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08 June 2015 @ 01:39 pm
Day at Howard Park and possible new car  
So I had the idea to go to Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs since it is salt water and safer than freshwater as far as no cotton mouths or alligators. One of the main reasons for this trip was to at last practice safety with our kayaks. More on that later. So we got there and luckily parking in the park is free. If you park on the causeway or on the island it costs. We had not plans to really go to the island we just wanted to go around it. I wanted to check out the cormorants at the two places under the bridge. They also had a kayak trail through the mangroves like Weedon Island but already as soon as we put in we liked it much better than Weedon and Weeki Wachee. Weeki Wachee is lovelier. The water color can't be beat. But the snotty kayak stores where you put in kind of ruin it. I'm finding that pretty much all these places frown on you owning you own boats. Another thing we don't like much is that even though rivers are better than lakes we don't like how linear they are. Kind of the same reason we don't like guided tours. We don't like being lead and hearded about. The ocean you're free to go where you want pretty much. The only thing that made me nervous on the ocean was other boaters.

So we left the mangrove area and found the opening to the sea. Instantly it was amazing. We followed the cause way and got to the section where the cormorants were. Also it was raining when we started off. It was a light rain but we hoped it would chase away most of the people. After taking some pics and video we set off again. We saw one dolphin but it was too shallow where we were to see dolphins. But our first sighting from a boat. Then we went around and to the island. The beach/swimming part did suck. Lots of loud people, kids and tourists. I hate those kinds of beaches. Perfect for extroverts. So we went out into deeper water to get away from that. We rounded a corner and found a more natural secluded beach. This was perfect. Oh one other thing I'm amazed. The water at the mangroves was cold. More of that 75 degree water that feels terrible. BUT the ocean water was warm and wonderful. I don't know what the temp was. I'm guessing 80. So this is where we decided to do some safety exercises.

So I went first. I emptied my boat, put all my gear in Chris's boat and we put on our life jackets. The point was to go in fairly deep water where we can't feel the bottom and purposely flip our boats to practice flipping them right side up and re-entry. It's bothered me I haven't learned this yet as it's very important as well as knowing the limits of how much you can lean in your boat. So I went first and flipped mine completely over went under was upside down. I came up and got on my boat grabbed the opposite end an with my weight pulled it upright as I went back in the water. At this point I got caught under the boat. I can swim fine and hold my breath a long time but my stupid life jacket made me float which is not what I needed. I needed to sink so I could get out and way from under my boat. I had to get on my back and push out from under the boat. I never panicked and never ran out of breath. My thoughts were more like "This is annoying." I wasn't alone. Chris was in his kayak and my boat was tied and he was holding the line. He was there in case I did get in trouble. Some swimmers came over and asked if I was ok and I told them yes. We were practicing this because best to learn in a safe beach than to do it in a real emergency if a wave hits you and you have never done it and you're losing all your gear. Ok so next step is getting back in the boat. This requires swimming into it and laying across it with your stomach, and then turning onto your back then getting in the seat. That was hard too because if you go to hard you fall over the other side which I did and if it's not hard enough you'll flip your boat again. I managed to get back in.

Ok time to do it again on the other side. So this time I tipped to the right. Ok no prob falling out that's the easy part. But this time I don't know why I had such a hell of a time flipping the boat upright. My boat is wide and I could not grab the other end and I was getting very tired and had to stop a lot. I could see how in an emergency when you're already tired this could be bad if you can't get it right. I managed to get back in after much effort and with the last of my strength the last test was standing in the boat. I can do it but with a lot of effort. I have to hold my arms out to the sides and can't do anything else. If I want to stand I have to install pontoons. And then I fell in the water. Now I was exhausted. I swam the boat back to land. We trade equipment and now it was Chris's turn. He did it once and the second time on the other side he did it well but still with effort. It's hard. You watch people on youtube and it looks easy but you do need to learn this as it's hard to do. Here is how you're supposed to do it. https://youtu.be/40MK23ZdRw8

We went back and rested on some rocks. Got drinks out and had some snacks. It was nice to recover our strength as that was a very trying exercise. Once we got our breaths back we paddled back along the other side of the bridge. It was a great time. It wasn't until I got home that I realized I did get minor injuries during this. I had two bruises on my legs, one on my tummy and I think I hit my face getting in the boat. I did use my face as a weight and this morning when I brushed with cold water the cold hurt my teeth. I thought it was a cavity at first but that makes no sense as I brush very well twice a day and haven't needed a filling since I was 11. So I may have a bruise on my upper gums too. I was joking around with Chris that my boat beat me up. The bruises everywhere else were from the little latches that stick up. And when I put my weight on them they jammed into my flesh. You don't feel it when your adrenaline is pumping.

I don't like life jackets. I hated having to wear them in St. Thomas for the swimming part. They slowed me down and I couldn't swim well at all. They always ride up when you sit instead of sitting on your shoulders like they should. And now it worked against me when I needed to sink not float. I just have not had luck with those dumb things. Also I wore them while paddling and my very comfortable seat became uncomfortable and was hurting my back. We did not wear them on the way back. We know how to swim.

Ok so now some photos.

Tarpon Springs Power Plant.

Our first true salt water kayak. Open ocean. Amazing. Definitely Salt water is our favorite place to kayak.

The cormorants! This was one of my favorite things. Next time I'm buying bait fish just for them and bringing a better camera.

Such cute birds!!!

