7-Day Miami to Key West (One Way)
Day 1: Hawk Channel 105 NM
Overnight boarding is an option if you are arriving in Miami the day before your charter. If you arrive by 1 pm, we can do your check out and you can get your boat provisioned then head out for an evening of dining and people watching on exotic South Beach. If you get an early start, you can head for the south end of Key Largo.
Day 2: Rodriguez Key
If you sailed to Key Largo yesterday – have a relaxing morning and then take a short trip out to the reef for snorkeling and diving. Molasses Reef, French Reef, and Grecian Rocks are the three reefs closest to you. There are several reefs that have permanent mooring buoys making snorkeling off the stern of the boat a breeze! These reefs are protected areas – do not drop anchor on a reef!!!
After a long day of sailing yesterday, I would suggest shooting back into Key Largo for another evening at the marina or anchor off of Rodriguez Key, Carysfort Reef, The Elbow, and Key Largo Dry Rocks are all along your way and since they are close together you can stop at more than one. From any of these reefs, it is a quick sail into Key Largo for the evening.
Day 3: Windley Key 22 NM
You have two destinations to choose from today. The first is a great marina and the second is an interesting anchorage.
Option 1 (Distance: 15 Miles): Depart Key Largo today for Windley Key. Along the way, you have a choice of several reefs for snorkeling including Pickles Reff, David Reef, and Hens and Chickens. Hens and Chickens reef is on the edge of the main channel making for easy access as you are sailing South. At Windley Key, you will find Holiday Isle Beach Resort and Marina – one of the best resorts in the Keys! Holiday Isle has something to please everyone including 5 restaurants, arts and crafts shops, windsurfing, parasailing, jet skiing, swimming pools, and white sand beaches… all Florida Key’s style.
Option 2: After passing Hens and Chickens, continue Southwest approximately 6 miles to the north end of Lower Matecumbe Key where you will see Indian Key Anchorage (Note: This would not be a comfortable anchorage in a strong East to Southeast wind.) At Indian Key Anchorage, you can dinghy into the dock on Indian Key and walk around what used to be a thriving little community. While you are at Indian Key Anchorage you may like to do a little more exploring. Lignumvitea Key which is Northwest through Indian Key Channel (accessible by dinghy or tour boat) has a virgin hammock including many native species of vegetation. There is also a coral rock house, a cistern, and a windmill built in 1919.
Day 4: Duck Key 25 NM
You have time to wile away this morning at Holiday Isle and enjoy all they have to offer. If you prefer, you can take off for snorkeling on Alligator Reef this morning (no one has spotted a real alligator yet!). If you are at Indian Key, spend a lazy morning on the boat or go off exploring. Your destination this morning is Hawk’s Cay Marina – the first-class resort at Duck Key. Departing either your anchorage or marina, you will continue sailing in a southwesterly direction until you pass Hawk Channel marker Red “44”. You can then set a safe course for the Red “2” at the top of the “Duck’s Head” (Do not try to go into Duck Key Channel!) After passing the Red “8”, make a quick turn to starboard inside the sea wall. Follow the sea wall all the way around staying to starboard when the channel splits.
As you enter the marina it can get quite shallow, but it is a soft bottom if you should touch down. All the facilities of the resort are available to you as a marina guest including both fresh and saltwater pools with a poolside bar, tennis courts, a workout room, parasailing, daily dolphin shows, and much more! A couple of nice restaurants and a morning breakfast buffet are available if you prefer to eat ashore. A great place to kick back and bask in luxury for a day or more! Distance: 25 Miles.
HAWK’S CAY RESORT: 1-800-432-2242
Day 5: Boot Key 15 NM
You have two choices again today.
