Key Largo Hotels Offer Pilot Whale Rehab Volunteers Special Rates
KEY LARGO, Florida Keys – A group of Florida Keys hotels is offering reduced-rate accommodations for visitors who want to join round-the-clock efforts to rehabilitate three surviving pilot whales convalescing at the Key Largo-based Marine Mammal Conservancy.
The “voluntourism” initiative is being aided with specially priced $69 (plus tax) per night rooms for visitors who sign up as volunteers.
When the traveler completes at least one four-hour shift, MMC representative will award the traveler a voucher. The voucher is good for the traveler’s stay for up to five days Sunday night through Thursday night, and must be presented to the hotel in order to receive the special rate. The program remains in place as long as there are convalescing whales at MMC, which is likely to last two months and maybe longer.
The reduced-rate program is focused on weekdays, because that is when the need is the greatest for manpower. Visitors arriving in Key Largo for this volunteer effort are encouraged to sign up for multiple volunteer shifts.
As many as 20 volunteers are needed per four-hour shift and can assist with a wide range of activities at MMC, located at mile marker 102.1 bayside. Volunteers help with everything from actually being in the water to support the whales (a minimum age of 18 is required), to land-based activities such as answering phones. Shore duties can be assigned to teens under 18.
The following Key Largo hotels are part of the program.
- Bayside Inn Key Largo www.baysidekeylargo.com — 305-451-4450
- Bay Cove Motel www.baycovemotel.com — 305-451-1686
- Boatel www.keylargohouseboat.com — 305-766-0871
- Key West Inn www.supertelinns.com — 305-451-5081
- Marina del Mar www.marinadelmarkeylargo.com — 305-451-4107
- Bay Harbor Lodge www.bayharborkeylargo.com — 305-852-5695
- Coconut Bay Resort www.coconutbaykeylargo.com — 305-852-5695
The accommodations list is also available at www.fla-keys.com/volunteer and more properties may be added in the future.
Holiday blackout dates for the special rate include Sunday, July 3, and Sunday, Sept. 3. Advance reservations are required, and the lodging property must be advised that guests are planning to volunteer.
The three whales were transferred to MMC in in a temperatured-controlled Publix Super Markets semi-trailer several days after they survived a May 5th stranding off the Lower Keys.
To learn more about becoming a MMC volunteer, visit www.marinemammalconservancy.org or call 305-451-4774.
Click here to read one volunteer’s experience with the pilot whales.