Releasing a Sea Turtle Back to the Ocean! (Florida Keys Day 4)

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Day 4 of our Florida Keys road trip was CRAZY. So crazy that I had to split our videos into two parts. So if you missed part one where we fed sharks, definitely go check it out.

But now onto less scary and more heartwarming things.

Releasing a Sea Turtle Back to the Ocean!

Where We Camped

Sunshine Key RV Resort and Marina

Honestly, I thought I loved the first campground we visited. I really did.

But then we showed up at Sunshine Key. ūüėć

I’M OBSESSED WITH THIS PARK.

We had an oceanfront site at this park too, but instead of being surrounded by a small ecosystem of lobsters and fish, we had our own private beach area where we could sit in the grass or walk in the shallow, clear waters.

If that wasn’t enough, we enjoyed a catered dinner on the beach later that night (scroll down for pictures) and it was literally my dream come true. Sheesh I miss this place.

A few amenities to expect:

  • Resort style pool
  • Beaches
  • Marina and fishing pier
  • Tennis courts
  • Onsite cafe
  • Volleyball court
  • Basketball court
  • Pickleball court
  • Horseshoes, bocce ball, any game you could ever want to play
  • Ocean front cottages

Where We Ate

Lunch: Keys Fisheries

I’m not really a fish person. Fish tacos, sure! Salmon, of course! But that’s about as adventurous as I am fish wise.

But by day four in the Keys I realized I needed to try something new. I had never heard of half the fish on the menu and I was nervous about trying any of them.

I saw hog fish on the menu and remembered I heard someone else order it a few days earlier. So after perusing the very large menu, I ordered Hog Fish Francoise (fraun-say, the lady corrected me when I butchered the French language). The description was simple: “sauteed with white wine and lemon.”

YES PLEASE.

And since basically everything else on the menu sounded¬†deep-fried and breaded, this seemed like a healthier choice. Then this little dish arrived…

Can you tell from the photo that this fish was bigger than my head? BECAUSE IT WAS.

Also, it was AMAZING. Like, really. So freaking good that I’m kicking myself weeks later for not saving all the leftovers.

Heath ordered a snapper sandwich that he said was delicious, but I didn’t get a chance to try it. I was consumed with hog fish.

 

Dinner: Catered by Boondocks, served at the beach at Sunshine Key RV Resort

Two dreams came true for me during this dinner:

  1. I got to have a romantic dinner on a private beach with Heath (and the other people on our press trip, of course). I totally watched the Bachelor in college and always coveted their catered dinners on the beach. Well now I have our memories of our extremely delicious dinner on the beach and of course, I forgot to take a picture of Heath and I. Lots of pictures of the food though.
  2. I got to try fried plantains. AND THEY WERE AMAZING. Like if a banana and a potato had a baby.

It was the perfect night.

Here was the menu (shoutout to the past version of myself who had the presence of mind to ask the chef to record everything he was serving on camera so I never have to forget this meal):

Appetizers:

  • Mini crab cakes with key lime mustard sauce
  • Chicken satay with a pineapple teriyaki glaze
  • Cheese stuffed peppers (I couldn’t understand the type of cheese he said was in these but they were awesome)

Dinner:

  • Chopped salad with tomatoes, candied pecans, and bleu cheese.
  • Fried plantains
  • Yellow rice
  • Black beans (not pictured)
  • Mango yellowtail snapper with a sweet balsamic glaze
  • Moho pork (aka cuban pork with onions)

Dessert:

  • Blueberry Key lime pie
  • Kentucky bourbon pecan pie
  • Cr√®me br√Ľl√©e
  • Apple pie

(I tried every dessert except the apple pie and they were all heavenly).

Honestly, probably my favorite meal of the trip. I cannot get those plantains out of my head.

What We Did!

Aquarium Encounters

Words cannot describe this heart-pounding experience the way this video can:

 

The Turtle Hospital

Hanging out at a hospital never sounds fun. But this place was really cool (and educational!).

Here we not only learned about sea turtles–Did you know there are seven species of sea turtle and you can find five of them in the Keys?–but we also got to meet the turtles who are in rehab and hear their stories.

I never thought I was a big sea turtle fan, but look how cute!

releasing a sea turtle

As you saw in the video at the top of the page, the US Coast Guard took us out to sea to help release a sea turtle, Skipper, back to his/her home. Did you know you can’t tell the sex of a sea turtle for the first twenty years of its life? Now that is crazy.


Look back at Day 1: Arriving in Miami Beach!

Look back at Day 2: Renting from Cruise America

Look back at Day 3: Snorkeling! Until we crashed our drone in the ocean.

Look back at Day 4, Part 1: Feeding sharks!!!!