Tampa Bay Area 2010


Photos 1 - 56 out of 56 | Back to Albums
Ahhh, Florida. After grabbing my rental car and driving south for ~45minutes in sunshine, I hit the beach (in a jacket and jeans - it was 15C!). 5 minutes later the sun disappeared, not to be seen again for 24 hours. This is the beach at Anna Maria Island. It's a small island just south of the Tampa Bay area. Some of the beaches in this area are some of the nicest I think I've been to.
Lots of these goofy little birds around. They endlessly get chased by the waves, and then run back towards the water to feed on whatever little tiny things washed up. Fleeting, teasing glimpses of sunshine. When I grow up, I want a house on stilts.
I didn't see any Manatees. The pier at Anna Maria. Lots of names carved into it. There is a little restaurant at the end. The town of Anna Maria.
I'm in Florida, so ice cream is a necessity. I had some every day. This was Alligator ice cream (peanut butter cup, oreo cookie, caramel) and a scoop of Cinnabon ice cream. It was awesome. I was also kind of chilled afterwards... One of the canals that runs through Anna Maria. Later in the evening I headed back to my hotel in Sarasota. I splurged and stayed at a brand new Holiday Inn ($40/night). Had a great sports bar downstairs where I watched the Superbowl on Sunday with a pretty big crowd. The food was outstanding (and reasonably priced)!
2nd day. Off to the Siesta Keys. They really should rename their public transit system. A drawbridge up while walking from Sarasota to the Siesta Keys. Crossing the bridge.
Crescent Beach. HUGE. Miles long like this. After a few hours wandering the Siesta Keys, I grabbed the car and headed south, to Venice! And I finally found the beautiful sunshine! The beach wasn't as nice, but the sun felt great. The town of Venice was pretty neat as well.
Day 3, I've relocated to the north area of Tampa Bay now. And the sun has come out! This was my best day, far and away. I walked the entire day (~25km I figure), and started from my hotel. Just behind it is the Pinellas trail, an old railroad line that has been converted to a great walking/biking trail. It's about 60km long, so I walked the small (5km) section from Dunedin to Clearwater. After getting to Clearwater, I walked up onto the huge bridge to my destination - Clearwater Beach. Pelicans are cool.
One of the things I did on Clearwater Beach was take a boat tour, including possibly seeing some dolphins. It was a biiiiiig speed boat, and pretty empty. Heh. Looking at the resorts and condos on Clearwater Beach.
It didn't take long, we were still in the bay when the first dolphins were spotted. So they created a large wake with the boat, and the dolphins proceeded to jump alongside the boat! They kept this up for several minutes.
And switched sides later on. Looking back at Clearwater Beach with the dolphins. Lots of big places.
The other side of the Clearwater harbour, looking at some VERY expensive mansions in Clearwater. Really big places. Multi-million dollars. Ahoy.
I really liked the pelicans. Now, to the open water side of Clearwater Beach, and the Gulf of Mexico! Looking back at the main strip of Clearwater beach.
We found even MORE dolphins, and played with them for a bit. The main pier on Clearwater beach. And a funny little house, whose owner refuses to sell to condo companies. Considered to be worth a million+ for the land alone now.
Now onto the famous Clearwater beach itself. Absolutely MASSIVE. And empty. Probably because, even with the sun, it wasn't exactly beach weather (~18C). But great for walking. Leaving Clearwater beach, looking back upon it as I cross a big bridge. Walking back, I took another route and wander up the coast back to Dunedin. Not pictured, but I went to a really cool little pub for the evening where they had an open mike night going on. Some really good music, not to mention good food.
The final day, and the worst for weather. It started with grey and cloudy, and got worse from there, eventually raining by around noon. This is downtown St. Petersburg, which is the large city on the opposite side of the bay from Tampa itself. Surprisingly nice downtown, looked like a lot of money had been put in over the last 10 years or so, but also almost entirely devoid of life - looks like it was hit pretty hard by the recession. Out to the St. Petersburgh pier. HUGE area. Turns out there is a mall inside. I didn't spend much time there. Looking out from the end of the pier towards Tampa. I had NO idea the bay was so massive until I got here. You can't see the other side.
More pelicans! If we could trade Canadian geese for pelicans, I would do so in a heartbeat. These things are docile and gentle creatures, unlike our ornery, nasty beasts of a bird. My car for my travels (a Nissan Sentra). I was much happier with this than my previous rental in Calgary (Toyota Matrix). It was much more drivable and didn't feel like an oversized gokart. The only qualm I had with it was, I don't think flooring the gas pedal actually did anything. Sure, the engine made noise, but I think that was just a placebo because the car didn't actually go any faster... Finally, off to downtown Tampa. For a hockey game!
Really nice arena. Great seat as well. 2nd row just inside the blue line, upper deck. Cost $41US. They were pretty much giving away certain tickets. The Lightning's mascot, Thunderbug...heh. Even with the cheap seats, can't fill out much of the crowd.
Game on! 5 minutes in, Rypien decided he didn't like someone. Pretty dominating game by the Canucks, but they just couldn't do much against Niity. It's kind of embarrasing to lose to a team that gives it's players nicknames like Niitty and Stammer. Stamkos did get a pretty goal.
Luongo making a save. He wasn't challenged much, but still let in 3. 3-1 Lightning, sigh. And going home. Why pay for business class when you know how to get seats like this one? :)  
Photos 1 - 56 out of 56 | Back to Albums
Description: I went to Florida and a hockey game broke out! Oh ya, and ate lots of ice cream. And saw some dolphins.
Location: Tampa Bay Area

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