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How to get to Sawyer/Contents

Looking for a navigational assist here. Me and the fam will be staying on Cudjoe Bay for the month of December, and I would love to take them to one of those white sand islands on the gulf side (I think Sawyer would be the best?). We have a 21ft Robalo and I'm trying to figure out what the best route would be to get to the backside. It looks like there could be a path to get to Cudjoe channel that has some shallow spots, but just not sure if this is wise. Another option would be to take Johnson Key channel, but not sure if it's best to access Sawyer from the ocean side as that looks like it could be rocky/shallow too. Kinda feels like we're in a tough spot in Cudjoe bay but would love any recommendations/advice on how to get to a beach. My two options are below... let me know if they both suck lol. 

Thanks in advance!


  • dvnelson72dvnelson72 Junior Member Posts: 95 Deckhand
    edited November 2022 #2
    A couple of things:
    1) IMO always plan to get through the channels to the gulf then work into the sandbars.  The south side of those keys are tricky to say the least.
    2) in that light, for track #1 go all the way out, then into the beach like you have in track #2
    3) snipe isn’t far and it’s a great beach scene

    here is the most important thing:
    FOLLOW ANOTHER BOAT if there is any traffic.  If not, work you way slowly the first time at high tide. 

    the real advantage of following a boat is that they will invariably go past bubba sticks in the precarious areas and you can a) mark them and b) follow your route on the gps later. 

    Also in places like channel island near stock island, you really have to be on plane even at high tide. So following is a major advantage.

    personally I think #2 is your best bet because I can see the cut circled in yellow here:

  • Egrets LandingEgrets Landing Senior Member Summerland Key / OrlandoPosts: 956 Officer
    Cutting through Rattlesnake Lumps just north of Bow Channel Bridge is very dangerous if you have never been there or cant see it perfectly.  At Low tide there is zero margin for error with a few tight turns to avoid the flats near the entrance.  Many boats crash and beach themselves there trying it and the bottom is hard.    If you hit you will likely destroy your lower unit.  I have run it hundreds of times but I would not recommend you take that route.  Take Bow channel all the way out to the Gulf and come in slowly from the north.  Run the yellow circled area shown above.  It's marked by two PVC stakes on the eastern side of the channel.  Its a little longer run but you run little risk of ruining your day.
  • boneflybonefly Junior Member Miami, SugarloafPosts: 35 Deckhand
    Egrets Landing, who probably knows more about running the keys than anyone I know is spot on . Avoid the lumps option. 
    Btw check out Egrets product, Florida Marine Track, aerials with routes included.  

    Also make sure you can get under bow channel bridge if you have a t-top
  • bodaciousbodacious Junior Member Posts: 35 Deckhand
    I live in Summerland key, and find the best and or easiest way is kemp channel. sawyer will be on your left as the channel runs into gulf. then you go east for about 2 miles to contents.
  • mikegoblue2002mikegoblue2002 Junior Member Posts: 65 Deckhand
    Really appreciate the info guys. Have a great holiday season!
  • piner_wahoo1piner_wahoo1 keysPosts: 881 Officer
    all looks good from here. keep in mind that tides swing av. of 18" in cudjoe bay. but... in the backcountry tides swing anywhere from 12" to 7 FEET depending on moon+wind. hire a local to be sure. -it's a lot cheaper than a lower unit... and i am that local (been running it for over 30 years) gimmie a call 305  394  7400 not only can i get you an any-tide safe track, i can get you on some tasty fish.
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