A Seaplane Adventure To Dry Tortugas Park

Accessible only by boat or seaplane, no more than 60,000 visitors reach Dry Tortugas Park every year. Compare that up to the more than 300 million individuals who visited America's nature this past year. But it's not surprise considering what's involved just getting America's National Parks. The jumping off point is essential West, Florida, and after that, you may choose between an exciting-day boat ride, and half- or full-day seaplane journeys, presuming you do not have your personal vessel.

Pre-Flight

I chosen the seaplane flight and checked in in the Key West Seaplane Adventures office at 7:30 to have an 8:00 am flight. Though it was late March, the sun's rays only agreed to be rising, filtered by wisps of pink and orange clouds.

Once the remaining nine passengers showed up, we received our briefing, were brought to our pilot, Gary, after which left to the tarmac together to board the DHC-3 DeHavilland Turbine Otter Amphibian. The plane can transport 10 passengers as well as the pilot... so when Gary offered in the co-pilot seat, I literally leaped in the chance!

Gary continues to be flying back and forth from Dry Tortugas for a long time. He'd make five journeys back and forth from Dry Tortugas on that day... and the morning hours return flight to Key West will be a solo one.

Ready For Takeoff

After we had our safety belts attached, and possibly more to the point, our earphones on, Gary started to narrate our morning hours adventure once we taxied out to the runway. I thrilled my camcorder... and before I understood it i was airborne heading due east in to the morning sun, and merely as rapidly banking south, then west for any bird's eye look at Key West.

It had been only then which i had the exhilarating realization I'd be setting lower somewhere I'd only had the ability to conjure within my imagination - turquoise waters, eco-friendly ocean turtles, vibrant barrier, frigate birds, shipwrecks, along with a seaside fortress nearly 170 years of age.

The co-pilot's seat offered the right look at Key West, its hotels, Duvall Street and Mallory Square, which rapidly faded from view. Gary pumped a bit of music into our earphones... though I wasn't quite sure things to model of his first selection: Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'"!

Flying To Dry Tortugas

Flying at 130 knots, i was rapidly over a place known as the "Flats," an appearance of shallow water just 3-5 ft deep extending almost 20 miles towards the west. Flying just 500 ft over the water, these shallows are teeming with Loggerhead turtles and you can clearly see a large number of them swimming about once we cruised overhead.

25 miles out, we travelled directly over Marquesas Islands, a barrier atoll... after which over a place known as the "Quicksands." Here water is 30 ft deep having a ocean bed of constantly shifting sand dunes. This is when treasure hunter Mel Fisher found the Spanish Galleons Antocha and Margarita - and most one half a billion dollars of silver and gold thrown across an eight mile area. They still work the website, as well as today, you will find regular finds of enormous Spanish Emeralds.