Option 1: Spend the morning at Hawk’s Cay Resort and then take off for snorkeling at Sombrero Reef this afternoon. It is another great spot to see the tropical reef and try to identify all the brightly colored fish. Marathon or Boot Key is your port of call this evening with several marinas to choose from. Once again you will be sailing in a southwesterly direction. You will pass the southwest tip of Boot Key and then turn to the northeast setting a safe course for the channel entering Boot Key Harbor. You will see Faro Blanco Marina Oceanside on your port side before you go under the draw bridge. Alternatively, Sombrero Lighthouse Marina is at the end of the canal on the northeast end of Boot Key Harbor. Be aware: there is an overhead power line 65 feet high and a draw bridge to enter Boot Key Harbor. Both of these marinas come highly recommended with excellent restaurants and facilities. You can also anchor out at Boot Key either in Boot Key Harbor or off the western end of Boot Key. Marathon is an active little city where you will be able to buy additional provisions and anything else you may need. The grocery store is accessible by foot from Sombrero Lighthouse Marina and by taxi from Faro Blanco. Distance: 15 Miles.
FARO BLANCO MARINA: 1-800-759-3276
SOMBRERO RESORT AND LIGHTHOUSE MARINA: 305-743-2250
Option 2: Your second choice today is to simply stay at Hawk’s Cay Resort and do as close to nothing as you can get away with!
Day 6: Sombrero Key 22 NM
Today if you are still at Hawk’s Cay you have a fairly long day sail to Newfound Harbor- about 6 hours of sailing. Sombrero Key is on the way if you want to allow time for snorkeling. If you made it to Marathon last night you have a much shorter sail and plenty of time for a side trip to Looe Key – one of the best reefs on your trip for snorkeling. From Looe Key, you can sail almost straight north to Newfound Harbor. If you are approaching from Hawk Channel, pass marker number “50” and set a safe course for Newfound Harbor Channel marker Red “2”, give it a wide berth and then turn northeast into the channel. After passing Red “4”, anchor off the side of the channel or continue further before pulling off. Be very careful here – it shallows abruptly when you leave the channel. There is a strong current through this anchorage so anchor well!! At Newfound Harbor you will discover Little Palm Island, an exclusive private resort island. It is a beautiful place to stop but be aware there is a $100.00 minimum docking fee. You can also anchor out and go ashore for dinner. The food is superb but pricey ($30 – $50 per person). Reservations are highly recommended for docking and dinner ashore as they are a small facility. While ashore, watch for the adorable miniature Key Deer and all the tropical birds. If you look just north of Green “3” you will see a tiny island which is great to dinghy to and explore the shallows around the island. Distance: 30 miles from Duck Key – 15 Miles from Marathon Little Palm Island: 1-800-343-8567.
An alternative anchorage for tonight is Bahia Honda Key which is before Newfound Harbor. As you pass Bahia Honda Key and clear the visible sand bar off the Southwest tip, turn Northeast and go through the cut in the old railroad bridge. Anchor between the two bridges and dinghy ashore to the small marina which is part of Bahia Honda State Park. The park is a wonderful place for walks and cookouts but it does close at dusk. Distance: 22 Miles from Duck Key, 8 miles from Marathon. BAHIA HONDA STATE PARK 305-872-2353
Day 7: Conch Harbor Marina 25 NM
The last Hawk Channel Marker you pass is Green “57”. From that point sail a safe course to enter the Main Ship Channel just North of the Red “12” and after passing Red “14” turn slightly starboard to enter Key West Harbor Channel. Just before the Red “24” you will see Key West Bight Channel marker Red “2” look for the Texaco sign and that is the fuel dock for Key West Conch Harbor Marina. Call Florida Yacht on Channel 16 or Key West Conch Harbor Marina to get docking assistance. Top off your fuel tank and Florida Yacht Charters personnel will assist you into your slip. One nights dockage is included in your drop off fee at Conch Harbor Marina. Distance: 30 miles from Newfound Habor, 25 miles from Bahia Honda Key.
In Key West you can shop till you drop on Duval Street and find plenty of places for sustenance along the way. Don’t miss the sunset festival held every evening at Mallory Square at the end of Duval Street. Your boat is due back at 10 am tomorrow so don’t stay out too late and party!
Fair Winds and Smooth Sailing,
Captain Jenny Kerr