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Dry Tortugas National Park

Pictures by QT Luong

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Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles of Key West, Florida, is mostly an underwater park with seven diminutive islets, some of which no more than sand banks, some important wildlife sanctuaries, and one home to a massive and unlikely historical structure.

The name "Tortugas" was given by explorer Ponce de Leon in 1513 for the abundance of sea turtles ( the endangered green sea turtle and the threatened loggerhead turtle are still found) while "Dry" refers to the absence of available freshwater. A long-time pirate hide-out, the place was chosen by the US Navy as the "Gibraltar of the Gulf", a strategic location to control shipping from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Despite formidable logistical challenges, Fort Jefferson, the largest brick structure in the Western Hemisphere, was built on Garden Key using 16 million hand-made bricks. However, by the time the fort was nearly finished, advances in artillery had rendered it obsolete, so its use was mostly as a civil war prison, holding 2500 prisoners and four men convicted of complicity in the assassination of President Lincoln.

These men left account of how desolate and boring the place was, but today's visitors enjoy the peace of an isolated island lost between sky and water, some of the most pristine coral reefs in the United States, and a rich wildlife. The islets, only 40 acres of sand, are surrounded by 67000 acres of the most varied underwater coral reefs in the United States, at the convergence of the Atlantic, Guff, and Caribbean ecosystems. The warm and clear waters are teaming with live coral, and tropical fish. Bush key is the only regular nesting place in the Western Hemisphere for 100000 sooty terns, during the only time that they don't spend in continous flight, while Long key is the home of magnificent frigate bird that soar with 7-foot wingspan.

