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A

bout ...Florida

We came to Florida for a short stop to drop off our daughter and couldn't seem to get away!  Our friends on "Blue Sky" said " Be careful or you'll get stuck in the Keys."  Florida has been a good/bad experience.  Bad because we were here thru the 2005 hurricane season.  However, we have met some great people and seen some beautiful places...and that's why we are out here.  We finally left Florida in April 2006 and are back out on the waterways ....  2008 update:  We are back in Key West, Florida for a year or so.

CRUISER'S NET  

In Marathon they have a cruiser's net at 9:00 am on VHF channel 68.

RE-ENTRY INTO THE US 

Customs:  800-432-1216.  We called the number and were told to take all our fruits & vegetables to the custom's office.  We packed up all our Mexican produce and carried it over to them.  Filled out a little paperwork and that was it.  Easy as pie.  We do have a custom's number that we applied for, I assume everyone has that now, but if not, it's $25.00 a year, you get the number and it seems to make checking in easier.   

CHARTS & GUIDES WE FOUND HELPFUL

Cruising Guide to the Northern Gulf Coast: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana (Cruising Guide to the Northern Gulf Coast)

KEY WEST 

Sunset in Key West from Mallory SquareIt is very easy to sail/motor into Key West.  The channels are well marked even for a night entry.  

Key West is packed with things to do.  There is always something happening here.  The major event is Fantasy Fest.  Fantasy Fest is in October so if you can, plan to be here then.  Check out the official website for specific dates:  http://www.fantasyfest.net/.

General info:

Key West Marinas:  Updated 9/15/08 Printable Version

Key West, FL Marinas

Historic Seaport Area - Key West Bight: 

Within walking distance to Duval Street.  Grocery stores within walking distance.  Fuel is available at A and B Marina, Key West Bight Marina and Conch Harbor Marina.

Marina rates have a 7.5% sales tax on top of the rates unless otherwise noted.

Anchorages

Noted on map above are the most convenient to Downtown.  We have anchored by both Christmas Tree Island and Flemming Key.  The view from the anchorage is great.  Tall ships cruising by in the sunset, cruise ships coming and going, there is always something to see.  We found that the holding is not that great and it is very bumpy and rolly due to currents, winds, and non-stop boat traffic.  

You can purchase showers from the dock master at Key West Bight Marina & dinghy dockage at the seaport is about $7.00 a day or $80.00 a month.   

A and B Marina
700 Front Street, PO Box 432 Key West, FL 33040-6688
305-294-2535 toll free: 800-223-8352
Go To Website
Monitors VHF Channel 16/10, Lat:  2433.706'N, Long:  08148.208'W

A & B is one of the most popular marinas when visiting Key West. 

Rates:  Daily dockage:  $3.00 /ft.  Cable TV, water & electricity included with daily dockage rate up to one 50 amp power cord.  Seasonal Dockage:  $50.00 /ft. per month, plus $100 per month for utilities.

Conch Harbor Marina
951 Caroline Street, Key West, FL 33040-6636
305-294-2933
Go To Website
Monitors VHF Channel 16, Lat:  2433.779'N, Long:  08148.028'W

Conch Harbor is a small, but nice marina.

Rates:  Transient rates $3.50/ft. 35' minimum, includes utilities.  Special occasion dockage: $5.00/ft. 5 day minimum.

Galleon Resort Marina
617 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040
305-292-1292/800-544-3030 After hours: 305-294-0653
Go To Website
Monitors VHF Channel 16, Lat:  2433.754'N, Long:  08148.229'W

Galleon Marina is part of the resort so you get access to the hotel facilities which includes the pool, bar & rooftop to watch the sunset.  One of the most popular along with A&B.

Rates:  Transient dockage:  $3.50/ft.  Special occasion dockage:  $4.25/ft (FantasyFest, etc.)

Key West Bight Marina (City Marina)
201 William Street, Key West, FL  33040
305-296-3838
Go To Website
Monitors VHF Channel 16, Lat:  2433.743'N, Long:  08148.065'W

Rates:  Transient dockage:  $2.50/ft. per day, $40.00/ft. monthly.  Metered electric.  Special occasion dockage:  $3.00/ft. per day - 5 day minimum.  120 day limit per year.  Special occasion dockage:  $3.50/ft. 5 day minimum.   

Key West Westin Resort and Marina
245 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040-8313
305-294-4000, After hours: 305-292-4375
Go To Website - This website shows the hotel, but nothing about the marina.
Monitors VHF Channel 16, Lat:  2433.352'N, Long:  08148.484'W

Rates:  Transient dockage: $3.00/ft. + 18.00 per day utilities.  Special occasion varies per event.  Fantasy Fest is $5.00/ft. with a $1000 deposit advance.

Garrison Bight Area:

Garrison Bight Marina (City Marina)
1801 N. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West, FL 33040
305-292-8167
Go To Website
Monitors VHF Channel 16, Lat:  2433.606'N, Long:  08147.054'W

This marina is under renovation right now.  It is not in very good condition.

Rates:  $1.90/ft. plus $6.25 utility charge per day, $34.00/ft. monthly. (3 month max stay per year) $25.00 shower key deposit.

