Sailing Guide

The Dry Tortugas (Florida)

The Dry Tortugas (Florida)

Characteristics

Description

The Dry Tortugas are a group of small keys and reefs 63 miles W from Key West. The group is about 11 miles long, in a NE-SW direction, and 6 miles wide.
With their surrounding waters, they constitute the Dry Tortugas National Park.
The first Europeans to discover the islands were the Spanish in 1513 by explorer Juan Ponce de León.

The islands get their name from their distinctive characteristics: Dry, because none of the islands have fresh water and Tortugas, because Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer, saw an abundance of sea turtles on the island.

There are seven islets, which are from West to East:

Loggerhead Key, with Dry Tortugas lighthouse (46 meters high), 250 by 1200 meters in size, with an area of 260,000 m2 the largest, 1 meter high. This island has the highest elevation in the Dry Tortugas, at 10 feet (3.0 m)

Garden Key, with Fort Jefferson and the inactive Garden Key lighthouse (20 meters high), 4 km east of Loggerhead Key. Garden Key is the second largest island in the chain, at 400 by 500 meters in size, with an area of 170,000 m2. The original size, before construction of Fort Jefferson, has been estimated at 30,350 m2 to 35,610 m2.

Bush Key, formerly named Hog Island because of the hogs that were raised there to provide fresh meat for the prisoners at Fort Jefferson, just a few meters east of Garden Key. At times, Bush Key is connected to Garden Key by a sand bar. The island is the third largest, 150 by 900 meters in size, area 120,000 m2, less than 1 meter high. Bush Key is the site of a large tern rookery. It is closed to visitors from April to September to protect nesting Sooty Terns and Brown Noddys.

Long Key, 50 meters south of the eastern end of Bush key, 50 by 200 meters in size, area 8,000 m2

Hospital Key, so called because a hospital for the inmates of Fort Jefferson had been built there in the 1870s. The island was formerly called Middle Key or Sand Key. It lies 2.5 km northeast of Garden Key and Bush Key, 70 meters in diameter, area 4,000 m2, and is 1 meter high at its highest point.

Middle Key, 2.5 km east of Hospital key, 90 meters in diameter, area 6,000 m2, due to various seasonal changes, storm patterns and tidal cycles it is not always above sea level, disappearing for weeks or months only to reappear again.

East Key, 2 km east of Middle Key, 100 by 200 meters in size, area 16,000 m2, over 2 meters high

The three westernmost keys, which are also the three largest keys (Loggerhead Key, Garden Key, and Bush Key), make up about 93 percent of the total land area of the group.

If you visit using your personal boat, please bring at least two anchors.

Overnight anchoring is limited to within one mile of Garden Key; there are no overnight anchoring buoys. Dockage at Garden Key is limited to two hours daily, sunrise to sunset.

Overnight mooring to docks or piers is prohibited.

Park waters over shallow coral heads and reefs are protected and may cause severe damage to boats and equipment if stuck. Use caution in all park areas.

A Florida salt water fishing license is required to fish. Personal watercraft, i.e. jet skis, are not permitted.

The visitor center is located on Garden Key and is open all year from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

The best time to visit is November through April.

When approaching the Dry Tortugas from E or SE, soundings give little warning of danger, as depths of 10 to 15 fathoms are found close to the reefs in many places. The water shoals more gradually in the approaches from NW or SW, but an approaching vessel should stay in depths greater than 15 fathoms if uncertain of her position.
Southeast and Southwest Channels are the principal approaches; both are marked and the shoals can be identified on a clear day by the difference in color of the water. Northwest Channel is unmarked.

8/04/2012
Update
India
Les Dry Tortugas sont un groupe de petites îles et rochers à 63 M à l'W de Key West. Le groupe fait environ 17 km 699 de long (du NE au SW),  et 9 km 654 de large.
Avec leurs eaux environnantes, elles forment les Dry Tortugas National Park.
Le premier Europeen qui découvrit les îles fut l'Espagnols Juan Ponce de Leon, en 1513.

Les îles ont été nommées Dry Tortugas parceque aucune îles n'a d'eau et Ponce de Leon, l'explorateur espagnol, vit de nombreuses tortues d'eau en découvrant l'archipel.

Il ya sept îlots, d'Ouest en Est:

Loggerhead Key, avec une superficie de 260.000 m², la plus grande, avec 1 mètre de haut et le phare Dry Tortugas (46 mètres de haut), . Cette île a la plus haute altitude dans les Dry Tortugas, à 10 pieds (3,0 m).

