Monday, December 23, 2013

Largo, FL 12/23/13

We visited Sun Coast Sea Bird Sanctuary, located in Indian Shores, FL. which has been in operation since 1971, and unfortunately they seem to be circling the drain, it seems, financially.  Too bad, as they have rescued a lot of birds.  While there were several caged areas with injured birds, so much of what we enjoyed were birds that come in and wander the area, knowing this is a safe refuge.  It was neat to see so many birds up close and personal.

 Black Vulture
Barred Owl
Snowy Egret
Willet (we found this guy on the adjoining beach)
Baby Brown Pelican (looks like something from a Dinosaur movie)
We called this guy, Failure to Launch.  Notice the mother Brown Pelican is still babying this guy who is so much older than the one directly above.
Double Crested Cormorant, what a noise they can make!
Great Blue Heron
Black Crowned Night Heron
We went to visit this huge light display.  The lines were crazy and we left.
Not sure, we may return prior to New Years.
Weather here is great.  Wishing all of you a blessed Christmas and all the best in the New Year.
Bob and Teri


Monday, December 16, 2013

Largo, FL (our first post) 12/1/13 - 12/17/13.

Tonight we are having our first smoked turkey on the grill, via Bob.  Wow, very yum!

Because we are having such a good time here, we have extended our stay at our present location, here in Largo, FL until 2/6.  We are really enjoying this place (a Carefree resort).  Lots of exercise classes, shuffle board 2 X per week (hey don't laugh, good strategy and skill) as well as weekly meet and greets, get together events and social dinners too.  And that does not even touch upon the things we have not yet tried.  The place is at least 50 % Canadians, yet all are really friendly.  We are so busy, if we get out and about, it is only on a weekend days.

Our first adventure out of the campground was golf.  We walked 18 holes of an executive course and it was a lot of fun.

Next adventure was Fort De Soto in St. Petersburg, FL.  A whole lot of money was spent (demanded by the Tampa residents after the Spanish American war broke out).  They built this huge infrastructure, guns, living quarters.  Incredible money was spent.  All and all, armor was tested numerous times, but never actually used.  For those interested, a lot more detail (interesting) can be read at:

Our other adventure outside of the park in our first 2 weeks here in Largo, FL, is Honeymoon Island State park.  We hiked both the Osprey and the Pelican trail.  Wow!  So many birds to see.  It s a major breeding site for the Osprey.  It really was a wonderful day.

Some pictures from our recent adventures (on our weekends here in Largo FL) are below.

We hope to post again, prior to Christmas.

We are really enjoying all we are experiencing here in Largo, FL.

Fort De Soto Canon (with a range of 6.8 miles!)
We did not climb any canons :-)..De Soto SP
American Oyster Catcher (Fort De Soto SP)
Brown Pelican with baby (Fort De Soto SP)
Brown Pelican (Fort De Soto SP)
Brown Pelican (Fort De Soto SP)
Osprey with dinner (Honeymoon SP)
This guy looks like a type of heron, but we are not sure.
Beautiful just the same.(Honeymoon SP)
Bald Eagle (Teri's first sighting in the wild!, along ways off, which is why he is out of focus, but hey a first)
Honeymoon State Park
This Owl was beautiful!!  (Honeymoon SP)
On more picture of the owl.  His hoot was awesome to hear!
Seagull, ordinary, but hey he was posing!
Pilot Whales, Gulf of Mexico
Pilot Whale in the Gulf of Mexico
Wow so much to see!
Our first live Christmas tree in our rig!!! 


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Odessa, FL 11/24/13 - 12/1/13

This is a short post.  Sorry no pictures this time.  We spent a week in Odessa, FL at the Sand Dollar Golf resort.  What was so nice here was that the pro shop was just across the parking lot and we were able to drive the cart to our fifth wheel to load up the clubs. 

We had some rain while here, but still managed to get in 3 rounds of golf.  We went up to Port Richey, FL for Thanksgiving dinner where we had a nice dinner on the water, including lobster stuffed mushrooms....yum!

While here we also went to see the second Hunger Games movie in the D-Box.  (Bob and Teri both enjoyed reading all 3 of the hunger game books).  Anyway, the D-Box was an enjoyable experience, although probably best suited for high action chases.  For those that do not know about the D-Box, which is a movie simulator, check out this link:

We are off to Largo, FL.  We will be staying put in Largo for an entire month.  We do not anticipate near as much sight seeing, instead we will be trying out the snow bird stay put thing for a month.  We will still try to update prior to 1/1/14 when we are scheduled to depart.

Best to you and hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Orlando FL Area 11/11/13 - 11/24/13

Orlando FL weather in November has been beautiful, mid 70's most days.  Each morning in our campsite we were visited by a trio of Sand Hill Cranes.  These majestic birds stand about 4 feet tall, were not phased by our presence a bit, and their bugling and rattling calls were both haunting and beautiful.  On a few occasions they performed a wonderful dance outside of our windows, a treat to see.  We also had a resident tortoise that crossed over our campsite every day.  We were amazed at how fast he could transverse the campground during his daily visits.

While in the area we did some bike riding and also got in a few 9 hole rounds of golf at a local executive golf course.  One day we drove out to Lakeland, FL and did some hiking in the Circle B Bar Reserve, a former cattle ranch that today boasts a wide variety of plants, animals and birds.  At the reserve we saw over 20 alligators, various bird species, raccoons and armadillos.  It was an enjoyable morning.  The Anhinga and the Roseate Spoonbill are especially beautiful.  But the Roseate Spoonbill is incredibly shy and we hope to one day shoot a better picture of one.  We topped off the day at a vintage theater built in the 20's where we were first entertained by an organ concert (30 min prior to every movie show) and then to a documentary film that we had gone there to see.  The theater had so much charm.  The history of the theatre is a short, yet interesting read.

