Marathon Key Turtle Hospital

In the town of Marathon there are sea turtles, lots of sea turtles, and if there are lots of sea turtles some of them are going to get injured. That’s why there is a sea turtle hospital.

We went on a tour of it with a few friends and learned a little about the turtles and the things they get hospitalized for:

First off are the regular things like damaged shells from getting hit by boats or hurt limbs from fishing line entanglement. But then there are the weird things like air bubbles inside of their shells (from getting hit by boats) that make it hard for them to dive or tumors that grow over their eyes so they can no longer find food.

The turtle hospital is where they can get all that fixed. They have lasers to remove the tumors and weights to put on the turtles’ shells to help them dive again.

But sometimes they don’t recover well enough to go back into the wild  and they need to stay at then hospital and live there with the other turtles who have also become permanent residents. The most common turtles to become permanent residents are the ones who get air bubbles in their shells. The weights are helpful, but when the shell grows it sheds the scales so the weights can’t stay on. The hospital workers always have to put a new weight on, meaning the turtles need to stay at the hospital.

This was a great place to go to learn about turtles and how they live, in and out of the hospital.

Our group meeting the turtles
This guy is all healed from his tumors and ready to go back into the wild
This guy has a weight on his shell to help him dive


Hermit Crab Day

Just in case you were wondering, that’s a thing. Now.
Cali and I invented it about a week ago. Read about it here, and then go ahead and  then read about it on Cali’s blog.
Cali and I planned a party. We wanted it to be on Hermit Crab Island (See that cute TTT), but there was no way we could get everyone out there, so we hosted the party on the beach at the RV park. Beforehand, Cali and I had  done all sorts of stuff to prepare, including zentangling on clam shells, and preparing “sand” to eat. Cali wrote some things to say to introduce Marcus and me, and I wrote a story on Hermit Crabs, based off research I had done. Marcus read a poem by Augusta Day, and a brief history of the Keys by Azailia Dexter. I will record those in a minute. We even went to Hermit Crab Island to get crabs to hold.

The party was supposed to start at four, and when we got back from Hermit Crab Island it was ten ’til! Cali and I hurried to set up at the beach, but there were people there using the table that we had planned to have Mom use for her presentation on shells! Marcus, Gordon, and the Mann boys helped us get the food, music from Cali’s iPod, and decorations (tea lights in sea shells). I was really stressed out, but in the end it turned out great. We had already rehearsed several times that day.

Everybody arrived, and brought their own chairs like the invitations had asked. Once they were seated Marcus turned off the music, and Cali glanced at me from the top of the tree where she sat to announce. I was sitting in a lower branch, and Marcus stood behind me. It was Cali’s cue to introduce me. But she didn’t. We sat there whispering for a second. Cali was nervous all of a sudden, but I couldn’t just start. I felt unsteady and shy if she didn’t talk first. So I jumped out of the tree and turned the music back on. Then we talked, and Cali agreed to present me like planned. She motioned to Marcus, he turned the music off again, and Cali said her little intro. Then I started reading from my notebook.  I’m working on turning my story into an eBook, available on TurtleTells. You’ll know when it’s up.

Here's Marcus reading. Can you spot Cali?
Here’s Marcus reading. Can you spot Cali?

Then Cali introduced Marcus, who recited The Beach, by Augusta Day.

He recited a history of the Keys, too.
After Marcus, Cali announced Mom, and she presented on shells.

Crazy Shell Lady.
Crazy Shell Lady.

There was Q&A after that, and there will be Q&A on the comments here after you finish reading the post.
Then I called out from the tree, “Who wants to hold George?” Of course, the five hermit crabs that Cali and I had found were a big hit. We took the bowl and passed them around, always keeping a close eye on them.

After a little while we took all the hermit crabs back and I asked if there was anyone who hadn’t gotten to hold the hermit crabs who wanted to. There wasn’t, so I said,

“If you want to hold more crabs later, tell me or Cali. For now, lets eat sand!”  And we did. (Or, rather, everyone else did.) Serving lemonade and sand.

