Dry Tortugas National Park
Valt & Sandy
Tue 21 May 2013 19:42
May 18, 2013
We passed a quiet night anchored up on the west side of the Marquesas, a group of islands 20 miles east of Key West. Several other boats joined the anchorage. It was so calm and wind-less it was hard to believe we were in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico! We raised the anchor and tiptoed through shallows, sunken boats, and discarded military stuff. The entire 18 miles west of the Marquesas is called the Quicksands. No, I don't think we'd be sucked down if we stepped on them . The name referred to the shifting sands easily moved by current, waves, storms. Of course, we dropped a few fishing lines off the back and were rewarded with a big spanish Mackeral. Next came a big Barracuda. Nearly giving up hope on catching an edible specimen, we landed a ciero and a nice blackfin tuna.!
We approached the Dry Tortugas, so named because there is no fresh water on the island but lots of turtles. The tiny main anchorage is on the SE side of the fort in 16-30' water. A little deeper than we usually pick, we moored near a sailboat. A little closer than usual, we realized that several boats needed to fit and the winds were expected to be light and from the ESE all week. We would not need much swing room. 12 boats spent the night here. One group of 4 boats came from Naples FL. They never went ashore but did enjoy a fish fry together. They left early the morning. Once ashore we paid our park fees of $5 each and filed a free boat permit. There was no charge to tour the massive fort. It was an interesting tour.