Day 1 - Key West
Welcome to Key West, the southernmost city in continental USA. Located in the Florida Keys – a coral cay archipelago extending southwest from Florida’s south-eastern tip – Key West attracts an eclectic mix of residents and visitors: artists, writers, yatchies, retirees, holidaying families and partying students. More than 1700 islands make up the archipelago, the majority of which are part of National, State or Marine parks. Key West is in fact closer to Cuba than it is Miami!
Meet your skipper and fellow travellers at the marina at 4pm. Take some time to wander around town, enjoy an early dinner and perhaps head out on the town for a taste of the night-life. Keep in mind that tomorrow’s start is very early!
Day 2-3 - Dry Tortugas National Park
This morning we'll be setting sail for the Dry Tortugas well before dawn, mostly likely leaving around 4am to make the most of your time (approximately 70 nautical miles).
The coral cays were once underwater reefs that, over time, emerged as low-lying islands when water levels started dropping some 25,000 years ago. The Dry Tortugas, located at the southernmost point of the keys, are the most remote of America's National Parks. Both the Dry Tortugas and Marquesas are a haven for marine and bird life, with green sea turtles and manatees nesting in the area.
The plan is to spend two nights in the Dry Tortugas, though this is flexible (If the weather deteriorates, the boat may return to Key West early). As the most isolated and least visited national park in the United States, Dry Tortugas has very few services on it and your group will be completely self-sufficient during your time here.
Heading ashore at Garden Key, tour the Civil War-era Fort Jefferson National Monument, which had been converted into a prison. Snorkel the surrounding reefs in search of sea turtles, coral and colourful fish, perhaps swimming to shore at Loggerhead Key or Hospital Key for a look around (just be sure to clean up well and minimise your footprint). Bush Key offers great bird-watching, which can be done from the yacht. As this is a bird sanctuary, landing here is prohibited.
Day 4-5 - Marquesas Keys
Depart the Dry Tortugas early in the morning and make sail to the Marquesas (approx. 44 nm). As you'll be arriving before dark, you’ll be able to take in the beauty of these uninhabited islands and turquoise lagoons as you approach. The swimming here is excellent, and the 300-foot no-motor zone established by local authorities has helped protect such creatures as nesting turtles and birds. Keep your eyes peeled (and your camera ready) for red, blue and masked boobies.
Day 6 - Marquesas Keys to Key West
Sail to Key West, stopping off en route for some fantastic snorkelling at dive buoys moored along the reef (approx. 26 nm). Tonight we spend either harboured in Key West Bight Marina or anchored out in Man of War Harbor. Perhaps check out some of the bars, restaurants and cafes this ‘end of the road’ destination has to offer, calling in at La Te Da for cabaret or heading to Porch or Virgilio’s for a drink.
Day 7 - Key West
Farewell your fellow travellers today as your trip comes to an end back in Key West. There are no activities after breakfast, and you’ll be disembarking the yacht by 10 am.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money