Getting Wet in the Dry Tortugas

Getting Wet in the Dry Tortugas

Getting Wet in the Dry Tortugas

By Kai Rambow

 

Key West may be the end of the road, but you can head 70 miles farther west by taking the ferry to the Dry Tortugas. People love taking this day trip. It is a national park, so that means it’s on many people’s bucket list. There are several other reasons for taking this excursion. It’s remote, so you can get away from it all. It’s historic with a ginormous fort. It’s scenic surrounded by clear, beautiful blue water. And it’s fun, with opportunities to explore the fort, swim and snorkel.

 

Ft. Jefferson

This huge fort covering 16 acres has a rich history. park rangers offer guided tours. If you love interesting history, it’s worth taking the tour so you know what you’re seeing.

 

Snorkeling

There are several spots to go swimming and snorkelling.  Explanations about the different water spots are given during the ferry ride.  The snorkeling is more fun than spectacular.  Clear blue waters will evoke Caribbean feelings.  There are places to rinse off and change clothes near the dock.

 

Tips for a Great Trip

 

Weather

Surprisingly rough seas frequently occur during the winter; calmer waters prevail during the summer.  This trip can be great, but it’s expensive.  One couple took the ferry in the winter and almost everyone was seasick.  They were given a voucher to purchase another trip at 50 percent off.  Recommendation is to check the marine forecast first for Dry Tortugas, not Key West, then check the marine forecast between Key West and Dry Tortugas. If conditions look good, then book your ticket.

 

What to Bring

The ferry’s website provides very good information on almost all aspects of the trip.  Since this is an all-day excursion consider packing the following: comfortable footwear, light jacket, towel, bathing suit, change of clothes, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera and possibly something to read.

 

Itinerary

The ferry is a comfortable, fast catamaran with indoor and outdoor seating. Breakfast and lunch are included. Snorkeling equipment, entrance fee for Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson is also included.

Check in time is at 7 a.m. Once you check in, you’re issued a boarding pass, so if you’d like to select a really good seat it’s a good idea to arrive a little early.  Boarding begins at 7:30 and the ferry departs at 8.

Tip:  Crew will tell you that breakfast will be available for some time, so no need to rush.  Breakfast is only available for one hour and once out of a food item, such as fresh fruit, there were no replacements. Recommend you line up and get breakfast early.

The ride is a little over two hours with scenic views leaving Key West, possible dolphin sightings halfway and lovely views approaching Ft. Jefferson.

The ferry arrives at approximately 10:15. Most passengers will disembark and get outfitted with snorkeling equipment. The Fort Jefferson tour starts at 11 and takes almost an hour. It is possible to tour the fort and snorkel after, but a little planning is required.

Tip:  Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. right in the middle of all these activities.  It’s a similar situation to breakfast with the best items available until gone. You can tour the fort, and, if you eat right after, you should still have a good selection.

After lunch, you will still have time to go swimming or snorkeling, as the boat leaves at 3 p.m. Passengers will start to board at 2:30, a return a little earlier will beat the crowds for showers, clothing changes and seats. It’s a full day and many passengers slept on the return trip, arriving refreshed in Key West by 5:30 p.m.

 

Dry Tortugas National Park

www.nps.gov/drto

 

Dry Tortugas Ferry

www.drytortugas.com

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The August 2019 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

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In this issue…

Recall the fun of the Fourth of July Breakfast and Pool Party, find a new and interesting story in local Book Nooks, meet a neighbor who’s a real clown, and get to know a creative local sculptor. Then, discover an idyllic North Florida getaway, learn why TV star Mike Rowe was in town, discover how the Florida Aquarium is saving sea turtles right here in South County, meet a local athlete, have Coffee with a Cop, and learn how to protect your pets during the Dog Days of Summer.

Then be sure to…

Check out the SCC Bulletin, Kings Point, Community News, Dance, Military News, Faith & Service, Arts, Sports, Travel, and South County Events sections to help you plan your month. And travel with your friends and neighbors who took The News around the world.

