Friday, January 14, 2005

Allison: Off to Key West

Oh my goodness gracious me, the ship is rocking. I have just come from bow watch where I was keeping a look out for other ships, markers and bits of land from the bowsprit. This is the highest and furthest forward part of the bow and as such attained the most distance between the crests and troughs of the rocking cycle.

We are now trucking off to Key West by way of the Florida Seaway. I am sad to leave the Dry Tortugas. I am quite interested in the history of Fort Jefferson, especially since I had never heard of it before. It is an impressive structure built of sand stone bricks on a spit of sand. This caused major problems during construction because the sand had random soft spots in it and the building would sink dramatically in only those places, causing gigantic cracks in the walls. Despite these glitches, around the time of the Civil War and after, there were 2,000 men living here, soldiers and prisoners included. They suffered great things: lack of fresh water (water was collected in great cisterns underneath the structure, which cracked when the walls sank and all of the collected fresh water was ruined. The misfortunes of the water problem go on...), incredible heat and being required to wear wool uniforms, and worst of all Yellow Fever.
posted by Allison