Dry Tortugas National Park | 59/59

Before I dive into this park, I need to express the feelings that I am having as I type out the LAST park in our adventure – WOOOOOAAAAAHAHHHAHA!!!!  I can’t believe it!  It has been such a crazy ride and adventure.  We have seen all of the most beautiful and treasured places in our country.  We have learned so much, not only from the parks, but from the journey in it’s entirety.  We will write more about it later, but I feel that this blog post deserves a special intro because of the fuzzy feels that I am having right now as I type.  59/59.  So crazy.

Our day started early.  Because there really isn’t anywhere to park the RV down in Key West (unless you want to pay for a campsite, and we are cheep and never want to pay haha) we drove down from Homestead early in the morning.  But, to be honest, I am a little sad that this is the way we did it.  We were driving the cool roads down through the keys mostly in the dark.  I would have loved to take it a little more slowly, stop along the way, and enjoy the drive.  But we were under a bit of a crunch to get back to California, and that is a LONG ways to drive in the little RV.   We needed all the days we had.

We thought we buffered in all kinds of time, but as we got closer, we realized it was going to be close.  We got to the ferry just in time, shocker.  We are at the end of our trip and we STILL haven’t changed our ways.  Make me wonder if it will ever change.  We got there right as the ranger started giving the safety and information chat.  So literally perfect timing.  The Yankee Freedom is awesome.  We got on, were greeted by breakfast and an awesome window seat.  I can’t think of a better way to get out to the island!

We got on the boat and were able to just kind of relax.  It was nice to not be the one driving, for a change.

After about 2.5 hours (yeah, it is a long ways out there) Fort Jefferson came into view!

Before heading to the dock we cruised all around the island to get a really good view of the fort.  The fort literally takes up almost the entire island.

So you can actually take a seaplane out to the island, but it will end up costing twice as much, AND you don’t get the meals like you do on the boat.  But, that sea plane is pretty cool looking.

Our last sign picture.  Still blows my mind we made it to all of them.

Yes that is a real shark in the moat.  How cool is that?  I feel like there were always sharks and alligators in the moat in the castles of my childhood – well at Dry Tortugas, there really are!

After exploring on our own for a little while, we met up with the boat tour guide for a historical walking tour.  It was great!  Tour guides always impress me with how many facts they are able to store in their brains.

Theo was a trooper.  He went all day with us in the hot sun and the heavy humidity.  I was worried it was going to be too much.  Luckily, we were able to stay in the shade for a lot of the time, and then when we really needed to, we were able to go back to the boat for a bit of A/C.

What blew my mind is that way out here at the end of the keys, there was a busy little community!  There was a whole town full of soldiers, slaves, and their families.  Its all empty now, but people would have been walking all around the fort just living their lives.

 

 

Can anyone say catwalk though the arches?  Babe alert!!!

 

We went back to the boat for lunch and were VERY surprised at how yummy it was.  I don’t know why, but we were expecting something akin to the lunchables you coveted in 2nd grade.  But these were much different!  We made some killer sandwiches and I am pretty sure I ate at least a half of a watermelon on my own.

We filled our bellies and cooled down – we were ready to head back out to swim!

We snagged some of the free snorkeling gear and went to the beach!  We always say that having a baby hasn’t changed much for us – well, this is one part that has changed.  We can’t snorkel together any more; one of us stayed on the beach, while the other one went to track down some fish.

We were a little nervous when we saw this sign as we walked to the beach.  Rip currents? Alligators? Sharks?  Great.  We didn’t let it stop us!  We were determined to see some coral!

There were a few fish that I was actually pretty uneasy around.  Some of them were super long!

We found the best snorkeling to be where the old dock was.  There were some awesome corals growing on the old posts!  It was seriously a riot to swim through the “X’s”.  Just fun colors and fish swimming all around you.

This was a fun day adventure.  Out of all of the Florida parks, this was our favorite for sure.  It was a trek to get out there, but totally worth it.   As we began to head back to the boat, we took one final selfie in our LAST PARK.  We felt amazing.  That is the look of what it it feels like to finally accomplish a year-long endeavor.

Getting off the boat in Key West we had a bit of identity crisis.  We have been “the park people” for so long, we didn’t know what we were going to do!  We decided to celebrate with some key lime ice cream, and then we got a little carried away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *