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1/2 or Full day to Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson?

Leeds
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1/2 or Full day to Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson?

Sorry if this questions already been asked.

Would you know if theres enough to see/do at the above for a full day trip? I can't decide whether to go for the 1/2 day sea plane option....

We'll be in Key West this August.Just hope it's warm.....

Cheektowaga, New...
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1. Re: 1/2 or Full day to Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson?

I went in December and in my opinion it is a full day trip. I don't think you can get a full day trip though. We took the Yankee Freedom for $139 each and we got to spend about 4 and a half hours at the Fort.

I snorkeled, they sunned on the beach. We ate lunch while we were there and toured the place. I would have been happy with about two or three more hours there honestly. It was a full day since it took us two and a quarter hours each way to get there though.

I am not sure but I think the plane gives you even less time to spend there.

I will say it is a hassle to get up so early and be at the dock for 7:30 am. Probably, make that definately,

the most difficult thing I did while there!

Kansas City
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2. Re: 1/2 or Full day to Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson?

I can't speak for the boats, but we took the seaplane. If your just going to tour the fort and roam around for a while the half day is fine. However, if your going to also snorkle/swim/sun/etc. more time may be necessary. Note that the full day seaplane trip gets pretty pricy. However, for us the seaplane was an adventure in itself.

Pjk
New Jersey
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3. Re: 1/2 or Full day to Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson?

I've gone on the Yankee Freedom and the seaplane and the seaplane is the way to go. It's the most expensive, you don't get lunch or drinks (alcohol), but you get there and back faster, approx 1 vs 2 hours, and it's a hoot taking off, flying and landing. If you do this, pre-book the 8:00 flight. Boarding is 7:30, like the boats, and you have to get to the airport, but it's best.

At the fort you can expore the interior and see the grounds and the living quarters and visit the tourist center. Then you can walk entirely around the fort on top of the walls. The view is great. And once more around on the moat that surrounds the island. Then you can swim and snorkel; there is a nice, small beach around from where the boats dock. The seaplane co. provides a cooler of softdrinks and snorkeling euqipment. If the sand bar to Bush Key has re-established itself and it's not mating season, you can walk out to the bird sanctuary and watch the various birds.

Pjk

Pjk
New Jersey
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4. Re: 1/2 or Full day to Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson?

I forgot this part...

>> We'll be in Key West this August.Just hope it's warm

This should read...

We'll be in Key West this August.Just hope it's not too hot & humid. Which it will be, and perfect.

Pjk

North Saint Paul...
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5. Re: 1/2 or Full day to Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson?

We did the full day on the Yankee Freedom last year and really enjoyed it. I know the plane is faster but I love the water so the trip there and back was a pleasure for me. I don't think a full day is too much, in fact the time just flew.

rwa
Long Beach Island...
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6. Re: 1/2 or Full day to Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson?

Full day. Take the boat. Unless you get seasick easier than you get airsick.

A full day's excursion west 58 miles into the Gulf on the Fast Cat for $130 per person. On the Fast Cat 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM on a Sunday:

Take your own snorkeling gear (if not, they will provide it for you on the boat), sunglasses, bathing attire and a towel, a change of clothes (changing booth available at Ft. Jefferson), and a tube of sunscreen may come in handy. Take a camera, or a waterproof disposable, but no valuables.

The quickest boat ride for hire available to the Dry Tortugas ride included a continental breakfast served very informally, beverages such as bottled water and Coke or Diet Coke were available throughout the ride to and from the inhospitable islands (there are NO concesssions nor facilities available to the public ... if you must use the "head" you MUST return to the boat). A picnic-style lunch (sandwiches, potato salad, chips, piclkes, etc.) was spread out after the tour of Ft. Jefferson, and of perhaps 35 patrons (capacity is about 80 .. although the company said capacity was 100 ... THAT would be too tight a fit!), only one person I observed on the way out became seasick. One youngster on the way back lay down (not good to do if queasy) to "sleep" on the way back. I have had extensive experience as a boater on the bays and ocean in New Jersey throughout my lifetime, and looked forward to the ride to the Dry Tortugas from Key West which took just over two hours on the relatively smooth-riding dual hulled catamaran speedboat, the Fast Cat. This boat is powerd by twin 600 hp diesels, and it lifts high on its twin hulls to scoot over the areas on which there may be some higher seas. It was not disappointing, but I had hoped the captain would open 'er up and we'd really fly. Guess they hope to save fuel.

We knew once at Fort Jefferson, we could opt to immediately go snorkeling (one of the two guys of the "crew" of three young mates gave a very brief "lesson" on how to snorkel an hour into the ride, after the coffee (eh), orange juice, bagels and pastries were set out for serve-yourself style continental breakfast. (I was glad that we had awakened early and eaten a hearty breakfast at 6:00 AM as we did.)

The one-hour tour of Ft. Jefferson was conducted by the more personable girl of the crew. She was cordial and seemed to have her script well memorized. It was worthwhile, and there may be good photo opportunities, especially if you like this sort of historical tour of an old fort in a remote place in a strategic spot for our country during the conflicts of the 19th Century.

After lunch, and before we were to re-embark for our return trip, the snorkeling from the park beach around the walls of the fort provided sightings and close-up viewing of innumerable fish of varied colors, stripes, sizes and shapes ... and other interesting sea life which inhabit these warm waters. It was January, and I snorkeled for two hours and thirty-five minutes in the 73 degree water. Advanced snorkelers can try the metal pilings ... remember, DO NOT TOUCH. Aside from some pruny-fingers and the occasional eye-sting from the salt water, I was in heaven. There are better snorkeling areas and opportunities, yes, but this was a fun fix.

The ride back was rougher, no faster, and uneventful. We were offered some pretzel sticks and more water or soda. All aboard seemed worn out by the day. I was glad that I had changed to khaki pants and a long-sleeved shirt for the ride back, rather than sit in damp clothing in an air-conditoined cabin, or outside on the small deck as the day's sun waned as we sped back to Key West an hour before sunset.

Pjk
New Jersey
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7. Re: 1/2 or Full day to Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson?

I think I can generalize and say that the day on he Yankee Freedom is similar. The trip out is exciting because it is the beginning of an adventure and you can go up to the bridge and watch the water and talk to the captain. There is the tour of the fort and a chance to explore on your own and the picnic. And you can just carry your snorkling gear an try various places. The only chore for me was the trip back where I kept thinking "Beam me to the Half Shell, Scotty." And you generally will see the seaplanes catch and pass the ship and wish you were on one of them.

(LBI = Long Beach Island. The best beach in New Jersey)

Pjk

Leeds
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8. Re: 1/2 or Full day to Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson?

Thank you for all of your replies.I think a little more careful thinking will have to take place before we decide which option to choose.The only thing that's bugging me, is memories of a horrible return journey from Rhodes to Marmaris(Turkey) in a hydrofoil.It was really bad,although the sea was relativly calm,everyone onboard felt sick.By the time we disembarked we'd agreed never to do that again!

Mike

9. Re: 1/2 or Full day to Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson?

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