The Dry Tortugas

As I sit here and watch the snow fall outside my office window I can’t help but reminisce about how much better the view out this window was.

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That was the view arriving to the docks at the Dry Tortugas National Park. The Dry Tortugas National Park is a civil war era fort located 70 miles off the tip of the Florida Keys.

When we decided we were going to go to Florida for vacation this year we knew we wanted to do something that not everyone does. Everyone goes to the theme parks, everyone goes to Key West, but not everyone spends a day out in the incredible blue waters of the Gulf Of Mexico.

The only way to get there is a two and a half hour boat ride or a short flight by seaplane. We chose the first option, riding out on the 110′ Yankee Freedom III catamaran.

We booked our tour a couple months in advance, hoping that the weather would cooperate with us. Even though the rest of the vacation was pretty cool our days in Key West and at the Dry Tortugas were amazing.

Even after making it all the way out to the island you still need to cross a moat to get into the fort.

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This was the building where they stored the gun powder for the massive cannons. Also in the foreground you can see the ruins of the the barracks.

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An old supply cart down a long hallway inside the walls of the fort.

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The odd shaped sloped roof building was the shot furnace.

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One of the 15 inch, yes 15 inch, cannons mounted on top of the fort walls. These cannons could throw 400lb shots over 3 miles.

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A room with a view. Slightly smaller cannons would have been positioned here to ward off enemy ships.

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Looking out one of the windows over the moat and the Gulf of Mexico.

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The stunning view of coral reefs as you emerge from the top of the fort wall.

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One of the swimming beaches outside of the fort. The water was teaming with sea life and prime for snorkeling.

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The old light house still stands tall atop the fort walls.

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And finally a couple panoramic shots from the top of the fort.

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Just like the rest of the vacation it seemed like as soon as we had gotten there we were already on our way back home. Even though it was a bit costly I’m really glad we took the trip out there. I don’t think this is a trip that you would take every time you visit the Keys, but it is something that you should do at least once in your life.


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