Key Largo to Hollywood was a incredible ride, “Thanks Dad” helped me cast my lines off and both boats were back on the ICW headed north by 9am. This route took us through Key Largo through a couple really clear sounds into Biscayne Bay. Biscayne Bay is a 25 mile long body of water that is 7-10′ deep, sand bottom with occasional grassy areas just as clear as Florida Bay. I was happy to see this water be so clear with such a big city at the north end of the bay. As Miami appeared in the distance it was really cool to see it grow closer and closer. To the east of the ICW channel in Biscayne Bay there are a group of houses known as Stiltsville built on pilings in the shallow water shoal areas that separate the atlantic from Biscayne Bay. These houses looked super cool through the binoculars, and some of them looked like they were falling apart. These structures were used in a few Movies and also used as a stash spot for alcohol during prohibition. i wasn’t able to get a good enough picture with my camera so here is one from the net.
From here the ICW takes you into the city of Miami, followed by Aventura, Hallandale and then the city of Hollywood which is in Broward County. Going through all these narrow ICW channels through the City is really neat, the slow speed zones are nice but only 1/2 of the boaters seem to know how to read the signs and follow the rules of the road. There are lots of bridges over here, out of the 10 i went under this day only 2 needed to open for me. During the day these bridges open on a schedule usually 15 and 45 min past the hour and at night they open on signal, so follow your waterway guide to figure the bridge schedules out. Its really easy to navigate down here. By 4pm I was docked at Loggerhead Marina in Hollywood. It is a nice safe facility, it has over 180 slips and is in the back of a gated community called Harbor Islands. Im under the impression that some famous people live in this area because coming back to the marina you have to stop at a security check. its a pretty good bike ride to the beach and you have to go over a bridge, but there are stores and food a little over a mile away.
I fueled up with 113 gallons of diesel fuel and checked out of my slip in Duck Key, by 9:30 i was leaving the channel of Duck Key headed to Hawks Channel. So far doing this trip i feel like i have dodged probably hundreds of crab trap buoys, even at night. For some reason 3 miles out of Duck Key in broad daylight I saw one in my direct path and tried to avoid it, I’ve done this many times before and never got one but this time was different. I don’t know if the trap had to much extra line on it or if the 113 gallons of diesel Jinxed me but my 24″ 4 blade starboard prop looped the crab trap line and we were combined at that moment. I dropped the anchor and got my GoPro, taped it to my boat hook and put it under the boat. When I reviewed the video it made me feel sick to see rope wrapped around my Pura Vidas propeller. My cruising friends Jon and Sue from Pensacola were leaving Marathon today headed north just like me, I called them and they were headed back to help me with the fouled prop. I was nervous about getting in the water by myself so i got my Brownie under water breathing apparatus hooked up so we could dive down for as long as we needed to un tangle the line. Before my friends on “Thanks Dad” could get there i saw another cruiser headed north “leap of faith ” from Palm Beach FL I hailed them on 16 and they offered to come stand by while I try to get the line un done. These people happened to be divers and the wife had not been able to dive the whole week they were down in the keys so she jumped right in and got the line off for me! What awesome people 🙂 Luckily it wasn’t wrapped hard and we were able to un tangle it without cutting anything. I will find these boaters one day and give them a big thank you, this saved John from having to jump in with me lol, I was so relieved when this was over. Since “Thanks Dad” came back for support we cruised together for the rest of the day until we got to Gilbert’s in Key Largo.
This was going to be a beautiful ride, low wind around 5mph I would be going from Hawks Channel crossing back to the Gulf side using Channel 5. This takes you right through Florida Bay which is a shallow bay with super clear water, surrounded by mangrove islands and beautiful flora and fauna. I wouldn’t take a boat with anything more than a 5.0′ draft through here Both Pura Vida and Thanks Dad have a 4′ draft so although the water was “skinny” the channel is well marked and it was like looking into a fish tank almost the whole day. You can see a abandoned crab trap in one of the pictures and how clear the water is. This is all part of the everglades national park and they have strict federal regulations to help keep this place pristine. This route zig zags a lot but is beautiful and I hope everyone gets to see it!
Finally we arrived at Gilbert’s, our slips were in front of a old hotel our boats blocked the views from the rooms but thats how it is laid out so oh well. Sue and John treated me to another meal my debt is growing deeper and deeper to them, i am so lucky to have such great friends on the water. Key Largo the name comes from the Spanish Cayo Largo, or “long key”. It is the first island of the Florida Keys and the originating point of the Overseas Highway to Key West. The bridge right where we stayed the night is the first and last bridge you will go over when going to the Florida Keys
Sue and I Louie on deck of “Thanks Dad”