Sugggestions? FL, Keys in March 2015

Have you ever been there ?
Not my idea of a tropical paradise island that we all dream about.

Yes it looks like it, but the pictures don’t show the seven Mile bridge that is close by, and also be prepared to share your site with some campers that have been dropped off by a power boat concern that drops them off and picks them up the next day.

Enjoy boom box music ?


Power boats and tides
Never been paddle camping the Keys but have been to the Everglades camping backcountry a lot.

Some beaches and campsites are avoided by powerboaters because of shallows and shoals. Others are widely used by motorized craft.

So it would seem that your research ought to include reading nautical charts. Or timing an arrival so that low tide keeps boaters off at the end of the day.

Yes and many times over the years
during our learning days we did a lot of “kayak pushups” over mile long shoals 3" deep.

Just ask Scupper Frank, Greyhawk and some of our other partners in crime!

Jack L

Back then I would blindly follow you anywhere…

After that trip, not so much… :slight_smile:

But ALSO learn the ins and outs of the tides!

And make sure you get the right tides… for the right days!

Despite some of those skinny (and HOW!) water experiences, I’d still follow Jack (and Nanci) on one of their excursions in the Keys to -shallows or not -very enjoyably


-Frank in Miami

ins and outs of the tides
the trouble is Florida tides are rather influenced by the wind.

There are days you can take your tide table and eat it… its that useless.

Sometimes with some winds the high is not high and the low is like a high… leaving you stuck.

All we can do in those cases is wait… ( I spent seven hours at the delta of Lostmans Bay waiting for water and I had arrived at high!)

chart reading ?

The winds are so influential on the tides. Surely you know that.

Up here the winds have less effect . The water is deeper though the tidal range more ( 13 feet)

I don’t need remedial chart reading. The guys who did the Maine Sea Kayak guide testing made sure of that.

But Florida is not Maine.

only watched during a hurricane’s approach…and an approach surge from say a storm center from below Cuba to a full surge at St George Island !

Wind blows onshore or less frequently down the coast. Land breezes are that as strong Atl winds are blocked by the land mass in the nearby waters.

here was reading about your journeys, like Maslan’s Night Out. So armed with GPS and Blue Charts giving depths and directions, tides…I paddle the channel unless the tide is high then going across the bar to another channel. This is scenic over the manatee green cropped golf course submarine turf.

Not paddling the channels is a slog against the wind, with the wind good sailing but not as fast as the channels maybe 2x faster with less effort than over the bars.

Any paddler that has bveen around…
for a few years knows that a kayak or canoe will go faster in deeper water then in shallows. That applies if there is wind or no wind.

Don’t need any tide or wind charts to tell you that !

Jack L

then check the chart for depth

I need to take a look but right off one may be a funneling effect from the bottom.

We have funneling effects on the surface from eroding limestone under local storm track averages.

Well, no on that. I await news of a BOOMERANG abort with Coast Guard rescue.

A casual river kayaker on Florida Bay, following a drive down, may not plug in.

I did this. In Thunder Bay going in took a bearing. When I got back, took the bearing and said what ?

I have made a mistake, that is not the correct bearing…

long walk with a Grumman

BTW, Collier-Seminole rents an undented Grumman fleet.

If you find a morning outgoing tide when the WX is cold with a full moon, camp down at Grocery Place then next morning if wind is down go out to the Keys n camp, head back in on the River on a rising tide.

The Grummans do not rent with airbags but depths are shallow.

Another thought;

– Last Updated: Nov-22-14 10:21 AM EST –

You mentioned taking off from John Pennekamp.
If you go farther down the Keys and could score a site at Bahia Honda SP, (which is hit or miss)-If you miss pay the big bucks at one of the private places which you might luck into.
Then take off from Cudjoe Key and do some stealth camping at Tarpon Belly Key, Riding Key and Sawyer Key which all have some nice remote stealth camp sites. (don't have a fire or lights at night)

These are all on our Google web site.
The undersea wildlife viewing is awesome between the cuts through these Keys.
We have sat in three feet of water watching too many Lemon Sharks to count all around us along with monstrous Rays, and the occasional sea turtle, etc.
On one trip with a group of P-netters we watched a Bull Shark and a large Tarpon going at it. -Don't know who won. We didn't want to get too close.

Jack L