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.

SkyWatch Friday

Across the Hillsborough river

Shots taken while on my walk along the river front in downtown Tampa in July. The above shows the University of Tampa. The main building was originally the Tampa Bay Hotel that opened in 1891 by Henry B Plant (the railroad magnate).

Looking over to Bayshore Boulevard and out towards the bay.

Lots of rowing going on this morning.  Kayakers, paddleboarders and members of the Dragon Boat Rowing club were all out on the water.

A different view at the convention center.

SkyWatch Friday

Enjoying a sunset with hundreds of other people.

In late April, Brett and I decided to head down to Naples for a couple of days. We had not been to this part of Florida before and always passed the signs to get off when we’re driving over to Fort Lauderdale to visit his family. It’s only a little over 2 hours away so it was nice to throw a bag in the car and be on vacation so quickly. Naples is very different from the beach area in Tampa bay. Much more quiet and secluded. Except for our first night there, we decided to go to the public pier after dinner to see the sunset and since it was a Sunday night, so did everyone else. I’m glad we went since it was cloudy the remaining nights we were there.

SkyWatch Friday

A perfect winter morning.

Sailboats far across the bay.  The above was taken with my 300mm lens. The below was taken with my phone so you can see how far away they were.

What a perfect winter morning in early February. It was sunny and 72 degrees. I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home after my walk and the park and pier were packed with people hanging out. There was a kiteboarder skimming across the bay in front of the fishing pier and someone flying a kite next to the pier. People were out walking their dogs and kids were playing in the field along the water. Sailboats were cruising by. This was our early spring. Soon it will be too hot and no one will be here but the skeeters and the pigeons

Pigeons in the park. They don’t get a lot of respect but they are really pretty when the sun hits those iridescent feathers.

A pelican flying into the mangroves next to another one that was napping.

White pelicans flying high up over the fishing pier.

A juvenile blue heron looking for food in the muck at low tide.

SkyWatch Friday

 

Birds and boats at Fort Desoto

A rare yellow billed cuckoo high up in the tree.

Either a female or immature prairie warbler.

Hiding in hole. I was wondering if they nest in this hole.

Some of the shorebirds close to the trail, a ruddy turnstone and a black bellied plover.

I stopped by the fishing pier before heading home.

Far across the bay near Egmont Key.

Sailing past the pier, this old sailboat reminded me of my dad. He would have loved that boat. I turned it into a black and white photo so it would have looked like something he would have taken many years ago.

An early summer walk at Fort Desoto.

SkyWatch Friday

The dolphin show at Fort Desoto.

A baby dolphin was swimming close to Mom above.

The dolphins were swimming right under the fishing pier at Fort Desoto in early June. The water was clear and the sun was hitting the water just perfect so you could see them before they came up for air.

Someone caught a tiny shark.

A beautiful day to be out in a boat.

SkyWatch Friday

 

After the storm

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We had a big storm come through the area on Friday and then next morning I headed out to Fort Desoto. It was low tide and the beach was full of things we don’t see that often. Lots of live shells. We mostly see broken ones.

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I think this crab took over this empty conch shell.

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This starfish was missing a few limbs.

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The beach was full of these.  They were all empty though.

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Horseshoe crabs were on the beach.

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Another critter taking up residence in an empty shell.

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The beach was full of the above.  Some kind of sea plant?  Looks like corn on the cob husks to me.

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A beautiful cool morning at Fort Desoto Park.

Shine the Divine

Slice of Heaven

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Brett and I had a recent Friday off  and spent the day at Anna Maria Island. About an hour south of us, we drove down and spent the day on the tiny beach there. It’s a small community and I don’t think I saw a single hotel there. All houses and a few restaurants that you can walk to. It was sunny and 80 and we had most of the beach to ourselves. We had lunch at the Rod and Reel pier (top 2 pictures) and hung out on the beach. We napped, read and walked around. It was a perfect relaxing day before the crazy holidays start.

Another spring in winter post

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So far it’s been a mild winter here. I think I’ve worn a coat to work only once. Some days it’s sunny and 60 degrees like it was on this day in early February. It was windy though. I stopped by the fishing pier in Safety Harbor to see what was flying around. Not much flying but I noticed the flowers around the picnic area were still blooming. I guess that’s why I’m still sneezing in the winter here. Things are still blooming.

LorikArtShine the Divine