After four attempts over three years, we finally made it to Dry Tortugas National Park, our 58th National Park (out of 63).
It is located in the Gulf of Mexico 68 miles off Key West and is accessible only by seaplane or boat. Three times we have booked a seaplane to take us there (40 minute flight) and three times it’s been cancelled due to high winds. So, yesterday’s flight was cancelled right as we were leaving the guesthouse for the airport. Before we left Lake Charles, we also booked a boat trip as a backup and that’s how we got there today. It’s a 2 1/2 hour ride each way and coming back today the seas were very rough.
I was very nauseated on the way home, and couldn’t even open my eyes. I was thinking that I couldn’t believe I had PAID to be this sick. Anyway, one more ✔️ on our bucket list!￼
The boat company drew my name for a free boat trip back to Dry Tortugas.😳 I said , “No thanks!!!” They gave me a nice dry fit long sleeve shirt instead.
We arrived on the Yankee Freedom boat operated by the National Park. The cost was $185 each for seniors. Although our scheduled flight didn’t happen yesterday ($451 per person), today the planes were able to fly.
The first European to see the Dry Tortugas was Juan Ponce de León, who visited on June 21, 1513. Ponce de León caught 160 sea turtles there and subsequently referred to the islands as the "Tortugas" (turtles). They are called Dry owing to the absence of surface fresh water on the island. The name is the second oldest surviving European place-name in the US.
The park's centerpiece is Fort Jefferson, a massive but unfinished coastal fortress. Fort Jefferson is the largest brick masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere, composed of more than 16 million bricks.