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Loggerhead and Garden Key under approaching tropical storm. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson and cloud seen from the West. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Colorful sunset over Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Sunrise over Long Key and Atlantic Ocean. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Beach and turquoise waters, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Tropical beach on Bush Key with conch shell and beached seaweed. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Conch shell and sand beach on Bush Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Hermit crabs and palm tree nuts. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Palm trees and Dry Tortugas Light Station, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Wind in Palm trees. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Cactus and geiger trees, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Beach and Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Aerial view of Garden, Bush, and Long Keys. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral head and Loggerhead Key light. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Sunken wreck of Avanti. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fish, Windjammer Wreck, and surge. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Variety of colorful corals, Little Africa reef. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Large brain coral, Little Africa reef. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral and seagrass, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Split view of Fort Jefferson and clear sandy bottom. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Moat with turquoise waters, seawall, and fort. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Oceanscape with brick wall. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Fort Jefferson wall, moat and seawall, brighter late afternoon light. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson seawall and moat, framed by a crumpling embrasures, late afternoon. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Walls and ruined barracks inside Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Lighthouse and cannon on upper level of Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Gallery illuminated by last light inside Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson seawall at night with sky lit by thunderstorm. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Tropical clouds at sunset. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Storm clouds above ocean. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Rain over ocean. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Garden and Loggerhead Keys. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Loggerhead and Garden Key under clearing tropical storm. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Loggerhead key and lighthouse and tropical cloud. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Loggerhead key and lighthouse under tropical clouds. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Loggerhead Key under storm sky. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Loggerhead key at sunset. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Loggerhead Key lighthouse at sunset. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson and Garden Key seen from the West. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Garden Key and Fort Jefferson from water. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson and cloud above Gulf waters. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson and Garden Key from the West. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson from water. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Split view of Fort Jefferson and water with fish. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson see at water level. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson seen from ocean. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Beach, cloud and fort at sunrise. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Tropical clouds, beach, and fort at sunrise. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Moat, fort, bright cloud at dawn. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Seawall at sunrise. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) North Beach and Fort Jefferson, early morning. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Beach, Garden Key, and Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson reflected in moat. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Moat, wall, and Harbor Light. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson moat and thick brick walls. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Palm tree and Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson moat, walls and lighthouse. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Seawall, moat, and rampart on a calm sunny day, Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson moat and massive brick wall on a sunny dayl. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Seawall, moat, and Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Moat and Fort Jefferson brick wall. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Seawall and coral reefs. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson moat and seawall. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson brick rampart and moat with wave over seawall, cloudy weather. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Seawall battered by surf on a stormy day. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson wall and ocean. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Ruined masonery wall overlooking Carribean waters. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Seascape with fort and seawall. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Fort Jefferson massive brick wall overlooking the ocean, cloudy weather. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson wall, moat and seawall, late afternoon light. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson wall and moat, framed by cannon window. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Sky, seawall and moat on windy day. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Seawall and moat with waves on stormy day. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson seawall and moat at sunset. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson seawall, moat and walls at sunset. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Brick seawall at dusk during a storm. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Seawall at dusk during  storm. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson at dusk with stars. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson at night with stars and light from storm. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson seawall at night with sky lit by tropical storm. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson and beach at night with cloud electric storm. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson at night with Harbor Light. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson corner turret and moat at night. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson, moat, and ocean at night. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Turquoise waters framed by a cannon embrasure in Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Entrance of Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson courtyard, visitor center window reflexion. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Trees in Fort Jefferson courtyard. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Courtyard of Fort Jefferson with lawn and trees. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Parade grounds of Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Inside Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Inside Fort Jefferson at sunset. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson, harbor light, interior courtyard at sunset. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Powder magazine at sunset. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Visitor Center. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Cactus and brick walls. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Ancient buttonwood trees inside Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Cactus and brick walls. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Grassy courtyard of Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Arches in Fort Jefferson lower level. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Brick walls and arches. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Casemate on the first floor of Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Gunroom in Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Gallery of brick arches, Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Arches on the second floor of Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Cell of Dr Mudd. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Spiral staircase, Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Plate commemorating Dr Mudd's imprisonment. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Lighthouse and Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Harbor Light and gun at sunset. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Interpretive sign, Harbor Light, and fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson lighthouse and inner courtyard, dawn. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson lighthouse, early morning. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson lighthouse, dawn. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson lighthouse overlooking Ocean,  early morning. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Approaching storm from Bush Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Palm trees windblown on a stormy day. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Open ocean view with beach, turquoise waters and surf. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Reef and tropical clouds. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Walls reflections in moat. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Reflections in moat. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Close-up of reef and sand from above. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral outside Fort Jefferson moat. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Underwater view of seagrass and sand, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Gorgonia Coral head and Cocoa Damsel fish, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) School of Blue Runner, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Tropical fish (Blue Runners) and sunrays, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fan coral and Sea Rod, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Sea Plume Corals and juvenile Cocoa Damsel, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral underwater seen from above, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Beached fan coral, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Close-up view of beach, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral and brick pieces on beach, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Cluster of hermit crabs on grassy area, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Hermit crab, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Hermit crabs at the base of palm tree, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Ground view with flowers and fallen leaves, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Ground vegetation, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Plants with blue flowers, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Close-up of flowers, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Cactus plants, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Pelican, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) South coaling dock ruins and seabirds, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Windjammer wreck sticking out from ocean during rainstorm. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral head and ocean, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Turquoise waters over shallow sand bars, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Turquoise ocean waters and Loggerhead key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Turquoise waters around Loggerhead key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Split view of waters and Loggerhead Light. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Lighthouse and deck, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral head and Loggerhead Key lighthouse. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Loggerhead Light, palm trees and turquoise waters. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Loggerhead Light and turquoise waters, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) 150-feet Loggerhead Light. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Clear turquoise waters and beach, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Beached seagrass and shoreline, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Beach and reef, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Beach with beached seagrass, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Deck and  Dry Tortugas Light Station, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Memorail and Loggerhead Light. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Palm trees, keeper house, and Loggerhead Light. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Looking up palm trees and Loggerhead Lighthouse. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Shack and pier on Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Marine ropes and mussels, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Prickly Pear cactus, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral and Windjammer Wreck. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Part of Windjammer wreck on ocean floor. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral-covered part of Windjammer wreck breaking surface. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) School of tropical fish and Windjammer wreck. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) School of Bermuda Chubs, Avanti wreck, and surge. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fish around Windjammer wreck. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Tropical fish around Avanti wreck. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Bermuda Chub fish around Windjammer Wreck. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Bermuda Chubs and brain coral, Avanti wreck. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral and Windjammer Wreck. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Marine wildlife around Windjammer Wreck. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Brain coral on Avanti wreck. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral-covered wreck of Windjammer. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Soft coral, Little Africa, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral in shallow reef, Little Africa, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fish and coral reef, Little Africa, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fan coral, Little Africa, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Brain and fan corals, Little Africa, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Corals, Little Africa, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Dense colorful corals, Little Africa reef. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Coral reef, Little Africa, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Sun rising over Long Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Sunrise over Long Key and Bush Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Long Key and cloud. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Vegetation-covered Long Key below tropical cloud. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Hospital Key barely emerging from Ocean. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Bush Key seen across the channel from Garden Key in 1998. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Bush Key connected to Garden Key by sand bar in 2013. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Sky, turquoise waters and beach on Bush Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Deserted tropical beach with turquoise water. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Sandy beach and turquoise waters. Dry Tortugas National Park (Panoramic color) Conch shell and sandy beach on Bush Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Beach on Bush Key with beached seaweed. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Sandy beach and turquoise waters, Bush Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Yankee Freedom Ferry. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Sea kayakers in turquoise waters. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Loggerhead lighthouse seen from sailboat under blue skies. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Loggerhead lighthouse seen from sailboat under dark skies. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson seen through sails. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson seen from sailboat. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Sailing in the Gulf. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Sailor getting ready to hook mooring buoy near Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Sailors hooking mooring buoy at Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Dinghy on clear waters, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Dinghy and sailbaot in transparent waters, Loggerhead Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Free divers descending. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Snorklers, fish, and coral. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Couple free diving. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Free diver swimming amidst fish and coral. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Free diver exploring Windjammer Wreck. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Snorkelers and reef, Garden Key. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Woman snorkeling. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Man and boy seen snorkeling from above. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Man and boy snorkeling on reef. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Snorkelers next to Fort Jefferson seawall. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Snorkeling next to Fort Jefferson seawall. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Tourists stroll on the seawall. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Tourists walking on seawall. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Park visitor looking, Fort Jefferson moat and seawall. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Park visitor looking, North Beach and Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Children walking in campground. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Camping. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Camper. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Beach and boats moored in Tortugas anchorage. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Seaplane and Fort Jefferson. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Seaplane and ocean. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Approaching storm over Yachts at Tortugas anchorage. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color) Fort Jefferson moat and walls at sunset with tourists in distance. Dry Tortugas National Park ( color)
All the 233 color pictures of Dry Tortugas National Park are on this page

Themes: Dry Tortugas Night, Dry Tortugas Underwater

Places: Florida National Parks