Yes, there is a Turtle Hospital in the Keys. Any distressed sea turtle found from Miami to Key West is brought here for recovery if possible and a new home if not. The Turtle Hospital has successfully treated and released over 1500 Sea Turtles since its founding in 1986. They even have specially modified ambulances for the turtle rescue.
Our tour guide was great and very knowledgeable. After a short introduction, we walked over to the hospital. Here they do surgery to repair damage from boat impacts, remove fishing line and hooks, and sometimes things the turtles have swallowed like plastic.
Even though lots of emphasis has been on plastic straws it is actually plastic bags that kill more sea life than any other trash. Any plastic including straws should never be in the ocean, but many fish and sea mammals mistake a floating bag as a large jellyfish which is a common food.
Next were the recovery tanks. One of the turtles was scheduled to be released in just a couple of days. They always return the turtle to the area where it was hurt or recovered. Even though they do travel great distances in the ocean it would be confusing to be released just anywhere and distressing.
Last was the big tank which was originally the pool for the motel. Any of the turtles that can no longer survive in the ocean live here. These green turtles are well cared for and loved. They also provide a way to help other green turtles by giving their blood to injured turtles.
There seem to be Iguanas everywhere in the Keys.
After our tour, we stopped a restaurant nearby for lunch. The restaurant overlooked a pier where boats were coming in from fishing trips. In the area for the cleaning station were tarpon, nurse sharks, and pelicans waiting for scraps.
Hey, why not end the day with a beautiful sunset. Sunsets are always better when seen with someone you love.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...