Garden Key , à Fort Jefferson et le phare inactif de Garden Key (20 mètres de haut), à 4 km à l'E de Loggerhead Key. Garden Key est la deuxième plus grande île de la chaîne, d'une taille de 400 par 500 mètres, avec une superficie de 170.000 m². 
La taille d'origine, avant la construction de Fort Jefferson, a été estimée de 30.350 m² à 35.610 m².

Bush Key, anciennement dénommée Hog Island parce que des porcs ont été élevés là pour fournir de la viande fraîche pour les prisonniers à Fort Jefferson, à quelques mètres à l'E de Garden Key.
À certains moments, Bush clé est connectée à Garden-clé par une barre de sable. 
L'île est la troisième plus grande, 150 par 900 mètres de taille, la zone de 120.000 m², moins de 1 mètre de haut. Bush Key est le site d'une colonie de grandes sternes. Il est fermé aux visiteurs d'Avril à Septembre pour protéger les sternes et les Brown Noddys.

Long Key, 50 mètres au sud de l'extrémité E de la clé de Bush, 50 par 200 mètres de taille, avec une surface de 8.000 m². 

Hospital Key, ainsi nommée car un hôpital pour les détenus de Fort Jefferson avait été construit dans les années 1870. L'île était autrefois appelée Middle Key ou Sand Key. Il est à 2,5 km au nord du jardin de l'île et Bush Key, 70 mètres de diamètre, 4000 m² de superficie, et est de 1 mètre de haut à son point culminant.

Middle Key, 2,5 km à l'E de la clé de l'Hôpital, 90 mètres de diamètre, avec 6000 m² de surface, en raison de divers changements saisonniers, le régime des tempêtes et des cycles de marée, elle n'est pas toujours au-dessus du niveau des mers, disparaissant pendant des semaines ou des mois pour réapparaître de nouveau.

East Key, 2 km à l'E du Moyen-Key, d'une taille de100 par 200 mètres, d'une surface de 16.000 m², et de plus de 2 mètres de haut.

Les trois touches de plus à l'W, qui sont aussi les trois plus grandes clés (Loggerhead Key, Jardin Key, et Bush Key), représentent environ 93 pour cent de la superficie totale du groupe.

Pour visiter les Dry Tortugas il faut prévoir deux points d'ancrage. Le mouillage de nuit est limité à moins d'1 M de Garden Key, il n'y a pas de bouées de mouillage de nuit.
L'amarrage de nuit aux quais et aux jetées est interdit. On ne peut pas y aborder plus de 2 h par jour entre le lever et le coucher du soleil.

Les eaux du parc sur les têtes de corail et les récifs sont peu profondes et protégées. Corail et récifs peuvent causer de graves dommages aux bateaux, il faut donc faire preuve de prudence.

Un permis de pêche de Floride est requis pour pêcher. Les jet-skis ne sont pas autorisés.

Le centre d'accueil est situé sur Garden Key, il est ouvert toute l'année de 8 h à 17 h.

Les plongeurs doivent apporter leur propre équipement.

Il n'y a pas de nourriture ou d'eau douce.

Le meilleur moment pour visiter sont les mois de novembre et avril.

Quand on approche les Dry Tortugas par l'E ou le SE, bien surveiller les sondeurs pour éviter les dangers. On trouve des profondeurs de 18,3 à 27,45 m proche des rochers, à différents endroits. Les fonds remontent graduellement dans les approches en venant du NW ou SW, mais en approchant les bateaux doivent rester dans les profondeurs de 27,45 m s'ils ne sont pas certains de leur position.
Les passages SE et SW sont les principales approches. Tous les deux sont balisés et les bancs peuvent être identifiés, par temps clair, grâce à la différence de couleur de l'eau. Le passage NW n'est pas balisé.

8/04/2012
Update
India
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Localisation

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Sites around The Dry Tortugas (Florida)
Flying distances - Direct line

Loggerhead Key (Dry Tortugas) (Florida)

Loggerhead Key, the other of the two principal keys in the
Dry Tortugas, is 2.5 miles W of Garden Key. It have a conical tower, lower half white and upper half black, near the center of Loggerhead Key.
8 Apr 12

Dry Tortugas Light (Loggerhead Key) (Florida)

The Dry Tortugas lighthouse, along with the Garden Key lighthouse at Fort Jefferson, were the only lights on the Gulf coast that stayed in full operation throughout the American Civil War.
The tower (151 feet above the water) was damaged by a hurricane in October 1873 and plans ...
8 Apr 12

Southeast Channel (Dry Tortugas) (Florida)

