Friday, January 18, 2008

Florida - a Photo Essay

A picture says a 1000 words.
How about 1000 pictures?
The last part of this section
is now in a new upcoming blog chapter, marked 'epipilogue',
as I lost it completely here in the
last moments before publication.
"Love and Hate" .. our relationship with
technology. God give us strength.

* * * *

To begin, meet some of the natural inhabitants of Florida.

Ibis everywhere .. nearly like pigeons from our parts ..
It was in this 'air boat' that we toured the Everglades, and saw...

Spoonbills. Did you know Flamingos are not native to Florida?
We didn't .. but the resident pink Spoonbill looks a lot like them.

Nevertheless, flamingos having been imported from Honduras and the Caribbean,
are residents now.

a seasoned Floridian fisherman

Sadly, some creatures of the sea never make it ..

Then again, some do ...
This wonderful sea horse washed up in the surf.
Usually the seagulls pluck their eyes out immediately,
but Tim found it first, stunned and disoriented.
After nursing him along for a couple of days in a pail with seaweed,
he revived! Last seen happily swimming away
in inner coastal waters.

So, back to our air boat ride and the first of many
subsequent sightings of Mr. Alligator.

Here he comes ..

"Oh no , you don't!"

This was our driver and the owner of that hand you just saw.

Brave Peter, even if he has been tamed.

Years ago I was told a story by a friend who as a boy
was sent out to the end of a dock to allow
his parents time to visit with friends. He was given a pole,
a string and a ham sandwich.
Angered at his elders and not liking ham,
he tied the sandwich to the string on the end of the pole
and dangled it above the water.
Up came a huge head to have a look.
It was the first time anyone had seen a manatee
in this canal in decades.
Ever since hearing that story, I've wanted to be with a manatee.
We got my wish fulfilled at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
Here the ranger is offering carrots to this grazing, lovable herbivore.

"Yum. Romaine! My favorite! But don't feed me in the wild
unless you wish to pay a huge fine or spend the night in jail."

"Aren't I beautiful?"

Meet Lulu. When this formerly private animal park
was taken over by the state, a decision was made
to keep only those animals indigenous to Florida.
Obviously, Lulu didn't qualify, but after 30
years, she had become a local favourite.
So, in response to many petitions,
late Governor Lawton Chiles, in 1992,
insured Lulu's continuance at Homosassa Springs,
by declaring her an honorary resident of Florida.

"Way to go, Lulu!"

And, wherever there are shells, there will be ...

a Shell Collector.

What is Florida if not a place of beaches?
This state has the longest coastline
of any in the U.S. and we have
covered much of it.
So, come with us to the beach!

Meet the gang on Jetty Park beach at Pt. Canaveral.
It was a day of wild surf.

Peter takes a morning stroll.

Tim's first day on the beach with us after
flying into Tampa from snowbound Alberta.
This is Lido beach on Longboat Key

Later on Turtle Beach at the southern end of Siesta Key,
a great beach for shells!

And, of course, with Tim, we had to hit the hotter spots.

"Oh, those hot Gulf Stream waters..."

"and those hotter east coast girls!"

"Mom, long retired from bikinni days."

Later, we visited the (in)famous "South Beach" at Miami.
What distinguishes this beach is the street life ...

so retro and art deco!

Catering to the young ...

You literally walk for blocks through the midst of life.

And vendors are in abundance

And always, the machines ...

And the traffic!

Tim is gone now and life has calmed down.
How about the crystal quartz sands of Ft. DeSoto - on the west coast?

The girls are even here.

Beautiful Clearwater Beach

Heading out to Howe Park on an isolated 'spit' at Tarpon Springs

* * *
We return now to the east coast again at New Smyrna...

These guys have the fastest legs in the world .. running
into the surf, picking up tiny bits of food
and dashing off before the next wave gets them.
And now to the famous Ormand and Daytona Beaches
"Birth Places of Speed" and home to the 'Daytona' races before
the current NASCAR 500 track opened in 1959.

The scene years ago, racing up the beach
and back down route #A1A

Daytona today still allows cars on the beach, even our RV'!

The famous pier at Daytona

Peter's great pic from the pier...

Not 'Charles Atlas', but pretty cute.

And finally at Anastasia State Park beside St. Augustine...

As children, both Peter and I loved our bikes ...
and still do!

And always, those amazing sunsets...