Ponce de Leon first discovered these small islands in 1513. He found plenty of turtles but nada agua. Hence the name Dry Tortugas appeared on early maps of the Florida Straits. Sea turtles and bird eggs were hunted until the area was first protected in the early 1900s by the formation of a national wildlife refuge. In 1935 Franklin Roosevelt set aside the seven islands comprising the Dry Tortugas as a National Monument. In 1992 it was redesignated as a National Park.
The weather on Christmas day was warm with the slightest drizzle of rain but no one cared. There were families with young children, couples, grandparents, and more. Everyone was enjoying the tropical weather and the amazing food, unlimited champagne, and incredible entertainment. It was a perfect way to relax on Christmas. I can imagine Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney celebrating Christmas day the same way.
Known as “gypsy” chickens, thousands of these feral fowl roam freely throughout Key West and are protected by city ordinance. While chickens have always been a colorful part of Key West history, their numbers increased during the 1950s. That’s when thousands of Cubans fled a politically oppressive regime to come work in Key West’s booming cigar industry — and brought their own chickens with them.