The islands are made up of reef and sand. Departure 8:00 am. The trip to the Dry Tortugas was enjoyable and the cite, itself, was fascinating for anyone that is a history buff, but if you're going there for the snorkeling there are a few things to think about. This high speed, state of the art catamaran is the perfect way to sail across the 70-mile run to the Dry Tortugas. Copyright Â© 2006-2020 Galen Piehl & Nicole Atkins The snorkeling here is like no other, in terms of the amount of sea life, color, and movement you will see underneath the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Shortly after the construction of Fort Jefferson began an effort to fortify one of the most strategic deepwater Anchorage’s in North America. Dry Tortugas Snorkeling. You can walk around outside, and it is a heavy, stable boat which is good in case of big seas. Some of the best snorkeling at Dry Tortugas National Park is along the walls of the moat. Also, be respectful to the wildlife that make the reef their home. It is another set of old wharf pilings and it is worth checking out if you have time. Other fish that make the reef their home or are often found among the reef are the ones that swim above or around the reef and either prey on the smaller reef fish or eat seagrass. Visiting Dry Tortugas feels like a getaway to an undiscovered Caribbean Island. But the name dry was added not long afterward because of the lack of fresh water. Dry Tortugas Snorkeling Adventure | Key West Ferry Boat to Dry Tortugas National Park includes use of Snorkeling Gear. at the fort where you can explore the fort, snorkel the coral heads , or just relax on the white sandy beaches. Some tour operators allow you 3, sometimes up to 4, hours of snorkeling time. Reviewed March 11, 2015 . Snorkeling Dry Tortugas is accessed by boat or sea plane. Reef snorkeling around Key West is only matched by the snorkeling found 70 miles to the west. Later the fort became well known as a prison, once holding Dr. Samuel Mudd, the doctor of John Wilkes Booth. The park’s corals and seagrass communities are among the most vibrant in the Florida Keys. You can snorkel on the outside, but not the inside. Once you get out and start seeing down the line of the other wall (the other yellow arrow), you will be at the reef. They get stellar reviews on TripAdvisor. To reach the snorkeling at Dry Tortugas National Park from Key West, there is a once-a-day ferry that takes 2.25 hours each-way and provides about 4.5 hours at Dry Tortugas. Key West Seaplane Adventures is the company that flies to the Dry Tortugas. Friendly interaction between snorkelers and the animals assures future generations of being able to see the beauty beneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The fort was abandoned in the late 1800s and was taken up by pirates at times. use of snorkeling gear. *Current prices are 30% cheaper than cruise lines. Unlike in most snorkeling sites, snorkelers on the Dry Tortugas do not have to catch a boat to get to the site of the coral reef-the coral reef is right off the shore! Small primitive-type creatures called polyps are the ones that create the coral reef. Tortugas means turtle (there used to be a ton of them here). For a snorkeling adventure like no other, make sure to get over to the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson National Park. Dry Tortugas National Park is home to history and natural wonders above and below the waters’ surface. With the amount of places to go in the Tortugas water, you will definitely be able to fill up your snorkeling time. It makes you focus on each small thing as it comes along and you check out smaller fish than you would normally pay attention to in a bigger snorkeling area. There it is. Read more about snorkeling Dry Tortugas on the National Park website. You can also reach the park by seaplane charter, although it is pretty expensive. Here is the sure way to find the patch reefs. Maybe the best thing about snorkeling along the wall is actually that it is all small and a little spartan. It also has the best snorkeling … While I really liked our trip to the Dry Tortugas and saw some interesting things while snorkeling there, I would have to say there are better and cheaper alternatives if the snorkeling is what you are after. Still, at one point there were over 1000 troops stationed on this tiny 16 acre plot of land. Return Time 5:30. To prove it we are matching all online pricing on the tours we offer. Adam Hollywood was the tour guide once we got off the boat and he has a wealth of knowledge about the history of Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas. The fourth snorkeling Dry Tortugas spot (the upper right hand circled area on our map) is the actually the same as the third, just in another area. U.S. Geological Survey Walk over to the beach to the west of the ruins to enter and swim around the point to them. We are a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. You are, after all, in their home. There are a good number of small but healthy corals, both hard and soft, and some sponges. The guides will tell you to swim 50 to 80 yards straight out from the fort to find them. This page will tell you how to find all four snorkel spots, your options for getting to the island and what else you can see around the fort. The boat trip was a pleasure and we had very calm seas both directions. Breakfast Lunch. The boat trip itself is worth it, with wild dolphins often chasing and leaping in your wake. Once you get out there you are actually snorkeling Fort Jefferson. Tortugas means turtle (there used to be a ton of them here). There are places to swim and snorkel on both Garden Key and Loggerhead Key.Garden Key is the most visited of the islands in Dry Tortugas National Park because this is where the ferry and chartered seaplanes drop off passengers, plus it has attractions and amenities for tourists. Things to Do at Dry Tortugas National Park: Snorkeling, Swimming, and More Camping is a popular way to enjoy Dry Tortugas National Park, if you want more than just a few hours on the island. Return Departure 3:00pm. The second Dry Tortugas snorkeling spot that offers much better snorkeling than the moat, are a series of four to six small patch reefs that are very healthy in shallow water. Along with the fun of snorkeling Dry Tortugas National Park, Fort Jefferson is a place of history for sure. Snorkeling is part of the fun on a Dry Tortugas day trip. There are also two snorkeling areas near the beaches and old docks. All Rights Reserved. The corals are not rocks, but these colonies of these tiny primitive creatures. And once we found them we figured out the best way for you to find them with ease. Schools of brightly colored tropical fish, sea turtles, rays, starfish, and conch cohabitate in … Dry Tortugas National Park is situated at the southwest corner of the Florida Keys reef system, the third largest in the world. Found a better price online? There are also a nice variety of small fish, mostly immature. Key West visitors who have gone out to the fantastic stretch of seven islands called the Dry Tortugas will tell you that the absolute best snorkeling in Key West is on the Dry Tortugas. drinks on board. 2 hrs. It was a great experience. Learn more about our diving and snorkeling sites. includes snorkel equipment and a cooler with soft drinks. We enjoyed our trip with them. Because the foundation of the Dry Tortugas islands and park is ancient coral reefs topped by a shallow basin stacked with another layer of living coral reefs, the area is positively teeming with marine animals just below the water’s surface. We spent about two hours straight having fun in the water. But the name dry was added not long afterward because of the lack of fresh water. Make sure and bring a book if you come by ferry, because it does take a couple of hours each way. Alternately, there is a twice-a-day seaplane service that takes about 40 minutes and offers about 2.5 hours at Dry Tortugas. Look at the map on the right. But we did find them, and it was well worth it. The first snorkeling Dry Tortugas area is the easiest to find and explore. Snorkeling the Dry Tortugas. DRY TORTUGAS – If you can swim – okay, if you can float – then you can snorkel and the best snorkeling in North America is at Dry Tortugas National Park, nearly 70 miles west of Key West. We like to swim along the moat wall until we reach the north wall (top yellow arrow), then we swim out to the patch reefs and follow them back to the south. In fact you used to snorkel Fort Jefferson National Monument before the area was expanded to include seven islands and redesignated Dry Tortugas National Park.
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