Dry Tortugas National Park

Trip Start Jan 24, 2009
Trip End Mar 29, 2009

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Where I stayed
Camping, National Park

Flag of United States  , Florida
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Five years ago I started to dream about coming out to this place when I saw it on a National Parks Map.  It's not so much the place itself (Fort Jefferson), but more about how impossibly far away and remote it seemed to be from where I was.  I first thought of flying out here on a seaplane, but the charters no longer service it.  So I took the slow boat and here I am, sitting under a starry sky, on the beach on Garden Key, 70 miles off shore from Key West with a shit eating grin on my face.  I can't believe I'm actually here!!

So about the place...

First of all, it's a cool fort built during the Civil War era made out of 80 million bricks shipped in piece by piece over 30 years.  It was a UNION fort built right in the middle of Confederate territory and controlled the entire gulf region.  When the war was over, it was used as a base to fight pirates!  (Aaaaaarch!  That was for Ryan)

Second, is that it's a fantastic natural treasure with 100 square miles of undersea sanctuary and pristine islands.  The other islands are restricted to park staff and researchers studying rare sea turtles and birds.  The diving and snorkeling are fantastic as it is one of the most untouched coral reefs in the world.  I've only been snorkeling in Los Cabos a couple times, but this was 100 times better.  Next time I will bring an underwater camera.  DOH, how come that wasn't on my packing list?!

I stayed there for two days and the weather was mixed.  One day was windy and overcast, while the other was sunny and warm (75-80 deg.).  Once the day trippers leave in the afternoon, you have the place totally to yourself with just five other campers.  The place is so remote that there is zero light pollution, so the stars are unbelievable.  Ron, you would have fainted, the Milky Way was in 3D and shooting stars galore!

Needless to say, it is a unique place and I'll remember it forever.  I won't bore you with a lot of history, but if you are interested then check out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_Tortugas    and also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_Tortugas_National_Park

p.s. The trip back to Key West was a roller coaster ride with high wind and wave swell, so yours truly was repainting the side of the boat the color of my lunch. Ouch!  : (

Well, as they say, "On with the show"!  I need a little R&R after that experience, so I will be kicking it on the beaches of Long Key and Bahia Honda for a few days

Rum Runners for everyone!

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johnrandall on

Re: web access
Dude, 70 miles off shore! Definitely no cell coverage there. : )

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