Blue Turtle Cruising

Post Tortugas/Keys trip wrap up

So tomorrow it’s back to the grind—the routine, the work, the clients.  I worked some last week, but was out some due to us breaking down in Naples and retrieving the car.  I just watched this video and soooo wanted to be back there (Dry Tortugas). Don’t get me wrong, I love my work and clients and enjoy what I do, I just miss that clear blue water!  The end of a trip like this reminds me of the end of the movie, “Captain Ron” (if you own or live on a boat, this movie is a MUST!). In the movie, at the end of the family’s adventure of bringing home a 60′ sailboat that they inherited, the mom says to the glum kids and her husband, “well, the way I look at it, we can go back to our old routines in Chicago, or … don’t!” The family smiles and Martin (the dad and captain) turns the boat around away from the dock and says, “Come about!” I think the three of us, quoted this line a few times on our way home…but knowing that our next adventure is simply a toss of the bow and stern lines away, we are content to have had the experience. We are already talking about our next trip to the Dry Tortugas and the Keys. So, before I let you know what we would do or not do differently, I thought I would post a couple of maps of where we went on this trip.

Overview of major locations/anchorages visited
Overview of major locations/anchorages visited (Click to enlarge)
Dive/snorkel locations and nearby anchorages and marina (Click to enlarge)
Dive/snorkel locations and nearby anchorages and marina (Click to enlarge)

Trip highlights

By far, the Dry Tortugas was the highlight of the trip. We absolutely loved the remoteness of the area—no cell towers and no internet. Ok, it took some getting used to for me, but the water was breathtaking! Visibility in the water immediately off Fort Jefferson was ridiculously clear. We loved that we could ding right over to the fort and get into the water and have the best snorkeling ever! The anchorage was a little rolly at times, but being among only 10 or so boats 70 miles from civilization anchored off the fort was quite exciting and the views were breathtaking! Our only regret was that we didn’t actually scuba dive there, we only snorkeled by the fort and then the Windjammer wreck which was so great, we wished we’d attempted getting in with tanks in the rough water. One thing that became apparent at the Tortugas was that you almost needed a larger boat as a dinghy to hop from little island to island. Loggerhead island, the island where the Windjammer was located, was three miles from our anchorage. Three miles normally wouldn’t be a great distance, but to make it in a dinghy with a 10hp engine (not on plane because of 3 people and gear and tanks) in some pretty big rollers, in such an isolated spot can be nerve-racking. We ended up taking Blue Turtle to Loggerhead and noticed that several other anchored boats would pull up anchor in the morning and head out to explore, then return in the evening. One sailboat towed a small center-console fishing boat behind which would be the perfect size tender to really explore the Tortugas.

The other trip highlight that stands out, was the wonderful diving we had at Looe Key and the anchorage in Newfound Harbor Pass. This was my first time diving Looe Key after years and years of diving the Keys and is by-far my favorite. We all loved the gorgeous reef and structure and visibility and who could argue that visits from Melvin made our day? We loved Looe Key so much that we spent 3 weekends there diving it.

We didn’t really have any trip lows, other than the days spent at the dock doing chores and working (and of course, all my equipment failures), but I think we were a little let down by the anchorage at the Content Keys. Of course, it’s the Gulf of Mexico and not in the best protection and we knew this going there. I think were we all just so exhausted after a restless night and morning getting the lobster that we thought maybe we could skip the lobstering next time in lieu of spending more time diving and visiting the Dry Tortugas. Mini lobster season was a great experience for new diver, Corey, and I do think the boys enjoyed themselves hunting for them.

So, it’s back to work and routine for us, at least until we plan our next outing!

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