Bradenton, Florida, to Marathon, Florida

Our passage from Bradenton got underway the middle of January 2005. We were anxious to leave Regatta Pointe Marina. Not only was the marina very expensive comapred to Texas, but the weather was cold. Our friends, Nicola and Noel, had arrived from England. They were going to make the passage with us, so we were all ready to go. On the day we left the marina, we fueled up and then anchored in the Manatee river so we could get a very early start the next day. A Norther had come through, so that night while at anchor in the river the temperature got down to 39 degrees. The good news was that when we left the next morning, every mile was going south, so it got warmer. The even better news was that the steering worked! The steering failure on the gulf crossing was the reason we were in Bradenton instead of Tampa. It had taken three weeks to get the steering fixed. The delay was mostly the holidays, but the difficulty in obtaining parts for the hydraulic ram caused a delay.

The passage to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas was a wonderful overnight sail. We sailed a fair amount, but had to end up with several hours of motor sailing. We anchored in the anchorage next to the Fort which is on Garden Key. I had last been here in 1992. Since then the anchorage is now split into two. A north and a south anchorage. Over the years, Garden Key and Bush Key have grown together.

We spent a good portion of the day visiting the fort. We also did some relaxing. We were only going to spend one day at Fort Jefferson, because another Norther was coming and we did not want to be caught at Fort Jefferson, or at sea. The next morning we got underway and did an overnight passage to Marathon in the Florida Keys. This passage was also uneventful. We met a very good friend from my days at Digital, Paul, at Pauncho's fuel dock in Marathon. He came out to the anchorage with us, found us a great spot and we anchored. We got settled in, set a second anchor and waited for the Norther.

Fort Jefferson Arriving From The North

Loggerhead Key With Tortugas Light

Loggerhead Key with Tortugas Light

Getting into the Entrance Channel

Coming Around Corner to The Anchorage

Fort Jefferson From The Anchorage

Other Boats in The Anchorage

Jim and Noel Starting to get Dinghy Inflated

Dinghy Inflated

Fort Jefferson Gun Gallery

Looking Out Gun Port

Out Gun Port, The Moat, The Sea

Debris Falling From Fort

Wall Showing Deterioration

Moat With Entrance Channel In Background

Anchorage From Fort

Bush Key From Fort, Cuban Boats Foreground

Bush Key - Garden Key Together

Nicola and Noel On Top of Fort

Top of The Fort

Dream Away In Anchorage

Large Bore Gun On Top of Fort

Orginal Tortugas Light

Seaplane Taxi Through Anchorage

Seaplane Taxi Through Anchorage

Seaplane Taking Off

Seaplane In The Air

Fort Docks with Anchorage In The Background

Spanish-American War Coal Docks

Pelical on Coal Docks

Dream Away In Anchorage

Kitty and Nicola At Beach

Birds on Coal Dock Remains

Damage To The Fort

Tortugas Light From Fort Jefferson

Nicola and Noel at Park Entrance

Captain and Firstmate at Park Entrance

Kitty and Nicola In Cockpit

Sunset at Fort Jefferson

Sunset at Fort Jefferson

Entering Boot Key Harbor Channel

Heading Towards Knights Key

Jim And Noel Inflating Dinghy

Jim And Noel Inflating Dinghy