Last of the Thanksgiving tourist tour

Cruising along Clearwater bay looking for dophins.  Lots of big buildings going up around the beach including the new expanded Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter the movie star dolphin from A Dolphin’s Tale who lost his tail and was given a prosthetic tail.

Anyone want a boat real cheap?  An abandoned boat near the marina.

Cruising by some of the big old historic homes along the intercoastal waterway.

Out along Sand Key.

Two osprey taking a bath on a sand spit during low tide.

We stopped at a spoil island near Sand Key and looked for some shells. The ones that were still alive were put back in the water.

The last day my sisters were here visiting we took a 2 hour dolphin tour out of Clearwater marina. After living here for almost 18 years it was the first time I had done that. It was fun being out on the water on such a beautiful morning. We finally did see some dolphins coming back to the marina but I didn’t take any pictures. The boat was fairly full and I hung back letting all of the tourists see them from the edge of the boat. It’s fun to see people’s reactions when they see one for the first time out in the wild. Living here we take things for granted. I saw 3 of them coming home from work recently while I was stuck in traffic on the bridge.

SkyWatch Friday

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.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Being a tourist, continued

If you look closely you can always find birds at a marina. While my sister and I walked around the Clearwater Beach marina, we saw tons of pelicans, great egrets and snowy egrets. Birds we didn’t see that are usually there are great blue herons and green herons. They hang around the docks hoping to be fed the scraps when the fishing boats come in and the fisherman fillet the fish right there. I recently found out that it’s illegal to feed birds fish parts. The pelican’s pouch is very delicate and made to swallow the fish whole. If there are bones sticking out, they will puncture the pouch and tear, keeping the pelican from being able to scoop up fish on their own. They will eventually starve. The bird sanctuaries in the area are full of pelicans with torn pouches from eating fish parts. Another reason why wild animals should not be fed.

Signs at the fishing piers that people seem to ignore.

Clearwater sights

The Saturday after Thanksgiving I took my sisters over to the beach for a walk before lunch. We walked around the marina and stopped in some of the gift shops there.

Later on that day we walked on the causeway from Clearwater to Tampa and watched the sun go down before heading home for dinner.

SkyWatch Friday

Another episode of “Being a Tourist on the Beach”

img_1184 img_1193 img_1200 img_1204






I rarely go to Clearwater Beach anymore.  It’s very crowded and cost a fortune to park, if you can get a parking spot. Although, it is fun to go over every once in while to see what’s going on.  Right after I picked up my sister from the airport we headed over to the beach to walk around. She had not been in several years.  We were hoping to get a good sunset but dark clouds had moved in.  I guess the weather had kept most people indoors because it wasn’t too crowded the Tuesday before Christmas. It was fun walking around the beach and marina.

SkyWatch Friday

A flashback of when I was 10.


These fish were already filleted so I’m not sure why they were hanging here. Maybe to advertise how much fish you can catch on their boat?


The great egrets were hanging around trying to peck at the fish on dock.


Fish ready to be packed up for the road home.


This guy was filleting the fish that the people had caught and the pelicans were right there waiting for a handout.


They would stand within two feet of you. “Excuse me lady. This is my spot to get some fish heads.” They will nip at your ankles if you get in the way of them getting a fish.


The water was filled with pelicans waiting to catch the fish skins as they were being thrown out. This one looks like he has two in his pouch.


Mad dash for the handouts.


The pelicans were pretty aggressive.


All waiting for the fish parts to fall.


“Mine, mine”


This sad great egret was sitting on top of the marina building watching the pelicans get their snacks. What is that hanging out of his mouth? Some kind of fishing line? I hope there’s not a hook in there.

All of the above scenes were typical for me to see when we came to visit my grandparents when I was little. The big vacation thing to do was go to the Clearwater marina before dinner (around 5pm) to see the deep-sea fishing boats come in with their catch. My dad liked to take pictures of the pelicans there because they were so close. And he liked to see what kind of fish they were catching. He wasn’t a big fisherman but he went out a few times. After 40 years, nothing has changed. Some of the same boats are still there. Even the marina building looks exactly the same. It looks like it really needs an update.

Movie trivia – the Clearwater marina was the location of a scene filmed in Lethal Weapon 3 with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. They were in Danny’s boat and got into a fight and fell into the water. You can see the marina building when they are in the water.

Clearwater marina – Skywatch Friday


Hubby has eaten lunch here. Good tourist food. You can just barely see one of the big dinner boat cruises to the right of it.


One of the painted turtles is housed inside the Clearwater marina building. This is a perfect example of some of the snow birds who spend the winter here, black ankle socks with brown sandals.


A view from the marina facing the beach. Nothing says “tourist spot” like a dolphin and sunset painted on the building.


A night heron hanging around the dock.


Lots of tourist boats at the marina. You can go sailing, sight-seeing, deep-sea fishing, para-sailing, dinner cruising and the best tourist thing to do is ride on the pirate ship.


There aren’t many docks that don’t have a resident green heron hanging around.


Creepy looking fish head skull nailed to the post.

After spending several hours looking for the common eider with no luck, I stopped by the Clearwater beach marina to walk around for a few minutes. I hadn’t been since early last March when my sister came to visit. It looks the same. I don’t think anything about it has changed in the last 20 years. It was before lunch and the tourists were starting to line up to take a trip on the sight seeing boats. When I was really young I used to come down to Clearwater to visit the grandparents with my family. One of my dad’s favorite things to do before dinner was going to the marina to watch the 5pm deep-sea fishing boats come in. They would haul their catch off the boats and gut the fish right there. You could buy fresh fish right off the boat. We would walk around and he would take pictures of the pelicans hanging around for a handout. Those were the good ole days.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday