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.

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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.

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Rush hour traffic on the bay

Things were quiet in the area in late October. Fall migration was pretty slow but I still wanted to get out for a walk so I headed to North Shore park that sits on the bay near downtown St. Pete.

It looked like rush hour traffic far out in the bay with all of the sailboats. People were also kayaking and wind surfing. It was still warm out so the water was the place to be.

I had a nice walk along the water before heading home for lunch.

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Skirting by

How do you get a big beached sailboat back out into the water?  Very carefully with a big truck. For many people in the Tampa bay area, we were really lucky when Hurricane ETA skirted by us last week. It was a little nerve racking on Wednesday night as Brett and I were trying to go to bed and 70 mile winds were blasting through our channels. There wasn’t a lot of wind damage to the area but a lot of flooding. We kept getting up and peeking out the window to see how far the water had gotten into our yard. High tide was around midnight and by 10:30 we had water over our seawall and a few feet into our yard. We had some minor damage to our dock but many people had flooding in their homes. Even people who didn’t live near the water had flooding in their streets and ended up with flooded homes.

The news was saying there were sailboats beached in the small town of Gulfport in south St. Petersburg. I was out running around on Saturday morning and stopped by. I had heard there were 12 boats beached but by Saturday there was only 6 left on the beach. They were craning one of the boats to put back in the water. That’s a big task.

It looks like there is just minor damage to these boats. Mostly lots of dings but I’m sure that expensive. Some of these boats had people living on them so they have been displaced until the boats can be fixed.  Gulfport doesn’t sit directly on the gulf. It’s a small bay off the intercoastal waterway and many boats stay anchored in this area.

Otherwise, it was a beautiful morning and you would never know a bad storm came through 2 days earlier if it wasn’t for the sailboats sitting on the beach. I could see the pink hotel across the bay (Don Cesar Hotel) that sits on the beach.

The Christmas tree was up in front of the beach. I’m assuming someone put this here the day before since there wouldn’t be any balls here after that storm. The restaurants in front of the beach were opening up for breakfast. They had spent the last 2 days cleaning up the sand off the floors.

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Cranes and Sailboats

Not so early in the morning, the sun had just come up over Port Tampa, across from Davis Islands yacht basin. I was out for a walk on a Saturday morning.

More shots from my walk around the yacht basin.

I stopped by the Marjorie Park marina before leaving Davis Islands and took the above shot of downtown Tampa. There was a storm coming from the far left.

A wide pano of the basin taken with my phone.

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North Shore Park

Far out in the bay, it was rush hour traffic on a Saturday morning. Lots of boat activity on this beautiful morning.

I found another great blue heron/ great egret hybrid at the small beach near downtown St. Pete.

After a quick walk around North Shore park, I was heading back to my car and saw the above flying into the trees in the parking lot.

All of a sudden, the tree was full of nanday parakeets. Even at the end of summer, they were in pairs and flirting. Maybe they are like humans and flirt all year round instead of just nesting season. Although due to the warm weather most of the year here, nesting season could still be going on. This couple was very affectionate.

The next tree over had monk parakeets in them. This one kept chewing on a branch.

Then his mate flew in and they started preening each other.

There were so many parakeets here on this particular morning that the sound was deafening. The wild parakeets in the area have really taken over. They are very comical to watch and are not skittish at all.

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A new tourist attraction

For my Sunday night walk in late July, I decided to go to the new Pier in downtown St. Pete. Brett went with me since he wanted to see it as well. We parked far away behind the Vinoy hotel and tried to stay away from the crowds as we walked around the yacht basin. It was a beautiful night to be out and everyone had the same idea.

The netting over an open field before the pier changes color at night.

Looking down at the pier from the elevated platform. We didn’t walk past this point since the pier building at the end looked very crowded.  There are restaurants at the end but you had to have a reservation to go in and masks were required. We thought we would save that for another time.

A pano of the area taken with my phone.

There’s a small public beach right next to the pier.

Looking back at downtown St. Pete, the sun was just starting to go down.

Some of the artwork around the pier area. It was a fun walk and I plan to get back there during the week after work hoping it won’t be so crowded.

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Sharp teeth and flashes of green

I was at Crescent Lake Park recently and saw this guy moving fast. Darting around and popping his head up out of the water at a different place every time. It was dark and cloudy and I could not get a decent picture of him that wasn’t blurry. He only stayed for a few minutes before disappearing under the vegetation and then he was gone for good. He was chomping on something, I’m thinking a turtle. Everyone thinks they are so cute but look at those teeth. Another reason not to let your small dog get near the water in a lake in central Florida (the other is those pesky alligators).

After walking around Crescent Lake Park I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home. The above parrots landed right in front of me before I stepped on the pier. They only stopped for a minute before screaming down the street.

It was cold this morning in January but people were out sailing.

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Different versions of the same thing

We saw the Boston skyline many times during our week vacation there. The first time was a dark cloudy day. We went out on a half day whale watching trip so I stood in the back of the boat taking pictures of the skyline.

The next day we had booked a 90 minute sightseeing boat tour around the harbor and it was sunny. So again I was on the back of the boat taking pictures of the same skyline with blue sky.

Far out in the harbor, the skyline was a just a blur.

Where the fishing boats come in.

On our third boat trip, the ferry to Salem, it was partly cloudy in the morning.  The funny thing is that I live in a city that is right on the water but I never really think of going out in the bay to get pictures of the skyline. The Tampa skyline is much smaller than Boston’s.

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