Dry Tortugas National Park

The Southern-most National Park in the United States. We took the ferry from Key West and boated the 68 miles to Fort Jefferson where we docked. We arrived to Fort Jefferson after about 3 hours, it is a relic of the past, built in the 1800's for Civil War Ships in it's prime; it was a vast and impressive brick fortress. Now it sits sand-swept and weathered, but being in the middle of the ocean surrounded by pristine waters and colorful reefs it most certainly has some of the best views of the National Park system. The ferry acted as our camp for the day where had everything a normal tourist would need, food, both breakfast and lunch buffet, bathrooms (they are the only ones in the whole N.P.), snorkel gear, ample seating, a great crew, and most important of all Piña coladas.

We spent the first portion of our time exploring the fort. Crystal clear waters as far as you could see. It was great being able to sit on the sand dunes that have accumulated on the top of the fort and hang out with the old canons. In the courtyard there is a ton of different birds you can find, some song birds, kestrels, shore birds etc. We spent a good amount of time chasing down the kestrel, they are such magnificent raptors and to find one so far out to sea is quite incredible.

After the fort we enjoyed our lunch on the ferry and watched the pelicans and terns land on the dock. We then ventured out onto the island where there is a frigatebird rookery. I made Melissa walk all the way out there, about a good mile or so, where you could see tons of frigate swooping down to the water catching fish, grabbing sticks, and going back to the trees to their young. The sand on the beach was the purest white you can imagine, however it's not soft, consisting mostly of bleached worn down corals. That did make for a blinding time once the sun got higher, definetly had to put a ton of sunscreen on, and if you've ever had to use "Reef Safe" sunscreen it's basically painting your body with a very opaque lotion. Here we spent the remainder of our time, watching the seas turtles eat off the shore, finding beautiful conch shells, and snorkeling around the fort watching the many colorful fish that swam by. We spent about 4 hours ashore before returning back to the ferry for our return voyage back to Key West, sand swept, weathered, sun stricken just like Fort Jefferson. If you ever get the chance to venture to this remote park, we recommend it 100%.

Ramble On...

Ramblin' Ritsema