While vacationing in Key West, Florida and looking for adventure, we decided on a half-day trip 68 miles west of Key West. Our destination was a nature sculpted chain of seven coral reef islands known as the Dry Tortugas which is home to a massive coastal fortress, Fort Jefferson. It's a place with history…a place of serenity…a place of beauty; only accessible by private boat, by ferry from Key West or air charter via seaplane.
We chose the 35 minute flight with Key West Seaplane Charters, affording us breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico and its glassy gem colored water. Every seat on board has a window so we had a birds-eye view of sunken ships, swimming sharks and sea turtles to capture postcard-worthy photos. During the flight our pilot narrated points of interest and told stories and legends of sunken treasure.
After a water landing at Garden Key, we were given a cooler filled with beverages as well as snorkel gear. During the 4 hours spent at the park, we toured Fort Jefferson where we learned it was used as a federal prison during the Civil War; and during the Spanish-American War it became a refueling station for the U.S. Navy. Swimming and snorkeling was the ideal way to cool down in the clear turquoise water before it was time for the seaplane to begin the water take-off back to Key West.
If you visit the Dry Tortugas take these essentials: Reef Safe Sunscreen is a must as there is very little shade on the island. Wear your Swimsuit with a great looking coverup or under your clothes. Less than 1% of the Dry Tortugas is above land so you will spend quite a bit of time swimming and snorkeling experiencing marine life on the coral reef. Take a Camera; you will want to remember this adventure with great photos. Bring a Towel. And, don’t forget to include your Caloosa Ultra Comfort Shirt with UPF 30.