Treasure Harbor Marine, come for the silence

Pam Andersen (right) explains the intricacies of the waters around Plantation Key to Ronald Shelley.

Pam Andersen (right) explains the intricacies of the waters around Plantation Key to Ronald Shelley.

Treasure Harbor Marine on Plantation Island offers some insight into why people come down to the Florida Keys. They come for the silence. They come for that hear-the-sound-of-your-own-breathing kind of silence that reminds you of your childhood, with your back to the grass and eyes focused on the changing clouds. Here you are regaled by the clicking of palm fronds stirring in the breeze and the sound of sea water lapping at the hull of a moored sail boat.

You come here to relax. Bring your own boat or charter one from Pam Andersen at Treasure Harbor Marine. She can arrange a captain for you or you can demonstrate you superior seamanship and navigational skills sufficiently to operate the one of the un-provisioned charters yourself. You can plan days, weeks or months of fishing, sailing, kayaking or just chilling while in one of the Andersen family’s 18 boat slips. No matter what you decide, time spent here in the Upper Keys will restore your faith in just about anything.

Pam’s husband, Peter Andersen was a retired geologist with Shell Oil who operated a charter business in Miami for many years. In the 1990s, the business was moved to Plantation Key. Treasure Harbor Marine has been in operation for 23 years. It that time they have had a lot of wonderful people spend time at the harbor with them, including Senator Edward Kennedy who chartered a boat for the day.

The dockage and charters at Treasure Harbor are located on the “ocean side” of the Key, up what was once an area mined for its limestone rock to aid in the building of the Florida East Coast Railway extension to Key West from Miami at the beginning of the 20th century. Arthur McKee, Jr. (1910 – 1980) later dynamited the end of the rock pit to open it to the ocean and create Treasure Harbor.

Live-aboard your own boat and enjoy the serenity of Treasure Harbor Marine. Sailboats are available for charter.

Live-aboard your own boat and enjoy the serenity of Treasure Harbor Marine. Sailboats are available for charter.

Treasure Harbor is a good “hurricane hole” according to Pam, with pilings tall enough to handle high water. One thing to keep in mind is that there is no longer a store at the Andersen place because most people have taken to bringing in their own supplies. But, there are some picnic benches and a place to barbecue that fish you caught. The Andersens sell diesel fuel; provide chart talks and plenty of local knowledge.

“Lots of people don’t realize how shallow these waters are around here or how tricky it can be to get back in,” said Pam.

Treasure Harbor and Art McKee share a colorful history. McKee was a deep sea diver and Spanish galleon treasure hunter who successfully retrieved silver bars from wrecks in the Bahamas and near the Keys. He founded “McKee’s Museum of Sunken Treasure” in 1949 to showcase the finds from his diving exploits. By 1952 he built his “Treasure Fortress,” a kind of castle to honor what he found on 18th century ships. Very near here is where he saw the limestone pit from the air that would inspire his creation of Treasure Harbor.

Today, the Fortress is a Montessori school and is the landmark to look for at MM 86.5, this is your left turn as you travel south from Miami to the road that will lead you to Treasure Harbor Marine (you can also used the large billboard for the Ragged Edge resort as a kind of way finder).

For more information, contact Pam Andersen at 305-852-2458, or visit online at <>.

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