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Author Topic:   Hilton Head to the Dry Tortugas
Blue Heron Whaler posted 10-12-2014 06:13 PM ET (US)   Profile for Blue Heron Whaler   Send Email to Blue Heron Whaler  
Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014
I have decided to start a log of our trip from Hilton Head to the Dry Tortugas (to visit Fort Jefferson). Our plan is trailering our 210 Ventura to Key West. We are driving down in two legs, first Hilton Head to Cocoa Beach, then Cocoa Beach to Key West. We will meet family in the Keys and make our first attempt on Tuesday, but we may have to reschedule due to weather. We will also make some side-trips to go snorkeling and/or fishing. Stay tuned for more updates!

I created an album of pictures visible here:

https://drive.google.com/folderview? id=0B6IW-xi97PpfOVlWTE1EeE1FbEk &usp=sharing

EJO posted 10-13-2014 11:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for EJO  Send Email to EJO     
I'm jealous as that is on my "bucket list" but the admiral will never let me do that in a trailerable boat, although yours will be perfect for that.
Ft. Jeff. is a diamond in the rough of National Parks.
You're a lucky man.
Ventura posted 11-12-2014 11:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura  Send Email to Ventura     
Blue Water

Would love to here more about your trip. We are planning something similar for the early spring so all the info we can get before hand would be great

Thanks JJC

jimh posted 11-13-2014 03:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
We have our first snowfall today, so more images from a boating trip to the tropics will be much appreciated.
daveweight posted 11-16-2014 11:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for daveweight  Send Email to daveweight     
Hmm snow in Michigan at 43.6867° N and shorts and T shirt in London UK at 51.4223° N, thank goodness for the Gulf Stream, may it flow forever.
Dave Weight
jimh posted 11-18-2014 11:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Dave--Enjoy the heat we are sending you. The temperature in SE Michigan today is minus-8-degrees-Celsius. (That's 18-degrees-F for you old guys that haven't converted.)

Let's have more pictures from the tropics, please.

Hal Watkins posted 12-30-2014 07:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
We plan to spend Feburary and March in south Florida and the Keys. This will be our second winter in Florida with our 205 Eastport. Probably our "now or never" trip to Dry Tortugas National Park. We would like another boat to Cross with. We are very flexible on timing; weather and sea conditions are priority. Any GLBWCC takers?
jimh posted 12-31-2014 08:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
As I recall, a trip to the Dry Tortugas requires careful planning for fuel. I don't think you can get any fuel in the National Park. I'd be interested to hear about planning the trip and where fuel can be obtained.

I am also interested in what you can do when you get there. How many days and nights to you plan to stay in the Dry Tortugas?

Hal Watkins posted 01-01-2015 08:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
As the name says "Dry" as in bring everything you think you need and haul out everything you brought. No fuel or services. Exploring Ft Jefferson, fishing and snorkeling are the main attractions. Oh, and a very dark night for star gazing. We will likely only stay one night. All boats anchor out so dingy or swim in. There are some very good videos on youtube about the trip and the DTNP.
I would like to have an escort boat along...come on GLBWCC.
6992WHALER posted 01-02-2015 11:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
Hall it is on my bucket list but not this year.

John

Ventura posted 01-04-2015 12:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura  Send Email to Ventura     
Hal

DTNP is on my list to. I live in central Florida. With the little research I have done late March to early May seems to be the best period for weather. Which is of course the most important factor. Unless you sleep in your boat reservations might be needed to camp. To avoid driving to key west and launch I have thought about launching on the gulf side going to key west Refuel DTNP than reverse on the way home adds about 160 miles to boat trip but saves 250 miles of highway time. And the keys iin my humble opinion are a PIA to drive through especially with a trailer!


JJC

samtay posted 01-04-2015 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for samtay  Send Email to samtay     
I made the trip to the Dry Tortugas a number of times when I was working at Everglades and later in my 47 foot sail boat. At time I had a 20 ft Seacraft with a cuddy cabin. The boat was fitted wit a 4 cyl gas engine and a Mercury outdrive. I only carried 30 gallons of fuel so had to make arrangements with the Fort's staff to have a drum of fuel delivered to the fort. Since I was staff, that was not a problem. I also delivered a 25 foot Bertram and a 25 ft Seacraft for the Rangers.

My longest passage was from Flamingo in the Everglades. That was 130 miles direct. I almost missed the Fort when I developed engine problems because of a dirty fuel filter. By the time I had things going again I had drifted due to the currents a number of miles North of the Fort.

The Fort's staff are very nice and helpful. There are no accommodations with the Fort and anchoring can be problematic.

My advice is to carry sufficient fuel and plan on ocean currents that might add distance to your trip. I believe the Park Service has a 14 day limit for visitors.

I might suggest that you take your car and Trailer down to Flamingo and launch there. The distance to Marathon is about 20 miles directly south. You can fuel up in Marathon and continue to Key West with an overnight passage. Fuel up again in Key West for the 68 mile passage to the Fort.

Wish I were going with you.

Jim

Ventura posted 01-05-2015 08:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura  Send Email to Ventura     
Samtay

Did you make your passage to DTNP at night after fueling up in Key west or did you spend the night Key West ?

