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Old 20-09-2012, 14:48   #1
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Dry tortugas

what the better weater window to sail to dry tortugas
from key west
and is it a good idea to stop in marquesas key
Direction of the wind velocity
anchorage
any information will be appreciate

Fabrik
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Old 20-09-2012, 16:34   #2
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Re: Dry tortugas

If you leave early, like 2 o'clock in the am its an easy day trip. Winds are usually favorable for the sail there, but often there's a wait for a window to sail back. I've taken the north and south route many times. More often the south route as there are closer anchor drops along the way. I've done the trip a bunch of times. Its one of my favorite places to be.night approaches are possible. I have ended up anchoring on the west side of the fort my first night there as I arrived after dark.
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Old 20-09-2012, 16:44   #3
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Re: Dry tortugas

I've been out to DT at least 20 times over the past 20 years or so. Lovely place but be sure not to touch bottom in the DESIGNATED ANCHORAGE AREA East of the fort. Especially if Justin the LE dude is still out there.

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Old 20-09-2012, 16:56   #4
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Re: Dry tortugas

Prevailing winds are out of the East unless there is a front. then south turning north as it passes. Play your route accordingly to be on the lee. Marquessas, Boca Grande are both nice places as long as you like nothingness. Both will afford you a lee for a rest or overnight.

+1 on grounding within the sanctuary boundaries... BIG $$$$$$ if "Uncle" catches you.

All-in-all the Tortugas are a must see.... once in your life, but having been there, done that.... I only go there when a greenhorn is aboard or am transiting to Mexico these days.
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Old 20-09-2012, 17:08   #5
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Re: Dry tortugas

I had a great time, and it is a great place. There was one uptight park ranger though.

What are the best times of year?
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Old 20-09-2012, 17:23   #6
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Re: Dry tortugas

Quote:
Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
+1 on grounding within the sanctuary boundaries... BIG $$$$$$ if "Uncle" catches you.
In my case I was in the anchorage and grounded on a tide change on a high spot of coral rubble on sand. No sea grass anywhere near. Cost me $175 for "Failing to keep a proper watch".

In Coral outside of the designated anchorages is one thing but being fined in a designated anchorage where chain and anchors are routinely disturbing the bottom is quite another.

The LE wanted to bring in salvage boats with lift bags from Key West rather than letting me power across sand into deeper water. Seatow told the LE that sounded a bit drastic for the situation.

I will probably visit DT once more on my way to Mexico. I do hope Justin has moved on.

John
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Old 22-09-2012, 12:45   #7
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Re: Dry tortugas

Thanks to all my cruiser friend for your input
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Old 22-09-2012, 13:29   #8
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Re: Dry tortugas

This last year I have been to the DT 6 times, we take friends and family there when they sail with us. We have gone direct from Key west 3 of the 6 times and direct from Naples the other 3 times. All 6 tips we had a great time going in summer, winter, spring and fall. As for the best time to go. Well, it depends on your boat somewhat and what you are comfortable with. If you want to sail both 2 and from, then winter might be good, but the wind can be to strong on some days and you will more than likely have to tack back from DT, as the winds like to be out of the east, Southeast or Northeast. We have motored back from DT to KW a couple of times because we had crew that had to catch a flight on a certain day.

When we go from KW, I like to leave around noon, then anchor at the Marquesas Key on the south east side. Even in windy conditions the water is flat and nice, but you almost always have a current with the tides. Just tuck in about 100yards off shore in 8-10 ft of water.

Then day 2 head for DT, about 9-10am, get there 3PM or so, through anchor right in front of the fort, and enjoy the sunset with the light house as a back drop. Assume picture taking.

We ussally spend day 3 at the fort, going to the wind jammer wreck to snorkel and dive, then a trip to the light house, with more snorkeling. They have moring balls, for both the wreck and light house.

Day 4, we take off either for Key West, early or we will go back to Marquesas Key if we want a more relalxed trip. 6 miles directly West of Marquesas is a tug boat wreck in 15-20 ft of water with a mast sticking out of the water which makes a great snorkel or dive which we try to hit at slack tide on the way back. The curent can be ripping during mid tide, don't attempt a dive when the curent is ripping. We can usally make it all the way back to KW from DT in a day without having to do any night sailing. Your boat might be different.

We have been there in all 4 seasons and have not had a problem, but we watched our weather window and didn't go if we thought there would be a chance of high winds. In the spring, summer and fall you are more likely to find days with little or no winds, in the winter you may have a week of 20+ winds which would be uncomfortable in the stretch beween Marquesas and DT, about 40 miles. Of course during Huricaine season you are always at risk, and must respect it.
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Old 22-09-2012, 13:39   #9
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Re: Dry tortugas

I am sorry, I made an error in my post. I said that I like to anchor on the southeast side of Marquesas, this is WRONG. The southwest side, is the side to anchor off of. Sorry for the typo.
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Old 22-09-2012, 18:43   #10
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Re: Dry tortugas

+ 1 on the DT's being a great place to visit. The "barney fifes' " were starting to get a bit full of themselves last time I was there (...geez..long time ago: 2005). I assume they are worse now, but it it is worth the trouble.

Many great places to explore by dinghy like Loggerhead Key. Lots of good snorkeling.

Primary anchorage by Ft. Jefferson is good in any reasonable weather conditions provided you find a good sandy holding spot (some large of areas of coral rubble as you get out of main center of the anchorage). A commercial fisherman there told me about riding out a hurricane in the anchorage....apparently due to the extensive flats area (my assumption) they get very little storm surge or wave action.

Definitely want to shoot for a daytime approach on your first few visits. I've done night time in and out, via the southerly entrance, but it would be quite easy to get confused and end up in a bad spot due to the "spiral" shape of the route to the main anchorage in the dark.

Lots of interesting history from the era of Lincoln and Dr. Mudd.

Used to be a pair of huge jewfish that hung out in the anchorage.

If they are still there then check out the collection of Cuban refugee boats stowed behind Ft. Jefferson.
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