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Directions to Key West

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Old 02-15-2002, 09:48 AM
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CelticPride
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Default Directions to Key West

I'm planning a trip to Key West next week. I have never made the run. Looking at my charts and GPS, there is a suggested route that runs from Key Biscayne all the way down to the end of Bahia Honda Key...then I assume I have to cut out into the ocean after Bahia Honda for the last 30 miles or so to Key West.

Is there anyone out there that can give me the skinny on areas to look out for? I am leaving from Ft. Lauderdale and plan on going down through Key Biscayne.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks
 
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Old 02-15-2002, 10:22 AM
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If your taking the outside from Fort Lauderdale,
Head south, keep America on Right, when you get to the end,
your there, if you go to far you may end up in Cuba.

All, kidding aside, the inside thru Biscayne Bay is a nice ride,
follow the markers, know heading, and # miles to next marker,
cut out through "snake creek" to the outside, then follow "hawk channel", it would be helpfull to pre-plan the route, if you have any question as to why / where you are verify your position, use a gps, I think the FPC is going next weekend, in that case , follow the bubbles... Good Luck.
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Old 02-15-2002, 11:16 AM
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I have gotten the route pre-planned on my moving map GPS....I just followed the recomended route that was already on the map....

Where is snake creek and Hawk Channel?
 
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Old 02-15-2002, 02:44 PM
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CelticPride
Check your e-mail.
RLT
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Old 02-16-2002, 12:30 PM
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Hawk channel is on the ocean side of the keys, Islamorada close to snake creek. Drop by Boat us and get a good guide to the keys.
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Old 02-20-2002, 08:57 AM
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Ok, so I know where Hawk Channel is. I guess my question is, is it better to stay on the inside of the keys and then cut out afterBehia Honda? according to the charts I am looking at, there is a recommended route or channel that runs all the way down from Key Biscayne to Behia Honda....I have it plotted on my chart plotter. Is this a safe route? or, is it just as easy to take Snake Creek out to the outside and go down from there.

Also, I assume Hawk Channel is inside the reef? hence channel?

Sorry for the dumb questions...
 
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Old 02-20-2002, 09:37 PM
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I have gone both ways, there is plenty of water on the inside, but you have to stay in the channel, and go marker to marker.

The depths run 5 - 10 feet in the channel, as I see on the chart.
Which you should have with you along with the GPS.

Just be carefull around Boot Key, and the approch to Bethel Bank before you setup to run parrallel to the bridge, there are two routes when you run the bridge, you need to review the chart off
'little money key' and know which route you are on, review
bahia honda marker R'20' 16 feet.


Stop at Marathon Marine, where the light house is on the inside before you run the 7 mile bridge, mabe get some local info from the dockmaster.

Do you have a paper chart ?
Do you know how to work the GPS ?
Are you running alone or with a group ?
Whats your ride.
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Old 02-20-2002, 10:35 PM
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CelticPride,
Listen to the other OSO members on directions. All I can tell you is that it is a beautiful trip on the inside. Every time I have been I merely followed the pace boat and really enjoyed the scenery. . Tiki Bar is definitely worth stopping at..
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Old 02-20-2002, 11:27 PM
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Hi CelticPride,

If the weather is nice, the outside run down Hawks Channel is the easiest from a navigation standpoint. Hawks Channel runs betweent he outer reef and the Keys. From just south of Key Biscayne all the way to Key West, Hawks Channel is well marked. If you just stay about 1 mile Offshore you'll be fine. Watch for areas with several yellow balls, as those are protected areas and usually located over shallow reefs. As you move more south, you'll be heading on an almost westerly heading.

If you take the "inside route" you MUST follow the ICW markers. There are a number of passes where anywhere other than the marked channel is very thin water. If you hit bottom, it's not only props and drives to worry about, you get fined lots of $$$$ by either the Fla. Marine Patrol, the Coast Guard, Dept. of Nat. resources, Fish and Wildlife etc.

Once parallel to Plantation Key your ICW (Intracoastal) route varies between 245 and 255 degrees (app) so you've got a pretty steady path. You have to exit the inside route at Bahia Honda and take Hawk Channel the rest of the way, something less than 36 miles. When you exit Bahia Honda go under the first bridge and then thru the missing section of the next bridge. Note the isalnd just to your left a few hundred yards after the bridge. Stay to the right of that island and begin your arc to the right. The water is plenty deep all the way to Key West from 1/2 mile to 1 mile offshore. If you go to far east you'll notice the outer reef towers. So long as you're between them and land you're fine.

Make dock reservations NOW, as this time of year it fills up pretty quick. There are several nice accommodations. I'm biased towards the Galleon resort. Warren Chadwick is the Dockmaster, and you absolutely, positively want to reserve first rather than just show up. As soon as you dock, go to the dock office to check in. He's a wonderful old salt. That said, it's his place his rules, and you're a guest

If the weather is rough, the inside is pretty smooth. Once out of Bahia Honda you generally have a following sea into KW and a head on sea returning home. Even in pretty horrible conditions, it's rare to run into 6 footers that last bit.

Have a ball, you'll be fine. Call if you need anything else, my office is in Fort Lauderdale. 954-565-0014.

Steve
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Old 02-24-2002, 08:55 PM
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Hey Steve, and the others,

thanks for the help. I went Thurdsay morning, it took me 6 hours. Rough water from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami, I ended up going inside at the Haulover inlet. Anyway, it was a smooth trip down otherwise. On the way back I did it in 4.5 hours. Both directions I went in or out at Bahia Honda. Awsome trip...on the way back, the Florida Powerboat Club was pulling into the Marina in Key Largo, just as I left. I was surprised that they never caught up to me. I was driving a Sonic 31SS.

Thanks for all of your help...the next time will be even better. Actually, is anyone looking to go down to Key West? I want to go again soon...
 
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