Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wet Tortugas

   The Dry Tortugas weren't very dry when we visited Tuesday.
Tracks for the cannons.
 Unlike the "dry" counties of the Bible Belt, the adjective doesn't mean the Tortugas don't approve of liquor sales. It comes from the fact that there is no fresh water on the island chain about 70 miles west of Key West. When Fort Jefferson was built there before the Civil War,  the plan to create a system of cisterns to  collect fresh water didn't work very well because it doesn't rain much there, and salt water seeped into the cisterns that were dug.
    But it rained Tuesday, and not that quick misty tropical rain that dries up almost as fast as it falls. It rained that cold, dreary all-day sort of drizzle. A rain like I expect  in England but never in the Keys. We saw more hours of rain on Tuesday  than in both the winters we've spent in the Keys put together.
     Nevertheless we had an enjoyable trip. The old brick fort is huge. It's surrounded by a moat walk that's like snorkling without putting your head in the water. The coral has built up along the moat wall and you can walk on top of it and just look down at beautiful plants and fish, like an aquarium at your feet.
      Fort Jefferson is most famous for being the prison for Dr. Samuel Mudd who was convicted of helping John Wilkes Booth assassinate President Lincoln. It was a Union fortress during the war, along with Ft. Zachary Taylor in Key West. But now it's a national park best known its bird nesting grounds.
You can walk around the fort on top of the moat wall.


  1. Dear Sue,
    Thank you for a Florida picture with a difrfrence, it's not like the ones we usually see:)

  2. Thanks for the pics and comments. Whenever I hear "Dry Tortugas," I'm thinking someone should create a parody song about the islands to the tune of "My Sharona." Am I weird?


  3. Lurker, yes you are weird, to be honest that is borderline outright creepy!