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West Coast/Key West Tortuga's planning/advice

Old 02-11-2019, 01:46 PM
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Default West Coast/Key West Tortuga's planning/advice

I live in Clearwater Beach area and want to trailer to either Naples/Marco Island area or southern Keys/Key West and run to the Tortuga's for an overnight spear fishing trip. I have made a few over nighters on my boat to the Middle Grounds, so I'm comfortable with that aspect of the trip, I need opinions on the pros/cons of leaving from Naples/Marco Island vs southern Keys/Key West. Either way, I have to top off fuel in Key West...it's just a question of logistics/ease of parking a trailer for a few nights and hotel in SW FL and dropping the boat in the water and boating to Key West and find a dockside hotel or keep on trailering down to southern Keys/Key West? Either way, I have to park the trailer for a few nights. Is there a dockside hotel available in Key West for a somewhat reasonable rate compared to the non dockside hotels? Maybe stay a Key or two north of Key West if trailering the boat down for easier parking and drop the boat in the water there and top off fuel in Key West?
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:51 PM
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type of boat would be helpful. If your going in a panga I'd say one thing a 39' YF I'd say another.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:00 PM
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Check oceans edge key west.

Also, where are you planning to spear? Check regulations for having spearguns etc. on boat if you enter park.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:12 PM
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It's a Glacier Bay cat, nothing fast, but it cruises at 25 getting 2 mpg and can handle the trip no problem with decent weather conditions. Haven't gotten as far as where you can and cannot spear.....obviously not in the park, but there are spots on the way there and around the area. Will check the regs on entering the park with the guns.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:57 AM
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I haven't done the trip from either location, but if you go Marco Island, Calusa Island Marina is a nice place to put in and you can leave truck and trailer safely there for $10 a day.
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Old 02-12-2019, 03:06 AM
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I would trailer to Key West. That way you can fuel on the road and save the marina gas $$$.

It also will provide you with the option to have a way out if you have any type of mechanical or weather problem. If you had to limp back to Key west from the park you have your truck and trailer there to load up and go home. If not and you have an issue your kinda stuck in Key West to find a fix before you could get back to Marco.

You could launch and stay at the city Marina In Key West. They have overnight trailer parking and if you have accommodations you could stay on the boat. They have shore power.

The down side is the road trip to Key West but it's not that bad if you time it right. When I trailer down there I like to be at Key Largo at Daylight. This will probably save you over 300 bucks in fuel alone to trailer to KW.
https://www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov/dep....php?fDD=39-78
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:24 AM
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I get what your saying about leaving from Key West for convenience of a break down situation, but I don't think the cost savings would be much....if anything, they may be more. To be in Key Largo at daybreak, that means spending the night in Key Largo and then leaving for the Tortugas in the afternoon or staying the night in Key West to leave the next morning. That means another day off work and another night in a hotel. Would save me about 120 miles or so off the trip, but that's basically trading 6 hours of boating time (2 mpg) for 5 hours trailering time (10 mpg). I know Tow Boat has service and covers me in the Tortuga's, but if I left from Marco and had problems, would they tow me back to Key West or back to Marco? That may be one of the determining factors......
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:50 AM
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If they tow you from between Key West and The fort I don't believe they are going to take you back to Marco. Call them and ask.

I would always leave Tampa around Midnight and drive all the way to Key West. Did it several times pulling a 27 Grady and a 25 Hydrasport. Early morning travel through the Keys is fairly easy as the crowds are still sleeping it off. The run from Marco to KW is roughly 80 something miles by the time you swing in around the NW channel. Fuel will be at least a dollar more than on the road at marina prices there. If you can overnight on the boat in KW the city marina allows that so save the hotel room. They ain't cheap down there, especially the ones with slips.

If the weather gets bad you may also get stuck in Key West before you can make the run back to Marco. That damn trip across Florida Bay can get real messy in a hurry and there is no place to hide.

I have done it both ways and have had a few bad trips and some great ones. Something as simple as wrapping an old trap rope and spinning a prop. Stuck in KW, no prop to be found and waiting around a couple of days to get a new hub. All that with no ground transportation. That was the year we launched at Marco by the big bridge and left the truck there.

I don't have the option to trailer anymore so its by water all the way now. The last 12 years yearly running the Rampage down it was sure nice to know the wife would be there with ground transportation if I needed to go hunting parts for what ever reason.

There are for sure pros and cons to either way you choose.

Either way, if all goes good you should have a nice trip.
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