H A P P Y E A S T E R
Saturday, April 23 Tampa Bay, FL
Still warm and sunny with a nice breeze
Went looking for places to sit by the water this morning. I looked at the maps and Apollo Beach is about 20 miles south of the hotel. I googled marinas in the area, put the address into my GPS and ended up finding Apollo Beach Nature Park near the marina.
I drove past gated communities and 'Do Not Enter' signs and went down a dead end road - the park was at the end of the road. There is no "beach", there are walking trails and a rocky steep shore, with 2 sets of stairs going directly into the water. With shallow water at the bottom of the stairs, I saw some people walking down into the water and some guys were standing in the water fishing with poles and nets. I didn't go into the water. I just sat on a bench and enjoyed the view and the sound of the water and took pictures.
I drove around the area and found a sign for a boat ramp and I followed the sign to a County Park, there was a fee to get in and too many boats moving around the parking lot so I did not stay.
I looked at the maps again, and decided to take Hwy 41 North to Tampa, near the Florida Aquarium. The Aquarium is in an area near the cruise ship docks and other large shipping industries. A strange place to put a family oriented museum, but good for interesting pictures. I parked in the Aquarium parking lot (the cheapest parking in the area at $6.00) but did not go into the Aquarium, it is $21.95 a person and I was there 10 years ago when my daughter lived in Tampa. I walked around behind the building to where a Navy Ship is on display, and then I walked around the shops and restaurants in the area called Channelside.
One of the restaurants is called Stump's, a place we had been to before. I couldn't go in today, they didn't open until 4pm.
I had lunch at a Greek Cafe, the outside tables were right alongside a Carnival Cruise ship that was getting ready to depart, it was interesting to watch them load the luggage, etc. and listen to the announcements they were making. I like ships and water, but these ships are way to big for me, I like the small cruise ships that only have 200 passengers.
When I left this area it was too early to head back to the hotel. I had been texting my daughter and she suggested Bayshore Blvd. I headed to that road and followed the signs for a boat pier. I found "Battery Point Park", a nice city park with a small restaurant, a boat launching site and a long pier for fishing. This park has a playground, picnic areas and trails along the water. The cruise ship that had departed the dock earlier had just floated by. I stayed here for a couple of hours - walked along the pier, ate some ice cream and sat and watched the water and birds.
It was time to head back to the hotel. I'll have to remember to follow the signs for boats when I am looking for a place to sit by the water. I'm not interested in sunbathing or swimming. I just like to walk along the shore and sit and watch the water and ships and birds.