Why this story must be told....
Guardian of the Gulf; The Dry Tortugas, is incredibly relevant in these times; History is repeating itself. Now, we can look to our past, learn from it, and create a better future. During the Civil War, this location was a prison for the prisoners and the Union soldiers, it was Hell on Earth. Over time it has evolved and is now an incredible sanctuary which requires our care and attention. Rather than fighting wars with other nations, we must fight to protect our natural resources. In order to preserve the marine life and our National Heritage, people must know more about these places, in hopes that they will take a stand and use their power to vote and raise awareness by taking action as individuals, by making changes in our own lives that results in better conservation efforts locally and globally. This tiny island chain represents the importance of preservation of it’s inhabitants along with our nation’s history.
The story of The Dry Tortugas began in 1492 when Ponce De Leon traveled with Christopher Columbus to discover the New World. In 1513, Ponce De Leon returned to discover the group of islands, naming them “The Tortugas” for the abundance of sea turtles. The Park is known the world over for the magnificent architecture of the Fort Jefferson National Monument, picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the vast assortment of bird life that depends on the protected ecosystem. It is now preserved as a National Park that serves as a sanctuary for marine life and we must keep it that way. Currently, government programs are leaving little or no protection in some places; if people don’t know about this, how can they possibly do anything to protect it?
At over 150 years old, Fort Jefferson is the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere, just second in the world and is composed of over 16 million bricks, built by slaves, then prisoners (During the Civil War), the next largest masonry structure is the Great Wall of China. The massive fort, built as a result of the War of 1812, played an important role in the development of America and was under construction for 40 years. The Fort was used as a strategic base by the military during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. It has the largest collection of the largest cannon in the world.
The Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson have yet to be explored as done in this Documentary. The Film discusses topics to learn about when you visit the Park, including the nature and ecosystem, and the in-depth history. The history includes segments about pirates who used the location, the decision of Congress to fortify the location, the importance of a military presence, and an important role in the Civil War. The Fort remained in Union hands (along with Ft. Zachary Taylor) to prevent overseas shipments from foreign Confederate allies. It was used as a Prison for Union deserters and President Lincoln Conspirators, including Dr. Mudd (the most famous Civil War prisoner at the Fort).
The HD underwater footage is of a quality that you can rarely find, intended to raise awareness about reef protection and preservation of our oceans, where the Park and other entities are leading the world with conservation efforts. The areas that are protected from commercial fishing are studied by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (“NOAA”), universities, and many other environmental groups. An essential part of the Dry Tortugas is it serves as a nesting ground for rare species of migrating birds. The goal of this film is it to inspire peoples’ awareness of these special places and reveal just why this is so important to future generations; to encourage discussion of these topics and in hopes that viewers will be inspired to take action, locally and globally; preserving our heritage and protecting our oceans, should come naturally.