Serving lemonade and sand.

We had to whisper in little Thiessen’s ear what it was really made of, but then he liked it. Everyone did. After that the grown-ups sat and talked, and Cali and I arranged the other kids into a game of shell-toss, where they picked one previously Zentangled shell each, and tossed it at a bucket. Kids 8 and under tossed their shells into a hole in the sand.

Then everyone got an extra shell, because we had a lot, and the party was over.  So yeah. Happy Hermit Crab Day. Now I want to get two (or three, or four, or ten) as pets. :)


Traveling Turtle Tuesday: Hermit Crab Island.

Happy Traveling Turtle Tuesday!
Hermit Crab Island is a small island near Ohio Key. It doesn’t technically have a name, but we went there with the Perrys and voted on a couple of names including Candy-Cane Island, (Mr. Perry’s submission,) and Sunshine Cove, (My Submission,) among others. We came up with Hermit Crab Island. It turned out to be a great name, as there are about a million Hermit Crabs there.
The only way to get there is to go in a small boat. Luckily, we have a canoe, and the Perrys have four kayaks.
More on Hermit Crabs next Monday. For now, let’s enjoy Shelldon’s picture.


Hemingway’s House

As you know, we are in the Florida Keys (camped in Ohio Key), and we drove down to Key West just a couple days ago and visited Ernest Hemingway’s house where he wrote some of his famous works such as: A Farewell To Arms, and To Have And Have Not.

The house is home to over 50 cats, all descended from the cats Hemingway owned. Half of them have six toes on their back legs. (Hemingway thought them to be good luck and kept lots of them around.)

Another interesting story is the story of his pool. It is the largest in-ground pool in Key West and at its time was the largest in all of southern Florida. The pool was put in by Hemingway’s wife while he was out reporting on the Spanish civil war. She heard Hemingway was with another woman and so took out his boxing ring and put in a pool that cost more than the estate itself: twenty thousand dollars! The estate only cost eight thousand!

When he got home, Hemingway went out to the back yard to say hello to his wife (who was entertaining guests by the pool), and when he saw that his boxing ring was replaced by this terrible waste of money he flew into a rage and sent guests scattering. When his wife told him how much it cost, he took a penny out of his pocket and threw it at her saying, “You wasted all this money, and you can have my last red cent!” She picked up the penny and stuck it into the cement of the porch that was freshly poured. With an excellent sense of humor, she told her party guests that she was the only one of the Hemingway wives that could say she took him for his “last red cent.”

We walked around the grounds a bit and I took some pictures. Here they are:

The Pool
The Pool
They have a small version of the house just for cats!
They have a small version of the house just for cats!
Selfie with a six toed cat!
Look at his back feet! Six toes!

Sea World

You read that right. We went to Sea World. And it was cool. Let’s start with shows. The first show we saw was an amazing series of dolphin tricks. They jumped, spun, and ran backward in the water. They flopped onto the the stage and then pushed themselves back into the water. People even rode on two dolphins like a jet ski. It was incredible! Then we saw the Shamu show, where the awesome killer wales jumped and turned and copied whatever their trainers did. It was so indescribably amazing that… um… I’m having a hard time describing it.


In the evening we saw the ice skating show, where people sang, somebody twisted herself up in weird ways that made everyone gasp and try to figure out what she was doing, and, of course, people doing amazing ice skating gymnastics. It was like the Rockettes on ice.  Wow.



