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Old 01-28-2012
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Sailing from Tampa to the Dry Tortugas

I've got some time off in March, and was thinking about making a run from Sarasota down to the Dry Tortugas. I'm pretty set on the destination, and don't really want to hit Key West or anything on this trip. I've read through some of the older threads on the trip, but they all seem to recommend stopping in Port Charlotte.

Let's say I wasn't interested in making any stops along the way. Is there anything along the route I need to be concerned about (crab traps in the middle of nowhere, unusually shallow areas, etc)? Given a Catalina 36, are the conditions in mid to late March suitable for the trip?

I'm also thinking of bringing a few tanks along to do some diving. I hear there are plenty of wrecks out there, are there any worth diving? Notwithstanding the information about the achorages, and the fort itself that are in the other threads; are there any other considerations I should be thinking about?

Last edited by creedence623; 01-28-2012 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 01-31-2012
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I went from Key west.

Spring can be stormy on the gulf, and there is the Gulf current, you will be going esentially upstream.

Beautiful place to dive or snorkal, the kids can walk along Fort Jefferson and see reef fish within touching distance.
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Old 01-31-2012
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A couple questions come immediately to mind:

1. Are you sailing with a crew or are you sailing single handed?
If you are sailing with a crew, and thinking about sailing straight through, you'll have to give the Marquesses Keys and Rebecca Shoals a wide berth to avoid coral heads and shoals. Pots are usually not a problem, but there can be some derelicts floating around waiting to snag your prop or rudder.

If you intend to sail single-handed then you'll obviously be making some stops along the way. Once you get beyond Key West you can find an anchorage in Mule Key Basin, and another at the west end of the Lakes Passage at the west side o0f Crawfish Key. Beyond that you'll find a couple entrances into Mooney Harbor in the Marquesses Keys. The deepest ones are on the south side, where six feet of water can be found at high tide. Once inside the anchorage is a bit tight, but there is 8 to 12 feet of water available. I wouldn't chance the west entrance to Mooney Harbor unless you have been there before. The entrance is constantly shifting and silting in, and the last time I was there depths were down to just 4-feet until you got inside.

Beyond the Marquesses there is no sheltered anchorage until you reach the Dry Tortugas. I've only been there once by powerboat, it was an incredible trip and the water clarity was beyond description.

Good Luck,

Gary
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Old 01-31-2012
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Can I come along? I will be watching the thread and look forward to hearing how the trip went. I am hoping to do the same trip in the next 12 months or so.
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Old 01-31-2012
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Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. I'm going to make the run down without stopping so I'll check the charts around the Marquesses Keys and Rebecca Shoals.

I'm going to have a few days on either side to wait out a good window, so maybe with a little luck I'll be able to miss any nasty weather.

The shallow approach is good to know. That might be a factor with a 5'10" draft. Something else to look into.

Thanks again guys.

UPDATE: Checked the charts, and because I am coming from the north, the Marguesses and Rebecca Shoals won't be a factor as they are well to the east of my course. The approach into the anchorage from the north, if I pass the yellow "I" marker is charted at 25-50 foot so it looks like' I'll be good there as well. Still appreciate the input!

Last edited by creedence623; 01-31-2012 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 01-31-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbert View Post
Can I come along? I will be watching the thread and look forward to hearing how the trip went. I am hoping to do the same trip in the next 12 months or so.

If you wanted to sail tandem down there, I'd be down for that. I'm also going to be hitting up Egmont Key and a few other places around Tampa Bay in March. I don't know anyone remotely close to my age who's into sailing, so if you feel like sailing on the bay, hit me up.
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Old 01-31-2012
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I will see if i can figure out how to msg or email ya and we can link up someday around the skyway or at a watering hole out near 75 someday.
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Old 01-31-2012
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What age are we talking here creedence? I'm under 40 and just getting in to sailing. Live in Apollo Beach. Eager to get out while i am working on my new project.
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Old 01-31-2012
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What age are we talking here creedence? I'm under 40 and just getting in to sailing. Live in Apollo Beach. Eager to get out while i am working on my new project.
Nothing at all against the older crowd, I'm more than happy to hang out with sailors of any age; but I haven't met anyone within striking distance of 30 at any of the marinas I've had boats in (especially true in Florida).

I work overseas, but I'm back in March. If you feel like heading out, by all means shoot me a PM.
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Old 02-01-2012
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Definitely good diving. You might check the facebook page of the M/V SPREE, a dive boat that's based in Key West most of the year, and makes trips out to Fort Jefferson. Should be some dive reports there.
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