Clearwater marina

Over Thanksgiving weekend I was being a tourist in my own town. It was easy to do since I actually had tourists with me. When my sisters were visiting we decided to take a dolphin tour out of Clearwater marina. Brett and I don’t get over to this beach area often since it’s usually busy and things like work get in the way so it was fun to walk around the marina on a cool sunny morning.

There’s a no wake zone coming out of the marina area so we went really slow until we got out into the open intercoastal water. I was snapping pictures along the way. We did finally see dolphins. More on that later.

On the way home we stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier and a manatee was cruising under the pier. I was able to snap the above with my phone as he went by.

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Lunch in Tarpon Springs

Boats along the waterfront in Tarpon Springs. While my sisters were here for Thanksgiving weekend, we headed up to have lunch and walk around the docks. When I was little we use to come down to the Tampa bay area to visit my grandparents and my parents loved to make the drive up to Tarpon to walk around. Little has changed since the 70’s here with the exception of some new public restrooms. The tourist shops have the same stuff and we always leave Hellas with a lot of desserts. The bakery there is the best. They even have chocolate covered baklava.

A small sampling of the desserts and pastries.

Natural sponges are still being harvested today although most sponges you find today are synthetic. Tarpon Springs was built on sea sponges being harvested in the area.

Christmas decorations along the docks. It’s always fun to take a selfie in the big ornaments.

Being a tourist in my hometown.

In July, I decided to take a break from walking around in the parks and headed to downtown Tampa to take a walk along the riverfront. I headed out early since it was going to be a hot day. Not many people out that early.  Just me and a few joggers when I first got there. The downside is that the sun was behind the buildings so it made sunny shots a challenge. The upside was that I was walking in the shade for the first part.

Along the Tampa convention center.

Lots of activities on the water. You can rent boats of all sizes or take a water taxi around the area.

The old Cass street bridge that was built in 1926.  Everyone is wondering when they are going to tear it down. It adds a bit of history to the area even if it’s an eyesore.

When I got back to Riverwalk Park, they had turned on the water fountain. I really wanted to walk through there.

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A holiday weekend at the beach.

We always say that we stay away from the beaches on a major holiday weekend. We broke our own rule on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. We decided to go spend a few hours in the morning at Fort Desoto Park and then swing by to visit Brett’s aunt since her nursing home is close by. We were there before 9am and left before lunch. The crowds were thick before we left.

Sea hares in the water and on the beach.

A manatee cruising by the fishing pier.

On the fishing pier, I caught this dragonfly resting on a fishing pole. This poor shrimp was bait.

Ships passing by the pier and snowy egrets hanging out on the shelter.

We took the scenic route over to St. Pete beach before heading to visit his aunt.

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“A three hour tour!”

While we were in Naples we took a boat ride around the bay and out to a spoil island. We passed the big boats and big houses near the marina.

It was a beautiful day out and there was not much traffic on the water.

 

We saw so many dolphins along the way. They were coming right up to the boat. The bottom two shots I took with my phone.

A lot of the channel markers had osprey nests on them. Most of the babies were grown up and yelled as we went by.

We cruised for almost an hour to a spoil island where there was no one else on the beach. Just us and a few other people that were on the boat. We walked around for close to an hour looking for shells.

Not many birds on the beach but far away we saw an osprey had caught a fish and had landed on the beach with it before taking off again.

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A windy day at Fort Desoto

I had a rare Friday off in mid-April and headed to Fort Desoto to see if there were any birds migrating through. I was really too early since a storm was just starting to move through. It was drizzling on and off most of the morning but it was still fun to be out at the beach, even in bad weather.

Birds were diving in the water to catch the tiny fish near the pier.

The usual great blue herons and pelicans were flying close to the pier.

A lone frigatebird was hovering right over the pier. They usually stay high up in the sky but this one was right over my head. She just kept hovering in the wind. The above are not cropped at all. I felt like I could almost reach out and grab her.

Before leaving I hit the back trail and caught this nanday parakeet peeking out of a hole in a dead palm tree. I think they nest back here but I rarely go back this far in the summer since the bugs will attack no matter how much bug spray you use.

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