Saturday night, we got this bright idea to get up early and head to the beach to watch the sunrise.
We decided to go to Fort Desoto Park, which is one of the few places on the Gulf coast where you can actually watch the sunrise over the water. It’s about a 70 minute drive, so in order for us to get up, get ready and get there, we set the alarm for 4am.
Well, someone (me) kept hitting the snooze button for an hour, so of course we missed the sunrise. over. Oh well, better luck next time!
We went over to the north beach area, which has always been our favorite part of the beach. Fort Desoto Park is a huge park with 1136 acres, and there are lots of places to go.
There is a very nice (and pricey) campground that we’ve stayed at before with smaller rigs.
We wanted to double check and see if we could get our current motorhome into any of the sites. I was concerned more about the campground roads, more than the actual sites. I think we could easily get around the roads and we found quite a few sites we could get in.
The following site 185 has a coach like ours. They seemed to fit fine. It’s a waterfront site.
The next is site 188, and appears to be plenty large.
A squirrel peeking out of the wildlife proof trash cans.
We headed to the north beach area which has always been our favorite because it is remote and most people don’t go there.
However, someone had the bright idea to add a lifeguard stand there and make it more public.
How ugly is this?
Part of the problem is serious beach erosion and a lot of the beautiful white sand has washed away. Beaches come and go naturally and a beach that is beautiful today might not look so pretty in a few months. The state of Florida constantly spends millions of taxpayer dollars “renourishing” beaches.
So our favorite beach had really changed since we were last there. You could really see the erosion of the beautiful sugar white sand.
As we walked around towards the inlet, it started to look more like we had remembered.
They had planted hundreds of Sea Oaks to try to re-establish the sand dunes. Unfortunately, we saw a lot of them laying on top of the sand. We re-planted a few.
This part of the beach is a favorite for photographers and you can usually see Roseatte Spoonbills there. (none yesterday)
There are lots of birds.
A Ruddy Turnstone, I think.
A common Snipe?
sugar white sand is very fine and soft.
We brought our chairs, books and new beach umbrella, but there was no breeze at all and no way were we going to sit there with no breeze. The afternoon seabreeze usually picks up, but it was still and hot without it.
We left that area and went over to the fishing pier.
We were treated to a mother and baby dolphin putting on a great show. A couple of times they jumped straight up, but my trigger finger was too slow to get a good picture.
At first they were right under the pier, but then swam a little further out. That is the Sunshine Skyway bridge in the background.
This is a ferry boat that will take you over to Egmont Key (island). I think it’s a bit pricey at $20 per person for a 5 minute ride.
Am I just getting cheap, or are prices going insane?
They now charge $5 to get into Fort Desoto park, which had always been free until the last year or two. I don’t really mind that though. The local zoo is $24, which I think is crazy!
From the pier, we could see the dog beach and it looked like a fun place to visit. Most of the dogs were not swimming, but just playing in the sand with the other dogs. They were having a great time.
Was this dog spoiled, or what? He was floating and his owner was walking!
It was starting to get too hot out and the sea breeze hadn’t kicked in, so we decided to leave and drive over the Sunshine Skyway bridge.
This is the second Sunshine Skyway bridge. The first was destroyed on May 9, 1980 when it was hit and knocked down by a large ship during a blinding rain storm. It was during rush hour traffic and 35 people plunged do their deaths when the span of the bridge collapsed. One man survived the fall when his car went over and landed on the ship.
You can read more about it here. They built a new bridge after the disaster and much of the old bridge remains as a fishing pier and recreation area. It was a sad day in Tampa, I can tell you and I remember it well.
Here are a few pics going over the bridge yesterday. The old bridge was scary when you drove over it. This one isn’t.
The new, larger cruise ships won’t fit underneath it, but its pretty high.
It was a night day, but would have been much nicer if it had been 10 degrees cooler!
Baxter is now 9 months old. He weighed in at 12 pounds yesterday.
Shoe comparison, after
Shoe comparison, before
For my bird watching friends, here is a squirrel proof bird feeder.
The baffle will absolutely keep the squirrels from getting into the feeder….as long as the feeder is far enough away from any trees where they can jump from. It can be disassembled for travel.
They will climb the pole, but can’t get past the baffle. Trust me. It works!