Pensacola to Florida Keys 2013

Interactive map of the trip: Tracks, Anchorages and more!

One day last June while walking on the beach with my wife at Fort McCree (across the bay from Pensacola) we met John who sailed a Bayfield 25 sailboat. When we started talking about sailing to the Keys in the Fall he asked if he could tag along. I agreed and we kept in touch and finally left Pensacola in mid-November. It took four weeks and it was very cold in Northern Florida at times, but things started warming up by the time we got to Crystal River. From St. Pete on it was much warmer and it looked like we were going to make it to Boot Key Harbor before the mooring field filled up around the holidays. The only really severe weather we encountered was at Panama City where we waited out some thunderstorms and gale force winds before heading to Apalachiacola.

Tied up to the City Dock at Apalachicola on Thanksgiving Day. We were thankful to have a free dock to tie up to and the nice day it turned out to be. The next day we moved on to Carabelle.

We weren't sure what to expect next as far as wind and direction, so we topped off the fuel tanks at C-Quarters in Carabelle.

After Leaving Carabelle, we headed for St. Marks. We only went far enough up the river to anchor safely with protection from NE winds. This put us in a good spot to get an early start to Steinhatchee. Late Sunday afternoon December 1st we entered Steinhatchee river and anchored safely right before dark. After experiencing technical difficulties with the lower than normal tides we decided to stay another night. I went to the Sea Hag Marina and John anchored out.

Seems like not a day went by when we didn't see at least a few dolphins. Some days they got right up close like this one in front of John's boat.

Big Bend Area

This was probably the hardest Part of the whole trip because there is no ICW (IntraCoastal Waterway) which limits our options to anchor safely for the night. A lot of time was spent going in and out of the rivers which was complicated by the tidal currents. We both have 1 cylinder diesel engines which can make it a challenge motoring against the current and or wind. Not shown on the map is our trek up the Suwanee river. I will not enter that river again due to the numerous shoals. I had to pull John off of numerous shoals after we both got stuck trying to leave during low tide in the morning.

After four weeks John and I finally sailed into Boot Key Harbor and picked up a mooring. I only stayed a week before heading back to the Everglades. John was there at least a month.