Read the August 2019 Issue of The News

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Puffins Amongst the Scenery

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Puffins Amongst the Scenery

By Kai Rambow

 

“Heading up to see the puffins, are you?” asked the construction worker.  She continued with a strong Newfoundland accent, “I’ve lived all my 61 years in this bay area, never knew about the puffins.  I kept wondering why all these people were coming out here.  I’ve never seen them myself.  Finally going with my boyfriend on Sunday.”

A simple question about directions turned into a funny conversation.  People are the best part of travel in Newfoundland.  While they are proud of their rich traditions, they are incredible welcoming, warm and helpful.

 

Puffins at Elliston

There are a few species of birds that generate excitement even with non-birders.  Atlantic puffins are one of them.  Even when they are just standing around, they look cute.

Puffins come ashore for a few months to breed before returning to the ocean.  Elliston is one of the few locations worldwide with relatively easy access for viewing.  The puffins apparently can be approached very closely here, although they did not the day we visited.  It was still enthralling to watch them.

Close by are traditional root cellars used to store food.  Park your car, check out the cellars, then take a short walk to see the puffins.  There are no charges to see the cellars or puffins.  After watching the puffins there are cafes and gift shops nearby.

 

Bonavista

Ten minutes away from Elliston is Bonavista.  This town of 3,400 is a relaxing place to have a bite, poke around and even stay overnight.

Drive to the lighthouse at the tip of Cape Bonavista.  You’ll see more puffins and even whales in the surrounding waters.  As you head back to Bonavista, stop at Dungeon Provincial Park.  It’s a short, scenic drive.  Rocky shores with clear waters dominate the views throughout the island.  As you drive through Newfoundland, you’ll clearly see how it earned its nickname, “the Rock.”

 

Tips for a Great Trip

Stop for Gas:  There are sizeable stretches of road, even on the Trans-Canada highway, without facilities or gas stations.  Any time there is a stop with gas/facilities, take advantage of it.  We stopped for gas and food at the Tim Horton’s in Clarenville, and topped the tank again in Bonavista. 

Drive Times and Stays:  It will take about 3 hours 30 minutes from St. John’s to Bonavista.  For a more relaxed pace, you might want to stay overnight here.  Remember Bonavista is a small town with a limited number of sleeping accommodations.  Be sure to book in advance.  The drive from Bonavista to the next recommended stop Gander is 2 hours 45 minutes.

If you have a tighter schedule and are more energetic, you can leave St. John’s, drive to Bonavista, do activities and still reach Gander comfortably.  In the summer, the sun rises around 5:30 a.m. and sets around 8:45 p.m.  You’ll have plenty of daylight on good roads.

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The August 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

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In this issue… We explore Busch Gardens, learn about increases to the county meal program, visit a local shelter that CAREs about homeless pets, meet the new SCC Community Association president, get a refresher on Florida traffic laws, review...

HCSO Community Resource Giveaway

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HCSO Community Resource Giveaway on August 13By Deputy Jeffery Merry, HCSO On Thursday, August 13, from 8-11 a.m., at Community Hall, 1910 S. Pebble Beach Blvd., the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office will be giving away several community resources,...

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CA President Sudman Resigns

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On July 1, SCCCA President Sam Sudman resigned, effective immediately, citing personal reasons. Sam has done quite a lot for this community; so, if you have a chance, reach out to thank him for his years of dedicated service to SCC.The CA Board met on July...

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In this issue… We relive the fun of the Chamber Business Expo, indulge in a delicious sweet treat, meet some local crafters who are helping people with hearing loss, celebrate the SCC Emergency Squad’s and MOAA’s national awards, learn about...

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In this issue… We tip our hat in appreciation to longtime community leader, Sam Sudman; sail across the Pacific with some SCC friends; catch up with those industrious Model Railroaders; get a taste of the good food at CC’s Grill; relive a fun...

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Plan to Travel? Read This First      

Plan to Travel? Read This First      

Whether you are a snowbird or a year-round resident, you will probably travel away from your Florida home at some time. Of course, you want to make sure that you, your belongings, and your home are safe during your travels. Recently, a travel consultant offered several important travel safety tips we should all consider before our next trip.

Keeping your home safe while you are gone is the first step. Even if you stop the paper and mail, you should have a neighbor or nearby friend who will keep an eye on your home and pick up any papers or items that are delivered despite your best efforts. Make sure your doors are locked. Pay special attention to sliding doors. You may wish to put something along the bottom track so that the doors cannot slide.

