Thankful and Heartbroken

This is a meme that is floating around social media from people in the Tampa Bay area. Maybe it’s a way of saying we have survivor guilt? For days Hurricane Ian was heading right to us and at the last minute it turned and made a direct hit south of us (The same thing happened in 2004 with Hurricane Charley). Total devastation from Fort Myers to Naples. Then massive flooding across central Florida. It was gut wrenching to watch the news. Most of St. Pete lost power but we only had yard debris so we were really lucky.

Sunset on the night of the hurricane, across the street from us.

We had super low  tide the day after as well as the day of. These were taken on Thursday, the day Ian was forecasted to hit Tampa. Later that night the water came back with a surge but nothing like it was south of us.

Early Friday morning I went for a walk at the Dunedin causeway and the tide was still crazy low.

You could see where seagrass had been churned up and left in the low tide.

This is a common sight all over the bay, stranded boats. Many had the anchor come up and floated towards sea walls and bridges. Some got stranded at low tide. (Although these are nothing like the pictures from Fort Myers and south with boats on top of buildings and in peoples homes.).

Here is a video from CNN that shows the aftermath of Ian.

Red Cross Donation site.

SkyWatch Friday

Hurricane Ian

It’s Tuesday morning and Hurricane Ian is on it’s way to pay us a visit. This morning the track is showing a direct hit with a category 3. Our house is just under 20 minutes from the water so we were not too worried about storm surge but we were worried about flooding from a lot of rain and wind damage. Everything is ready to go and now we wait until Thursday morning when it’s due to hit. I decided to get out of the house for a walk to calm my nerves. It was already dark and dreary at the Dunedin marina but it had cooled off. The big boats were still there but most of the little boats that can go on a trailer were gone.

People live on both of these sailboats and their dingys were still there. I hope they get into town by Wednesday morning.

These little boats were still there but I’m sure someone was coming to haul them away or tie them down.

The water was super calm and I could several dolphins swimming out in the water.

I was able to catch this quick video of a dolphin feeding along the rocks right in front of me. I don’t usually see them this close to the marina.

Update – it’s now after lunch on Wednesday and Ian is hitting near the Fort Myers area, much farther south of us. We are still due to get heavy rain and flooding later tonight as the other side of the Hurricane skirts past us.  We are saying prayers for those south of us. They will need a lot of help in the coming days.

SkyWatch Friday

A 4 park morning

It was hot as usual at the end of July. I headed out early one morning for a walk at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs. I hadn’t spent a lot of time here, only driven through. I parked in the shaded area of the park and walked out on the causeway that leads to the beach. I was hoping for a breeze but didn’t get much of a whiff this morning but it was a beaufiful morning and I saw several dolphins far out in the gulf.

After my walk at Howard Park, I stopped at nearby Sunset Beach. It’s a small spit of sand but also a small piece of heaven the morning I was there. I imagine it’s packed on the weekends but early this Wednesday morning it was quiet and I sat on the bench for a while, watching more dolphins go by.

And if you forgot to bring a book with you to read on the beach, there’s a free library in the parking lot.

Another quick stop was the Anclote River Park, just north of Tarpon Springs.

A replica of the Anclote lighthouse was in the parking lot. The actual lighthouse is on Anclote Key, only accessible by boat.

One last stop was the Anclote Gulf Park just a few minutes away. I walked out on the long fishing pier and was hoping for dolphins here but didn’t see any.

Inspire Me Monday

Summer walk on the causeway

I was heading out to the Dunedin causeway for an early morning walk in late June and saw that a baby turtle had been painted on the water tower right before the causeway. I had to turn around and take a quick shot. He’s so cute.

It was crazy hot even at 8am in the morning. I caught the drawbridge going up as I was about to cross it. It was a good spot to take a rest,

The usual great egrets and pelicans were hanging around the short bridge, hoping to steal some bait fish from an unsuspecting fisherman.

A fun bike rack in front of the kayak rental station.

