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Dry Tortugas

Almost 70 miles (112.9 km) west of Key West lies a cluster of seven islands, composed of coral reefs and sand, called the Dry Tortugas. The area is situated on the edge of the main shipping channel between the Gulf of Mexico, the western Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean, and is known for its famous bird and marine life, its legends of pirates and sunken gold, and its military past. The Dry Tortugas were first discovered by the Spanish in 1513 by explorerJuan Ponce de León. He named the islands for their distinctive characteristics: Dry, because none of the islands have fresh water and Tortugas, because he saw an abundance of sea turtles on the island. Now the Dry Tortugas National Park and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are home to these turtles and other birding wildlife.

On one of these islands (Garden Key), lies Fort Jefferson, the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. It was built in the mid 1800s with over 16 million bricks. It was originally built to protect the Gulf of Mexico shipping lanes where ships traveled from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean around the Florida peninsula. The lighthouse at Garden Key was constructed in 1825 and still operates today, while Fort Jefferson remains the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. In 1908 the area became a wildlife refuge for nesting birds and a marine sanctuary, and in 1935 President Roosevelt proclaimed Fort Jefferson a national monument. In 1992, the area became a National Park, and was created to protect and preserve a pristine subtropical marine ecosystem, including the world’s third-largest living barrier reef, and is generally regarded today as the most well-preserved marine area in the Florida Keys, and one of the most in the world.

Even more amazing, due to the fact that these islands are located so far off of the mainland, the Dry Tortugas Park is one of the least accessible National Parks in the U.S, thereby making it by far one of the most unspoiled and beautiful, and a place like no other…truly a paradise on earth. The reef system that runs through and surrounds this area is part of 3rd largest barrier reef system in the world, and is spectacular for scuba diving,spearfishing, and deep sea sport fishing.

The numerous shallow water wrecks and reefs provide a beautiful underwater wonderland, offering an awesome view of a great variety of tropical fish, sea life, shells and enormous coral heads. Most dive sites are between 30 and 80 feet and are home to over 250 species of fish, thousands of invertebrates, sharks, rays and turtles. Fishing in this area and the areas surrounding it, offer an unparalled opportunity to sport and spearfish some giant sized grouper, snapper, tuna, hogfish and the like. And since Adventure Watersport Charters has been granted the privilege of being selected as the only private charter that has been issued both fishing and scuba diving permits to the park, we are able to offer this amazing trip to fish and dive this paradise to you.