Cruise 2009

This year's vacation/cruise started in Goodland at Calusa Island Marina. For the second year in a row I got some much needed help from Tom and Sue to get underway. They helped launch the boat and we went for a quick tour of Goodland from the water. Then we found our slip at E-6 and had a beer. Spent the first couple of days getting things organized. Went down to Fakahatchee pass and anchored near Fakahatchee Bay also anchored near Picnic Key.

Fished while at anchor and caught a lot of catfish this year.

Wind was predicted to increase so I went back to Calusa Island Marina for a couple of days before going back out. The predicted south wind would have slowed my progress south anyway.

After leaving Goodland the second time I headed down to New Turkey Key.(pictured on left at sundown)

I spent one night up Shark River and headed across Florida Bay to Cudjoe Key.

Here you can see the blimp nick named “Fat Albert” monitoring Cuba and the Florida Straights.

Next stop was Jewfish Basin before heading down Calda Channel to Key West's city marina at Garrison Bight.

Okbayou is the third boat from the right. The entrance to the bight can be seen between the first and second boat from the right.

Behind this houseboat is the mooring field. My cruising guide shows the exact track which can be viewed more details. On the way to Jewfish Basin the sprocket on my autopilot cracked again. It was epoxied together last year and it was just a matter of time before it would go. I went to West Marine to order a new drive unit and they found one in California. I originally only wanted to spend two nights in Key West. Waiting for the part meant three nights which sounded OK but the people in California didn't think it was much of a priority so they took an extra day to ship it. This resulted in my having to wait around and spend a fourth night in Key West. I read the manual and realized I would have to drill a few holes for the installation. I bought a hand drill at Ace Hardware for $13. This is a handy thing to have on board anyway. I also took the opportunity to see a few things I hadn't seen here before.

While walking from Fort Zachery Taylor I noticed a lot of commotion at the ramp and noticed they were hauling out the Western Union. They used three trucks altogether to pull it up the ramp.

This picture was taken the following day as they were getting it ready to block up while repairs are made. You can see the details on their website about the change of ownership and work that needs to be done.

Western Union Renovations

Main website: Save the Schooner Western Union

I also took a tour of the Mohawk. This was a Coast Guard boat that was also used as an Icebreaker before being pressed into service in WWII as a sub hunter. More info can also be found on their website.

USS Mohawk

Not shown is the NOAA Eco Discovery museum nearby. I don't remember seeing this during the last trip to Key West and appeared to be new. It is free (donations welcome) and is well worth the time to visit.

Ate at Bo's a couple of times, located across the street from West Marine. Had a beer at the Hog's Breath Saloon and had dinner at “Eat it Raw” on the Key West Bight waterfront. Walked around Duval Street and the waterfront. Visited Smather's Beach. I like the beach at the Fort better.

With a new autopilot drive and water tanks full I headed back up Calda Channel to Jewfish Basin. I thought I could make it across the bay from Jewfish Basin but it was a little too rough that day so I ducked back in to Johnston Key and anchored until the next day when the winds were from a better direction and less intense.

This was a very easy crossing of Florida Bay. I spent the next few days on Oyster Bay up the Little Shark River. I fished some more and caught this snapper in addition to more catfish and a ladyfish.

After a stop near Tiger Key I went back in to Calusa Island Marina. I may go back out for a night at anchor before pulling the boat out of the water and heading home. Anchorages and tracks will eventually be used to update the Cruising Guide also found on this site.