Garrison Bight Mooring Field
Located north of City Marina, in the area between Fleming Key and Sigsbee Park.
305-292-8167
Go To Website
Monitors VHF Channel 16, Call Mooring Field Dockmaster.  Lat:  2434.600'N, Long:  08147.225'W

Mid-way between Duval Street & the major shopping area.  About a 10 block walk to Seaport/Duval area & about 10 blocks to the major grocery stores.  Bus stops nearby.  We stayed in the mooring field in 2005.  It's not bad unless a north wind is blowing and then there is no protection.  

Rates:  $15.32 daily, $270.17 monthly.  Includes dinghy dockage & shower facilities.  New shower & laundry facilities are currently being built.

Stock Island Area:

Most marinas on Stock Island are a $25-30 taxi ride into Key West.  There are bus stops all around Stock Island.

Kingspointe Marina - formerly Oceanside Marina - now under complete renovation
5950 Peninsula Avenue, Key West, FL 33040
305-294-4676
Website: n/a at this time
Monitors VHF Channel:  none, Lat: 2433.726'N, Long: 08143.838'W

Rates: Transient dockage:  $3.20/ft., monthly rate  $33.00/ft.  Discounts apply for 3 month or longer stays.

Safe Harbor Marina
6810 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040-6054
305-294-9797, After hours: 305-747-4733
Go To Website
Monitors VHF Channel:  none, Lat:  2434.026'N, Long:  08143.967'W

In old town Stock Island.  It's an interesting marina.  Hogfish Restaurant & Bar is at this marina.

Rates:  n/a

Sunset Marina
5555 College Rd, Key West, FL 33040
305-296-7101
Go To Website
Monitors VHF Channel:  16, Lat:  2434.689'N, Long:  08145.057'W

We are currently in this marina.  It is a great hurricane hole.  The marina is in LONG walking distance of the major grocery stores, about a 20 minute bike ride to Duval Street or a $25 taxi ride.  There is a bus stop right in front of the marina.  We bought scooters.

If you are coming into the marina, call and get directions.  It is a little tricky to get into the marina.  The Dockmaster will even meet you after you come into Garrison Bight to guide you in if you'd like.

Rates:  $2.75/ft. per day, $31-33/ft. monthly.  Special occasion rates:  $3.50/ft. 3 night minimum. 

Food at the Goombay FestivalRestaurant Reviews

There are so many restaurants in Key West that we have probably only eaten at 1/4 of them.  I am very particular ... if I'm spending the money, I expect good food & service so keep that in mind if I give a poor review.  I'm listing my favorites and some we've tried that just didn't cut the muster for me...

Our favorite places so far:

Alonzo's Oyster Bar:  Why would you eat anything but seafood here?  Both times we have eaten here, the food and service have been excellent.  Check out the Crispy Lobster Sandwich Recipe from Alonzo's.

Blue Heaven:  The website is awful, we had lunch there and the food was okay.  But, it is a must go to in Key West.  It's the charm, the Key West chickens, the cats...  We had our first Mojitos here and they were awesome.   Breakfast must be better than lunch as there is often a line around the block.

Conch Republic Seafood:  I only had oysters on the half shell & a salad here, but they were both good.  Service was good and it's a good place to people watch. 

El Siboney:  Cuban food.  This is one of Thane's favorite restaurants and one of the most popular on the island.  I don't particularly like it, but I find Cuban food to be bland.  I prefer Mexican. 

Mangia Mangia:  Pasta cafe.  Delicious!  We've eaten there twice and it was outstanding each time.

Kyushu:  Japanese, ungodly expensive, but very, very good.

 Schooner Wharf:  Standard fare.  About the best hamburger we've had on the island.  It's on the seaport, fun staff, we like it.

Waterfront Market's Sandwich Counter:  Very good sandwiches, made to order.

These places were okay:

Half-Shell:  It's was passable, but I prefer really good.  Nice atmosphere on the seaport.

Hogfish:  Not a tourist spot as it's over on Stock Island at Safe Harbour Marina.  Just a bus ride and about a 1 mile walk.  The first time we tried this restaurant in 2005 it was great.  We've been back twice in 2008 and the food was just average or below each time.  Safe Harbour Marina is nice to walk around and it's on the water, but for the current quality of food it's overpriced. 

Kelly's Caribbean:  Nice atmosphere, the food was just okay.  Kind of bland.  I think they may have new owners so we may try it again, but with so many other options, it really hurts a restaurant when they don't make a good first impression.

Sarabeth's:  Food was good quality.  I had the Poached Salmon Cobb Salad & my friend a Club Sandwich.  We both felt it was just kind of blah.  For a $14.50 salad at lunch, it should have been great.  Service was good. 

Turtle Kraawls:  Passable.  I've eaten breakfast there and lunch twice, mainly because of its location ... meeting friends there.  Nice atmosphere on the seaport.

  

We were in Key West for FantasyFest 2005 (it was moved to December, usually Halloween weekend ...that's very appropriate... due to the hurricanes).  It was a lot of fun.  Very decadent and shocking for a Texas gal, but worth seeing at least one time.  We have pictures .... beware rated "R".

Take a photo tour of Florida:  Heart of Gold's Florida Adventure (including FantasyFest 2005)

 

 
Places of note that we have visited, soon to be written about:
  • Bradenton - Manatee River
  • Cabbage Key
  • Carabelle
  • Dry Tortugas
  • Ft. Myers
  • Lake Okeechobee
  • Marathon
  • Miami
  • Saint Petersburg

I will be relaying our experiences in these places soon.

 

 

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