Its been a fun and busy week! Of course, the first and foremost thing was to celebrate Christmas, but we also spent time walking the beaches, including Fort Desoto, a Christmas Day boat ride, fishing at John’s Pass, (and Fort Desoto), Having a last check of my hearing aids, (they are working fine), and trying to take pictures of Nanday parrots, also called Black headed conures.
Our list of beaches continues to grow, with most of our walks being along St Pete’s Beach. Other include Clearwater Beach, (which we wrote about in the blog about Sand Key), North Beach at Honeymoon Island State Park, (ditto), Madeira Beach, St Pete Beach, and North Beach at Fort Desoto.
We usually don’t walk Madeira Beach but we waked it this week after Renita needed to visit a shop she had missed. It wasn’t as crowded as some of the other beaches and the unique thing was the large number of sponges that had washed up on the beach. If you have never found and dried out a sponge before you are in for a surprise. Sponges have spicules which are hard spiked shaped crystals and so they are hard when they are dried. The soft natural sponges you buy have been crushed and the spicules have been washed away.
We are usually here for the Sand Castle contest but this year it was early and so we didn’t get to see the sandcastles till yesterday, (they are located on Treasure Islands beach). There was also a volleyball tournament going on, so the beach was quite busy!
The sand castles were still mostly intake! This was despite the high winds and heavy rain. They are made and sprayed using a thin solution of glue and so they are resistant to lots of mother nature’s forces.
We didn’t take any pictures of the volleyball players, but as you can imagine they all seemed to be quite healthy-looking individuals! Hopefully many will win some money, so they can afford swimsuits with more cloth. Protection from. the sun is so important!
Fort DeSoto was quite busy, even our favorite North Beach. We did see a few interesting shells but only a few small ones and so we didn’t collect any more. Instead I concentrated on fishing with bait and while a few other fishermen were catching whiting. My squid only produced one bite all day long.
I also tried fishing at John’s Pass but as before I didn’t have any bites. A few small bonnet head sharks had been caught and even a sheepshead, but they were all being caught on shrimp, and I was casting for Spanish mackerel or snook.
We celebrated Christmas two days early as Jen had to work while I got some clothes, at least I didn’t get any socks or underwear as they are my list favorite gifts, (I don’t mind all the coal I have gotten as coal is a rock and I like rocks). The day after Christmas we gathered together for a traditional dinner of turkey and ham, with a cherry pie, Jen’s cookies and her pumpkin roll!
On Christmas day we got an unexpected gift as Eric called and invited us to go on a boat ride with his friend Mike. His cousin and Uncle also rode along and Mike let Eric drive the boat a s we toured up Boca Ciega Bay. We went up to Clearwater beach before returning to Treasure Island, (Thanks Mike)!
Finally, we have been inundated with a flock of Nanday parrots. They are medium size parrots with a blackhead and green body and are extremely noisy. Tame ones are quite easy to be trained to talk and some even speak up to twenty words. There are quite a few wild flocks of the birds which formed from ones that had once been pets.
Our time here in Florida is almost up and it has been so nice to see Jen, Eric, and to meet many of their friends. We leave here on New Years day and plane on making a stop at Grand Isle, Louisiana, before continuing to our usual winter spot at Fulton, Texas. We would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and of course clear skies.
If you wonder why I sign off with the phrase, “Clear skies’, its because I started using it when my High Astronomy club was the only High school club that was a member of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. It was used as a sign off by many of the Society members.