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Old 25-03-2020, 23:44   #1
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Dry Tortugas?

Hey yíall, just curious been thinking of doing some social distancing in Dry Tortugas. I know the park is closed to camping and tours and such the ferry isnít running but can we still anchor there and maybe go for a walk on the beach or will they try to run you out? Or is it chock abock full of preppers trying to get away from it all.

Thanks as always in advance
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Old 26-03-2020, 01:04   #2
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

As long as you got your watermaker onboard.
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Old 26-03-2020, 02:50   #3
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

There was at least one person there this week as he had to be brought back to Key West due to chest pains. No mention in the article about it being off limits.

Save me a spot if you get there first, as that's my game plan if my job goes away.

Does anyone know if there is cell service out there?
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Old 26-03-2020, 03:06   #4
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

No, there is no cell phone service, in the Dry Tortugas.
https://www.nps.gov/drto/planyourvis...ndservices.htm
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Old 26-03-2020, 04:51   #5
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

I believe the park constitutes quite a bit of water, not just the island, so if the park is closed, then the water part of it is too?
There is nothing there, there is a ranger station or whatever that has a large Solar array and a big water maker with big tanks, but they don’t give that water away.

There are many other keys that are not part of a park though that are deserted, many are within cell phone range.
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Old 26-03-2020, 04:59   #6
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

A bunch of times we would stop at Marquesas (US, not the Pacific ones) just to hang out and chill. There were plenty of coconut trees there to supply emergency drinking water. But that's about it. Nice place to wait out the lockdown. Not sure if they're part of the park system or what park system.

They're what 20-25mi from KW so the cell coverage may be doable. Don't recall either way if we used our cellphones or not there, other than as cameras.
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Old 26-03-2020, 05:07   #7
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
No, there is no cell phone service, in the Dry Tortugas.
https://www.nps.gov/drto/planyourvis...ndservices.htm
Fort Jefferson is also outside of VHF range so access to weather and news requires long range comms. Even if anchoring is restricted right now, there is no practical enforcement mechanism. It's a gorgeous place for people who have a stack of books and know how to use them.

Peter
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Old 26-03-2020, 05:20   #8
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

Yep, I have an inreach that I can get text messages on and some limited connectivity via connecting it to my phone. So I can live without VHF or Cell. Just would have been nice. And my Kindle is loaded with 1000 books (lot of free classics are available on Amazon).



It was my plan originally when I got ready to leave Key West to go to the Dry Tortugas for a week or so before heading to the Caribbean. But I still needed to work some in Key West to finish up projects before leaving. If this job I have goes away there aren't any others available in Key West and it's going to be a while before tourism comes back even if they re-opened the restaurants and hotels today (main industry here). So going to Dry Tortugas and snorkeling for a couple months before deciding the best place to sail to for employment seemed a fun backup plan.
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Old 26-03-2020, 05:55   #9
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

Their web site only mentions closures of tourist facilities, not private boats. They do give a contact phone number on their site, as well as other contact methods. Worth a call if you plan to visit there. Would suck to be turned away after making the slog there. Give em a call and post results here.
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Old 26-03-2020, 06:04   #10
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

It’s not far at all, and as noted the Marquesas are close. I don’t remember if we had cell coverage there either/
My guess is it’s closed and not patrolled and worst case they tell you to leave.
But it’s not really a better destination if you can’t walk around the fort,you can’t fish there and it’s a non discharge area too I believe.
Our waste tank is what limited our stay
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Old 26-03-2020, 06:55   #11
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

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Itís not far at all, and as noted the Marquesas are close. I donít remember if we had cell coverage there either/
My guess is itís closed and not patrolled and worst case they tell you to leave.
But itís not really a better destination if you canít walk around the fort,you canít fish there and itís a non discharge area too I believe.
Our waste tank is what limited our stay
You can fish in some areas of the park. Details on their web site.
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Old 26-03-2020, 07:08   #12
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

Dry Tortugas National Park comprises 7 islands, plus protected coral reefs. Garden Key is home to beaches, and the 19th-century Fort Jefferson. Loggerhead Key has a lighthouse and sea turtles. On nearby Loggerhead Reef, the Windjammer Wreck, the remains of an 1875 ship, is a popular dive site. Bush Key is a nesting site for seabirds like sooty terns.


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Old 26-03-2020, 07:12   #13
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

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You can fish in some areas of the park. Details on their web site.
I was anchored in Fort Jeff last February (no fishing). Had a pair of Goliath Grouper come up to the boat and hang for a while. Man, they were big fish - probably close to 5-feet long and 250 lbs I'd reckon. Slow, lethargic fish that would be easy prey for anyone with a spear gun and thus have been protected throughout Florida for a long time.

While anchoring isn't likely to draw attention even if it's not currently permitted, fishing in the wrong parts of the Key's will get you in serious trouble. Relevant LEOs will definitely make the effort to enforce if you're discovered.

Peter
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Old 26-03-2020, 07:27   #14
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

I might take a trip down to the Marquesas Keys and Ft Jefferson so I think more people are thinking the same as you.

If anyone knows if they are chasing boats out of the park that would be nice to know
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Old 26-03-2020, 09:13   #15
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Re: Dry Tortugas?

Not sure how long some of you guys have been cruising but I was in DT in 2013 when Obama shut down the national park system. It caused tons of problems since the area is a lot larger than some seem to think. It included all of the back country so lot of the small charter fishing guides were out of work; same for lot of dive charters that go out to reefs for day trips. While I had a good relationship with the rangers they basically said I had to be out by the 31st when the closure was to start. Of course the pissing and moaning in the Keys was nothing compared to the tour guides in the Grand Canyon who get a ton more visitors. Obama went so far as to close down the road side pull offs that long haul truckers use and was forced to revise that policy.

When Trump shut down the government he made sure the national park system remained open sans all but a few rangers to perform critical functions; so I expect the same thing this time around. Problem at DT is there is no cell service and you are basically on your own. Use to be the fastboat would bring you stuff from Key West for a double sawbuck, or more, depending on what you need. I had no problem getting weather on CH6 with my 52 foot mast with an antenna on top. SeaTow/BoatUS will service the Mule Keys but anything past Boca Grande and again you are on your own. There are probably a dozen or so commercial fishermen who anchor their boats around Ft. Jefferson after dark and leave before dawn. The rangers were fairly strict about them not doing things that disturb wildlife; things like bright lights to confuse turtles laying eggs and live wells pumping since the water from the tanks is not as clean as the water they pull in. I had multiple offers from the fishermen to buy fresh fish and shrimp or trade for rum; something the rangers advised was subject to a fine. FWC also is there at times and I saw a very nasty confrontation with a commercial fisherman. In any case while the place is not really that crowded (except when the fastboat dumps it's passengers) there are often more peeps than one might expect. I love the place and even after several trips there with a total time of well over six months combined I still feel there is a lot more I would like to sea. But I would not be heading there now.
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