Recent trip to the Florida Keys

Accounts of trips taken in Boston Whaler boats; organization of rendezvous for Boston Whaler boats
padrefigure
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Recent trip to the Florida Keys

Postby padrefigure » Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:22 pm

Picking up from a request for information posted in the Old Forum, my wife and I travelled to the Florida Keys for a few days of fun and relaxation. We trailered our 1968 Whaler 13 for the first time and had a most enjoyable time. We ended up staying at the Blackfin Inn in Marathon. The Inn is nice, but nothing fancy. They have a boat ramp and small marina which made launching our little Whaler a simple proposition. However, as others pointed out, a 13 foot Whaler is very small in these waters, so we chose to trailer West to Duck Key and launch from the public ramp there a couple of times. This kept us from having to run across the open water adjacent to the 7 mile bridge. We soon discovered that we preferred to stay on the lee side of the islands and the Duck Key access made the collection of islands down to Bahia Hondo well within our reach. My wife and I spend many hours snorkeling around the islands playing with the tropical fish. Parrot fish, angel fish, many kinds of snapper, grouper, sheepshead, and collection of rainbow minnow were topped off by giant (6') stingray and a school of 100-lbs or larger tarpon drifting by.

Many suggested restaurants and our favorites on Marathon were Lazy Days, Castaways, and Florida Keys Steak and Lobster. All were very good, but Lazy Days remains our favorite.

If you are a hardcore fisherman or diver, you probably want more boat than a 13-footer in this environment. Of course there is no such thing as too much boat, but I think an 18 Outrage would be about a perfect fair weather platform for this environment. But when it comes to trailering, our GMC pickup did not even know the little Whaler was behind us.

We will definitely do this again with the 13. Let us know if we can help you decide if you want to give it a whirl.

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Dutchman
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Re: Recent trip to the Florida Keys

Postby Dutchman » Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:28 am

Thank you, padrefigure. The Florida Keys do look like a nice playground, which I'd love to check out. My problem is convincing the admiral to drive that far and go in water where there are sharks.

May I ask where you drove from?
EJO
"Clumsy Cleat"look up what it means
50th edition 2008 Montauk 150, w/60HP Mercury Bigfoot

padrefigure
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Re: Recent trip to the Florida Keys

Postby padrefigure » Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:26 pm

Austin, Texas. We put 3400 miles on the truck over the course of two weeks. Part of our time was spent with family along the way, but we had a lot of windshield time.

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Dutchman
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Re: Recent trip to the Florida Keys

Postby Dutchman » Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:27 am

That is a great distance, good for you guys.
Last one I did pulling the boat was 1,400 miles round trip and I was told never again.
EJO
"Clumsy Cleat"look up what it means
50th edition 2008 Montauk 150, w/60HP Mercury Bigfoot

JRP
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Re: Recent trip to the Florida Keys

Postby JRP » Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:22 pm

Great trip report, thanks!

If you were in an Outrage 18, would you have launched at your inn and made the run down along the 7 mile bridge in the boat, or would you have still trailered it to Duck Key?

padrefigure
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Re: Recent trip to the Florida Keys

Postby padrefigure » Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:10 pm

Running across the bay in an 18 or larger Whaler would be a piece of cake. The water is shallow, and navigation is pretty straightforward. I would prefer to have a GPS Sonar combo with good local maps loaded. We used a handheld and found it to be of limited use. To be sure, running across the bay in the 13 would have been possible, but not much fun.

ranjr13
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Re: Recent trip to the Florida Keys

Postby ranjr13 » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:24 am

Padrefigure: I [may] trailer our 18 Outrage down to the same area. Are there any sand bars and small islands where you can beach it and let your pup run around? I see that Black Fin is pet friendly, so looks like it might be a nice stop for a few days.

Are there any [legalities] with out of state boats going into Florida? I think I remember seeing an inspection station at the border. Thanks.

padrefigure
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Re: Recent trip to the Florida Keys

Postby padrefigure » Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:26 pm

The Keys are littered with small islands, so many, many, many places to pull over and relax. As far as legalities, I am not aware of any problems. Perhaps some of our Florida residents can comment. One thing to be aware of--many of the Keys are private property and many fall into State and National parks. There may be restrictions on landing with or without a pet in these cases. Finally, the entire chain of islands are basically limestone outcroppings with vegetation clinging on for dear life. Some beaches are sand, but particularly on the seaward side, many islands are simply rock outcroppings not suitable for beaching a boat. However, a cautious approach reveals appropriate landing places. Because we were in our 13 Whaler, we spent most of our time on the leeward side of the islands. This made a slow approach much simpler. It was also warm and we were interested in swimming, so getting "close" was good enough.

Good luck in your travels and post a report when you return.