I love this photo because it shows the awesome illusion created by the curve of the earth. I don't now what city that is but looks like the buildings are flooded and underwater. In the days of tall ships sailors would see the mast and sails before the rest of the ship appeared on the horizon.

View of that smaller beach with birds, the causeway and the power plant.

We got our strength back after the safety exercises and now time to follow the causeway back.

The water was so calm after the storm. That's the storm ahead of me. It already passed over us. We stopped a lot just to film and look at the seagrass. We saw a sea turtle briefly. I'm testing out my new Barska waterproof 10x25 binoculars. They're ok. I'll do a review on them later. And my new gloves worked great. Chris wants a pair of his own.

This is on the way back. I had so much fun with these birds.

Look at that water. It's like glass. Hard to believe this is the Gulf of Mexico. That storm really flattened things out so nicely. This has been the most relaxing and beautiful outing yet despite all the loud tourists on the beach. That is easily avoided. Oh actually you know something else that kind of scares me besides boaters with motors? Fishermen. I worry about running over their lines, or them casting and hooking me. I don't trust them.

Oh my gosh the cute birds! I could have grabbed them that's how close I got. Why can't all birds be this calm?

It's at this point I realized I need an anchor. Was hard to take these pics despite the birds' excellent personalities and posing abilities. But my boat kept floating away.

Lastly the nice reflection of the power plant. Time to go home.

OK now about that car. So I looked up on Craig's List and found someone selling a 93 camaro. My car basically but it's a Z28. I only have the V6. It's been completely restored, is red and has very few negatives. I got very excited because this is actually the car I wanted back in 93 when I went with my mother to the dealership. It was "too expensive" at the time and it was "red" which was bad as she was under the false impression that cops pull over red cars more than other colors. No they pull over cars that are breaking the law. I've always been a good driver and never tempted to speed or break the laws despite having a sports car. So I got the V6 black one instead. Black was my next choice and my little Black Sunshine has been wonderful for over 20 years. But this is the upgrade and the price is incredible. We spoke to the owner and he sounds nice. Said he bought it originally for his son but it was too much for him. I laughed at that because I know Black Sunshine has been "too much" for pretty much everyone that's driven him but me. I know these 90's camaros. They are a rough ride, they are mean cars and they are finicky. I think I just learned the nuances of my car that most people won't put up with. And well he's mean too. I'll have to tell those stories sometime. His nick name was Widow Maker. I wonder what this car has done to its past owners but I think he's found a home for life with me now.

So this morning I went on a job with Chris. He's very happy for me. I transferred my part of the money to his account then we went to the bank and made a withdraw. I've never had so much cash before. We're both very nervous and unease about that. It's well hidden the way I did it. I was also amazed at what the 100 dollar bill looks like now. It's totally different. It has a huge yellow 100 on it and looks totally foreign. I hate it. I haven't used cash in forever so I did not know all the bills have been changed AGAIN. All but the 1 dollar. I hope it never changes.

So Chris will get off early this evening and we will go look at the car. Drive it and I already have a feeling it's coming home with us. Otherwise it's a crappy day to go back and re-deposit all that money. But yes we're both excited and the nice thing about this is no debt, no monthly car payments which is what I was worried about with the new truck. I will get the truck. I will start to save for it. But I think I will do it to where I pay it all off at once or I have at least 75% or the price so the monthly payments will be easy. It is my dream vehicle so one day I will own it.

I knew this summer would be incredible. It's already off to an amazing start. Oh and the chicks hatched today. They might arrive in the mail tomorrow. I can finally drive by myself to pick them up. So exciting. So yes the excited SpongeBob icon is perfect for this as that's exactly how I feel and look.

Lastly I found this awesome song the other day that I think fits me very well as my outlook on life and as I reach a milestone birthday.

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actipton80actipton80 on June 8th, 2015 06:18 pm (UTC)
So many good cormorant pictures. They really are calm. That looks like a nice place to kayak.

I look forward to cute chick pictures too.
Desthagirion on June 8th, 2015 07:24 pm (UTC)
They were great birds. It's nice they were not afraid. It was very nice. They had mangrove tunnels too but those had a bad swamp smell. That was odd.

Yes I will take pics and document the chicks.

Also, the car is great new. If it works out I can perhaps drive to visit you some day. Or take the train again and rent my own car.
badcowboy: wtfbadcowboy on June 8th, 2015 06:48 pm (UTC)
Wow so much information here my head is going to explode lol Those pictures are neat and I do love how calm and trusting those birds were. Those are the ones my mom wrongly calls fishing ducks -_- She drives me batty with her made up names because I never have a clue wtf she is talking about and have to ask about a thousand questions before going Oh THAT is what you mean! grrr I know what you did with the safety thing is necessary, but I'd be so upset and scared lol I told you I'm not one for water I can't feel under my feet so I'm sure had that been the case I would have panicked. I AM trying to get over that, I think it's just flash backs to the time I jumped off a pier into Lake Erie. I'll have to tell you that stupid story one day. I think that's what got my fear in water.

And ooooooh about a car! I'm excited for you and hope it works out! And eek chickies!! I'm excited about that too! Red cars always had that tale about them being pulled over the most. However, look around. How many red cars do you really see on the roads anymore anyway ;) I agree with you, they pull you over because you're breaking the law, not because of the color. Maybe that started because more people with red cars did bad things? That has been around since I was driving too. My first car was red. No tickets. My second car was red. No tickets. My third car was blue. No tickets. Fourth car was green. Three tickets. Fifth car is blue. One ticket. So yeah, the red thing is just a no to me too. