Dry Tortugas and back again
05 March 2021 | Fleming Key, Key West, FL
With the best weather window we would see for some time, we hopped down the chain to the tip of the Florida Keys. With a 75 mile run, we spent the first night at anchor in the Marquesas Keys. It is about 20 miles west of Key West and is an uninhabited Island that was used up until 1980 by the military for target practice. The fishing boats in and out of the anchorage at all hours was quite entertaining. They would raft up together and work on their catch until about 8 pm.
We were up at the crack of dawn to get our next 50 miles behind us and get into the Dry Tortugas, home of Fort Jefferson. There are not a lot of options to anchor so we want to get there early and hope for the best. With the wind in a favorable beam reach, we sailed a good part of the day and enjoyed watching the dolphin play.
By about 2:00 pm we had reached our destination and we were in awe of how beautiful the water appeared. Just like in the Bahamas, you could see your anchor on the floor of the sea and you knew it was set. We preferred the outside anchorage as the inside anchorage had the ferry and a lot more traffic with dinghys and runabouts.
Jaxon is allowed on the beach here with his leash and this makes him a happy camper. He is loving the sand in his paws....me??? Not so much. We walked the beaches while Greg and John and Joanne from No Limits tagged along for the ferry tour of the fort. We met several boats we had seen in the Bahamas before and they were doing the same as us.....enjoying something different in a very different year.
We did an appy hour on shore at a picnic table and watched the sunset while making plans to snorkel Loggerhead Key the next morning. The snorkeling was great with barrier reefs and wrecks to explore. Countless fish of all shapes and sizes and yes the dreaded barracuda. They were smaller than the ones I had seen in the Bahamas but big enough for me to swim the opposite direction.
After about four days and fun in the sun and water, we headed back to Key West as we needed to pick up our computer. We left bright and early right in the stern of the fishing fleet and headed Northeast! We pushed and motor sailed at about 6.5 knots and got into Key West about 4:00 pm. Anchor set and awaiting a night of rest!