Dry Tortugas

The past 2 Decembers, I’ve gone on a lighthouse trip with the Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation to see all 6 of the lighthouses off the Florida Keys. This year, in conjunction with the Florida Lighthouse Association, we went to the 2 lighthouses in the Dry Tortugas – Garden Key and Loggerhead Key.

Sat. Oct. 10

Since the lighthouse trip wasn’t until Sunday morning, I had all day to make my way down to Key West. I’ve been to the Keys so many times now, I’ve seen about all there is to see. So I decided to change things up and go on a jetski tour around Islamorada. The weather was absolutely gorgeous as my tour guide took me in and around the channels of Islamorada, pointing out several landmarks, including the very cool and unique Toilet Bowl Channel, marked with personalized toilet bowl covers. I was able to capture some really cool videos with my GoPro and even got my guide to get some video of me jetskiing around.

The tour took a little longer than expected and I knew I wanted to catch the sunset in Key West, so I drove straight down to Boyd’s Campground to set up my tent site. I then drove the 5 more miles down to Key West, where I was treated to another great Key West sunset.

Florida Keys

Sun. Oct. 11

It was quite hot Saturday night and didn’t make for the ideal camping conditions, but I did manage to get a little sleep before waking up early to drive back down to Key West and catch the ferry to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas National Park. I’ve got to know several of the other passengers from my last two trips and it was great to see them again and catch up during the 3-hour boat ride.

After pulling into the Ft. Jefferson dock, I immediately boarded another boat that took me out to Loggerhead Key. This was my third time at Fort Jefferson, but I’ve never been to Loggerhead Key before so I was pretty excited to go. The lighthouse there was the only Florida light I had never really gotten a good picture of, and as an extra bonus, I even got to climb it, which hardly ever is allowed. And judging by the conditions within the light, I can see why. It definitely needs a restoration on both the inside and outside.

We then headed back to the fort where we had a couple hours to tour around. I got another surprise as the lighthouse on the fort was also open for climbing, another extreme rarity. I got video walking around the catwalk of the light, only to find out I wasn’t supposed to be out there…oops!

I got back to Key West in time to catch the sunset on the way back up through the Keys, and I ended up at the Sunset Grille & Raw Bar in Marathon, where I not only had an excellent meal but also viewed a spectacular sunset looking out over the 7-Mile Bridge.

It was another great Keys trip, complete with lighthouses, sunsets, old friends, good food and fun. And next time I get out to Ft. Jefferson, I’m taking the seaplane!

Dry Tortugas

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