Dry Tortugas National Park
June 22, 2007
The Dry Tortugas National Park lies about 70 miles west of Key West and is one of the most isolated National Parks in America. It is mostly comprised of water with a small chain of islands that includes Fort Jefferson, a large brick fortress that was constructed beginning in 1846. The Park is famous for its amazing snorkeling, diving and fishing and it is one of the reasons that Kathy’s brother Chris and nephew James traveled from Colorado Springs for a visit.
It’s always great to have family visit and Chris and James arrived for a long weekend visit that included a camping excursion to the Tortugas. Prior to that portion of the trip, we had time to go out to dinner a couple of times and take a day-long trip to Ft. Taylor State Park for a fun day at the beach. The beach at Ft. Taylor is still beautiful, despite the recent move to commercialize it and the terrible destruction of the shade providing Australian Pines. There was a nice crowd and the weather cooperated for a great beach day.
The hi-light of the trip was the Tortugas trip and Kathy, James and Chris took the early morning Yankee Freedom ferry to the park. Fort Jefferson, where the campsites are located, is only accessible by boat or seaplane and there is no water and only a limited number of highly desirable primitive camp-sites. Sadly, work kept me from going this time, but from all appearances they had a wonderful time. The weather was perfect, almost too good as the SPF 50 sunblock did not keep them all from getting sunburned. The snorkeling at the Fort is the best of anywhere in the Keys with large, healthy coral reefs with tons of fish. The fort itself is interesting, it remained in Union control throughout the Civil War and was used to house Confederate prisoners, including Dr. Samuel Mudd who set the leg of John Wilkes Booth after he assassinated President Lincoln.
James & Kathy
The Tortugas is a beautiful place and one of the coolest places in the Keys to visit. Well worth a trip. Kathy, Chris and James all seemed to enjoy it, despite their weary reddened appearance when I picked them up after their return. We will be seeing them again soon as we will be meeting up in Marshfield, Massachusetts for the July 4th holiday soon.