Set sail for the Dry Tortugas archipelago in the stunning Florida Keys

It might surprise you, but the most isolated and least visited national park in the US of A doesn’t involve mountains, pine forests or lakes. The trees aren’t very tall there and there’s not a grizzly bear in sight, but you will find sea turtles, frigates and schools of colourful fish. Yep, we’re talking about the Dry Tortugas Islands, located in the stunning Florida Keys off America’s south-eastern tip. Join us on this special sailing expedition as we chart a course through tropical archipelagos – snorkelling and beach-bumming in the uninhabited Marquesas Islands, visiting historical Fort Jefferson and letting our hair down for a night of fun in Key West.

****Warning - this is a new trip for us!
While we have thoroughly researched this area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is a relatively new trip for us. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere.


Start
Key West, United States
Finish
Key West, United States
Country
United States
Style
Original
Theme
Sailing
Code
SSSF
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 1, Max 8

Why we love this trip

  • This brand-new trip ventures to some of the USA’s most remote and least-visited national parks – a world away from the well-beaten tourist trails

  • Swim to shore at the bird sanctuary on Loggerhead or Hospital Key and scout out which birds are around

  • Snorkel with sea turtles in the pristine waters off the Marquesas

  • There’s flexibility and room for spontaneity. Join us in shaping this new and exciting adventure while it’s still in its experimental stages

Is this trip right for you?

  • Although we don't ask travellers to complete a Physical Participation Form for this trip, we do ask that you read through the trip notes carefully to ensure that this trip is right for you. You’ll need to feel comfortable with the included activities and with moving about the boat. The cabins and communal areas of the boat are spread over two decks, and the steps between the decks are steep.

  • You will be entering and exiting a Zodiac boat during wet and dry landings and when returning from snorkelling. Although the waters we sail are usually calm, there are times when the sea can get rough and choppy. Steady sea legs (and a sturdy stomach) are needed when walking around the boat during bad weather. Rain or shine, your trusty crew will always be on hand to assist you.

  • A typical catamaran for eight travellers is equipped with four twin share cabins, four bathrooms and four showers. Our boats are real catamarans, and this is a real sailing trip. Catamarans are designed to maximise living area space, so sleeping quarters can be a bit cramped. That being said, the adventure and exhilaration of an authentic sailing trip more than makes up for any discomfort.

  • While at sea and when exploring the islands, you may be exposed to the sun for large parts of the day. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water.

  • While there is an itinerary in place, some changes may occur due to the weather. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for potential modifications to the route or activities. A sense of humour and flexibility will ensure you have a fun, relaxing trip through this beautiful part of the world no matter what happens.

  • Please show respect for your shipmates by not smoking on board and being aware that others might not want to stay up all night partying. Our trips work best when everyone works together to make the trip run as smoothly as possible.

Itinerary

Welcome to Key West, the southernmost city in continental USA. Located in the Florida Keys – a coral cay archipelago extending southwest from Florida’s south-eastern tip – Key West attracts an eclectic mix of residents and visitors: artists, writers, yatchies, retirees, holidaying families and partying students. More than 1700 islands make up the archipelago, the majority of which are part of National, State or Marine parks. Key West is in fact closer to Cuba than it is Miami!
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning we'll be setting sail for the Dry Tortugas well before dawn, mostly likely leaving around 4am to make the most of your time (approximately 70 nautical miles).

The coral cays were once underwater reefs that, over time, emerged as low-lying islands when water levels started dropping some 25,000 years ago. The Dry Tortugas, located at the southernmost point of the keys, are the most remote of America's National Parks. Both the Dry Tortugas and Marquesas are a haven for marine and bird life, with green sea turtles and manatees nesting in the area.

The plan is to spend two nights in the Dry Tortugas, though this is flexible (If the weather deteriorates, the boat may return to Key West early). As the most isolated and least visited national park in the United States, Dry Tortugas has very few services on it and your group will be completely self-sufficient during your time here.

Heading ashore at Garden Key, tour the Civil War-era Fort Jefferson National Monument, which had been converted into a prison. Snorkel the surrounding reefs in search of sea turtles, coral and colourful fish, perhaps swimming to shore at Loggerhead Key or Hospital Key for a look around (just be sure to clean up well and minimise your footprint). Bush Key offers great bird-watching, which can be done from the yacht. As this is a bird sanctuary, landing here is prohibited.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Depart the Dry Tortugas early in the morning and make sail to the Marquesas (approx. 44 nm). As you'll be arriving before dark, you’ll be able to take in the beauty of these uninhabited islands and turquoise lagoons as you approach. The swimming here is excellent, and the 300-foot no-motor zone established by local authorities has helped protect such creatures as nesting turtles and birds. Keep your eyes peeled (and your camera ready) for red, blue and masked boobies.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Sail to Key West, stopping off en route for some fantastic snorkelling at dive buoys moored along the reef (approx. 26 nm). Tonight we spend either harboured in Key West Bight Marina or anchored out in Man of War Harbor. Perhaps check out some of the bars, restaurants and cafes this ‘end of the road’ destination has to offer, calling in at La Te Da for cabaret or heading to Porch or Virgilio’s for a drink.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Farewell your fellow travellers today as your trip comes to an end back in Key West. There are no activities after breakfast, and you’ll be disembarking the yacht by 10 am.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Boat

Accommodation

Overnight boat (6 nights)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

PASSPORT DETAILS:
Please provide full passport details at time of booking including exact name as per passport, date of birth, nationality, issue and expiry dates as these are essential for booking services on this trip. If not available at time of booking, we must have these details a minimum of 12 days prior to departure. The passport details that we are advised, MUST be the passport that you will be travelling on.
DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:
Dietary requirements are required at the time of booking so that any included meals can be properly catered for.
MINIMUM AGE
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 18
PARTICIPATION
You don't need to hold a recreational skippers ticket or any sailing experience at all to join this trip however it is expected that you help keep the bathrooms, communal areas, the galley and your own room clean. You will also be asked to chip in at meal time, either helping out with food preparation, cooking, setting or clearing the table and washing up dishes. You are more than welcome to participate in the sailing as much as possible.
NATIONAL PARK FEES
There is a US$10 National Park Fee for the Dry Tortugas to be paid to your skipper on day 1.
ITINERARY CHANGES
***The beauty of sailing is that each day is unique and, while we have a destination to reach, if the weather changes or something takes the group’s fancy, we are flexible on the day's itinerary***

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.