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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > There's This Place...
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There's This Place... Articles on Destinations for Cruising, by Cruisers, for Cruisers...


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Old 02-07-2015
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Boot Key Harbor question.

I'm staring at a foot and a half of snow. A possible Ice storm arriving tomorrow. Freelance work has dried up so I may actually be fully "retired". Thinking about heading south for winters. Stopping along the Keys before heading out to the Dry Tortuga s in my own boat. Probably stopping at Boot Key Harbor if there is space. I've been there a few times being picked up or dropped off. But, did not spend much time there. Do people normally swim in the harbor?
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Old 02-07-2015
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Re: Boot Key Harbor question.

Not in the harbor itself, but there is a public beach at the mouth of Sister Creek that is popular, and what we in the Harbor refer to as Gilligan's Island, which is also located near the mouth of Sister Creek.

The harbor's waters are relatively clean and swimming would not be a problem if it were not for the occasional bull shark that tends to lurk among the boats on mooring balls. A couple guys dive in the harbor and clean boat bottoms, and it's rare for them to see a shark.

One of the great things about Marathon is this particular key is not one that the spring breakers head to - it's nothing like Key West and has lots of activities for folks that fit into the retirement category. Just off the beach at Sombrero Light there are mooring balls for snorkeling and the underwater visibility averages about 30 to 40 feet.

On days when the weather cooperates, I day sail on the gulf side of the key and enjoy the pristine waters.

Many good to excellent restaurants in town, plays nearly every night, lots of nite-life locations, and something going on nearly every night at the Marathon City Marina's Tiki Hut, including Saturday night jam sessions of which I'm a part of from January through mid March this year, and November through March this coming winter if I can manage to keep healthy enough for the trip down.

Get the Hell out of the snow belt, C'mon down to Paradise - Boot Key Harbor is a nice place to spend the winters.

All the best,

Gary

Last edited by travlineasy; 02-07-2015 at 10:16 AM.
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Re: Boot Key Harbor question.

Thanks Gary. I was thinking more about swimming from a pollution/sanitation issue. Never thought about a Bull shark roaming around. I just sometimes would like to jump over the side for a quick cool down swim. Might have to rethink that in Boot Key. I've snorkeled on Sombrero a number of times and was really surprised how good it was. These brutal back to back winters are not fun. Might feel differently when spring rolls around but, right now even heading to the boatyard to check on the boat seems like a pain with a foot and half of snow on the ground. Wintering in the Keys sounds pretty good right now. Starting to seriously think about it.
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Old 02-07-2015
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Re: Boot Key Harbor question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbianka View Post
Wintering in the Keys sounds pretty good right now.
Same here. Even Texas has proven to be uncomfortable for me. The v-berth cushions are on the deck (in the sun today) drying out from the condensation that has soaked into them.

I'm never going to spend another winter north of Miami. My wife went for a swim in Boot Key Harbor with no ill effects, but it could be risky. I prefer the Bahamas in the winter myself...



I hope you get some place warmer in the future.

Ralph
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Last edited by RTB; 02-07-2015 at 02:43 PM.
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Re: Boot Key Harbor question.

I wouldn't even hesitate to escape the winters if I were in your position. This simply blows. Life is too short to spend several months a year freezing my ass off and waiting for warm weather.

I'm counting down the years until we are out of here, and we definitely will not return.
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Re: Boot Key Harbor question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTB View Post
Same here. Even Texas has proven to be uncomfortable for me. The v-berth cushions are on the deck (in the sun today) drying out from the condensation that has soaked into them.

I'm never going to spend another winter north of Miami. My wife went for a swim in Boot Key Harbor with no ill effects, but it could be risky. I prefer the Bahamas in the winter myself...



I hope you get some place warmer in the future.

Ralph
One of the reason I'm thinking about the Keys first is a bucket list item to cruise on out to the Dry Tortugas with my own boat. Been out there by seaplane, tourist boat and on 70 foot schooner. Want to take my own boat and have my own schedule next time I visit.
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Re: Boot Key Harbor question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cthoops View Post
I wouldn't even hesitate to escape the winters if I were in your position. This simply blows. Life is too short to spend several months a year freezing my ass off and waiting for warm weather.

I'm counting down the years until we are out of here, and we definitely will not return.
Winters have not usually been too bad except for this year and last year. Usually I can get some boat projects done on the warm days. Just has not been happening lately. Another concern is what to do about the house while I am away. Another complication for me is my semi landlubber companion. She loves a winter vacation charter on a chartered Catamaran but, not really into long term cruising and teaches during the winter so finding a place close were we can easily connect up is a factor. On the other hand she is also talking about maybe renting on some island for a month or two. Some place where she might be able to teach English and brush up on her Spanish. I might be able to compromise on that. So I'm thinking about both scenarios. She would like to do some teaching and not just sit around. I on the other hand am perfectly happy just hanging out on the boat. So Boot Key sounds like a good base for awhile.
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Old 02-08-2015
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Re: Boot Key Harbor question.

live aboard here sure! swim at the boat? not me, we get a fair amount of pollution in the bay. it does not flush very well.
go outside the bay or to ocean end of sister creek water is fine.
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Re: Boot Key Harbor question.

Yeah, pretty much what others have already said -- yes, you can swim in the Harbor, but a short dinghy run will take you to much better spots.

The only times I (intentionally) went into the water inside the Harbor was to do maintenance or to recover items that went over the side. If all we were doing was swimming for recreation, then Sombrero Beach was the preferred spot.
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Old 02-16-2015
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Re: Boot Key Harbor question.

The Tortugas is about 120 miles from Boot Key Harbor, 75 miles from Key West. Right now, the weather is such that you would be stuck out there for several days before you could make the trip back to Key West. High winds have dominated the region this winter and temperatures are well below normal. Right now, though, it's 75 outside and I'm going fishing from my dock.

Good luck,

Gary
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