Making it to Marathon Florida
Manatees Sea Turtle Hospital and Crane Point Nature Preserve

Beach Fun Eating Conch and the Children of Flipper

I am covered in mosquito bites swollen into red pock marks on my legs arms and hands - but happy. The irony of this is that I almost packed army grade mosquito repellant but didn't because I for some reason thought we would not be spending that much time outside. Maybe in my father's version of Florida, but here in the Keys we've spent almost every minute in the great outdoors.

Our adventures today started at Coco Plum Beach, one of the only soft sand beaches in the Keys.

This one comes complete with pine needles from some unidentified never ending source.

We sunned ourselves for about 5 minutes after shellacking on the sunscreen, attempted the water but stopped at knee deep because we couldn't see the bottom through the murk, picked shells, and Evan built a sand Wizard to converse with about his fear of sharks.

Then we left having exhausted our beach fun options and had piña coladas and conch fritters at our resort's tiki bar.

Then we watched the iguanas climb in bushes and dance on the sand of our boat launch. I took about two dozen photos just to get these usable ones.

 

Refreshed from our little lunch break we got into the car and drove to the Dolphin Research Center to engage in the world of sea mammals.

Cheesy as its highway appearance may be we learned quite a bit inside and met the grandson of Flipper.

This is Gambit 3-year old grandson of Flipper, showing off at his narrated training session.

Below is the blind SeaWorld refugee sea lion named Karen sunning herself in the afternoon rays. We saw her a half hour later sunning the other side. Such a cat.

After an adventure at the local walgreens to pick up hydrocortisone cream for my ever growing mosquito bite collection we freshened up and made our way to Lazydays for sunset dining and authentic Florida Keys cuisine.

Including stone crab claws
conch ceviche
and jalapeño encrusted yellowtail with keylime butter. The yellowtail in keylime butter was one of the most surprisingly divine culinary experiences for my taste buds ever. The keylime just brightened everything with its zippy citrus and the jalapeño created this earthy spice finish.
We also ordered the lazy conch - a tenderized queen conch battered, fried and topped with a pico de gallo like mixture of tomatoes and such and Parmesan cheese just for added richness. It was good but heavy - but if you are trying to eat your way through the conch serving option universe this is definitely worth the experience. We got our keylime pie to go because there was no more room.
The sunset meanwhile was splendid.
Tomorrow we face our fears of the water with a snorkeling trip to the reef.

 

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