One of the reasons I wanted to visit Key West was to take a trip to Dry Tortuga National Park. 70 miles away from Key West, it’s one of the United State’s most inaccessible National Parks. Because it’s so protected I had read there was great snorkeling there.
There are three ways to get to the park:
- Private boat. Which I don’t have…yet.
- The Yankee Freedom Fast Ferry which takes about 2 hours.
- A Seaplane that takes about 45 minutes.
There is one Seaplane company that flys there, Key West Seaplane Adventures. In part because of this, and the fact the planes only hold 9 people, it’s not the cheapest way to get there. In fact, it cost more than the round-trip tickets from Atlanta to Key West did! We also opted for a full-day trip, which drives the price up more.
I was hesitant to make this trip by seaplane for two reasons. First, because it’s a single engine plane with a single pilot, I like more redundancy than that. Second, it was going to be pretty pricey.
But I convinced myself to go for it and looking back now, I’m so glad I did. Here’s why:
We flew out on the first flight of the morning. When you do this, you get about 2-3 hours on the island before the ferry arrives. I figure there were maybe 50 people on the island before the ferry arrived. Find a primo shady spot, stake your claim to a decent size patch of shade. If you sit on the outside edge of the shade, it will shrink through the day and someone will stake their claim behind you. Keep this is mind and choose wisely.
When the ferry arrives, it brings hundreds of visitors. This influx of people churns up the sand and reduces the visibility in the water. I’ve snorkeled and dived in many places in the Caribbean, and this was some of the best I’ve ever seen.
No Need to Rush
There is a lot to see between snorkeling the two coal docks and touring Fort Jefferson. Being on the island all day, and not spending 4 hours going back and forth on boat, gives you ample time to explore everything that is available at your own pace.
Awesome Photo Opportunities
I couldn’t stop snapping pictures and taking video. And the only way for me to do it justice is to show you (sorry no snorkeling picks, the battery on my waterproof camera let me down):