And that's because I have never snorkeled in the Eastern Hemisphere! Anyway, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. As the other reviews has suggested, getting there is 99.9% of the difficulty. As an alternative, you might consider paddling via kayak. Caution - it is a six mile round trip and should be considered an open water paddle, only to be attempted by experienced kayakers. The Yankee Freedom II, the approved ferry to the Dry Tortugas, will take kayaks for campers for a small add'l fee (Do not think they'll take kayaks for day trippers. Besides too far of a paddle for the time allowed). Make arrangements far in advance as they can only take 3 to 4 boats per trip and they have to account for drop offs and pick ups. Also, please read directions and suggestions for kayaking on both the Yankee Freedom and Dry Tortugas National Park websites and plan to bring some gear you normally would not need to consider - marine VHF, GPS, signal flares, ditch bag with add'l food/water, anchor, etc. So getting the kayak to Garden Key is the first hurdle. After that, it's all weather permitting, which depends on current, tide, wind, and weather. I've only ever been out to Ft. Jefferson in the spring and it's always windy. I would NOT attempt the trip in anything over a 10 knot sustained wind. So assuming weather is a go, then it's simply a matter of paddling over in the morning, landing on the beach to the left (south) of the light house and dock, and walking a trail over to the other side of the key. You'll see the ruins of a dock with a "Loggerhead Key" sign - get in and start snorkeling. I felt comfortable going out as far as the marker buoys, making a lazy U turn back to the beach. The number and variety of corals and fishes is AMAZING and as the other posters suggested, you are likely to have the place to yourself. I was happy to see the corals and fishes seemed untouched by the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill, though time will tell. Anyway, do yourself a favor and add this to your bucket list. Probably means you'll need to camp for two or three nights on Garden Key, which is primitive (no water!), but that in and of itself is rewarding. It's really magic after the ferry leaves, especially on weekdays - just you and a handful of other campers - and the night sky is PHENOMENAL. Don't forget the saltwater croc in the moat (not kidding) or the huge Goliath groupers under the dock. I could go on and on. I've been to Ft. Jefferson four times - three times to camp, twice to kayak - and still have not done/seen all that I wanted to do, including snorkeling the wreck of the Windjammer Avanti. This is one of my favorite places on Earth and would be happy to answer any questions, so please feel free to reach out.
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