Recent Travel: Cuba to Florida with a little Australia thrown in

I spent two weeks in Cuba traveling the country from Santiago de Cuba to Habana not long ago with a Road Scholar/Elder Hostel Group. One fact I learned: it wasn’t very difficult for Teddy Roosevelt to charge up San Juan Hill. Where I come from in Colorado, we’d call it not much higher then a prairie-dog mound. Nevertheless, the Cuban and U.S. soldiers who fought for Cuban independence from Spain deserve remembering as they are here at the top of San Juan Hill. Let us hope that the “covenant of liberty and fraternity” continues to be rekindled. To consider Cuba an “enemy” is ludicrous.

blog 40-hilts-cuba-san juanPlaque on top of San Juan Hill, Cuba.

After Cuba I spent a week in the Florida Keys doing book talks, including at the Key West and Marathon Yacht Clubs, visiting the marvelous Turtle Hospital, and catching some rays at the beach.

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Doann at her talk at the Marathon Yacht Club, Florida Keys.

 In Marathon, I highly recommend a visit to the Turtle Hospital. The tour is 90 minutes and provides interesting background on sea turtles and the development of the hospital. I’ve been to several turtle facilities around the world, but this is the first one that was an actual hospital. You’ll even get a peek at the operating and recovery rooms, and visit several turtles in their care.

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 The Turtle Ambulance!

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The Turtle Hospital recovery room in Marathon, Florida Keys.

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 Skipper, a recovering loggerhead at the Turtle Hospital.

Skipper has an old boat injury from an outboard cutting into his shell and intestinal blockage from floating plastic trash that looked very much like jellyfish. Various plastics in the ocean cause immense damage to many types of sealife.

During our circumnavigation, we were fortunate to accompany a ranger in Australia who was monitoring sea turtle egg laying and hatchlings. While the female turtle is actually laying her ping-pong looking dozens of eggs (of which only about 1 percent survive without help due to habitat destruction and predators, including humans), she is oblivious to all else and can be tagged, have her health monitored, and be petted.

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 An Australian Park Ranger monitoring a female sea turtle as she lays here eggs.


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