Unless you have a private boat or seaplane, the only way to get to Dry Tortugas National Park, the southernmost terminus of the United States, is on a ferry called the Yankee Freedom III that docks in Key West, Florida. The park encompasses seven islands 70 miles from both Key West and Cuba. The islands, …

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My mother, Patty Goffinet, has always been a field biologist. In her highly unsupervised childhood in the wild west town of Fort Pierce, Florida, she spent a lot of time trudging around in the lagoon, picking up hermit crabs and sea squirts and studying them carefully. Their environment — the harsh, flat, marshland landscape of …

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