JJC

samtay posted 01-06-2015 12:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for samtay  Send Email to samtay     
On that passage I spent the night in KeyWest. I arrived in early morning and was just a little to tired to travel to the Fort. Most of the time the weather is pretty nice and you would make good time to the Fort. The last time I was there, I found there was lots of navigation aids. I suggest you pick up charts for the passage and for the islands within the Dry Tortugs area.
samtay posted 01-06-2015 03:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for samtay  Send Email to samtay     
I should mention I was on the north side of the Keys and had a north wind and that made for a following sea. I would have been much more comfortable had I traveled on the Atlantic side of the Keys.
jimh posted 01-08-2015 10:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If the passage to the Dry Tortugas is about 70-mile, and allowing for the usual allocation of fuel reserves in one-thirds: one-third outbound, one-third inbound, and one-third in reserve, that suggests one ought to plan for a 210-mile fuel range at a minimum, and that's with no allowance for moving the boat around at the Dry Tortugas. A fuel range of 210-miles would be just about at my maximum endurance with my boat and its internal tank. I'd probably want to carry some extra fuel with me in an external container.
Ventura posted 01-08-2015 11:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura  Send Email to Ventura     
I have a 22. Outrage withi 225 Yamaha. I would not take the trrip with less than 115 gallons.
Hal Watkins posted 01-10-2015 11:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
The 205 Eastport w/150 Optimax has averaged 5.2 mpg over 600 hrs. With 68 gal capacity we routinely 250 miles with sufficient reserve. We will likely depart from a ramp as close to Key West as possible or top off at Key West. Just planning one night aboard at anchor.
Ventura posted 01-13-2015 09:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura  Send Email to Ventura     
Hal

Have you decided on a crossing date yet?

JJC

Hal Watkins posted 01-14-2015 05:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
Nothing specific...not till mid Feb or later. Being retired has its perks. Wouldlove to have an escort boat with us.
contender posted 01-14-2015 08:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
You guys that what to make this trip, your boat better carry enough fuel and ice for the trip, Fort Jefferson is about 65-70 miles from Key West...One way...no gas on the island. So you need enough fuel for at least 200 miles leaving from Key West...
contender posted 01-14-2015 08:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Also leaving in the winter time the water can get real rough, best time to go is from May to September.
jimh posted 01-15-2015 02:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
HAL--your boat certainly has the fuel endurance to make this trip. I wish we could accompany you. You'd have enough fuel left over to give us some in case we needed it for the return trip.
Ventura posted 01-15-2015 08:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura  Send Email to Ventura     
When I researched this before, late April to early June was best for weather. You want a good fuel reserve. Recently we took over an hour to make seven miles with a headwind in four to five-foot seas, Engine speed was about 3000-RPM and GPS speed 5-MPH; speedometer read 16-MPH. Miles per gallon does not mean much to me; gallons per hour does.
Ventura posted 01-16-2015 11:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura  Send Email to Ventura     
Hal--if you are still here central Florida in late April or early may let me know that is when the King Mackrel fishing picks up here off Cape Caneveral.
thammer posted 02-17-2015 04:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for thammer  Send Email to thammer     
We did this trip in our 2009 220 OUTRAGE. With a full tank of fuel we had (one-third or) 40-gallons left when we arrived back in Key West. Great great trip. Camped over night at Fort Jefferson and the facilities were very nice for solar outhouses. Bring plenty of water, don't pickup or look at anything floating that looks like a bale.
Ventura posted 02-17-2015 08:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura  Send Email to Ventura     
Thammer--did your 220 OUTRAGE have the 77-gallon tank? What size and type engine. How fast or at what [engine speed] did you cruise? I have an OUTRAGE 22 with a Yamaha 225-HP. Would like to make this trip but worry about fuel.
jimh posted 02-20-2015 08:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If THAMMER had 40-gallons left and that was one-third of a tank, I think the boat must have a 120-gallon tank.
Ventura posted 02-20-2015 04:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura  Send Email to Ventura     
Thanks; did not catch the one-third before the 40 gallons. Really need to keep the glasses on more :-) 80 gallons [fuel used] makes more sense. Thanks--JJC
Hal Watkins posted 02-21-2015 07:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
We are in...the keys. Specifically, Fiesta Key.
I am still looking for a ramp closer to Key West where I can leave the motorhome and trailer. I have discover that the Lowrance Insight data has the keys and Dry Tortugas loaded. If the weather permits we will likely head west on 1 March for an overnight at Dry Tortugas.
Ventura posted 02-22-2015 08:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura  Send Email to Ventura     
Hal--have a safe trip and please let us know how it goes. Please post some pictures if you get a chance. Thanks--JJC
jimh posted 02-25-2015 06:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Hal--if you run out of fuel on this trip your name will be Mudd. (Or maybe not.)
thammer posted 03-13-2015 09:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for thammer  Send Email to thammer     
[My 2009 Boston Whaler 220 OUTRAGE] was a 2009 with the 115-gallon fuel tank. It averaged about 3-MPG on the trip.
jimh posted 03-15-2015 10:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Where is Hal now? We have not heard from him in weeks. Perhaps he went on, out to sea, and is in Cuba.
6992WHALER posted 04-15-2015 08:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     

Video link to a Flight to the Try Tortugas

http://www.national-park-posters.com/ seaplane-to-dry-tortugas-national-park/ ?hootPostID=4dd71a9ee8952dd73d853c42473cdd59

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