Friday, April 22, 2016


There's a term that puts a smile on most cruisers faces.  Those out living on their savings (or cruising kitty as it is often called) like to be frugal, to stretch their savings and keep the adventure going as long as possible before having to find a way to refill the kitty. So things that are free or low cost are certainly helpful when they can be found.

We've been at the anchorage in Tarpon Basin just off of Key Largo for a week now. "Parking" the boat here is essentially free (since we don't have solar or wind, there is a small cost in diesel for the generator to charge the batteries).  This beats the $60+ a night it would cost to be at a marina (and most marinas around here are far more than that).

Shore access can be an issue when at anchor.  When the shore is lined with private property, access can be tricky.  Often there are businesses (marinas, restaurants, and bars) that will grant access for a fee or only if you are visiting their establishment. This is what makes the nearby free government dock a nice feature of this anchorage. It allows us to explore Key Largo without being tied to one given restaurant or have to pay a daily landing fee.

Waste is another issue that needs to be dealt with when you are your own floating little island. Fortunately, the government center also has a dumpster and recycling containers where anchored boats are allowed to deposit trash. We try to minimize the amount of trash we produce, but in the pre-packaged society we live there is inevitably some trash (or recycling) produced by any household.

Of course that isn't the only waste that needs to depart the boat. stuff...needs a place to go too.  Fortunately, Monroe County (the county that includes all of the Keys) has a solution for that as well.  The county has contracted with a company called Pump Out USA to provide a weekly pump out service for boats anchored in their waters.  In places that didn't already have some sort of service, they setup a weekly schedule and will stop by your boat and relieve it of the unwanted cargo. To use the service, you fill out a registration form on the Pump Out Florida Keys web site and they will get you on the schedule.

This area really does offer quite a bit for the cruiser, but I think it is about time to move on.  We would like to do just a bit more exploring before we have to make our trek back up north.  I think we are going to pick up the anchor today and go find another spot to drop it.  Not sure what, if any, internet access will be available, but I will continue writing and post when I can.  In the meantime, I'll leave you with a picture of the sunrise over the government dock this morning.

Better than the other picture options for this post.


  1. Hi Mike,
    Great to see the "Fun/Work" ratio is finally leaned to the fun side. With so much of the eastern shore of Fla starting to restrict or eliminate anchoring spots, good to see that the Keys still have some and you can keep to a budget.
    Doug in VT

    1. No more than we are! Really dislike the direction Florida is going with anchoring restrictions...especially since the waterways are SUPPOSED to be for the enjoyment of all...not just the rich few.

  2. I accidentally "fat-fingered" a link on my phone and it clicked the delete instead of publish (who at Blogger put those so close together anyway). This comment came in from user "Duff" and is recreated below:

    "The heading certainly got my attention.... I must be getting closer to becoming a cruiser :)
    Tarpon Basin sounds like a good place to stop, have added to my list. "

    1. Tarpon Basin definitely has some things going for it. Free docks, well protected, and reasonably close to a variety of services and attractions. And wifi...when your booster is cooperating. ;-)