Thanks to the sea breezes from the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts that converge over the Florida peninsula and usually push westerly, storms pop up most afternoons along the west coast. On this day in early July, my family had been enjoying an afternoon with friends anchored just offshore at Three Rooker Bar at Anclote Key Preserve just west of Tarpon Springs, FL. Around 3:00 pm, the sky started to cloud up and typical rainy season storms started to approach the Gulf from the east. Since the line was too long to outrun, we ‘battened down the hatches’ and prepared for the impending rain. The storm only lasted about twenty minutes and was by no means violent, but the cloudy skies beforehand made for some amazing photos.
This weekend we are expecting highs in the upper 80’s and plentiful sunshine before our typical afternoon thunderstorms. With such warm temperatures, the only ways to stay cool are to be on the water or in the air conditioning! Many people will be out this weekend in their kayaks getting some great exercise while enjoying the water like only they can. With little water needed to float and virtually no impact to the sensitive sea grass beds in along our shores, kayaking opens a whole new world that few others can reach. A favorite destination for many kayakers are Caladesi and Honeymoon Island State Parks. The mangrove lined coves along the sound side of the islands are only accessible via kayak and are teaming with wildlife, making them a must see.
Flats fishing is very popular in the summer months, especially here in the in the Tampa Bay area thanks to the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Since my family tends to do more offshore fishing, I had to do a little research about flats fishing and thought I’d share. The term “flat” refers to any shallow area, and the Gulf is full of them. Usually a flat bottomed boat is chosen for the task and after the perfect spot is targeted, the engine is raised and the boat is pushed along the flat with a long pole, like the boat pictured here. This gives the fishermen a chance to effectively sneak up on larger fish like in the shallow water and with a raised platform like the boat pictured gives an even better view of the fish below.
If you are a frequent reader of the PhotoBlog, then you know my family loves to boat. Over the years we have had several different types of boats from a large aft-cabin boat that you could live comfortably on for a weekend to a small open bow boat that the kids loved to tube behind. Now that my husband has really gotten in to fishing, we have a center console boat that works perfectly for fishing in the Gulf. Regardless of what type of boat we’ve had, we have always been able to find a few places to anchor up and relax with friends, as most boaters do. A favorite spot in the bay area is Three Rooker. Sometimes called a “bar” and sometimes called an “island”, Three Rooker is nothing more than a sand bar that is technically part of Anclote Key Preserve State Park, just north of Honeymoon Island. This photo of a friend’s boat was taken there in May a few years ago.
This weekend we are expecting highs in the low 80’s and plentiful sunshine. Whether it’s taking in a spring training baseball game, an afternoon stroll at a local park or a trip to the beach, it’s a great time to be outside in the Tampa Bay area. With the gulf temperatures still nice and cool, there are some great breezes off the water making it perfect weather for boating of all kinds. Many people will be out this weekend in their kayaks getting some great excercise while enjoying the water like only they can. With little water needed to float and virtually no impact to the sensitive sea grass beds in along our shores, kayaking opens a whole new world that few others can reach. A favorite destination for many kayakers are Caladesi and Honeymoon Island State Parks. The mangrove lined coves along the sound side of the islands are only accessible via kayak and are teaming with wildlife, making them a must see.
Any trip towards the south end of Nags Head results in a quick stop at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center for me. Those trips started when I was growing up and my family spent lots of our free time in the Outer Banks. My dad has always loved fishing, and may have fantasized about having a boat every now and then. I’m not sure if the draw to the marina was to look at the boats or the day’s catch, but it was a fun adventure whatever the reason. When we visited, it was always late in the day, just in time to catch the charter boats coming in from a long day of fishing in the Gulf Stream off the coast. After hours of fishing on Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills getting flounder and spot, it was really exciting to see tuna that seemed as big as I was laid out on the dock as the charter captains cleaned their boats. Now that I’m older and my husband has a fishing boat of his own, I have a new appreciation for the boats at Oregon Inlet, and am still in awe of the fantastic catch they bring in each day. On my most recent trip to the Outer Banks, I was in search of a few sunset photos at the Pea Island National Refuge and stopped into Oregon Inlet on the way back north. The colors of the boats against the pink light of the approaching dusk caught my eye, and a snapped a few photos.
On my first trip to California a few years ago, my husband and I spent our time in the San Francisco Bay Area. After a morning of exploring Muir Woods, we stopped in Sausalito for lunch before heading back to San Francisco. Sausalito is a quaint little town in Marin County, on the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. With a vibrant waterfront community that features lots of unique shops and restaurants, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon in the Bay Area. As a boater, my husband was immediately drawn to the hundreds of boats along the waterfront. We saw everything from residential house boats to large yachts and hundreds of sailboats. This view is of one of the many docks at the Sausalito Yacht Club.