3:29 PM

I wasn't expecting the Dry Tortugas to be paradise. A National Park, 70 miles west of Key West, "dry" because there is no fresh water on the island, but also, there are no provisions, services, internet, or cell services, so we were truly off the grid. Only accessible by boat or seaplane. The main island is dominated by a fort built in the 1800s. I've seen forts plenty of times before, and was not really interested. But the real paradise of this little anchorage lies another three miles to the west. We dinghy over to the uninhabited island of Loggerhead Key. White sand beaches stretched out either side of the towering lighthouse surrounded by palm trees. I don't think there is a more picture perfect looking paradise. We explored the little island above the water line and below. A healthy, living coral reef, teaming with fish and lobsters surrounded the west side of the island. After a picnic lunch under a palm, we dinghied out another mile to snorkel a shipwreck of an old schooner where Emily got to see a shark! Three years ago, on our first sailing journey, we dreamed of sailing from key to key snorkeling and basking in the sun. Unfortunately, the winter that year was 15 degrees colder than normal, and our swimsuits were traded for down coats. It is so fun to be able to snorkel and explore and live the dreams we've had. And so, I was not expecting to love the Dry Tortugas and yet here I sit, five days after I arrived, and I am just as happy and content as the day I got here.

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