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.

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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

The whale watching trip

This is exactly how I pictured New England. Sailboats and lighthouses. The big eggs are the Deer Island Sewage Treatment plan.

We took a half day whale watching trip one day and it was sunny and warm when we left the Boston harbor. The farther out we went, the worse the weather got. Dark and foggy and then freezing rain.

I saw my first wild northern gannet. They were pretty far out and would fly off when the boat started to get close. One of the bird rescue sanctuaries in the Tampa area has a few of them that were rescued at some point over years off the coast of Florida but I’ve never seen them flying out in the wild. We saw several during the trip.

An hour and 40 minutes later we found some whales. We had traveled over 40 miles since the whales were moving farther away for the winter. Everyone who had been huddling in the warm cabin came out in the freezing drizzle. There were a lot of whales that were close to the boat but none of them breached and came out head first. Most of the ones we saw were Minke and Fin whales. It was a lot of fun and everyone was really excited. My husband was not that impressed. He said they just look like really big dolphins. He’s not wrong but it was still a fun afternoon.

When we got back to the Boston harbor it was sunny and mild again. Since I have a tendency to get seasick, I had a patch on for the boat trip. I’m glad I did because even though it was sunny and calm in the harbor, it was rough out there away from the harbor and many people were getting sick. They passed out ginger candy as we left but I think many people thought they would be fine since it was calm in the harbor.

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More from the Boston harbor

Built in 1936, this historic lighthouse boat was renovated and was up for sale earlier this year for only $5M. We didn’t hear if it sold.

Views from the northern end of the harbor include the USS Constitution ship build in 1797. It’s docked at the former Charlestown Navy Yard and you can tour it but we never made it over there (gotta save something for the next trip). It’s exactly what I pictured would be sitting in the harbor here.

Bright yellow leaves in front of the North End.

Another view from the back of the boat.

A view heading into Charlestown from our trolley tour.

Our first day in Boston

The view from our hotel room.The harbor was on the backside of the hotel. After checking in and leaving our luggage, we headed out to walk along the water.

A quick walk over the bridge to south Boston. Our hotel was close to the Boston Tea Party Museum.

We spent the afternoon walking along the harbor.

Walking around after dinner.

Of course I spotted some birds. The first is a great black backed gull. A first for me. I’ve only seen a lesser black backed gull in the Tampa bay area. The greater has pink legs and the lesser had yellow legs.

Heading into Salem

The ferry ride from Boston harbor to Salem was a lot of fun. Beautiful houses along the shore and you could see the Boston skyline almost all the way there.

We were hoping to see a lot of yellow and red trees on this trip but we were a little early. Only a few yellow trees.

We got to tour an old ship that was being renovated in the Salem harbor.

We found a black squirrel just outside of the cemetery and these pretty dogwood trees were still in bloom.

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