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The Ugly American
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
  alright...now I have a little time...


So...I take this 100' catamaran on a 2 1/2 hour tour...see...not a 3 hour tour...because we all know what happens when you take a 3 hour tour...Gilligans' Island anyone???

Anyway, I take this Cat out to the Dry Tortugas. It leaves Key West at 8 AM...feeds you breakfast, takes you to the island, you get a tour of the fort, snorkel gear, lunch and a ride home for around $130 (retired military discount included). Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.





It's a pretty speedy ride too. The boat crew told me the boat sails along at about 26 knots...somewhere around 30 MPH...not bad for a 100' boat.





You can see in the pictures that the sky didn't really want to cooperate on Sunday. It actually rained on and off all day, but it's so damned hot down here that it felt good!






On the way out of the Key West, you pass this small island. It's called Sunset Key. I've been told that it used to hold big fuel tanks for the navy and it was called Tank Island and was actually owned by the navy. I guess the navy decided they didn't need it and removed the tanks and sold the island. Now, you can buy a lot on Sunset Key (Tank Island) for the small price of somewhere around 2.6 million dollars! I've also been told that most of the people that own homes...and a home on that lot is another added expense...keep them as winter homes. 2.6 mil and you can't even drive to it! I wonder what the lots would cost if they still called it Tank Island?



Fort Jefferson was built as a way of controlling navigation in the Gulf of Mexico. They kept building it for 30 years before they finally gave up. Can you imagine all the old sailboats that had to run back and forth full of bricks? Our guide told us that there were over 600,000,000 bricks used to build the fort! They say it was built with prison and slave labor and I'd have to say they did a pretty good job all things considered! Think about it, a 150 year old building at sea level right in the middle of hurricane alley!



Fort Jefferson has seen better times, which were probably not better times for the folks living there. You see, originally, it was a combination fort/prison. And here I thought Sheriff Joe out in AZ was mean to criminals! Alright, I don't really think sheriff Joe is mean...but that's besides the point. The most famous inmate at Fort Jefferson was Dr. Samuel Mudd. Dr. Mudd was implicated in a plot to assasinate Abraham Lincoln...mainly because he set John Wilkes Booths' leg after he shot Lincoln and jumped from the stage. Dr. Mudd had his sentence commuted after he saved a bunch of soldiers' lives from Yellow Fever...

I have a few more pictures....unfortunately, the pic upload isn't working right again. I also have some pictures I took with an underwater camera that I'll probably get developed after I get home. Might even be a picture with me swimming with the Great White! Ok, it was only a nurse shark...but they all look big underwater!
 
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Not sure if I am THE ugly American, but I must be AN ugly American, because some Canadian told me so!!!

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Location: Virginia Beach, United States

20 year Navy vet, originally from NJ now living in Virginia Beach and yeah, Life Is Good!

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