I just responded to this post at the SSCA discussion Board-
This is our first time cruising from Miami to the FL Keys. We draw 5’7″. Can anyone recommend a float plan, such as where is the best place to crossover to Hawk Channel, as well as selected anchorages along the way to Key West? Thanks so much.
I have run an 80′ schooner 5′ 9″ draft doing overnight Boy scout charters in the Keys for the last 2 years. If you are a little adventurous you can try these, I have done them all.
1. Biscayne channel South of Key Biscayne- deep enough at any tide.
2. Biscayne Bay- anchor off Elliot key
3. Angelfish creek and Cutter bank Channel- do at 2/3 tide or higher. Shallowest at Atlantic entrance to angelfish and Card Sound entrance to Cutter Bank
5. Moser channel to Back side- Do Rocky channel with a chart plotter any tide, lots of sailing with less than 1′ below your keel but its soft bottom. you can also go around the top of the Islands. Great calm water sail in E-SE. lots of protected anchoring spots.
6. Stop at Saywer key and work your way down to Tarpon Belly Key. Hard Corals at entrance, do at any tide. Great diving along ridge between Content and Sawyer Keys. This is one of the most remote and beautiful areas in the Keys
7. Atlantic side anchorages- Rodrguez, Channel 5, Mollasses key by Money key channel tuck in, lots of current, any tide. Niles channel any tide. Newfound harbor don’t use start of entrance channel, go to west of charted wreck then work over to channel. Inner harbor great protection any tide. You will go aground at charted wreck (soft bottom, not really a wreck).
8. Boca Grande Channel Past Key West any tide.
Enjoy your trip