Sunset from Cudjoe Key

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Sunset from Cudjoe Key



February 15 through 22, 2008.

This is another adventure based around a friends boat, excuse me, make that yacht. Joyce and I have been back in Pensacola since late August and I am in constant need of excitement. The owner of that yacht that I crossed the Gulf of Mexico on back in December was heading down to Key West to pull the boat out of the water where he was having work done on the propellers. While out of the water he is taking the opportunity to repaint the bottom and do some other maintenance that needs to be done when the boat is out of the water.

Let's fast forward now. After Steve, the owner, got through seeing his last patient on Thursday we loaded our things into his automobile and headed to Orlando where we arrived after 1am Friday morning at his daughter's house. She had left a side door open for us and within minutes we were in our beds and fast asleep.

Friday morning found us up early and making our way the remainder of the way to Key West. Actually, our destination is Cudjoe Key located about 20-miles northeast of Key West. Steve's yacht has been tied up behind a mutual friends house on Cudjoe Key. The channel into their dock is shallow and can only be navigated in a 60' boat, drawing 5 & 1/2-feet of water, at high tide. It just so happened that high-tide was scheduled to occur at 5pm. Try as we might, we could not arrive until almost 6pm. Much to our surprise the tide was not high like it was supposed to be. It was, about 1-foot short of being high but it was coming in which was good. We needed all the water we could get.

We also needed to be at the boat yard first thing Saturday morning because that is when they were scheduled to pull us. The propeller people were also scheduled to meet us to pick up the propellers and take them back to Miami where the propeller shop is located. If we didn't get the boat out from Cudjoe Key and into deep water on this high tide it would be Saturday night before another high tide. So it was imperative that we get the boat into deep water on this tide, otherwise we wouldn't make the boatyard schedule.

Once arriving in Cudjoe Key, at the house where the boat was docked, we hastily loaded our gear and got the engines cranked. A neighbor boarded the boat to help us navigate the channel while Mr. Andrews (the boat was docked behind the Andrew's home) followed in his small Boston Whaler.



Cudjoe Key sunset

Cudjoe Key Sunset Picture



As you can see it is turning dark rapidly. This picture was taken as we were making the turn out of the finger canal where the boat had been docked.

We are rounding the corner and will head straight down this canal you see in front of us.

Remember it is very shallow both here and in the big body of water we will enter when we get out of this canal.




Cudjoe Key sunset

Cudjoe Key sunset Picture




I took this picture across the bay while we were motoring down that canal you saw in the picture above.





Cudjoe Key sunset

Sunset Picture from Cudjoe Key



This is another picture from that canal looking south across that shallow body of water we are about to enter.





Cudjoe Key sunset

Sunset from Cudjoe Key



And one last picture before it got too dark to take pictures. We are heading out into that large body of extremely shallow water.




For the next 45-minutes we slowly made our way out of this canal into that open body of water weaving our way between small man made markers. We draw 5 & 1/2 feet of water and much of the way we were stirring up mud. Thankfully, our guide got us into water that was between 10' and 12'. We were safely in open water and would be able to make our appointment with the boat yard in the morning. However, we had to stop and anchor because there are too many lobster trap buoys for us to run at night. You do not want to run over a lobster trap buoy because the rope between the bay and the trap will get caught in the propeller and stop you dead in the water, in addition to wrapping the big, heavy lobster trap on your shaft and beating the dickens out of the bottom of your boat while possibly bending your rudder and other gear. Needless to say, the only prudent thing to do was to drop anchor and wait for daylight.

Our guide departed our boat and boarded the Boston Whaler Mr. Andrews was in. They waved good-bye and headed for home.

The next morning, just as we had finished breakfast, Jerry Andrews arrived on the Boston Whaler. Jerry came out to be our guide into the boat yard on Stock Island. Jerry is the Captain/owner of the Entertainer Charter Boat on Pensacola Beach. It is his family that has the house on Cudjoe Key. He knows the water around here almost as good as he does the water around Pensacola. We were fortunate to have someone with his knowledge to guide us through the reefs and into the boat yard on Stock Island. Rusty, Jerry's long time deckhand on the Entertainer was on the Boston Whaler along with Mr. Andrews (Jerry's Dad). After dropping Jerry off on the Smilin Time, they headed back to the Andrews house. They would drive our automobile from the Andrew's house to the boat yard.

It was a 20-mile run to the boat yard. When we arrived Rusty and Mr. Andrews were there to greet us. Within minutes the Travel Lift had the Smilin Time up and on dry land.


Lobster Trap Bouy

Lobster trap bouy


I took this picture of a lobster trap buoy before we got underway this morning. They were all around us just like we suspected. Luck had been with us the night before as we made our way to deeper water. We could have easily run across one and disabled the boat. Thankfully, the lobster boats had not deposited any traps in the channel or we would surely have run over one.


Click here to continue this travel adventure

Actually there are two more in this series that you may enjoy: Stock Island Boat Yard and Stock Island


Click here for more Key West Travel Blogs

Until next time remember how good life is.




Click here for more Key West Travel Logs & Travellogs.

Until next time remember how good life is.



More Florida Adventures

Some Exciting Drives** More 2008 Travel Adventures



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