We arrived at Port of the Islands late on April 3rd and launched the boat the next day. We stayed at the marina the first two nights in the water before heading down to New Turkey Key in 10,000 Islands.
This Picture was taken after we left the marina and started down the Faka Union Canal.
This canal is nearly 3 miles long and hooks up with the Faka Union River which took us the rest of the way out to the 10,000 Islands area of the Everglades. We anchored the first night at New Turkey Key.
This is one of the many sunsets we enjoyed during our cruise from the Everglades to the Lower Keys.
After 5 nights out at anchor we were ready to check into a marina and refill our water tanks and restock the pantry. We checked in at Garrison Bight Marina on Key West after sailing to Calda Channel and motoring down the channel and around Fleming Key. The transient slips are located on Kingfisher Dock which runs parallel to Highway 1.
Link to see our transient slip. By switching to satellite view and zooming in you can see the slip we were assigned. Each time we went to a different anchorage or marina, I let friends and family know our position using SPOT.
During our stay in Key West we took a tour of the Coast Guard Cutter Ingham.
We also visited the new Eco Discovery Center, neaby.
It was good to get off the boat and get some exercise but since Garrison Bight is so far from the Grocery Store and downtown and other points of interest, we decided to ride the bus. We purchased a 7 day pass and really got our money’s worth in the 5 days we were there.
The last day at Key West we took the Shuttle to visit the Boca Chica Naval Air Station during their annual open house.
After leaving Key West we headed down to Johnston Key and anchored out for a night. We then proceeded out to the bay and down Big Spanish Channel. We anchored west of the channel across from Big Spanish Key where I caught this fish. I released it shortly after the picture was taken.
Up to this point we were able to sail once in open water. The next day we had no choice but to motor down the channel head to wind. It was slow going but we finally got to Sunshine Key and stayed in the marina for a couple of nights.
We took the shuttle down to Marathon and walked out the old seven mile bridge to Pigeon Key. After that we had lunch at 7-mile Grill before catching the bus back to Ohio Key where Sunshine Key Marina is located.
From Sunshine Key Marina we headed East head to wind of course to our next anchorage just north of Fat Deer Key.
This is one of the fish caught while anchored here.
From this anchorage we had a really good sail up toward the Yacht Channel to Flamingo.
They repainted the buildings the original color they were painted when new. (Pink of course)
When we registered we were the only boat in the marina. Later a large Motor Cruiser came in and stayed at the other end of the marina. I know it was late in the season to visit Flamingo Marina but $2/ft might be another reason other boats just bypass this marina. We needed the fuel since all the fuel in Marathon was located on the ocean side. We could have gotten fuel in Key West but that would have delayed our departure since we would have had to go further south to Key West Bight since Garrison Bight doesn’t have diesel. Luckily it was a dry winter and spring so mosquitoes really weren’t that bad. I’ve been there in March when it was a lot worse.
We sailed out to Cape Sable from Flamingo and up the coast and back into Little Shark River. This time we stayed on the East side of Oyster Bay. The next day we went to Whitewater Bay, fished awhile and sailed back to the Southern part of Oyster Bay and anchored for the night before heading back out into the Gulf and up the coast to Little Turkey Key. Here we had our first although brief rain shower while on the water.
Our composting head broke while we were getting ready to leave Shark River, but that is another story. I had to fabricate a new part out of UHMW (plastic) to repair it.
While sailing back to Port of the Islands on the last day our forestay broke loose. Click here for details.
Weather was great and the only two things that broke happened during the last few days of the trip. No problem driving home after pulling the boat out at Port of the Islands. We did have to wait for high tide due to the short ramp there. Enjoyed dinner out at the Oyster House on our last day when we drove to Everglades City.
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