adventure, blessings, family, Florida landmarks, following the rules, friends, fun, kids, leap of faith, making memories, perseverance, photography, Traditions

Epiphany 2021…

Sping Bayou is a small park with a lovely lake in a older, upscale neighborhood in Tarpon Springs. I imagine it’s a rather quiet place on any other day than yesterday, because it was the Greek Orthodox celebration called the Epiphany, and it’s cause for quite a celebration in this proud Greek town. In fact this was the 115th celebration, and in this year of COVID it was a drastically scaled down event. It was reported that only half of the 800 parishioner passes to view the event had been handed out, so as my first time to view it gave me a better view than normal since my son had passes for us to attend. We didn’t attend the four hour mass to start the day, and the procession from the church to the park happened more quickly than usual, so we found ourselves in the midst of what is the main event of the day earlier than most of us expected. Each year a cross is blessed and thrown into the water, and this year there were 55 16-18 year old boys of the parish who dove into the water to try to retrieve the cross and bring honor to their families.

As you see in the feature photo, we arrived to see the arches where the divers would pass under to take their places on the dock. They would first jump into the water and swim to the waiting boats, and from there they would dive in and try to retrieve the cross as it was tossed. As you see below, safety was a big concern with a rescue boat and divers in full scuba gear in the water to keep the boys safe.

The police presence was felt, but they were mostly giving directions, and as you see there were mounted police of every description there to help.

Soon we saw the boys in their white tee shirts walking under the golden cross to take their places.

The priest blessed the cross, blessed the water, and asked God to protect us all during this time of COVID.

And then came the moment for the boys to jump into the water and swim to the boats to be ready to try to be the lucky one to retrieve the cross.

As they all kept jumping in I understood the need for the drivers to be there, but they safely made it into the boats and soon it was time. I concentrated on the priest to try to catch the moment when he threw the cross, but I was a second too soon. My son had told me that there would be a release of a dove, which I also managed to miss.

Here they all are, swimming for the cross, and the moment that I first saw that someone had come up with it. It only took a few seconds.

Now wrapped in towels the boys hoisted the winner onto their shoulders and paraded him back to the church while the last of the boys were still climbing the ladder out of the water. This year there were no concessionaires there to tempt us with their great Greek food. Not so much of a festival atmosphere. But the tradition was respected, and if the prayers are answered the celebration will continue en force next year.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, blessings, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, go with the flow, Jenkin's Creek, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, sky, weather

Out of the recliner…

I’ve spent too much time sitting lately. That’s what happens when I find a binge-worthy show, and I have. New Tricks, an older British show about three older cops brought out of retirement to solve cold cases. Quirky and fun, I’ll be sorry to finish the series.

So with no particular destination except the vague notion that since it’s been cold lately then the manatees should be hanging out in our spring-fed, 72 degree year round, waters. So I headed to Linda Pederson Park, by way of Aripeka, and found this cute little historic site what heaven knows how many times I’ve driven past over the last few years. But usually in the dark.

Then it was on to my destination of the three story tower at the park where I did have a nice view of several manatees, but not the family groups that I usually see. I may never have been there on a weekend before because I’ve never noticed so many fishermen lining the banks, and I feared for the manatees but their usual nemesis is boat propellers.

The big surprise was a small bird flying past me as I stood at the top of the tower. I had just enough time to swing my camera up and start shooting because I realized that it was a belted kingfisher and they are rare to see. Not a great image but heck, I’ll take it.

After that it was just the scenery at the park and the birds across the street at Jenkin’s Creek that kept me amused. The park has a paddle trail with a kayak launch area and a sign that says it’s a little over a mile to paddle to Bayport.

This egret has a fish that I never saw until I looked at the photo in the computer.

For a day that started out at 36 degrees it was certainly a wonderful day. Florida’s winter weather is a glorious thing…

'scene' along the way, a second look, Bayport, birds, eagles, Florida landmarks, nature, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, sky, sunrise

Christmas Eve sunrise…

I’m glad I rousted myself out early enough to catch the sunrise at Bayport because the weather took a turn for the worse as the day went on. Poor Santa must have had a heck of a time making his deliveries in the wind and storms we were having by last night. I hope he made it to everyone’s house okay.

Finally the sun was up and it was time to leave, but just as I drove out of Bayport Park I saw a large bird on a snag and had to pull over to take it’s picture. I thought it was an osprey, judging by it’s coloring and by the fact that it was so easy to spot just at the side of the road. But when I looked at the pictures in the computer I saw that it’s a young eagle, it just hasn’t gotten it’s full coloring yet. Now I’ll be disappointed when ever I go there and don’t see an eagle. I should just be happy to have seen him when I did.

a second look, butterflies, Florida landmarks, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, nature, perseverance, photography

Christmas at the botanical gardens….

There were actual Christmas decorations and Christmas trees to enjoy, but it was the abundance of red flowers at the botanical garden that put me in the spirit.

Not all the flowers were red however. And I enjoy the overall beauty of the place more than anything.

I wish a Merry Christmas to all, and a fresh start to a kinder, gentler New Year, at least I hope so…

a second look, finding my way, Florida landmarks, fun, go with the flow, Just do it, making memories, natural wonders, perseverance, photography, second chances, weather

ZooTampa

I had orangutans on the brain the other morning, but instead of dropping everything and heading to the zoo I dithered and it broke the spell. Later I saw pictures of a brand new baby orangutan taken by a friend that same day and I was disappointed that I hadn’t gone. So when the thought crossed my mind yesterday I was out the door in no time flat.

With so many pictures to go through I decided that it would be easier to look at the pictures of other than orangutans, but fair warning, there will be so much orangutan cuteness to come.

The macaw fly through happened just as I entered the zoo. There was barely time to get the camera out of my bag.
I would never have cropped so close except I had zoomed in on my pictures to see if they were sharp and this one popped in and startled me, in a good way, so I kept it cropped.
The baby elephant is getting so big.
I thought they were piping in the sound of a tiger roar, but no, it was this guy.
And a meerkat just because…
Another new baby, a white rhino.
This zebra was nice enough to walk into the sun and get his picture taken.
Getting a full length close up of this guy just wasn’t in the cards…
adventure, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, go with the flow, life, live and learn, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, strangers become friends, unintended images

Hillsborough River State Park…

It was great to be back on a photo walk with the photography group that I have enjoyed so much. Often times the venues we visit together are big and the group doesn’t stay together as people venture off based on their personal interests. But on this trip the path we followed to the rapids was narrow and the group stayed together, stopping and shooting along the trail as we walked. The trail followed the river closely and I found myself taking the same shots, glimpses of the river through the foliage, until the people became as interesting to me as the scenery was. Some in the group scrambled down the steep bank with their big cameras and tripods in tow, but I wasn’t quite as adventuresome as that. It was an especially nice day to be out, and in a group. There has been far too little of that lately.