We are headed to Odessa FL for Thanksgiving week staying at the Silver Dollar Golf club.
Orlando, time to slow down
FL Sand Hill Crane Visitor
Resident Campground Tortoise
Armadillo...these guys are quick!
Smaller Alligator
Roseate Spoonbill
Great Blue Heron
Ibis sitting high in a tree
Red Shouldered Hawk
Sunset at the campground
States Visited Since Retirement

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Western Caribbean Carnival Cruise out of Tampa, FL 11/3/13 - 11/10/13

Our home went into storage in Orlando on 11/3/13, Tiger went to the Kitty Condo and we headed from Orlando to catch the Carnival Legend out of Tampa, FL for a week.  It had been almost a year since we had been scuba diving and this cruise was planned to give us the opportunity to dive 4 countries, 3 of which we had not dived in prior.

Day one was a fun day at sea. There is always something fun to do on a cruise ship with entertainment, trivia competitions and the opportunity to slow down and read by the pool.  The night before we were upgraded to a balcony which besides the view and another great place to chill, turned out to be a wonderful place for placing our dive gear to dry out each day.

This is the first time that we have done 'your time dining' and for us, it is what we will continue to choose in the future.  The Legend is a smaller ship and was not at full capacity.  This gave us the opportunity to see people we had met on excursions and at dinner throughout the cruise.  While we choose your time dining, we chose to share a table each night as meeting interesting people is an important part of the whole cruise thing for us.

Our first port was Cozumel, Mexico, an island off of the Eastern coast of the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula.  We have dove Cozumel before and it ranks at the top as one of our favorite places to dive.  While it was raining when we got on the dive boat, once to the dive spots, this Cozumel dive trip once again did not disappoint.  The port time with the diving was tight, however, with us returning to ship immediately after diving.  But the diving was great and the water was warm.  So nice to dive in dive skins instead of 7 mil suits in November.

Our next port was Belize.  Belize, a country on the northeastern coast of Central America is the only country in the area with English as their official language.  A small bit of Trivia....Belize is the birthplace of chewing gum, originally made from Chicle, derived from the juice of the sapodilla tree.  But of more interest to us, Belize is the home to the second largest barrier reef in the world.  The reef was so full of color, variety and fish.  Wow! This was some really nice diving and Hugh Parkey dive shop is the best shop we have ever gone diving with.  They came to our ship and took us to their private island.  From there we headed out to do two wonderful dives. Both were almost an hour in length and on return to the boat they rinsed us off with fresh water (never had that happen before, and nice), provided watermelon, chips, salsa and homemade cookies.  They even rinsed and cleaned all our gear for us (another first and nice!).  Back at their island we had Lion fish ceviche (a first for us and quite tasty).   We were returned directly to the our ship and never got into Belize city but were able to get a couple of tee shirts on their private island.

On to Roatan, Honduras the next day.  Roatan at approx. 37 miles by 5 miles in size, is the largest of the Honduras Bay Islands.  As the cruise ship approaches the Dixon Cove (re-named by Carnival Cruise lines as Mahogany Bay, after a huge monetary investment) one sees the lush tropical mangroves of the island and also the shipwreck of the Tulum and the Alexander.  These ships sank approximately 40 years ago.   In attempt to haul them back out to sea, they broke apart and remain in the cove attracting fish for snorkelers.

There had been a storm the day before we arrived in Roatan which created poor water visibility.  While we still enjoyed the diving, it was at the bottom for quality in regards to the four countries that we dove on this trip. The island of Roatan is quite poor, but this is not seen by most that ride an aerial tram from the port to a 10 acre private island developed by the cruise lines.  This private island is only open to cruise passengers and workers.  While we are sure that this private island is probably quite beautiful, we felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel across a good portion of the island where the locals reside on our way to the dive shop.  This gave us the opportunity to see the 'real' Roatan and not some cruise line creation.

Last country.....Grand Cayman.  Grand Cayman was incredibly hot but the diving was spectacular.  The diving was up there on par with Belize and the dive shop was great as well.  We saw lots of Snapper and even a few bikes on the ocean floor next to a shipwreck.  We were told that some of the dive masters have a tradition, at the end of their stay at Grand Cayman, of riding their bikes off the deck near one of the wrecks (instead of shipping their bike home).

Our last day, was a day at sea. The four days in row of diving, in four different countries was very full and action packed.  We were ready for some quiet time at sea once again as well as having time to enjoy some of the ship's entertainment.

We really enjoyed this trip, so much so that we are talking about possibly doing a 4 day to the Bahamas in February, making that trip not a dive trip but just a relaxing kick back getaway.  We are kicking it around at this point.  We got back to Orlando and picked up our kitty.  He was not very happy, but within a day, he is pretty much back to normal.  We are in Orlando for 2 weeks now where we plan to enjoy the weather, the pool, the bike trails and maybe get in some golf.

Scorpion Fish - Cozumel, Mexico (yes they are always this ugly)
Spotted Eel - Cozumel, Mexico
File Fish Cozumel, Mexico
Isle of Roatan, Honduras
Shipwrecks Tulum and Alexander -
Dixon Cove in Isle of Roatan, Honduras
Private Island -  Isle of Roatan, Honduras
Turtle - Isle of Roatan, Honduras
Grouper - Isle of Roatan, Honduras (these guys were about 4 feet long)

The colors of Belize
The colors of Belize
The colors of Belize
Teri holds a starfish in Belize
Snapper in Belize
Grand Cayman Island
Snapper in Grand Cayman
Bob just has to ride that bike, even in the Grand Caymans
Looks like dinner to us -  Grand Caymans
Angel fish -  Grand Caymans
Passing by Cuba in the distance at daybreak