Marathon on Grassy Key
Our first stay in the Florida Keys was in Marathon, on Grassy Key. We weren’t really sure what we were going to do other than enjoy the area in general, but we discovered a variety of activities!
One highlight was a fishing expedition in the reef with Sea Dog Charters. They did a great job! We didn’t catch anything big, but had plenty of action. We were constantly getting bites. Landing them required a good feel and we improved over time at that. We opted for the more technical option of rock bottom fishing -- Doug’s favorite! They cleaned all the fish and split them amongst the 10 people on the boat, with each getting enough for a couple tasty meals. Yellowtail snapper was the best! We had a calm day and enjoyed the boat ride in the beautifully colored reef!
Turtle Hospital was recommended to us by a photography client and it was a great experience. They do rescue, recovery and re-release of the sea turtles. The primary issues are from tumor growths, boat strikes and eating plastic and other garbage. Sometimes the boat strikes prevent them from being re-released because they get a bubble under their shell and therefore cannot go to the bottom to feed and sleep. They call this phenomenon “Bubble Butt”. In those cases, they place weights on their shell and then keep them in their own natural area, with water fed directly from the bay. For turtles that eat garbage, it affects their digestive system, and they are given Metamucil to clear them up. The tumor growths are on the outside of their body and require surgery to remove. Turtles recover in an appropriate size tank and are staged to prepare them for re-release. It is a fascinating and worthwhile tour if you get the chance to visit Turtle Hospital! It is recommended to book in advance. They run 90 minute tours throughout the day but they fill up!
We were within walking distance of the Dolphin Research Center. They are such smart mammals! They run a variety of sessions throughout the day for Dolphins, Sea Lions and birds. The pictured bird was a pet from South America. He was very fun and affectionate towards his trusted caretakers. That means don’t hold your fingers out to him if he doesn’t know you!
The Keys were a great place to remove the top of our Jeep to explore in general. No pics of that, but honestly, we did it! Driving over 7 mile bridge, just north of Marathon provides beautiful views. We did end up driving a couple days to Key West, once to explore in advance our next destination and another bike related. More on that in the next blog!
The sunset picture is from the place where we stayed. When it was calm, we watched the birds fishing and we saw nurse sharks right up by the shore.