Friday, March 13, 2009

Dry Tortugas

We did not sleep well – maybe afraid we would not wake up on time. We needed to be at the ferry terminal at 7:30. A rooster crowed most of the time from 4:00 on! We got up about 6:30 and made it to the parking and to the terminal on time. The boat is a large catamaran which would hold up to 250 persons they said – today there were probably 150. The trip over was fairly smooth – some small2-4 foot waves at times. Jane had remembered to put on a scopolamine patch yesterday so had no problems. They served us a great continental breakfast and we were underway at 8:00 AM as scheduled. We reached the Dry Tortugas at 10:30. It is a little more than 70 miles from Key West. We passed a number of smaller islands before we hit the open water. They are all in a protected part of the sea.
The island where Fort Jefferson is located is almost entirely the fort. A 6 sided fort with a moat all the way around. Some of it is being restored. It has been used since 1861. Civil War prisoners were kept there including Dr. Mudd who was a part of Lincoln’s assassination plot. We debarked, walked and toured around the fort – went on all three levels and inside. We then returned to the boat for a lunch of deli meats and salads. After the lunch we walked around part of the moat and ended up at the swimming area where Ben was going to snorkel. He had taken his own mask and snorkel but got a set of flippers and a BC – buoyancy compensator – learn something new everyday! He snorkeled around for about an hour saying it was fun but not too much to see. He saw a barracuda, some urchins, coral, and fish. Then we visited the gift store and returned to the boat about 10 minutes early. The most impressive things to me were the beautiful color of the water and how large the fort was. Strange to believe this fort was a Union stronghold during the civil war. Not too sure why so I am going to have to read up on that!
The trip back was a little rougher but pleasant. We got to our campground about 6PM and had good leftovers for supper. We are both tired. The sun was very hot today and although we had 30+ sunscreen and drank lots of fluids- we are still tired.
We plan a short visit back to check internet at the camp office and then maybe read and plan where we will go tomorrow. This is the end of our previously planned adventure so we have to plan a little!

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