water. (If you’re a beginner, tie a long line off the stern and hang onto it while you snorkel, as the current can sometimes be surprisingly swift. It is also a good idea to take turns, so that the boat is never left unattended.) After passing Hens & Chickens, continue southwest approximately 6 miles to the north end of Lower Matecumbe Key where you will see Indian Key Anchorage. This would not be a comfortable anchorage in a strong east to southeast wind. Alternatively, you could continue on to LONG KEY BIGHT to anchor (an additional 12 miles) or simply stay in the Key Largo area. At Indian Key Anchorage, you can dinghy into the dock at Indian Key and walk around what used to be a thriving little community. Indian Key was the Dade County seat from 1836 until 1840 when the Indians burned it down. There is an observation platform on the island, so don’t forget your camera. This would be a perfect anchorage to barbecue off the stern of the boat, a cool and easy way to cook dinner.


Day 4: Windley Key or Duck Key

While you are still at Indian Key Anchorage, you may want to do a little more exploring. LIGNUMVITEA KEY, which is northwest through Indian Key Channel (accessible by dinghy or tour boat) has a virgin hammock including many native species and a coral rock house, cistern and windmill built in 1919. There are walking tours Thursday through Monday-call ahead for information. Lignumvitea Key Botanical Site – 305.664.4815 Cellular – 305.451.8679 You have two choices today depending upon how much sailing you would like to do. We will start with the shorter route: FIRST DESTINATION: After all your exploring today, you can head straight for port tonight or you can take a short side trip to ALLIGATOR REEF where you will find plenty of bright and colorful tropical fish on this shallow reef. When you have cleared your anchorage at Indian Key, you can set a safe course in a southeasterly direction to pick up one of the mooring buoys on Alligator Reef. If you have chosen the shorter route, you are now on your way back to Miami. Your port of call this evening is HOLIDAY ISLE BEACH RESORT ON WINDLEY KEY. This is one of the best resorts in the Keys. You will find something to please everyone here- five restaurants, arts and crafts shops, sport fishing, wind surfing, parasailing, jet skiing, swimming pools and white sand beaches…all Florida Key’s style! Whale Harbor Channel, the entrance to Windley Key is northeast from Alligator Reef. Be sure to clear the shallow spots when setting a safe course for the Red “2” at Whale Harbor Channel. After passing Red “8” you will see a secondary channel to starboard taking you into Windley Key. Holiday Isle Beach Resort and Marina – 1.800.327.7070 Distance – 10 Miles (including Alligator Reef); Distance – 7 Miles (straight to Windley Key) SECOND DESTINATION: Your second choice will take you further into the Keys. DUCK KEY is your goal for this evening where you will find the first class resort, HAWK’S CAY MARINA. All the facilities of the resort are available to you as transient marina guests. Amenities include: fresh and salt water pools, poolside bar, tennis courts and workout room. There are a couple of nice restaurants and a morning buffet if you prefer to eat ashore. Dolphin shows are a daily event here and very popular! Hawk’s Cay Marina is definitely a wonderful place to kick back in luxury. On your way to Hawk’s Cay, stop off at Alligator Reef. As you leave Whale Harbor channel sail South to Alligator Reef and pick up a mooring buoy. From Alligator Reef, you can set an easy southwesterly course for Duck Key. As you are approaching Duck Key, you will be entering the channel, which is in the center of the upside down “Duck’s head” (not Duck Key Channel or Tom’s Harbor Cut). After passing Red “8” and the end of the sea wall you will make a quick turn to starboard and follow the channel all the way around the island staying to the right. As you enter the marina, it can get quite shallow, but it is a soft bottom if you should touch down.


Day 5: Rodriguez Key 26 NM

Why not waste away a day in Margaritaville? You have plenty of time to partake of all the activities at Holiday Isle Resort or you can head out for another day of snorkeling the reefs. You anchorage tonight is RODRIGUEZ KEY, just a short hop away. You also could choose to go back to one of the Key Largo marinas tonight if you would prefer not to anchor out. Distance – 10 Miles (Rodriguez Key) Distance – 12 Miles (Key Largo) If you took the second option yesterday, you will be underway today for a long sail from Hawk’s Cay to Tavernier where you can anchor out for the evening. On your way back up Hawk’s Channel, don’t “bump into” the HENS AND CHICKENS, but do make a point of stopping at this small reef which is very accessible, just outside the channel.


