November 5, 2007 - Dry Tortugas National Park, Part 1

We got up at 6AM and didn't eat or shower before heading into town for our trip to Dry Tortugas National Park.  There was no traffic so we beat the 7:30AM check-in time by half an hour. 

Here is the boat we are taking:

The local chickens:

We noticed two Carnival cruise ships in town and could read the name on the front one (right), the Celebration, which is home ported in Jacksonville, Florida.

We boarded and got started on breakfast.  While eating we got on our way.  Here are the cruise ships as we rounded the harbor:

The rear one is the Liberty:

We didn't take any photos of the 2-1/4 hour ride.  The seas were a bit rough. 

We docked in front of Fort Jefferson, which is the visitors center. 

In front of us was the Yankee Freedom, the other boat that take tourists from Key West.  On calmer sea days the Fast Cat beats the Yankee Freedom to Fort Jefferson, but today we came in about the same time.

Our first view of Fort Jefferson:

The moat does a good job of protecting Fort Jefferson from storms.

The other tourist transportation is float planes:

Looking back from where we put our stuff down before the tour.

Andy was our tour guide, a mate on the Fast Cat.  He did a great job. 

We learned a lot about the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson in particular.

You can't see them in this photo but there were a lot of butterflies here.  All the plants get their water from rain, as do the people who live here.

We moved up into the walls.   Here is a photo of the tourist boats from the second level with the rangers fast boat on land in front:

Up to the top we went.  The views were great.

This is not a lighthouse, it is here to locate the fort.  It is also the place the stairs come up to the roof.

These are "chugs", makeshift boats the Cubans use to make it to the U.S.  They are waiting to be cleaned before being taken to sea and sunk. 

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