Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dry Tortugas - Odd History, Beautiful Spot

Dry Tortugas labeled arial view.
Credit to
Ponce de Leon and crew refreshed themselves, gorging on turtle at the land they claimed and named the Tortugas (turtles) in the 1500s.  We know it today as the Dry Tortugas, off the coast of Florida's Keys and still considered part of Florida.

Brick seawall border on
Ft. Jefferson moat, Dry Tortugas.
Today the Dry Tortugas is a protected nesting ground for turtles and a research station for marine biologists, an uncrowded national park as rich in history as it is in wildlife. 

Fort Jefferson entrance,
Dry Tortugas
The United States spent 30 years building Fort Jefferson there, but never fired a shot from it, nor was it fired upon.

Non operational lighthouse.  A taller, also
currently non-operational lighthouse
is on Dry Tortugas Loggerhead Key.
Atop Ft. Jefferson's wall
overlooking the sea.
It was repurposed as prison where Dr. Harvey Mudd served as its most infamous prisoner.  He was jailed for reseting the legbone of Abraham Lincoln's assassin.  He was later released by Andrew Jackson for his dedicated work on yellow fever while imprisoned

Garden Key beach view from Ft. Jefferson.
If for no other reason, it's worth a visit simply because it's beautiful

The quality of light and interplay of color
at Ft Jefferson is stunning.

Sprawling Ft. Jefferson at one point housed 1500 workers.

Stalagmite on the ceiling shows clear evidence
of Ft. Jeffersons's decay.

Thirty three Cubans risked their lives
on this boat seeking asylum
at the Dry Tortugas.  Guess where
our next stop was?
Location Location

January 20, 2015.  Retrospective of December 27-28 2014, USA, Dry Tortugas, Florida’s Southernmost point (N24.37.556 W82.57.668).  Dry Tortugas was our last stop in the United States on our way to Panama. We sailed there, though there's a fast ferry from Key West that goes to the Dry Tortugas as well as sea float planes.  We are currently in Altamira Panama (N09.17.265 W82.23.146) getting our mast pulled and repaired before our trip through the Panama canal, gateway to our South Pacific sailing adventure.


  1. I got goose bumps!!! Yea.. PANAMA !!!!!! enjoy explore experience - Bertie

    1. Thanks, Bertie! Hopefully tomorrow and nearly positive San Blas in a few days We've been way too busy doing boat stuff, customs, getting mobile phone and wifi stuff set up etc. Heard JAX got some fantastic January weather - mid 70s. Awesome!

  2. Hey, I always found it interesting that the fort was a colossal failure when it came to how the US Army Corp of Engineers (yea, those guys messed up stuff way back when, too) built cisterns to collect rain water, but built them below sea level and eventually, yep, you guessed it, the salt water invaded and turned fresh water salty, and that pretty much closed the post as a usable place.
    Looks like your entries are out of order, but it's great to see you guys got down there, I hope you had a great trip, so far...

    1. Yes, Keith, Fort Jefferson is indeed a mess. True, I often make posts out of order, especially when I go a few weeks without internet. I hadn't had truly decent internet since about mid-December. We've covered a lot of ground since then and getting set up in Panama. In the location section of the blog posts I give a better idea of where we are when the post will be viewed. We are looking forward to more fun time soon. It's been a lot of prep work for the canal and beyond....

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.