Randy set an alarm for 2 a.m. Saturday morning and he pulled up anchor and started our journey to the Dry Tortugas while Corey and I slept. We estimated DT was about 18 hours from New Pass and we knew it would be a long day. Randy drove the dark hours at the helm below so he could keep his eye on the radar. He said the GPS was so bright, he couldn’t see outside and had to stick his head out the window. Corey relieved Randy as captain around 6:30 a.m. and I took my turn at the wheel around 8 a.m. After an hour at the wheel, the boys decided it would take forever to get to the Tortugas if they continued to let me drive. I was relieved of my captaining duties for the rest of the day 🙂 The weather was absolutely perfect for a crossing like this—it was flat-calm with a light breeze. We’ve had days on the Gulf with calm water but no breeze and you literally roast in the heat, so the light breeze was a blessing. Several times during the day we had anywhere from 2 to 10 dolphin riding our bow which was awesome to see in such clear water.
Finally, a few miles away from Fort Jefferson, the boys declared “Land Ho!” and within the hour, we arrived at Garden Key and dropped anchor. After a long day, we finally arrived at our destination around 7:30p.m. Randy and Corey took the dinghy ashore to check in with the ranger station and returned in time for an amazing sunset we watched on the bridge of Blue Turtle. Right when the sun when down, Randy said something cryptic to Corey, something along the lines of “get the chicken” which was some sort of code (?). Corey pulled out a small box with a ring inside and Randy asked me to marry him! It wasn’t exactly glamorous since we were all sticky with sweat and tired from the day, but it was a perfect spot to get engaged and it was perfect in its own way. It’s still hard to believe it happened and what a place to be (Dry Tortugas) to bask in the event!