Southeast Channel skirts the reefs S of East Key and Middle Key, and passes between the 25-foot shoal S of Hospital Key and Iowa Rock off Bush Key Shoal. Iowa Rock is marked by a light.
The reefs S of Middle Key can be cleared by keeping S of a line through the abandoned lighthouse ...
8 Apr 12

Bird Key Harbor anchorage (Dry Tortugas) (Florida)

Bird Key Harbor, reached through the narrow channel encircling Garden Key, wich is well marked, is an excellent anchorage.
The entrance to Bird Key Harbor is narrow, and care is required to avoid the shoals on either side.
The main entrance channel is marked by daybeacons.
8 Apr 12

Garden Key (Dry Tortugas) (Florida)

Garden Key is the site of historic Fort Jefferson National Monument, a hexagonal structure with walls 425 feet long rising from a surrounding moat.
In 1846, the US Army began to construct a massive fortification on the tiny island known as Garden Key. Sixteen million bricks were ...
8 Apr 12

Garden Key NW anchorage (Dry Tortugas) (Florida)

A good anchorage, although somewhat open to the N, is N and NW of Garden
Key.
The holding ground is good, and the depths range from 8 to 10 fathoms.
8 Apr 12

Garden Key SW anchorage (Florida)

the best shelter is SW of Garden Key and the channel encircling it, where protection is afforded from NW winds.
However, the holding ground is poor, as boats drag anchor along the silty bottom.
Anchorage overnight is allowed in this area.
8 Apr 12

Garden Key Lighthouse (Florida)

The lighthouse on Garden Key arose in 1826. After the 1873 hurricane, a new lighthouse of iron plate was built atop Fort Jefferson, 70 feet High atop the fortress, marking the harbor entrance until its deactivation in 1924.
8 Apr 12

Bush Key (Dry Tortugas) (Florida)

Bush Key, just E of Garden Key, is a refuge for noddy and sooty terns. These birds come in early April and leave in September.
8 Apr 12

Tortugas Bank (Florida)

For 10 miles W from the Dry Tortugas the bottom is broken and irregular, and consists of coral rock with patches of sand and broken shell.
Tortugas Bank, the shoalest part of this area, is 7 miles W of Loggerhead Key and has a least known depth of 37 feet. Depths less than 10 fathoms ...
8 Apr 12

Rebecca Shoal Channel (Florida)

Rebecca Shoal Channel, immediately W of Rebecca Shoal Light, frequently is used by vessels bound from the Straits of Florida to points on the W coast of Florida. Vessels bound for Mobile and points W pass to the W of Dry Tortugas.
So far as known, Rebecca Shoal Channel is clear, ...
8 Apr 12

Southwest Channel (Dry Tortugas) (Florida)

Southwest Channel leads between the reefs W and SW of Garden Key and those off Loggerhead Key. The least depth found along the marked channel is 31 feet, but the same caution is advised as with Southeast
Channel.Among the reefs and keys are numerous places where vessels can anchor ...
8 Apr 12
Local Area

Area from Key West to Dry Tortugas (Florida)

Florida Reefs
On the straits side of the keys, and at an average distance of 5 miles, are the Florida Reefs, a dangerous line of shoals which extend along the entire length of the chain. These reefs extend from near Stuart, on the Atlantic coast, to the Dry Tortugas, west of ...
16 Apr 12

The Keys ( Florida)

The Florida Keys are a chain-like cluster of about 1700 islands in the southeast United States. They begin at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, about 15 miles (24 km) south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West, the ...
7 Apr 12

West Florida

The coast, for nearly 115 miles, from Key West to San Carlos Bay is low, sandy, and generally wooded. Innumerable small islands and keys, interlaced by many small rivers and bayous, make up Everglades National Park and the Ten Thousand Islands. From San Carlos Bay N to Tampa Bay the ...
6 Apr 12

Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico is the ninth largest body of water in the world. The shape of its basin is roughly oval and approximately 810 nautical miles (1,500 km) wide and filled with sedimentary rocks and debris. Tidal ranges are extremely small due to the narrow connection with the ocean. Considered ...
6 Apr 12

NW Atlantic Ocean

Entre le Groenland et la mer du Nord, l'Atlantique est séparé de l'Océan Arctique par le seuil de Wyville-, zone relativement peu profonde (entre 300 et 1250 m) et de laquelle émerge l'Islande.
Au Nord, c'est-à-dire déjà dans l'océan Arctique, on trouve le bassin de Norvège, ...
19 Mar 15

Marquesas Keys (Florida)

The Marquesas Keys (not to be confused with the Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean) form an uninhabited island group about 30 miles (50 km) west of Key West, 4 miles (6 km) in diameter, and overgrown by mangrove. They are protected as part of the Key ...
8 Apr 12
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