Today we met a boy named Will. He is very nice. His dad, Clyde, comes here every year to fish. It is Will's first time. We went fishing with them, but barely caught anything - only small things that we had to release.
We went to the beach again today. The sand pool was damaged badly by the waves, so we had to start over. Instead of making a sand pool, we made a sinking sand pool. This was easier because the waves helped us by making the sand sink.
We had fun in both places. I am happy.
We trolled fishing lines from the dinghy! We caught a Red Grouper and 3 Barracudas. We kept the grouper and released the barracudas. We ate it for dinner and it was good. It was spicy, yet yummy.
We went in Fort Jefferson today. We joined a tour group from the Yankee Freedom II ferry. The fort is made of 16 million bricks. There is no fresh water here, so they made big tanks called cisterns to catch the rain water. But the tanks cracked and sea water leaked in.
Fort Jefferson was built to protect the waterways from enemy ships, to keep them from getting to the East Coast. Then in the Civil War it was used by the Union to stop Confederate shipping. But the fort never saw battle, because the ships were so afraid of the fort that they never came that way. After that, the fort was used as a prison.
In the afternoon, we went snorkeling. I saw a rock fish, sergeant majors, yellowtail snappers, gray snappers, blue stripped grunts, parrotfish, and wrasses. Mom and Chris saw 2 stingrays! That is cool. I saw a stingray under our boat this morning.
Clyde and Will left today on the Yankee Freedom II and we said goodbye. The Yankee Freedom II is one of the two ferries that come from Key West everyday with tourists. I am happy.
For breakfast today we had pancakes with apples and brown sugar on top. I loved it. Unfortunately, there were no leftovers.
We went back to the fort today. I filled out a Junior Ranger's Handbook about the fort. The bread at the fort was made of flour, dirt, sticks and bugs. That's what the soldiers said anyway.
We saw Dr. Samuel Mudd's cell. He was kept prisoner here. He is famous because he set John Wilkes Booth's leg after he shot President Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth jumped off the balcony and broke his leg. Dr. Mudd said he didn't know who John Wilkes Booth was when he helped him, but the government didn't believe him and sent him to prison here.
While he was here, there was a terrible outbreak of Yellow Fever and many people died, including the doctors. So Dr. Mudd helped them. For this, he was given a pardon and let out of prison. But the government never said he was innocent. His family was still fighting for his innocence until 2006 when the government refused to hear about it anymore. It was fun to learn about the fort.
For the rest of the day, we did school. I am happy.
I did school in the morning and got finished by noon. Unfortunately, it is windy today. It is blowing hard even right now! It won't stop. I hate it because we can't go to shore.
We did go to the beach for one hour this afternoon. I found 9 hermit crabs, 3 small ones and 6 big ones. They would climb all over each other. I think that is funny. I had fun. I am happy.
We went to a different beach on the island today. Chris liked it because it was good for skim boarding. There is also a big hill of sand there. I made a trench in it and we played stone bowling. That is where we take round stones and roll them down the trench. It was a lot of fun.
After that we went trolling from the dinghy. We caught a red grouper. We ate it tonight. It was yummy. I am happy.
We left the Dry Tortugas (also known at paradise) to go to Key West today. We sailed the whole way. It took 14 hours. Our engine would work, so at the end of the trip we had TowBoat U.S. pull us to our mooring ball. A mooring ball is a permanent anchor buried in concrete with a floating ball attached to a special rope. We tie our lines to that rope. So it is like being at anchor, but not with our anchor down.
We saw dolphins 3 times on the trip! They were all bottlenose dolphins. The first time, we only saw two. The second time we a saw an entire pod. The third time, we saw three. It was awesome. They are always so much fun to watch at the boat. I am happy.
Today we went to shore and went shopping. We went to West Marine and the grocery store. We bought a lot at West Marine and only a few things at the grocery store because it was expensive. Mom says we will go to different grocery store next week.
While Mom and Dad shopped at the Waterfront Market, Chris and I looked at turtles at Turtle Kraals. We had fun.
For lunch, we went to Jack Flats. I had a big burrito. It probably weighed 2 or 3 pounds! It came with rice and black beans. I loved it. Everybody else had a Jack Flats burger.
We were so stuffed from lunch that we didn't have any supper. We just had ice cream later in the evening. I am happy.