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  Suggestions for gunkholing in FL Keys

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Author Topic:   Suggestions for gunkholing in FL Keys
Ranjr13 posted 12-06-2005 06:26 PM ET (US)   Profile for Ranjr13   Send Email to Ranjr13  
If I can get away after the holidays for a week, I may take either my 11 or 13 down to the FL keys. Has anyone gone down and stayed there, and using local ramps put some serious hours on their Whaler in Jan? Should be warm enough, right? Ideas on specific keys and/or places that accomodate both a boat on a trailer and a sea-dog side kick, let me know.
PeteB88 posted 12-06-2005 09:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Man, you talking what I'm thinking taking our 13 or 11.5 down on a trip to Keys. Let's see what everyone says.

best

waterguy posted 12-07-2005 01:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for waterguy  Send Email to waterguy     
Okay, I'll ask. I'm from the West. What is "Gunkholing?" I'm guessing fishing of some sort.
Ranjr13 posted 12-07-2005 06:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ranjr13  Send Email to Ranjr13     
It's Downeast lingo for cruising into and out of small harbors, rivers etc. There's really no fishing involved, just using your boat to get where landlubbers (I trust you know what that means) can't go. You do know what small harbors, rivers etc. are? Is there water out west? Being from New England, I thought there was only smog out there :)
Chuck Tribolet posted 12-07-2005 10:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Gunkholing is popular in the Sacramento River delta too.
We westerners do know what it is. Though usually it's larger
boats that you can live on.

Not nearly as much smog lately, BTW.


Chuck

where2 posted 12-07-2005 10:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
In comparison to Connecticut, it will be quite warm! As far as Floridians are concerned, it's usually rather cold by our standards. Although, I have seen a few years where I could have gone waterskiing on Christmas day.

A boat that small on a trailer should not be a huge issue. Set your sights on Islamorada and use the search function to see what others have said about the keys and places to stay. You might find some accomodations which allow pets, but that is usually a tricky issue. If you were bringing a tent, you'd have an easier time locating a campground with a tent site available which allowed pets. Tent sites are pretty easy to find during the winter months on short notice. Snowbirds usually don't bring a tent when they come down for winter!

I think a fun gunkhole trip would be the "Okeechobee Waterway" which runs across Florida from Stuart to Ft. Myers. One of the boating magazines did an article about it during the past year or two, although they stayed in "hotels". There are atleast two Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds along the Okeechobee waterway. I've stayed at one in a tent in February, no problem getting a site! Both Stuart and Ft. Myers are loaded with nooks and crannies to gunkhole and see how the wealthy live...

where2 posted 12-07-2005 10:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
FWIW: http://continuouswave.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000506.html

Be sure to read the followup article about photographing the coast guard station...

The Judge posted 12-08-2005 12:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for The Judge  Send Email to The Judge     
More and more hotels allow pets these days, especially under 40lbs. I stayed at a real nice place in Tarpon Springs but they told me right on the phone they are "laxed" about size if pet is cool. Try Hotel.com, Expedia, Orbitz, etc and see if you can find a place that aloows pets. My Pooch is about 80lbs and he walked right through the lobby...twice.

Gunkholing is a term we ALways used in NJ, just means driving around with basically no real purpose(or set course)but to enjoy the scenery.

Chuck Tribolet posted 12-08-2005 08:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
The AAA state tour books are great for locating hotels/motels
that will take Fido.


Chuck

nydealer posted 12-14-2005 08:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for nydealer  Send Email to nydealer     
I head down to Marathon in the central Keys each January. I haul our 210 Whaler Impact w/T-top down and rent a house for two weeks. I spent New years in Key West last year and had the boat in tow. Most places have enough parking for a small boat. Each Key usually has a place to launch. An 11 or 13 would be a lot of fun. There are tons of small islands in the shallow areas off the keys. I will be down there the first two weeks of January boat in tow.
scubaman posted 01-07-2006 04:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for scubaman  Send Email to scubaman     
One of the best places I know to go 'gunkholing' is the area around 'Angelfish Creek'. Email me for a map of the southern end of Biscayne Bay.

Its accessible either from the bay side or ocean side.

You can drive across the bay from Homestead Bayfront Park. Angelfish Creek is one of the few inlets between the bay and the ocean that's navigable - and even then, watch the tides and your charts.

You can anchor just on the inside and, with enough food and water, live on the boat for weeks, if you want. A short snorkel to the loo side of a small cay near the mouth of the inlet with a speargun scores you enough common Hogfish (Called Hog Snapper by the locals, but they're not snapper) to keep you fed for that long without working too hard.

You can also camp out on Eliot Key, a little further north. It's likewise inacessible by car. Primitive camping with no electricity at campsites, but there is at the restrooms and fresh water as well.

The northern tip of Eliot Key is Boca Chita Key - salt water toilets are the only amenity, and is likewise accesible only by boat.

St Pete Beach Jonezy posted 01-17-2006 08:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for St Pete Beach Jonezy  Send Email to St Pete Beach Jonezy     
I have stayed a couple of times at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Islamorada. When I stayed it was not high season, and the prices were reasonable, and it is a very nice place when you consider some of the dives in the Keys that charge more than this place. It has a ramp and you can rent a slip from them too. They even have secure storage for your trailer if you slip your boat. Last time down my buddy and I stayed at the place that was supposed to have the hottest bar action. It sucked, the room was a dump, and for less money we got a 2 bedroom suite at the Hampton. It has an outback steakhouse on premises, and gives you free continental breakfast and ice. Overall I think it is one fo the best kept secrets in the Keys.
pglein posted 01-27-2006 11:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
Gunkholing is a very popular term in the PNW as well.
R_Ant posted 01-27-2006 12:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for R_Ant  Send Email to R_Ant     
We go down to Bahia Honda State Park every year and stay in one of the cabins. The park has an excellent marina and boat ramps, boucoup trailer parking and 7 or 8 first come first serve slips for campers. If you're in a cabin just tie up right out front. There are RV hookups, camping with water & electric and primitive camping. Not sure of the parks pet policy.
Last year our reservations were changed due to hurricane damage at the park and we stayed a few days at Parmers Resort on Little Torch Key. Very nice array of rooms, boat ramp was dodgy but the slips were good. Very nice overall.
-Rick
Royboy posted 01-31-2006 10:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Royboy  Send Email to Royboy     
Rumor has it that Wilma knocked the stuffings out of Florida Bay, with many ramp closures, etc. Any Yokels out there to confirm or deny said rumors? I have been thinking about such a trip as well, but likely next Fall.

Roy

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