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Old 07-22-2013, 03:46 PM   #1
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Intrigued by the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson

Last year my wife and I went to Fort Jefferson on a commercial boat trip from Key West and I have been fascinated ever since.

We are getting closer to purchasing a trawler (Camano 31) and the Dry Tortugas trip is on my bucket list.

I wanted to here opinions and stories from folks that took their trawlers there.

How long did it take? Where did you anchor? How long did you stay? What time of year did you go? Etc., etc., etc.

Thanks!
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:07 PM   #2
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Make sure you buy a vessel with enough fuel range that will give you the ability to adjust to the sometime nasty weather that can kick up down there without much notice.

There are a few stories posted on the web by boaters who got caught in weather makes for informative reading.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:37 PM   #3
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One of my very favourite stops. Best anchorage is right in front of the fort where the ferries and sea-planes come in. Better carry lots of water or have watermaker as none is available there and have room to store all your own garbage as you can't leave anything behind.

Pick up a couple of cases of the cheapest beer you can find in Key West ... the lobster and crab fishermen often use DT as a staging area to their traps in the gulf. These are hard living guys and their beer does not last long.... a couple of cans of cheap beer will buy you a 2lb. lobster from them.

Bahia Honda makes a nice stop part way from Key West.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:02 PM   #4
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Attached are a couple of pics we took while at Dry Tortugas. Ft Jefferson is the ONLY thing there. There is NO good stop between Key West and there and Bahia Honda is no where near there. Count on making the trip in daylight. From there to Ft Myers is 130nm so leave in afternoon to make landfall in AM (at least at my speed)
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:59 PM   #5
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Sorry, Brooksie is right ... my memory is fading. We anchored at Bahia Honda on the way west from Marathon
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
Sorry, Brooksie is right ... my memory is fading. We anchored at Bahia Honda on the way west from Marathon
There is a little key between Key West and there (I forget the name) But I don't think I would go in except by dinghy. Very tight.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooksie View Post
There is a little key between Key West and there (I forget the name) But I don't think I would go in except by dinghy. Very tight.

I think it's Marquesas. I've met people who went in there years ago but it looked to tight for me.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwkiwi View Post
Make sure you buy a vessel with enough fuel range that will give you the ability to adjust to the sometime nasty weather that can kick up down there without much notice.

There are a few stories posted on the web by boaters who got caught in weather makes for informative reading.
Took a charter scuba diving trip down to DT about 25 yrs ago, hurricane Floyd (think that was it's name) decided to make a u-turn and head straight for DT (we were in-route). Captain tried to turn around but after a couple of hours we weren't making any progress due to the seas so he decided to continue on to DT. After getting there the rangers at the fort let all the pleasure boat folks spend the next 2 nights in the barracks. During the day we helped pick up the coconuts/limbs and clean up the place.

We traded some lobstermen that were there beer for lobsters as we didn't get to do any diving that trip (I did but it was just because I wasn't going on a dive trip and not dive, not much visibility though). Charter folks said it was the only trip they'd taken where they ran out of alcohol during the trip (gee, not much else to do but drink and play cards). The charter folks did comp us on our alcohol tabs though, that was nice of them.

Dept. of the Interior sent us nice letters thanking us for cleaning up the fort after the storm, like a fool I threw it away. I should have framed it.

The storm was just barely a cat 1 hurricane, don't think it ever got above 80 mph winds. The eye was very, very close to the fort IIRC though.

Interesting non-diving dive trip though.
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Old 07-27-2013, 04:27 PM   #9
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That is a cool story...riding out a hurricane at Fort Jefferson...very exciting!

Not many responses to the topic though, does not seem that many trawlers go there? Anyone have any idea why?

I see many accounts of sailors going to DT on cruisers.net and other sites.

There is a good video series on Youtube of a sail boat going from Key West to Fort Jeff.

Thanks!
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