Day 6: Heading North

Today will be your last day for reef snorkeling, so it’s time to “hit” (not literally) any reefs you missed on the way south. Don’t forget about John Pennekamp State Park, this park combined with the adjacent Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary encompass 178 nautical miles of mangroves, coral reefs and beds of sea grass. Identify that last bright blue and yellow fish and smile at your last friendly barracuda! You will be head back through Angel Fish Creek to anchor at Pumpkin Key tonight. I hope you have been watching the sunsets –they are some of the most spectacular to be seen in the world. An alternative destination tonight would be to stay out in Hawk Channel and anchor either north or south of Caesar’s Creek Channel. This is a great anchorage as long as there is not a strong wind out of the east. Distance – 23 Miles from Rodriguez to Pumpkin Key Distance – 30 Miles from Tavernier to Pumpkin Key Distance – 25 Miles from Rodriguez to Cesar’s Creek Distance – 29 Miles from Tavernier to Cesar’s Creek


Day 7: Coconut Grove

Today is an easy sail back through Biscayne Bay for an evening in your slip at COCONUT GROVE. Downtown Coconut Grove is within easy walking distance of the marina and is a fun party town for your last night out. CocoWalk is the center of town and is filled with shops, restaurants and clubs with all types of entertainment. If you stayed at Cesar’s Creek last night, continue north through Hawk Channel, exiting Hawk’s Channel at markers “2” and “3” close to FOWEY ROCK’S LIGHT. You can re-enter Biscayne Bay through BISCAYNE CHANNEL (south of Key Biscayne-look for the green and white diamond marker at the east end of Biscayne Channel). Then head for Dinner Key Marina; or duck into “No Name Harbor” at the south end of Key Biscayne, a peaceful little anchorage, with the Cape Florida Lighthouse in the background. If you would prefer to come back to Miami Beach Marina, continue north, from Hawk Channel turn into Government Cut east of the jetty and green marker “11”. As you enter the channel Miami Beach Marina is to your starboard side. Dinner Key Marina – 305.579.6980 Distance – 20 Miles from Pumpkin to Dinner Key Distance – 25 Miles from Cesar’s Creek to Dinner Key Marina Distance – 34 Miles from Cesar’s Creek to Miami Beach Marina


Day 8: Head For Home

You have the morning to organize your gear and depart FYC by 10:00 AM We hope you enjoyed cruising the beautiful Florida Keys. Alternate return route: If you would like, you may return the “INSIDE” route (which is west of the Keys) by heading southeast from Indian Key Anchorage to CHANNEL FIVE which is just north of Long Key about five miles away. Channel Five has a fixed 65 ft bridge (check mast height) as you head back in a northeasterly direction. This is a much protected course but the first twenty-five miles is narrow and shallow channel. We suggest that you motor this section on a rising tide. You will then enter BLACKWATER SOUND, BARNES SOUND, and CARD SOUND as you head for Biscayne Bay. You may want to consider this option in the winter months if one of our “rare north easterlies” blows through.


Passport and Visas

Please ensure your passport is valid for the period of travel and for six months after you return. Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.

It is the responsibility of each individual to ensure relevant visas are obtained where necessary. Sailor cannot be held responsible for refusal of entry or travel due to lack of visas. If you are in any doubt please contact your Embassy for full details.

Non-EU passport holders, please contact your local consulate for advice on visa and passport requirements.

On Arrival

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Safety

All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets harnesses we leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn.We have a limited supply of children’s life jackets (age 4+ only) if you have your own children’s life jacket we would encourage you to bring it along.We suggest that children who are not strong swimmers should not be allowed in a dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and that they should wear a buoyancy aid or harness when on deck.Children under the age of 16yrs should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.

Base Open Hours

Mon to Fri   8:00am – 4:00pm
Sat               9:00am – 7:00pm
Sun              8:00am – 7:00pm

Palm Beach
561-844-1100
Miami
800-537-0050
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727-553-9551
Key West
800-537-0050
Bahamas
800-537-0050