The Dry Tortugas is the Florida Keys best Day Trip
Treat yourself to the best part of a Florida Keys vacation. A day trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park.
The Dry Tortugas are the very last Keys in the Florida Keys. They lay just 70 miles west of Key West. And 90 miles west of me. I'm the same distance from Cuba but it's to the south of me.
I like to go down in my 24' Pursuit and spend a night or two. The closer you get to the Tortugas the more clear the water is. This area is the healthiest of all the living coral reefs that lies just offshore the Florida Keys island chain.
As the islands come into view, just look over the side of the boat and pick where you want to begin your diving . The clear water allows you to see lots of the fish swimming around the many coral heads, ledges and wrecks.
The lobsters down there are monsters. I grabbed onto one, that sucker took me under the ledge with him. They are really that big.
Lots of the waters here are shallow. If snorkeling is all you care to do you will be able to see lots of tropical fish, rays, eels, lobsters , wrecks and an occasional turtle. I love exploring around the many shipwrecks . Never know just could find a gold coin or some other treasure .
When you’ve had enough sea life you can take to the island. Fort Jefferson sits on Garden Key and you are welcome to take a tour thru the Fort. I believe there is a charge for this. There is also a light house here it’s only 21' high. There’s a Coast Guard Station here as well.
Most of the inhabitants are of the wildlife
variety. Bush Key, but one of the seven of the Dry Tortugas Keys is a rookery
for Sooty Terns. Thousands of them. Bird watchers from all over the world come just to see all the different birds that migrate and use this place as a stop over along the trip. They fly from South America and Cuba going to North America and then back again.
You can see the cell
that housed Dr. Samuel Mudd while he was visiting here.
Check out the beaches. These are real beaches, not man made. They are beautiful.
Ponce de Leon discovered and named the Tortugas. He liked it for all the turtles here. They would lay them on their backs in the ship and kill them when they needed them for food. That’s why he named it the Tortugas. Tortugas means turtles.
The fort was built to help protect the trade ships that came to and from the Mississippi River. About the same time the word Dry was added to Tortugas so sailors would know there was no water to be had.
In the 1880's it was used as a coaling station for the navy. Then is was set up to be a seaplane base in World War II.
Soon after hurricanes and yellow fever took their toll. The fort was completely abandoned for many years.
Around the 1900's the military returned and used the fort as a quarantine area. Next it was designated a National Park and still is today. It is the most remote of all the National Parks and the least visited.
If you are interested in a visit to the Dry Tortugas for the beaches, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing , kayaking or camping there are several services to get you here.
You can come by either Boat, Ferry or Seaplane. Key West
offers all these services.
I highly recommend you check out the last of the Florida Keys, The Dry Tortugas, they are truly the best of all the Keys.
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