DRY TORTUGAS, FORT JEFFERSON & LOGGERHEAD KEY LIGHTHOUSE GETAWAYS
Officially permitted by National Parks Service and the Dept. of the Interior to offer and conduct private charter sightseeing tours including fishing and snorkelling within the park boundary. Permit # R-376 (2015 - 2016).
By far the most diversified grouping of the outer islands of the Florida Keys, is the Dry Tortugas. They are also the most challenging to visit. However, these islands offers much to the beholder that is willing to take the path less traveled. Fort Jefferson is the most visited island of the Dry Tortugas and offers a historical look into the Civil War era and is a marvel of a brick structure - so massive that it can easily be seen from space. The fort is actually located on the island named Garden Key and it is the only place that the contracted ferry and seaplane are allowed to transport guest to and fro. All other islands and areas of interest are only accessible to the Park Rangers, you're willing yachting friend or a private charter like ours.
Everyone checks in with the Park Ranger at Garden Key when they arrive within the park's boundary. Private vessels are required to pay park fees for themselves and any guests aboard. Private charters (any vessel transporting paying guests) must hold a special permit to enter the National Park and we suggest verifying the legitimacy of any charters offering such a trip.
Imagine S/V Tortuga, a 42’ blue water sailing catamaran, to be your floating oasis complete with crew, comforts and toys aplenty. We encourage guests to detune, “turtle-y” relax and have fun. Our plethora of activities choices can satiate even the most active individuals and we keep it worry-free with crew will be on hand to ensure your safety and comfort in whatever you do such as:
- free diving
- underwater photography & videography
- island exploration
- bird watching
- dinghy rides
- historical tour of Fort Jefferson
- Loggerhead Key lighthouse viewing
- and of course plain ol’ sunbathing
Where S/V Tortuga will roam: NOAA Nautical Chart of Lower Florida Keys
Our 5 day minimum "At Sea" stay aboard S/V Tortuga for excursions to the Dry Tortugas, Fort Jefferson and Loggerhead Key Lighthouse allows for a relaxing sail with interesting and fun stops along the way. We are happy to provide you with a custom quote for your stay aboard S/V Tortuga for additional "Dockside Quarters" and/or of half day rates.
Suggested Itinerary & Cost per person. A 30% deposit is required to secure your reservation. Expected double occupancy per each private charter. Single occupancy may be subject to double occupancy rate.
- 5 day rate: $3400.00
- 5 day deposit: $1020.00
- 6 day rate: $4000.00
- 6 day deposit: $1200.00
If you unfamiliar with this unique group of small islands, we would like to share with you that they are part of the Florida Keys coral cay archipelago. The Dry Tortugas is located about 67 miles (108 km) west of Key West, and 37 miles (60 km) west of the Marquesas Keys, the nearest islands. These islands and their surrounding waters are the most pristine and generally are undisturbed by man. Only those aboard a private vessel can truly experience all that the Marquesas and the Dry Tortugas has to offer. Each island offers different experiences. Each visit offers a new perspective.
Fort Jefferson, located on Garden Key within the Dry Tortugas, is one the most difficult of the National Parks to access as it can only be reach via seaplane, ferry or a private vessel such as ours. It is also the most popular with tourist and one of two islands populated with park rangers. It is rich in history and is home to an impressive if not imposing masonry structure complete with a lighthouse and numerous civil war cannons. Historic tours are conducted daily.
The justifiable named Bird Key is the nearest island to Garden Key. Inhabited by pelagic and migratory fowl, this bird sanctuary thrills bird watchers and naturalist alike. Between the months of March and September, some 100,000 sooty terns will come to nest on the islands of the Dry Tortugas. They are joined by brown noddies, roseate terns, double-crested cormorants and brown pelicans and as the only nesting colony of frigatebirds in North America, your just a pair of binoculars away from viewing courtships, nests and displays.
Even more inaccessible than Fort Jefferson (and considered the most dangerous to access) is Loggerhead Key and it’s lighthouse. Completed in the latter half of the 1800’s, it’s stunning presence on the small island entices boaters to swing their vessels toward the island and its nearshore reef – and our captain already has navigation expertise of these waters.
If you’re a water bug, we can’t say enough about the abundant marine & sea life that you’ll find in the surrounding waters. The less experienced snorkeling will be just as thrilled as a pro as it is easy to maneuver thru the shallows to see a variety of reefs, coral clusters or wrecks. You’ll become part of unique and elite group who can tell the tales of snorkeling and diving the Dry Tortugas.
To enjoy these activities at a relaxed pace, we take only small groups of 2 to 5 passengers. If your unable to charter the whole boat for your own group, with advanced notice, we may be able to create a split party.
Aboard Tortuga, every day is different and both Capt. Rick & Cindy Lou are still continuously amazed and dazzled. Plan on having a fun-filled time knowing you will have an experienced, Key West savvy team focused on providing you with a superior experience. We are always close by and aim to please. It is our goal is to make your day so special that your not just be entertained, you'll leave knowing Tortuga was the highlight of your time away from the hum-drums of life.
What to Bring
- Rashguard during summer
- 2+ ml Wetsuit during winter
- Sunglasses with lanyard or retention device
- Non-Spraying Sunscreen (recommend 30+ UVA/UVB)
- Waterproof/Underwater camera with tether
- Light jacket/sweatshirt in winter
- Change of dry clothes
- Any special needs equipment or gear
What NOT to Bring
- Cigarettes or cigars
- Flammables and firearms
Amend, Cancel or Reschedule? We understand things come up and request that you consider that others may have booked these dates had we not reserved them just for you. We encourage you to reschedule your trip to another time within 1 year of original booked dates. Fully paid reservations are refundable, less 30% when you provide a cancellation notice directly to our email address (TortugaSailingCat@gmail.com) at least 30 days prior to your scheduled trip. All other refund requests are subject to approval by management. When approved, refunded are issued usually within 5 business days
Due to the isolated location it is recommended that guests have a history of completing multi-day sailing trips, sleeping on a moving boat and not susceptible to seasickness. The only opportunity to return to Key West is aboard Yankee Freedom ferry that makes daily trips to Garden Key (where Fort Jefferson is). and your ability to return can be prevented if they have reached max capacity. The Dry Tortuga itinerary is wholly subject to favorable weather and ocean conditions during the scheduled dates. We reserve the right to create an alternate itinerary if the weather or oceans conditions before or during the trip are unfavorable to comfortably sail this route or find safe anchorage.