Archive for the ‘Dry Tortugas’ Category

A Day of Fun

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

The Dry Tortugas is a magical place to visit as a child. Imagine first seeing Fort Jefferson rise out of the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico as a young mind. The excitement is palpable. There are some things to consider however, although clear skies and calm winds make for great snorkeling it can be very hot on the island. Make sure to bring plenty of high SPF sunscreen and apply generously throughout the day. Hydration is so important especially for children so take advantage of the water coolers both on the boat and dock provided by Yankee Freedom II. Sandals are another great idea for kids, as the sand and dock become very hot in the afternoon sun.
Perhaps your child would enjoy The Junior Ranger program. Children are given a booklet en route to Fort Jefferson which they complete as they explore the fort. Upon successful completion they are sworn in and issued a Junior Ranger badge. There is fun to be had by all at the Dry Tortugas and I hope we are in your plans this summer. We look forward to seeing you aboard the Yankee Freedom II.

New Docks at The Dry Tortugas

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Lots going on at the Dry Tortugas. The installation of new finger docks began this week on Garden Key. A docking area for vessels making day trips to the Dry Tortugas is the intended use of these new piers. It will allow visitors on boats not traveling with a dingy to visit the beaches and explore Fort Jefferson on Garden Key. The expected completion date for the project is the end of May and they are to be in service shortly thereafter.
We typically see a greater number of center consoles in the 25’ to 35’ range transiting the Tortugas in the summer months when the wind and seas are calmer than winter. Visibility and water temperature are also ideal for snorkeling. A word of advice, bring an adequate supply of fuel for the 140 mile round trip.
If you are someone who doesn’t own a boat or perhaps you’d rather someone else do the driving then consider a day trip aboard the Yankee Freedom II.

Spring at The Dry Tortugas

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

It’s been another beautiful week at the Dry Tortugas. The water has been really clear across the Quicksands (an area of shifting sandy bottom west of the Marquesas where both the Spanish galleons Nuestra Señora de Atocha and the Santa Margarita were found by Mel Fisher in the 1980’s). These conditions have made for excellent turtle watching. We even saw 3 pairs of mating turtles during our ride home on Saturday.

Spring Migration will peak in the next few weeks and the bird watching has been awesome. Masked Booby’s have nested on Hospital Key, Sooty and Noddy Terns are raising young on Bush Key. Bridled and Roseate Terns will arrive soon. We saw a variety of warblers this week including Swainson’s, Blue-winged, Hooded, Worm-eating, Parula, Black-and-white, Prairie, Prothonotary, Blackburian, Cape May, and Palm, as well as Ovenbirds, and Northern and Louisiana Waterthrush. Orchard Orioles, Summer and Scarlet Tanagers, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Peregrins, Merlins, Kestrals, were all spotted in the 10 acre parade ground of Fort Jefferson. It’s a great time to break out the binoculars and head to the Tortugas.

Saturday was Junior Ranger Day at the Dry Tortugas and all the children on board completed their workbooks and were sworn in as Junior Rangers by the Superintendent of Everglades and The Dry Tortugas National Parks, Dan Kimball.

Hope to see you soon aboard the Yankee Freedom II!
-Michael

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