Now for hands-on experiences. The one roller coaster we did left me carsick for hours. It was called the Manta. I’ll give you an idea of what it feels like. You are lying on your stomach rushing forward face-first. On the first down hill you scream so hard you’re sure your head is going to fall off. After a while you start to get used to it, but you’re still pretty sure you’re going to die. And then you suddenly are flung on your back and can’t breathe. That was the only time I wasn’t screaming. I was panting and nearly crying when we got off. I’m not usually the kind of person who likes that, and I still don’t know if I liked it. What a coaster! :0
Something that I do know I liked was feeding dolphins. It was magical. They were so friendly. You got a little container of fish, and then the dolphins would come up to you and open their mouths. When one did, you could reach your hand underneath its chin and pet it, and then you would drop the fish down into its mouth. It was just amazing, and the dolphins were so sweet.


There was also a simulator that we did that simulates that you’re a turtle and you narrowly escape being attacked my a shark. You’re in a room projecting the scene on the walls and rounded ceiling, and although the floor is flat the whole time I could swear it tilted. I almost fell over a couple times.

I liked waiting in line for that one, too, because there was a pool with manatees in it, and as I’ve proven here, I love them.

And we saw penguins.

I'm actually cold. And that's actually real snow.
I’m actually cold. And that’s actually real snow.

So, yeah. Seaworld was awesome. My rating would be 4 of 5 stars. The only reason I wouldn’t give it five stars is because they charge extra for dolphin feeding and because they don’t have any rides that aren’t really extreme.

Palm Trees and Christmas Lights

Merry Christmas from Florida!  I’d never before spent the “cold” winter months down here in shorts and a t-shirt, gone swimming on Christmas day,  or spent Christmas Eve randomly telling people Merry Christmas like it’s some big Christmas-in-July joke. In fact,  before this month, I’d never even bought an ice cream bar this time of year!
To be honest, Christmas time in Florida is really weird. I guess if you’re used to it then it’s not, but all my life I’ve had white Christmases. (Except for last year’s cold, green Christmas in Campbellsville, Kentucky. Read about something that happened there.) But anyway, I’m just not used to it. Well, there’s a first time for everything. Here’s what happened this Christmas:
Mom and I decorated the motor home with paper snowflakes, and we all helped with a two-foot-tall fake Christmas tree  covered with little homemade ornaments. Gordon and I hung stocking over the driver’s seat with care, in hopes that Saint Nicolas soon would be there. Last year I had made felt holly, so we hung that over my bed. All in all, our little house looked pretty festive. Soon the presents had been bought and placed over the tree, on top of Mom and Dad’s bed. It was Christmas Eve. In the evening Gordon and I ran to the Mann’s RV, and Mom and Dad drove there with the turkey. There was going to be a party, just us, and the Perrys, and the Manns. We played Last Man Standing, and Hide-and-Seek, and then we ate dinner. We played even more, and then, when our parents were done talking we went home  and got in bed , trying to rest for tomorrow.
Gordon never gets to sleep really  early, plus there was all the excitement of Christmas, so he didn’t get to sleep until about 4:00. I, on the other hand, am usually asleep by 10:30 or 11:00, depending on when I go to bed. But still, I went to bed at  8;00, and counted to 1,310 and didn’t fall asleep. I was up until past midnight, and woke up at 2:00. What? I couldn’t help it! I couldn’t get back to sleep until 5:45, when I took a short nap and woke up at exactly 6:00. Mom and Dad had said that we couldn’t get up until 7:30, so I continued to read for an hour. Then Gordon was up, too, and so I went into his room and we talked for a half hour. At 7:30 we jumped up and called “Merry Christmas!!” I’m not going to list everything I got, and everything everyone else got, because that would be boring. I’m just going to say thank you Aunty Austin and Uncle Chris, Camo and BooBoo! Thank you Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Dave! Thank you Cali Perry! Thank you Mom! Thank you Dad! Thank you Gordon! And Thank you to Grammy and Grandpa!

Cali and I played dolls on Christmas, and then everyone went to the pool and hot tub. But us kids mostly played in the pool, ’cause who needs a hot tub in December?
P.S. Oh, yeah. Happy New Years.

Sorry we haven’t been doing much. :/  We’ve just got off track with Christmas. We’ll get back to it.