The Dry Tortugas coral reef system, where thousands of visitors snorkel each year, was fortunately spared from the harsh cold fronts of this past winter
Online PR News – 30-March-2010 – – Unlike some areas of the Florida coral reef system, the coral reef gardens off the coast of the Dry Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico were entirely spared and unharmed during the harsh cold fronts that the reefs faced this past winter. This is great news for travelers coming to the islands of the Dry Tortugas this spring and summer who were planning to snorkel in what many visitors call the best Key West snorkeling around.
Many travelers were worried about the potential damage caused to the living coral reef system during the record cold winter of early 2010. Experts reported damage to areas of the extensive coral reef system, which extends from the coast of Stuart Florida (north of Palm Beach) out to the Dry Tortugas. Fortunately for snorkelers and divers coming to the Dry Tortugas and Key West, the most severe damage was 20 miles east of Key West between Biscayne Bay and Summerland Key. The reefs of the Dry Tortugas and Key West have seen no reported damage to the reefs.
Coral reef systems are extremely sensitive and the change severe drop in temperatures was a cause of concern for naturalists in the area. Most often, damage caused to the reefs are permanent. Now in March, the worst of the winter is long gone and the beautiful reef systems of the Dry Tortugas and Key West that are such an attraction for snorkelers and divers are just as gorgeous as ever.
"Snorkeling in the Dry Tortugas is one of the reasons many people come out here," says Tommy Huston, a reservations agent at the Dry Tortugas Information Center. "People know that the snorkeling out here is one of the best out of any of the snorkeling trips available from Key West. We're really lucky and glad that the corals out on the Dry Tortugas have not been damaged."
Snorkeling in the Dry Tortugas, where the historic Civil War-era brick structure Fort Jefferson is located, is part of the Dry Tortugas Day Trip, an excursion available from Key West on one of two ferries. A maximum of 200 eager passengers are transported each day to enjoy the great Key West snorkeling, learn about Fort Jefferson on a 45-minute guided tour, do some bird watching, and explore the unique remote islands of the Dry Tortugas.
Day trips run from 8AM to 5PM and should be reserved in advance, as both Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson ferries sell out daily. Camping on the Dry Tortugas is also available on a very limited basis. To book a trip out to the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson or learn more about the islands, visit DryTortugasInfo.com or call 1-877-243-2378 to speak directly with a Dry Tortugas and Key West expert.