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Old 12-02-2006
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Florida Keys via the Hawk Channel

We are set to depart for the keys out of Miami (to Key West), due to a 5 ft draft I think (and based on what I have read) the Hawk Channel would provide a better sailing vacation. We have 10 days available and I have read several books on the keys, but I am looking for suggestions from those that have been. We are looking for some suggestions on good marinas (friendly people, avg cost, maybe a nice pub/restaurant) I have looked at some like Hawks Cay and that doesnt mesh with what we are looking for. Does anyone have some suggestions including other "hot spots" that we wouldnt want to miss while sailing the keys.
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Old 12-02-2006
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Yah...with 5 ft. the Hawk Channel is a lot easier to navigate but anchorages are few and marinas are too. With 10 days to spend, you can cross over to the inside where it makes sense and settle in as there are more facilities on that side. Suggested stops on the outside include the anchorage at Rodriguez Key and Marathon/Boot Harbor where you can pick up a mooring cheaply and dinghy in to enjoy a number of restaurants shopping etc. Allow at least a couole of days for Key West as there is a ton of stuff to see and do. John Pennekamp State Park/Reef is definitely worth a snorkle if the weather is settled off the Hawk.
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Old 12-02-2006
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We stayed at Boca Chita Key in Bicayne Bay really nice and quiet except on weekends, then on to Pennecamp through Angel fish pass. If you plan to stay in Pennecamp you might consider the marina because of your 5 ft draft. Marathon/Boot Key you can pick-up a mooring ball if available or anchor if room. This is a very popular destination throughout the winter. Both Pennecamp and Boot Key have lots to see and do. Key West is a must. There is a mooring field in Key West as well. Anchoring behind Christmas Island can be very uncomfortable. There is a dinghy dock right downtown Key West but the current under the bridge when going from the mooring field can be very strong. We went on the inside from Islamarada and I do not recall really thin water from that point. Kokamo, from the song, is located on the next key. You might want to go there just to say you've been.
One nice thing about the Hawk Chammel is that you can actually sail.

Last edited by ebs001; 12-03-2006 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 12-03-2006
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Sorry..I did a little more research and the draft of the charter boat is 4"11 draft keel boat. Does that still cause problems for inside cruising in the keys? Or am I able to pretty much go where I want?
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Sab...download those charts from:
http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/Raster/Index.htm

You'll see that a lot of the inside is less than 5 feet and you can't just "go anywhere". Nevertheless, there are wide areas you can explore using the passes through from the Hawk channel. You just can't go all the way inside from Miami.
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