Travelogue: Dry Tortugas

With so much snow today I was fondly reminded of this trip Patt & I took a few years back.

We’ve been to Key West 2 or 3 times to escape the snow. On our 2014 trip we set out on Yankee Freedom to the Dry Tortugas. Dry Tortugas is a coral formation about 70 miles further west into the Gulf of Mexico from Key West and only accessible by boat or seaplane. The Yankee Freedom is a very fast boat (with a bar of course) as it gets you there in just 2 hours!

The history of Dry Tortugas, which is a national historic site operated by the Park Service is tied up with the Civil War and later with Ernest Hemingway. Fort Jefferson is there, made up of over 16 million bricks, and was used during the Late Unpleasantness by Union ships involved in the blockade of Southern shipping. The fort had deadly big gun emplacements and was designed to deliver fire from multiple angle no matter from which side it was approached.

It was also the place where Dr. Samuel Mudd was held after being convicted of assistig John Wilkes Booth. There is a lot to that story and well worth delving into if you’re not familiar.

Author Ernest Hemingway lived off and on at Key West and was fond of sport fishing. The Dry Tortguas was a favorite fishing location for him and his “mob”. On one such trip they were trapped there due to bad weather for 17 days. According to legend they did not run out of gin.