Before you go, contact your credit card company and bank to let them know when you will be gone and where you will be going.

You should also have your doctor’s information with you. If you have a medical condition, make sure you have a letter from your doctor stating you are under medication, especially when traveling abroad.

If you are renting a car, make sure there are no scratches or dents before you leave the parking lot and to take photos of any that already exist… and learn how to operate all equipment of a rental car before leaving the lot.

You may wish to bring along a night light if you are going on a cruise or staying in a motel room. You should also disinfect frequently touched items such as TV remote controls.

Hotels never have employees show up unannounced at your room. If someone knocks on your door, call the front desk before opening the door. Hotel employees will never request credit card or personal information over the phone while you are there.

If you are traveling by plane, consider TSA pre-check. You may also wish to make paper copies of these documents, one to take with you and another to leave with a trusted neighbor or friend. Before you leave, make a list of all of the items in your checked luggage or take a photo of the contents. Use a ribbon, unusual luggage tag or other unique marking of some sort to make sure that no one mistakes your bag for theirs.

When you are at a new location, try not to broadcast that you are a tourist. Looking at maps and wearing baseball hats and tee shirts might make it easier for would-be thieves to identify you as a potential target. It is safer for men to carry their wallets in their front pockets and women to carry a cross-body purse.

A Guided Tour of Native Florida in SCC

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A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

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The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

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In this issue… We relive the fun of the Chamber Business Expo, indulge in a delicious sweet treat, meet some local crafters who are helping people with hearing loss, celebrate the SCC Emergency Squad’s and MOAA’s national awards, learn about...

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

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A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

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A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of UsBy Diane M. Loeffler Congratulations to the Sun City Center Emergency Squad. The nation has recognized what we already know, our squad is amazing! Actually, we are all amazing because we support our...

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We relive the fun of the Chamber Business Expo, indulge in a delicious sweet treat, meet some local crafters who are helping people with hearing loss, celebrate the SCC Emergency Squad’s and MOAA’s national awards, learn about...

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

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Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo By Bob Sanchez On a warm and sunny Saturday, August 28, the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce held its “Out-of-the-Ordinary” Annual Fall Business Expo Drive Thru in the parking lot of the Prince of Peace...

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We tip our hat in appreciation to longtime community leader, Sam Sudman; sail across the Pacific with some SCC friends; catch up with those industrious Model Railroaders; get a taste of the good food at CC’s Grill; relive a fun...

Fall Business Expo August 28

Fall Business Expo August 28

The Sun City Area Chamber of Commerce presents their Annual Fall Business Expo, a Drive-Thru Event, on Friday, August 28, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. LocationPrince of Peace Catholic Church702 Valley Forge Blvd. in SCC Claim Your Goodie Bag!This year, Fall...

Amsterdam Newest Non-stop Service

Amsterdam Newest Non-stop Service

Amsterdam Newest Non-stop Service

By Kai Rambow

 

Delta Airlines recently celebrated their inauguration of non-stop service from Tampa to Amsterdam. The following non-stop options are now available to us:  British Airways and Norwegian to London Gatwick; Edelweiss to Zurich; Icelandair to Reykjavik; and Lufthansa to Frankfurt.

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

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Local HLAA Members Make Windowed MasksBy Paula Lickfeldt Imagine being deaf or hearing impaired and using lip-reading as a way of conversing. Now imagine the onset of a pandemic that causes everyone to wear a mask over their mouth, rendering lip-reading...

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

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A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of UsBy Diane M. Loeffler Congratulations to the Sun City Center Emergency Squad. The nation has recognized what we already know, our squad is amazing! Actually, we are all amazing because we support our...

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We relive the fun of the Chamber Business Expo, indulge in a delicious sweet treat, meet some local crafters who are helping people with hearing loss, celebrate the SCC Emergency Squad’s and MOAA’s national awards, learn about...

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

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The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We tip our hat in appreciation to longtime community leader, Sam Sudman; sail across the Pacific with some SCC friends; catch up with those industrious Model Railroaders; get a taste of the good food at CC’s Grill; relive a fun...

Fall Business Expo August 28

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