Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Thanked 26 Times in 26 Posts
Rep Power: 9
Hey HollieMac - I sailed out of Key Largo for several years, first on an Irwin 25 that I kept on the bay side and later with my Endeavour sailing out of Largo Sound on the ocean side.The sailing is spectacular on either side. With a shoal draft boat on the bay side you can enjoy sailing on the calm protected waters of the bay and have access to some of the most beautiful and solitary anchorages anywhere.
On the ocean side you can reef-hop from Carysfort light at the north end of Key Largo all the way down to Key West, with mooring balls available at the reefs all along the way to tie up to for snorkeling, diving, and overnighting when the weather permits. There aren't many really good anchorages on the east side of the Keys, but there are enough places where you can cross over into Florida Bay (Angelfish, Snake Creek, Channel 5, etc.) that it isn't really a problem.
In addition to the sailing and snorkeling, there are lots of interesting things to see, from places like Lignumvitae Key, where you can enjoy the last stand of virgin tropical mahogany forest in north America, to Key West where you can see everything else!
In the 5 years or so I sailed there I did have several encounters with the marine patrol and Everglades National Park rangers, but in every case the officers were courteous and professional - just follow the rules and you won't have any trouble. That ecosystem is so fragile - and with so much boat traffic - that the law enforcement folks can't tolerate boaters that break the rules.
Get a copy of the cruising guides done by Frank Papy or Claiborne Young, take some time to learn the particular navigation skills you need to safely explore the area, and I'm sure you'll have a fine time. (It doesn't hurt to have a SeaTow or Tow Boat US membership, also, in case you have trouble and need help).
If you have any questions about particular areas I'd be glad to help.
S/V Everlasting Moon
1981 Endeavour 32
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