Today is our last day in Key West. Tomorrow we leave nice and early to start a long weekend of travelling.
From Key West we're heading up Hawks Channel to Hawk's Cay marina at Duck Key, a distance of around 50 miles. Hawks Channel is a stretch of shallower water that runs south of and parallel to the keys. On the other side of Hawks Channel to the keys (the south side) there's a reef. While not usually above sea level, the reef creates a band of very shallow water that shelters Hawks Channel from the worst of the Atlantic swells. The weather is not ideal tomorrow, being a little windier than we'd prefer, but it's coming from the almost ideal direction - ENE - to allow the reef to provide good shelter. Duck Key is just east of Marathon and a good place to break our journey.
Our destination for the weekend is Biscayne Bay. We'll continue up Hawk's Channel past Key Largo and then cut through Angelfish Creek into the bay. Once in the Bay we'll head up to Elliott Key and find a nice anchorage. The wind drops significantly Friday and Saturday and should provide ideal conditions for a weekend on the hook. Biscayne Bay is a huge National Park and is supposed to be glorious. I'll break out the dingy and we'll go explore. There's a ton of mooring balls around the bay over reefs and wrecks. With low winds and high temps (high 70s), we may even go snorkeling or even try the snuba gear.
Sunday we leave Biscayne Bay and head to Ft Lauderdale. We were planning on stopping in Miami, but there's a regatta on this week and no space. So straight up to Ft Lauderdale it is. Ft Lauderdale is the pleasure boating capital of the States, so we're going to take a week to stock up spare parts and books. Tigers Eye is moored there, so we may even meet up with Bradley and Debra again. Another good reason for hitting Ft Lauderdale earlier is Spring Break. While the idea of "Girls gone Wild" all around sounds like fun, I'm sure it'll be very noisy! So we'll leave Ft Lauderdale, head back down the ICW to Miami. In Miami we'll stay at the Miami Beach Marina, just a few blocks from Ocean Drive and right next to Government Cut. There we'll wait for a good weather window before jumping across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas.