Florida – No Kids Allowed Days 4 – 5

After our awesome day in Little Havana, we planned another adventure.  While walking the beach, we had noticed the fenced areas and discovered that these were Loggerhead turtle nests.

We learned that the local Museum of Discovery and Science provides evening tours called Turtle Walks, to view the sea turtles laying their eggs.  It is against the law to go near a turtle, except on an authorized tour.

As part of the tour, we were able to explore the museum for an hour.  It was closed for the evening so we were able to see and experience all the exhibits.

They even had a Hall of Heroes area

The Turtle Walk started with an over-view of turtles found in South Florida.

We drove in a caravan to a beachfront Marriott.  This resort has been very helpful with the Turtle Walks.  They allow the tours to park in the resort parking, dim the beach front lights, and allow access to the beach.  We waited in the dark while the museum staff walked the beach, looking for female turtles that were coming ashore.  We were asked to have no flash photography and to whisper.

Once a nesting female was located, we walked down the beach. The area of the nest is lite with red lights as these do not disturb the turtles, but it made it possible for us to see.

The mama Loggerhead turtle digs a very large hole using her rear flippers so she is backwards to her nest.

She then deposits approximately 100 eggs. The sex of the eggs is determined by temperature.  So the bottom of the nest is cooler so it produces males, with the top of the nest warmer and produces females.

Once all of the eggs are deposited, the mama turtle begins the process of covering the hole with sand.  We could hear her labored breathing.

She then fluffs the sand so that it looks undisturbed

With her parental duty completed, she turns around and heads back down the beach

The tracks she left in the sand are pretty cool.  It is the only evidence that the mama turtle was there.  Turtle watchers, using the tracks, will rope off the net area so it will not be disturbed.

It was interesting to learn that for every 1000 eggs that hatch, only 1 turtle will survive to mating age. Even with limited lighting, the whole experience was pretty cool.  We all said that we would love to come back and watch a nest hatch.

Surrounding our resort, were numerous piers that advertised fishing experiences.  We decided to try one out.  Jodi and Wade decided to stay “on land” and enjoy a quiet lunch.

We met our captain and deck mate

And headed through the canals of the back bay to the Atlantic Ocean.

We fished about a half to one mile off the Ft. Lauderdale beaches, catching mostly Black Mackerel. They are a fierce fish with nasty teeth.

The captain asked if we would like to fish for something abit bigger…well heck yeah!!! So they strapped Jim into a fishing seat and he immediately hooked something big.  (They said it never happens that quick)

It took a bit to reel in, but wow were we surprised, when a Bull shark popped out of the water.  They told us that is a pretty rare catch.  They estimated it was about 225 lbs.  It was catch and release, but what a thrill.  Jim couldn’t quit smiling.

We made our way back into the pier, passing a cruise ship along the way.

Back on the dock we took fishing pictures, with tales of “you won’t believe the one that I let go”.  They filleted the mackerel for us, so we could cook it in our condo at the resort.

For the evening, we decided to have a celebratory dinner at the Drunken Taco.

Another great sunset to end the day!!!