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Elliot Key

This is Flamingo Marina in Everglades National Park where we launched the boat.  You can see the ramp in the background to the right.  We came back here after a few weeks and stayed a few nights before heading back out again to the Middle Keys.  We drove down to John Pennnekamp State Park and Key Biscayne NP while staying here.  We also walked several of the trails around Everglades NP.

Little Shark River Before heading south we explored Little Shark River to the north of Flamingo.  The marks leading into the river can be hard to find against the trees in the background.  GPS makes this an easy task however.  Once inside there are very few places where depth is a problem.  Most of the marks are more to keep you on the right path than to actually mark a shoal or sand bar.  We went all the way down to the southern reaches of Whitewater Bay and came back up Joe River.  I dinghy'd to Flamingo from Whitewater Bay to get some more ice.
Little Shark More pictures of Little Shark River area. Marker 63
While sailing off Cape Sable, this boat passed us heading South.
This is just one of many beautiful sunsets we viewed over Florida Bay.  The best ones were viewed from such places as Nine Mile Bank where the Sun sets over water.
Lignumvitae Key
Lignumvitae Key is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.  You can only visit this interesting state park when a Ranger can take you on a guided tour.  This island is the highest elevation in the Keys.  We tied up to the dock and learned about all the different types of trees that grow here.
Bowlegs Cut
Heading East through Bowlegs Cut near marker "95".  This is Northwest of  Lower Matecumbe Key
Jewfish Creek bridge
Heading East past the Jewfish Creek Bridge (Highway 1)North of bridge
Elliot Key

There were plenty of docks available when we reached Elliot Key which is on the Eastern shores of Biscayne Bay.  This was very nice when we first got there, but the winds clocked around to the west and made it very rough the next morning.  We will avoid this place in the future if there is any wind forecasted out of the west.  There are nice Rest Rooms and cold water showers available here.  The trails were nice but due to all the rain this winter, mosquitoes were more plentiful than normal for this time of year.

We visited several Marinas in the upper Keys after launching the boat in Flamingo which is in Everglades National Park.  Included here are links to the Marinas that have websites. 
On the way East from the Yacht Channel we stopped at Mangrove Marina and Gilberts
We stayed one night at Elliot Key and went back south after the wind shifted to the West overnight making for a substantial amount of "dock rock".
Coming back from Biscayne Bay, we stopped at the  The Upper Keys Sailing Club which was the friendliest place that we stayed. Prices were reasonable.  It was greatly appreciated that they accept transients even though we don't belong to a club with reciprocating privledges.  If there is a downside, the dock is exposed to the Northwest.  One guy experienced some damage to his boat while tied to the outer face of the dock during some wind from the North after a front had passed through.  Boats tied up in the slips were okay, but it might be uncomfortable if winds were out of the Northwest.  We had delayed our arrival for that very reason.
We weren't having any trouble getting a transient slip anywhere until we turned south and headed for Marathon.  The city of Marathon did not have any space available and the mooring field was full.  All the other marinas were full as well.  The anchorage was pretty full and we might have been able to squeeze in, but we decided to move on.  We had entered Boot Key Harbor from Sister creek so we went West under the drawbridge and out into Moser Channel.  We went to Bahia Honda assuming we could get into the State Park Basin, but they were full as well.  We anchored as close to shore as we could since this anchorage was pretty full too and I wanted to get out of the current as much as possible.  After sundown a 30+ foot Hunter anchored right in front of us.  We had two anchors out due to the tidal current, luckily everything held.  Next day we went back to Flamingo.  After a few days we came back down the Yacht Channel and anchored out a few days before going  to Coral Bay Marina in Islamorada.
Not mentioned above were the numerous places that we anchored out.  We spent half the time anchored in places with no other boats around.  This was our first trip with the CQR and it set easily and held with no problems. 
Several times we tied off to a mooring ball at Lignumvitae Key and Shell Key.  Both are State owned and protected.