Travel Date: Wednesday, Dec 10 2014
I woke up and there was light but still a lot of cloud cover. It would have been nice to watch the sunrise without the clouds, but alas I am here in paradise: Dry Tortugas National Park.

I decide to walk around the moat and look for the ‘shy’ crocodile that is said to live here. Rumor

And take various panoramas and pictures as I walk around Fort Jefferson and the Atlantic Ocean.

This part of the bridge broke, so I decided to walk the plank… and cross over.

Some of the waves crash against the moat wall and it can spray you. I rather fall on the left side of the moat where ‘the croc lives’ rather than the ocean.

Signed, sealed and delivered: corps of engineers.

Finally arriving at the other side of the fort where the campgrounds are located.

The center of the campgrounds, the people and trees around me.

The sun was already out and begins to emerge from the clouds.

Heavenly rays of sunshine.

I stand at the beach pondering everything and appreciating everything.

Proof I was in the Atlantic Ocean again.

Before the seaplane and only ferry get here with the crowds get here I decide to walk around around Fort Jefferson again. Samuel Mudd – a famous prisoner – was sentenced to spend his prison time here, but was pardoned a few years later for helping both prison guards and prisoners in a yellow fever outbreak.

This is one of the areas I ended up snorkeling at. The water was choppy, and visibility poor. I did see some jellyfish and one tiny fish. It is definitely better during the summer time. Have to thank my boy Ralph for teaching me to snorkel in the Pacific Ocean in San Diego.

The audience lined up for a view of my snorkeling adventure at the Dry Tortugas National Park. I didn’t charge them an admission fee.

The sea plane gets in first with a few passengers and I meet Dennis and Laurie from Seattle. I ran into Dennis after he finished snorkeling and asked him questions about the water and visibility. After telling him about my travels across Spain and the US, he tells me that he and his wife are planning to walk across Spain next year. Holy smokes!! I encourage them on. Then we talk professionally about what we do for a living. I’m an IT guy and he is a VP for an IT company… crazy possibilities, no?

After snorkeling I drop of my snorkeling gear with a fellow Virginia Tech Hokie fan.
And I take an outdoor shower on the Ferry.
And then dry my clothes in the sun. They sky has cleared. Today would have been a perfect day to stay and watch the sunset and the sunrise the next morning. But I still have it good. 🙂

Time to go for a walk with a tour guide.

The tour gets a little boring with excess information, so I decide to venture into the Visitors Center.

And look at all the historic stuff lying around.

And I also try to find Nemo… on TV.

30 minute last call for the boat.

I walk to the top of Fort Jefferson to appreciate the view a little more. This place is just so beautiful.

And then decide to walk on the other side of the beach toward the Bird Sanctuary – without actually going into the sanctuary.

Views along the way

The boats makes it 5 minute call and now it is time to go.

All my gear is down there and protected.

Goodbye Dry Tortugas National Park. You were amazing!!

The sun is beginning to set. Less than an hour away.

We are just past the half way point from Dry Tortugas National Park to Key West. It is about a 2 hour boat ride. I estimate about 45 mins left.

Ah, we make it back to Key West just in time for the sunset.

A thing of beauty.

The boat dock in the distance.

Almost there,

The staff tossing our stuff over.

Farewell Emma: one of my camping neighbors.

Farewell my other neighbors whom I just met while leaving. They camped out for a few days longer than I.

Goodbye Yankee Freedom Ferry. You were an expensive ride, but your staff was wonderful and kept me safe.

Ah, an almost clear sky makes for a beautiful sunset. The iPhone picture doesn’t do it justice.

Reflections:

I admit walking around the moat was a little scary because of the power of the ocean. I was a little intimidated at first but then it was easy peasy until I noticed some of the waves crashing against the moat wall and spilling onto the walkway. I don’t want to slip and fall into the ocean now do I?

Meeting Dennis and Laurie was a real treat. I got to share some knowledge about the Camino and my experience with them. Re-living those experiences are just fun, fun, fun.

I’m grateful I got to spend more time with Steven and Cindy again. At first I was a little intimidated about snorkeling but after watching Dennis do it and then Cindy do it, I decided to take the plunge. I’m not a very good swimming – well that is my prospective of myself – so I’m a tiny bit hesitant to jump into the ocean solo with no one around me. But in the end I was glad I did it. Thank you Cindy and Dennis for unintentionally helping me overcome my own limiting beliefs and fears.

This place is beautiful and magical. Thank you Chris for suggesting it and Josh for backing the recommendation. In the summer time when the water is calmer I cannot wait to come back snorkel, kayak, catch fish and grill, watch the sunrise and sunset on a clear or less cloudy sky, and stare at the stars of the great Milky Way Galaxy.

Grateful for the experience. Grateful!

Expenses: $0.00
None