Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park Lighthouse

The most remote US national park Dry Tortugas Park is located on the ridge of the last islands of the Florida Keys 70 miles west of Key West. The park occupies a huge area, which is mainly designed to save thousands of species of birds inhabiting the islands or staying on the islands during the annual migrations. That is why about 90% of the Dry Tortugas are always closed to the public. Only one small island with a beautiful fortress of Fort Jefferson, built in the middle of the Caribbean Sea is open to public. You can get there either by sea or by air. Island was opened by Columbus assistant and successor as governor of the West Indies Ponce de Leon 15 years after Columbus discovered America. Somewhat later, the Spaniards built the first fort, which was rebuilt after being completed, several times. The huge building of the 16 million red bricks, towering over the white sand in the midst of the azure sea, makes a great impression, you only think about how much effort had to be expended only for the whole brick and cement lead there.

Initially it was a fortress, and in the late 19th century, this military fortress was transformed into a prison where criminals during the civil war were kept, and the fate and life of the prisoners and their guards were not much different in this tropical paradise, hell, year-round heat, lack of water (collected rainwater water) and any products with the exception of fish caught, almost complete lack of fruits and vegetables, tropical diseases and epidemics. Fort surrounds the entire perimeter ditch / channel – Moat with water to about one and a half meters deep.

Dry Tortugas National Park Snorkeling

The first low wall saved the main walls of the fortress from the destructive forces of the sea waves, and secondly additional water barrier prevented possible landing of the enemy. Already in the “prison” time of one of the prisoners caught a big shark, which was released in Moat and it swam in its “prison” for about 2 months until died, bringing terror to the other prisoners. Fort Jefferson is right on the coral reef, which has not yet been subjected to the destruction of people’s forces. Depth of absolutely clear turquoise waters almost everywhere rarely reaches up to 2 meters, which provides an excellent opportunity to do snorkeling. The water is full of colorful fish, small barracuda. On the island you can stay in a tent on one of 5-6 camping places in the bush under the coconut trees.



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