Archive for the ‘Dry Tortugas National Park’ 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.

Fort Wall Restoration continues at Fort Jefferson, Spring 2010

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

By: Debra Hess
Yankee Freedom II Naturalist

General Joseph Totten, Chief of the Army’s Engineers from 1838 – 1864 designed the Totten Shutters used on the gun ports of Fort Jefferson. These large slabs of wrought iron complete with iron shutters were designed to protect gunners from small projectiles and musket fire while loading cannons weighing several tons per gun opening and integrated into both the exterior wall and the interior of the fort, these embrasures were crucial to fort construction during this time period.


Visitors to Dry Tortugas National Park Experience an Archaeological Dig Firsthand!

Friday, May 8th, 2009
Dig Location in Paradeground

Dig Location in Paradeground

From March 13 – 16, 2009 visitors tot the Dry Tortugas National Park aboard the Yankee Freedom II were treated to an archaeological dig of an 1850’s storehouse foundation located in the paradeground of Fort Jefferson. March is Florida’s Archaeology Month and this weekend’s even allowed the public an opportunity to help sift and search soils taken from under a storehouse destroyed by fire in 1857.


Army Vessel Visits Dry Tortugas National Park

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Vessel New Orleans, an Army LCU (Landing Craft Vessel), visits Dry Tortugas National Park on January 10-13th 2008 in a cleanup operation. Hurricane damage from the four hurricane strike summer of 2006 left Dry Tortugas National Park with lots of rebuilding and repairing. The remoteness of the park makes garbage service a challenge, especially for larger items such as air conditioning units, old appliances and such. The New Orleans carried Waste Management dumpsters and a large Front End Loader to assist the Park Service personnel in eliminating trash items. The New Orleans has a permanent crew of four and is assisted by fourteen Army reservists.

Army Vessel, New OrleansFront End LoaderNew Orleans RampLoading onto the New OrleansTractor aboard the New Orleans

Living at the Dry Tortugas Fort Jefferson National Park

Monday, August 6th, 2007

By Wayne Landrum

After 26 years of working in National Park areas across the country, I moved to the Dry Tortugas; a unique and remote sub-tropical park. It is located in South Florida at the southwestern end of the Florida Keys. I was assigned the position of park manager for the 100 sq. mile park, a small group of islands surrounded by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

It was 1992 when I packed my bags and moved to the Dry Tortugas from Biscayne National Park in Homestead, Florida. This was shortly after hurricane Andrew had blasted the southern tip of Florida. (more…)


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