11:50 AM – 3/13/15
I just met my hero!
We unloaded from the ferry, and I headed straight to the visitors center to get the Dry Tortugas stamp. While waiting in line a woman mentioned, in passing, how she was excited to finally visit all of the national parks. That hooked my attention. I prodded a little. “You mean all of the US National Parks? The ones you can only fly to in Alaska?”
“All 59” Carol replied.
(**I must have misheard her because when we talked later she said she still had to go to Arcadia, Maine.. but Dang! she’s so close!)
We talked for just a minute about her plan to visit all the National Parks, Seashores, Landmarks, Historic Sites, Battlefields, etc. Every affiliate of the National Park system. More than 400 sites altogether! I stammered out my 50 state / 50 parks plans in an attempt to anchor a little rapport with her.
“Find me on the ferry ride back” she said.
3:45 pm The Boat Ride Back
Alright! I talked with Carol “Kiwi” Donovan over lunch, and she was super helpful and supportive.
We discussed the things you learn while traveling that you wouldn’t otherwise. Logistics, for example -> finding campsites, reserving excursions like this one, social skills with strangers, and generally looking out for yourself in terms of health, hygiene, safety and sanity.
Fort Jefferson is rad. It’s a three leveled fortress with a grassy courtyard in the middle. The moat and breakwater wall around the perimeter sealed its legitimacy in my mind.
The snorkeling was just ok. There were some neat shapes and colors of fish, but not in great numbers. The coral was lacking in the location I went. I liked watching the ‘Sea Fans‘ though. Surfs up, so everything flowed in and out with the waves. A silent dance step that takes no effort to learn. The beaches are corse with rounded coral and brick pieces.
I built a tribute to the Fort Jefferson out of the rubble and sea glass.
There was a little girl playing with her screwball brother in the wet sand. She had an absolutely amazing voice, and she sung for 20 minutes or more while I was building my fort. I thought to compliment her, or say something to her dad, who I had talked to for a minute earlier, but I didn’t. I think I thought that if I did anything more than appreciate it, she would stop.
It’s a sleepy cruise back. People are nodding off disguised as moving with the motion of the boat. I should be tired. I have developed a bad habit of looking at my watch every time I wake up at night. I can’t remember sleeping 3 hours straight since Fort Pickens. However, I’m bobbing high for now. Latest plan is to drive to Miami tonight and live it up with the spring breakers.
The search continues.”