Friday, September 04, 2009

St. Petersburg & Palm Island, Florida

St. Petersburg

We land this morning on Florida's Gulf Coast for a long Labor Day weekend with close friends Ann and Allen.

It was an earlier alarm to make an early flight, but it got us here before noon. First stop, The Pier in St. Petersburg for lunch and time with the local critters, like this stately Brown Pelican.

Dianne, left, with her friend Ann, right, as we go into The Pier for a long, lingering lunch in the Columbia Restaurant high over the water. The Pier has been part of the waterfront since the mid-19th century; the restaurant is now supporting the fifth and sixth generations of the family who founded it after emigrating from Cuba.

The Pier also houses a small aquarium that is well worth a visit. There are open displays where sea creatures — like this Brittle Star —can be handled and fed.

Other inhabitants of the aquarium include the Lion Fish ...

... a Puffer ...

... and this colorful fellow whose name I never learned.

Outside there is a small bait shop where fish can be bought to feed the Pelicans. Once it looks like there is a possibility of being fed they fly in, like this one who is avoiding a last minute collision with Allan.

As clumsy as they appear, they are nimble and elegant flyers.

I took a couple of turns feeding them, trying to get a fish to the baby who is just below me ...
Photograph by Allen Mitchell with a Nikon D300s

... chaos is descriptive, bedlam perhaps a better word.

We head south, crossing the mouth Tampa Bay on the flyover bridge — it replaces a previous, low bridge destroyed when a cargo ship plowed into it 20 years ago ...

... while storm clouds chase us as we drive down the coast.

Palm Island

Dinner and a moment to watch the sunset on Palm Island ...

... before catching the water taxi back to the mainland.
Photographs taken with a Leica M8 except one by guest blogger Allan Mitchell

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