After a long walk at the causeway I headed down to the marina for a quick walk. (I was really just stalling until my favorite lunch pick up place nearby opened at 11am).

Inspire Me Monday

Out on the water

I went for a long walk around by the Dunedin marina on a cool morning in late February (this was one of those perfect Florida winter days, sunny and 58 degrees). I had left my camera in the car and was walking along the front of the marina and saw all of the sailboats out in the water.I snapped the above with my phone and then hiked back to my car to get my camera.

There was some sort of sailing class or group out in the water. It looked like fun. It got me thinking I might need to take some sailing lessons.

I drove over to Weaver Park, just north of the Dunedin marina. From that long pier you can see most of Clearwater Beach.

Of course as I’m standing on the fishing  pier I had to snap pictures of the anhinga watching me and the osprey cruising by. I’m glad I had left my camera in the car. I wasn’t planning on taking any pictures this morning but you never know what you’ll see out there.

My Corner of the World

Out on the water

On our dolphin tour during the week of Thanksgiving, we headed out to a small spoil island to walk around and look for shells. It’s a tiny oasis in the middle of all of these tall buildings.

The flag on the island was starting to look a little weathered.

We could see a kiteboarded across the waterway.

There were small sailboats all around the area. It was a windy morning and perfect to be out on the water.

I was looking the other way and heard my sister yell “Oh no, they went over.” I looked around and saw that the boat had flipped on it’s side. The 2 guys were working on pulling it back up. At first I thought they would need to be rescued but our captain said it happens fairly often and the guys on these small boats are good at getting them back upright. That has to take a lot of upper body strength to get that sail out of the water. (That big white complex in the background is Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater).

The guys in another boat nearby were leaning pretty hard to keep theirs from going over.

Nice view heading back to the marina.

SkyWatch Friday

Looking for dolphins

The weather was too nice during the week of Thanksgiving not to be outside all week. My sister and I booked a dolphin tour out of the Clearwater marina one morning. Even if we didn’t see any dolphins, it would be a fun trip out on the water.

We were not going out to far, staying in the intercoastal waterway area. The tide was super low so we had to stay right at the channel markers. I could see Sand Key beach far off to the right.

Right away we saw a dolphin! We were cruising along next to another tour boat and a dolphin was right behind them, chasing the waves. Of course we were facing right into the sun so it was hard to get good shots. I see a lot of dolphins down at Fort Desoto but rarely see them coming out of the water this much so this was fun.

Some of the birds we saw cruising around including two white pelicans flying high up.

We also saw several dolphins chasing fish into the sea walls. They were flapping the water hard to stun the fish. After all of the dolphin sightings we headed out to a small spit island to look for shells. More on that later.

Our World Tuesday Graphic

The perfect spot

More shots from my sunset walk at the Dunedin marina.

You can see why this is one of the best places to watch the sun go down but don’t tell anyone else. It already gets crazy crowded.

People in the surrounding neighborhoods ride over in their golf carts since parking is limited in this area. I park several blocks over and walk in to the marina. Many of them decorate their carts which makes it more fun.

I decided to head back to my car before it got too dark but I stopped for one last shot in front of the sailboats. All shots taken with my phone.

SkyWatch Friday

Always a perfect sunset

Nothing says Florida like a walk around a marina especially right before sunset. If you want to get a good sunset spot here, you have to get here early.

This was actually back in late October when I headed out for a long walk before sunset at the Dunedin marina. Even thought it sits on the intercoastal waterway and Clearwater beach is across the water, the sunsets here draw a large crowd. There was still plenty of room around the pier and marina the night I was there. It’s totally worth getting up off the couch on a late Sunday afternoon and driving 30 minutes away.

Since parking is hard to find around the marina, a lot of people who live close by have golf carts. It’s easier to get a spot for dinner at the nearby restaurants. The one above was decorated and they were very friendly, talking to everyone. I had to take a picture.

It was time to start hiking back to my car but I turned around and took one more shot.

SkyWatch Friday

Things at the marina

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.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic