Typical weather conditions from Indiantown to Ft. Lauder to Marathon - SailNet Community

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Old 10-20-2006
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Smile Typical weather conditions from Indiantown to Ft. Lauder to Marathon

I'm just wondering what to expect on the East Coast of FLA in Mid Jan to end of Feb. 06' We are bringing two new little dogs with us on our 30' S-2C and I am curious about the trip. I'm sure many have done it and if you could share your experiences I would really appreciate it! Thanks. We are thinking of going West Coast down to Everglades and around to Marathon - not sure which way is best...

Thank you.
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Old 10-20-2006
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Weather is generally benign but fronts from the north do push through....sometimes one after the other making offshore travel dicey...though they generally don't make it as far as the keys. In any event, you can always duck inside and find well protected anchorages and/or marinas or simply use the ICW if it is too rough outside.
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Old 10-20-2006
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My opinion is that your Jan-Feb timeframe is some of the best times to cruise S Florida. It is typically very dry and beautiful. Our temps usually run around 60s-70s during day, and might get into the 50s at night. Pretty temperate. Avoid the Gulf Stream in a northern unless you want to get beat to death. Do watch out for cold fronts coming down, it will make the seas rough. Marathon can be rough in a blow too... so watch your weather window... but in general, it is pretty and comfortable.

If you are going to hit Marathon, make plans to go to the Dry Tortugas. They are about 70 miles west of Key West and 60 miles north of Cuba. Beautiful, beautiful place. You have to hit it during the day, so plan on making an overnight passage. You wont regret it.

Good luck and have fun with it.

- CD
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Thank you for your info! We wondered if the wind is more favorable for the trip around to Marathon from say the Okochobee is better heading east to Ft. Lauderdale or West to Ft. Myers and down. Never have done an overnight yet, hope to find others doing the same and make it happen! Thanks again.
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Sebago...if you're doing the "Florida Loop", I would suggest doing the Key's East to West as the prevailing winds are South Easterly and you'll be more likely to be able to sail the Keys rather than bash into headwinds.
Also...it will start you out with shorter, protected sails and then once you've made it to Key West (and Dry Tortugas)...you can try the overnight sail from Key West to Ft. Myers when the winds are right ... as I recall it is about 120 miles...you can shorten it a bit by ducking in at Naples but if the weather is nice it is a whole lot easier just to head for Ft. Myers.
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The Fort Myers run south will be primarily offshore. It is 120-130 miles I think... or abouts. When you get close to Key West, there is quite a bit of traffic and freighters... but the trip there is pretty easy and with little traffic. I say the trip south is offshore because if you look at Florida, it actually goes South East. Key West is basically due south of Fort Myers. However, it is very shallow water on the west side and you will need to give the mainland a good berth or you will get beat up. The trip from Ft Lauderdale around would keep you safer, but a lot more traffic. You cannot throw a stone without hitting a Hatteras. However, you should be able to stay in the ICW around it. THere are good anchorages around though. Not a lot of good places to duck after you pass Naples, so once you leave you are committed. Just my opinions. I personally prefer offshore and would take it over the ICW (Which stands for Inter-Congestion Ways in Florida)... but I am comfortable being offshore at night. You may not be.

Cam? Your thougts?

- CD
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Yes, Cam, Tortugas are 121 miles marker to marker from Fort Myers. One of the worst storms of my life was on that trip though. DONT GET CAUGHT IN A NORTHERN OFF THE SW COAST OF FLORIDA!! 1000 miles of fetch and shallow water will make it look like something out of the movies. I am not exhagerating. And you CANNOT come into the Tortugas at night... especially as a beginner. Don't believe me? Look at all the shipwrecks around the Tortugas. Plan your window accordingly. Still, THEY ARE WORTH IT. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Take your dive gear or snorkel.
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MANY thanks guys! Just got my chart from Miami to Marathon today and I'm looking at my depths & bridge heights (I draw 5'). You folks have been very helpful and I appreciate it. Last year we sailed up and down from Ft. Myers to Everglades City to get comfy with the new boat and enjoyed it. This year, we are trying something new and plan to do a lot of snorkeling (sans the sharks of course!). I'm sure I sound paranoid but I'd rather have more info than I need. Preparation and all that... All the best Gents!
Mo
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Lots of sharks and barracudas in the Tortugas. Big ones. Wife and I swam about 10 feet above a very nice sized tiger shark at a shipwreck about a mile or so south off the lighthouse. I do dissagree with many people on this forum though... they just dont mess with you. As long as you are not bleeding and wife is not on her period, you are fine. If you are/she is, don't get in the water there. swim in the middle of the day - not morning or evening. Water is very clear.

There are lots and lots of Great Barracudas, and they can be a bit testy. Barracuda always make me more nervous than sharks. Take off all of your jewelry (especially silver). They will swim right beside you. Bit unnerving at first, but they are just curious (at least that is what I tell myself). Still, dont worry too much about the sharks... unless you look like a dying fish!!!
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Now I'm a tad freaked out!
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