On a random Thursday morning off in November I finally headed out to see the Hindu Temple of Tampa. It’s not far from my house and I had recently heard about it so I decided to go on a weekday morning since it can get crowded on the weekends (especially with the weather being so nice now and you cannot wear shorts there). Just 15 minutes away and it was like another world. You can go inside the temple but you can’t take pictures so these are all of the outside. The inside was small but with an amazing burst of colors. You can see pictures inside the temple here on their website.
Is that a bird’s nest I see on the top? It’s probably an osprey nest but would be great if it’s an eagle’s nest. I will have to come by here again later in January to see if it’s being occupied.
The carvings and details all around the building were breathtaking. I took a ton of pictures and it was hard to narrow it down to post.
Out near the parking lot was a small shrine under a native Indian tree. Behind the tree was a small lake which made it very serene.
The sun was peaking over the other side of the building and people were starting to arrive for a function so it was time to head home. You can tour the inside as long as there are no services going on (no shoes allowed inside as well as no shorts so you have to walk around barefoot or with socks). I’ve heard on the weekends they have a market and you can buy Indian food to eat on the grounds (probably the reason for the crowds). I’ll have to stop by here again soon.
Trying to stay off my legs (due to hip bursitis) but not wanting to stay at home, I headed out for the Dunedin marina and fishing pier early one morning in mid-November. I spent the morning just hanging out, sitting on benches watching the activity around the marina. From the shots above, it was pretty quiet that morning.
I did see a manatee cruising around the boats in the marina.
This anhinga was having fish for breakfast.
Some of the birds also hanging around the marina, a green heron and lots of pelicans.
A spotted sandpiper was digging around the exposed muck at the boat ramp.
There is an actual fort at Fort Desoto Park. The fort was finished in 1900 and was used until after World W 2. Pinellas county bought the fort and surrounding area later and in 1963 it opened as a park. I don’t usually spend a lot of time there but one day in late October I wasn’t quite ready to go home for lunch so I thought I would climb the path to the top of the fort to see if there were any birds around.
You can rent bikes next door and I thought the bright colors popped against all of the green and blue.
Looking around the fort area, it reminded me of a picture I had seen looking through the old family photos.
Apparently I had been there when I was just a tot running around. It must have not been opened as a park long when we went because I was born in 1963. I must have less than a year old.
After the fort, I stopped by the fishing pier to watch the dolphin show.
At this point a storm was moving in and it was starting to drizzle so I quickly headed back to my car.
I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier in early November and it was really low tide. I think this is the first time I could walk all the way under the fishing pier. The pier was closed due to damage from Thunderstorm (or mini hurricane) ETA so the only thing on it was a cormorant.
At first glance it only looked like minor damage around the yacht basin.
This vulture found a dead fish that must have washed up on the grass when the tide got crazy high during the storm and got stranded. He was having a feast.
Pretty pelican in the mangroves.
Out on the open field next to the pier, I saw this dog enjoying getting a good brushing. Then he was ready for some play. I struggled getting him catching the frisbee. He kept going the other way and if I went around I’d be taking the picture into the sun. He was definitely a frisbee catching expert.
I had a few days off in October and decided to road trip around the area. I wanted to visit some areas that I hadn’t been to before so I headed north with a start destination of Pine Island Beach. It’s a small beach about an hour north of Tampa and a little out of the way (more on that later). On the way back I took back roads and stopped in a small town called Aripeka. There’s an old historic post office and a really cool convenience store and that’s about it.
Aripeka sits on the water and it looks like there is a robust crab and fishing business.
Just past Aripeka is Anclote Key Park and the energy plant sits right next to the park. I stopped for a few minutes and walked around the park.
Traveling south I stopped at Fred Howard Park. It was quiet with the exception of a lot of cormorants and terns sleeping on the beach. It was nice to just be outside and going to some new places. I had not been to Fred Howard Park before. It’s a small beach in Tarpon Springs. I can image it quickly get crowded in the summer.
I was up early on a Saturday morning in October and headed out to a small beach near my house that sits right under the airplane pathway to the airport. Although it wasn’t that early since the time hadn’t changed yet and the sun wasn’t coming up until 7:30. I stopped at Cypress beach and walked out to catch the sun coming up over the water.
There was hardly any one there this early so I had the little beach area all to myself.
I only saw one plane coming in. The water is mostly grass beds and drops off very deep. I’ve heard there are sharks here so you don’t see a lot of people in the water. I think people come here just to get out and it’s a popular sunset spot.
Pretty butterfly on the ground.
A few of the birds were a hawk and a little blue heron.
Pelicans guarding the slow wake signs. I’m sure there’s also manatees out there with so much of the area being grass beds but I didn’t see any this morning.
Old historic markers along the lake in front of the St. Anne’s shrine near Lake Wales.
Back in the 1920’s a group of French Catholics from Canada came down to Florida to escape the winters (sound familiar?). They spent some time on a small lake just outside of Lake Wales. One of the men had a son who was terminally ill and ended up getting better while they were at the lake so they built a church and grotto after St. Anne. After World War 2 the Canadians eventually stopped coming and the church was eventually torn down. The original grotto and some of the statues are still there. I had heard about this little spot and stopped by on a recent trip to Bok Tower Gardens. It’s only 10 minutes from the gardens. The shrine sits back in some woods right off the lake and is surrounded by houses now. Growing up Catholic, we use to go visit the Ave Maria Grotto in north Alabama so I was curious about it.
This grave sits near the alter.
I’ve heard that people still hold unofficial services here. It was very quiet while I was there during the week. There might be more people on the weekends or near Easter.
Some of the old original walls of the church.
I noticed this pop of color growing deep in the woods around the grotto. Assuming someone planted them there years ago.
Of course, there was a sandhill crane couple sitting in the tall grass along the lake right in front of my car. I changed out my short lens for a longer one and snapped a few pictures.
It would be interesting to know what the neighbors along the small lake think about the people who stop by to see the shrine. I would hope people visiting would be quiet and respectful of the area. Did the people who moved to the houses next to the shrine do so because of the shrine or did the area just happen to be close to work or maybe they liked the lake?
It looked like there were some good storms heading toward the beach in late September so I headed out after work to Clearwater Beach and Sand Key Beach. Stopping along the causeway I could see rain across the intercoastal waterway.
I got over to Sand Key and there were a few people on the beach but it was pretty deserted. It was late in the day so without the sun out for a sunset, most people went home. There were some cool clouds out in the water but I didn’t see any lightening at all. Another reason to stay close to the bathrooms in the parking lot. Those bolts could have hit at any time. There were still a few people sitting out right in front of the water.
The sun peaked out a few times and I turned around hoping to see a rainbow but that didn’t happen as well.
The storm was moving quickly so I headed back to my car.
I stopped at the marina that sits next to the bridge to walk around and watch the storm move in. It was nice to get out and walk around before dinner.