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Seaplane Trip to Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson - August 4, 2014



Back in the 70’s I was stationed on the Coast Guard Cutter Reliance and then later at Communications Station New Orleans.  As part of my watch, I would copy International Morse Code traffic from ships at sea - most often weather reports.  I kept getting the phrase “passing Dry Tortugas” and wondered where that could be.  After looking it up on the chart, I realized it was the southernmost point of the U.S. and itched to get there.  

Even though I’ve been to Key West many times, I never made it to the Tortugas.  This year I did.  I sprang for the cost of a seaplane (which takes 45 minutes to get there as opposed to the ferry which takes two hours) and enjoyed my first take off and landing on water in a seaplane

This is one massive fort!  I’ve seen a lot of old forts over the years and this is the most amazing one ever.  It supposedly contains over 16 million bricks.  It was originally constructed with 4 tiers (the cisterns in the ground, the first tier, second tier and the upper ramparts.  It was to have over 1000 guns but that was later pared back to over 400.  The fort is so massive that the weight caused the cisterns to subside and crack and thus render the stored water salty when the ocean leaked into the cisterns.  

The seaplane service leaves out of Key West International and they provide you with a mini-cooler with you non-alcoholic beverage of choice, and your snorkel gear. It’s amazing how they beach the planes for de-embarkation onto the grounds of the fort.  

This was a great bucket list item of mine I finally checked off!

© Fred Searcy 2017