When I researched things to do in the Florida Keys, I came across the Turtle Hospital, a facility that rescues, rehabilitates and releases sea turtles. I was thrilled about the chance to see my favorite animal up close, so I made reservations for a tour of the hospital in Marathon, Florida, during our stay on Islamorada in the Keys. (Islamorada is about an hour and forty minutes from Key West, in case you’re wondering.)
Our wedding day came and went much too quickly. I woke up after finally getting enough rest to find Graham was gone. He had woken up early to purchase pineapples for our wedding table and get me an iced Granita from Lava Java in Kihei. There was a beautifully written letter waiting for me on the bathroom counter. I couldn’t believe the day had arrived!
|This was actually the first time in a long time I was too nervous to finish my food.|
He had also brought back a newspaper, because he knew it was important to me. And he had ordered room service — oatmeal with fruit and a breakfast wrap. His thoughtfulness knows no bounds.
We exchanged wedding gifts that morning. I gave him a card and a watch, and I played for him a video I made of our photos. He was so touched. The day was off to an emotional start, to say the least. His gift to me was my wedding jewelry: a single-pearl necklace and matching earrings. They were exactly what I wanted to wear.
There were some stressful moments after that as we tried to corral friends and family and get them to the beach for snorkeling. Graham is my rock when I start the spiral of anxiety. (Yet another reason I married him.)
Snorkel Bob’s outfitted us with our snorkel gear and gave us recommendations for snorkeling in the area. Their suggestion to go to Maluaka Beach was spot on. The water was clear and calm and we saw turtles!
|Graham’s turtle selfie 🙂|
Spending some time at the beach with our wedding guests was the perfect way to start the day’s festivities. Before long it was time to start getting ready!
**** Note: My wedding trip/honeymoon recaps have been out of order. I’ve been writing about them as I get inspired or as I get my photos in order. I’ve been holding off on wedding updates because I don’t have my photos back from the photographer yet. I’m hopeful those will come to us this week.
We booked a snorkeling trip through Seafire, one of the cheapest companies to go through, at $55 a person for three hours. As we waited at the Kihei boat ramp for it to arrive, another tour operator asked what boat we were going to ride on. When we responded Seafire, he condescendingly told us it would be the boat that would be last to leave Kihei. He was right. But that didn’t mean our experience wasn’t amazing.
|View from the Kihei boat ramp.|
On the way to Molokini we saw many turtles that had come up for air. My excitement intensified as we approached the crater. Along with the usual safety information, we were instructed to come back toward the boat when they hung a towel from it so that we could “go on an adventure.”
Molokini had so many different kinds of fish to admire. I would recommend an underwater camera. A disposable one worked just fine for me, although a digital would give much better quality images.
Once I noticed the towel signal, it was time to swim over the “edge.” The edge is the end of the crater where you can swim over and look down as it drops down hundreds of feet. It was quite unsettling but incredible to see the water go from light blue to dark so quickly.
|The edge we swam over was on the right side.|
Next, we boarded the boat to go to our second spot, an old boat that sank years ago. I immediately saw a turtle, and when I looked down into the water I spotted another just underneath us, swimming over the boat and two scuba divers already there. This was a quick stop on the way to Turtle Town, which I later learned can mean one of a couple of places. The Turtle Town we went to was near the Kihei boat ramp where we launched. Here we spotted many turtles. I counted nine in the water throughout the day.
|Turtles are my favorite animals, so getting so close to them was a dream come true for me. Can’t wait to do it again!|
I would recommend Seafire. Though it’s not as fancy as the other boats I saw, the people were friendly and knew a lot about marine life. We were fed muffins and pineapple slices throughout and were offered a marine guide book to look through to identify our sightings. One of the guides was a woman from Flagstaff, Arizona, who was friendly and accommodating. She seemed passionate about swimming with the fish and turtles. She also let me wear her hoodie when I was cold and offered me a towel, and these personal touches were greatly appreciated.