The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) passed a rule in December 2006 creating a no-anchoring zone for masted vessels in Newfound Harbor (Pine Channel), south of U.S. 1 between Big Pine Key and Little Torch Key. In an effort to enforce this new rule, the FWC will post signs and buoys in the affected area. During inclement weather, masted vessels have come in contact with the power lines, knocking out power in other portions of the Keys. The signs and buoys will inform boaters that anchoring masted vessels is prohibited in Pine Channel.
We were both down with the sickness (Key West Crud) and we wanted out of Key West. What we needed was a quiet, scenic, well-protected harbor in which to rest for a few days. Newfound Harbor looked to fit the bill.
There are several options for anchoring once you pass by Little Palm Island resort on Munson Island.
We chose the far northern spot between Big Pine Key and Little Torch Key. Only three boats were present, and they were very widely spaced. Four sailboats were anchored just south of the southern tip of Big Pine.
At first glance, it appears that there is nothing to do in this harbor. But if you get a little creative and explore in the dinghy, you have some options. Just north of the bridge on Little Torch is Tiki’s Sandbar, with a nice dock for dinghy access. http://www.kikissandbar.com/
A little further ride, but well worth it, is the Looe Key Dive Center and it’s cool tiki bar. http://looekeydivecenter.com/
We also landed on Big Pine Key, near the base of the bridge, and tied off to some mangroves. The Big Pine Restaurant is a short walk. If you’re up to it, Winn Dixie is 1 mile up US 1. Walgreens, and attached liquor store is .75 miles. We spent three days relaxing, with very little boat traffic. We enjoyed watching the antique launches ferrying customers to Little Palm Island Resort.
Overall it was a good experience for us. If you are headed to or from Key West on the Hawk Channel side, consider stopping there for a few days.