The Marquesas Keys, not to be confused with the Marquesas Islands in the Pacific Ocean, form an uninhabited island group about 30 miles west of Key West, 4 miles in diameter, and overgrown by mangrove. They are protected as part of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. The Marquesas were used for target practice by the military as recent as 1980. The islands are part of the Florida Keys, separated from the rest of the Florida Keys, which are further east, by the Boca Grande Channel. Only the Dry Tortugas are further west, 36 miles (60 km) west of the Marquesas Keys.
The central lagoon is called Mooney Harbor. The northernmost key is the largest and has a strip of sandy beach free of mangrove. In the past it was known as “Entrance Key”. It surrounds the lagoon in the north and east. Adjoining in the south are smaller keys such as Gull Keys, Mooney Harbor Key, and finally about four unnamed keys in the southwest corner of the island.
Six miles (10 km) west of the Marquesas Keys is Rebecca Shoal. One of our favorite fishing grounds for over night trips.