Dry Tortugas – Day 5

We want to explore Loggerhead Key. It’s about 3 nautical miles west of us. We have an east wind making us roll in this anchorage, but it should be nice on the west side of the island where want to snorkel.  We will take Questeria to the mooring ball and dinghy to the beach. The dinghy ride might be a little rough. George and Nancy come with us.

We are still rafted up to Steel Lady. We untie at 9:00 and head to the single mooring ball at Loggerhead Key. We are towing our dinghy.

The last time we were here a power boat came from behind us and grabbed the mooring before we could get there. This time someone calls on the VHF and asks if we are going to the mooring ball. We tell him yes, for two hours. There is a two-hour limit if someone is waiting.

We grab the mooring ball at 9:40. We grab our snorkel gear, hop in the dinghy, take it ashore and pull it up on the beach. It’s a little rough with four people, but we plan to get wet anyway.

We are looking for the trail to the other side of the island and we meet Ed and his wife, the May volunteers. They walk us to the beach on the other side of the island. They tell us that the island has shifted by about 15 feet. We can see that because there is a structure with half the foundation washed away.

Loggerhead Key is the largest island in Dry Tortugas. It gets its name from its abundance of loggerhead sea turtles. The lighthouse on Loggerhead Key was built in 1856. It is no longer in service. Today the island is self-sufficient with solar panels and watermaker.

Loggerhead Key Lighthouse
Loggerhead Key Lighthouse

We go snorkeling. This area is named “Little  Africa” because from the air it looks like the continent of Africa.

Loggerhead Key Beach
Loggerhead Key Beach

After we snorkel we get back to the dinghy and go back to Questeria. We leave the mooring at 11:40, two hours exactly, and return to the east anchorage. We raft up to Steel Lady, but we are still rolling a bit.

George thinks it would be calmer if we move up. He pulls his anchor and we drive both boats, still rafted together, closer to shore. It is still too rocky to stay rafted up. In the meantime, many of the boats have left the main anchorage. We decide to try it there.

We go around the fort into the main anchorage. It is much calmer here.

Steel Lady comes and anchors southwest of us. George and Nancy dinghy over for a dinner of pork tenderloin and squash and onions. We reuse some aluminum foil and we are now out of fresh vegetables. The only vegetables left are two cans of green beans. We did not provision very well for this trip.

Later the wind picks up again. We watch a sunset, blow the conch shell and watch a moon rise, but it is a little cloudy.

Google Earth Track
Google Earth Track

Today was a great day. We thoroughly enjoyed Loggerhead Key.  I have saved  track20170512.kmz. You can down-load and open this file with Google Earth. If you do, make sure you look for the structure with the collapsing foundation on the west side of Loggerhead Key. You can also see the solar panels west of the lighthouse and the volunteer’s house north of the lighthouse.


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