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Old 09-07-2013, 16:00   #1
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Dry Tortugas or Bahamas

Anyone been around the Dry Tortugas NP and the Bahamas? My wife and I will be moving to Florida in a couple of weeks and looking for a 24-29 cabin cruiser. We plan to trailer the boat down to SE FL, then head over to West End and spend a week cruising around the near islands. We have also considered going down to the keys and over to DTNP. Just wondering if anyone here had been to both and could give pros and cons of each. I know the obvious thing would be that a passport and cruising permit would be needed for the Bahamas, but just wanted to know what else should be considered. Would the keys and DTNP be anywhere near as pretty as the Bahamas? Any thoughts or info appreciated.
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Old 09-07-2013, 16:08   #2
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Re: Dry Tortugas or Bahamas

Going to the Dry Tortugas requires that you carry everything that you need and leave nothing behind. So you have to make sure you have the water and fuel capacity you need plus reserves for weather.
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Old 09-07-2013, 16:16   #3
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Re: Dry Tortugas or Bahamas

OK, thank you, good advice. I didn't mention specifically, but I was referring to a power boat, not a sail boat, so I should be able to make it there from Key West in a few hours I think. Is there enough to see there to warrant several days, or would it maybe be a good day trip, or 2 day, 1 night trip?
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Old 09-07-2013, 18:42   #4
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Re: Dry Tortugas or Bahamas

The Dry Tortugas for me anyway was a 5 day visit. The fort is a day by itself, then there is swimming, snorkeling, etc. Plus the lighthouse on loggerhead key. It gets busy with the tourists from 10 am ish till 3 pm, but after that its very nice. But I like quiet locations and am never in a rush.
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Old 09-07-2013, 18:47   #5
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Why not do both if you are living down here??? 24-29 might be a bit cramped for more than a night or two depending on how many kids... Nice thig about the Bahamas is the abundance of hotels to sleep in...
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Old 09-07-2013, 19:08   #6
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Re: Dry Tortugas or Bahamas

Thank you both for the great input. We plan to do both eventually, just trying to decide which would be better. We have one 13 year old boy, but the first trip will probably just be the two of us.
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Old 09-07-2013, 20:42   #7
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Crossing can be nasty either way. And you can get stuck in either spot just as easily. I would watch passageweather before you get close to either and decide which one looks best. Kw is fun but so is bimini. Benefit of bimini is you have cheap marinas like bimini sands with pools water and fuel and Internet!!! And electric and Dt has none of the above.. both cool magical spots
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:12   #8
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Re: Dry Tortugas or Bahamas

Thank you, the "cool magical" thing is a big part of what I was curious about. I knew I would get that in the Bahamas, but wasn't sure about the Keys/DT. Good to know about the facilities in Bimini too. So you would recommend the Biminis over West End/Near Bahamas?
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:18   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanp View Post
Thank you, the "cool magical" thing is a big part of what I was curious about. I knew I would get that in the Bahamas, but wasn't sure about the Keys/DT. Good to know about the facilities in Bimini too. So you would recommend the Biminis over West End/Near Bahamas?
I consulted the admiral on this as shes been to both sdveral times she said West end and freeport there is more stuff to do. Diving fishing she said is plentiful both places but for land activities West end is allot better. I will say a week is not allot of time you could wait a few days for a good weather window to go, then only have a few days or less there. Really depends on the weather we had two weeks to kill and had planned to do keys instead of berries bimini etc if weather window wasn't good within 2-3 days. Great thing is you have options. Alot of great diving / fishing around key west and all the keys.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:21   #10
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Re: Dry Tortugas or Bahamas

Good to know, thanks again.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:29   #11
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Re: Dry Tortugas or Bahamas

do not forget to check the weather before you leave and if possible during and while you are there...
there are only 70 miles between key west and fort jefferson. that might be a good first trip, just to see how it feels...

stow foulies on boat. you may need them.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:38   #12
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Re: Dry Tortugas or Bahamas

Good advice, that's one thing browsing this forum has taught me, check the weather, check the weather, check the weather. What are foulies?
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:03   #13
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If youre debating between west end/bimini or dry tortugas, theres really only one answer.

Dry Tortugas!

Of course, Im assuming that when you go on trips you like to get away from the everyday hussel and bustle of things like internet, roads, shopping, etc...

The DT are nicer than the nearest Bahamian Islands. The water is absolutely just as beautiful, and the fishing is ridiculous. Yes, you need to bring everything, but so what. Theres a secret though - you can go onto the ferry every day to buy things like water, food, ice, sunblock, sea sick meds. Hell, you can even shower on the thing! We even had the seaplane pilot bring us a new bottle of soy sauce when we ran out. Same day!

A few images:
http://highexposures.com/blog/2012/0...-the-tortugas/
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:13   #14
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Re: Dry Tortugas or Bahamas

Have you seen cruising guides for these areas? You can get a lot of information from them
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:21   #15
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Re: Dry Tortugas or Bahamas

Chris, Thanks for your input and for sharing those amazing pics! We (especially the admiral) like a happy mix of quiet relaxation and touristy hustle-bustle, so maybe a week in the Keys with a couple of days at DT would be a good mix for us.

Steve, I have not checked out the guides yet, but that is a great suggestion, thank you. I probably need to buy some charts too I guess? I printed some of the booklet charts from the NOAA website, but I assume actual chart books would be better/needed.
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