The Dry Tortugas National Park
We arrived just in time for lunch after a lovely 5 hour trip down. We saw plenty of loggerhead turtles, some mating, which is always great. in 1513, the Dry Tortugas used to be called La Tortugas (the turtles) but it was later changed to Dry Tortugas indicating that there is no water on the islands
This incredible nature park, one of over 400, is the most remote National Park in the Northern hemisphere. It took an immense effort to build here, literally in the middle of nowhere. It is made of solid red brick, all of which had to be shipped here and prisoners were used to erect it, but It was never fully completed.
The group of seven islands is surrounded by pristine, shallow turquoise water interspersed with large atolls about 70 foot plus deep. We were so surprised to see how many boats were anchored out here, 21 on the day we arrived and then not so surprised after you visit and you can see why.
The fishing is remarkable in the area and of course the ferry comes each day and unloads a “boatload” of tourists then departs at three again leaving everything at peace once more. A seaplanes flies in and out several times a day too. It’s only a 30 min trip each way from Key West. There is no wifi at all so the park ranger has to post the weather 3 days out at a time. Just unplugging for these 3 days was wonderful and so relaxing
Built originally as a fort with multiple huge cannons, it was later used as a prison.
Famously, it housed Dr Mudd, who was once held prisoner here for his contribution (1 of 4 men) in the assassination of President Lincoln. After the resident doctor died of yellow fever on the island, he was granted the full time physicians job. The army abandoned the fort in 1834
On our first night here, we made a dinner and ate up on the helm overlooking this amazing fort. We opened our second to last bottle of Montepulciano brought with us from Italy to celebrate with. Our Old girl “Happy Wife” (not me lol) did so well to get all the way here.
I always, after every trip stop, put my hands on the engine walls and thank her for a safe trip yet again.
We toured the fort, swam, fished and took dinghy trips around the islands, grilled on the front deck for lunches and on our last night, I made up a picnic basket to have on the beach while the dogs played
We left at sunrise on Monday morning for our mooring in Key West to restock and start heading back up towards home. We both loved our visit here so far south in the middle of nowhere. It truly was something amazing to see and worth the trip down.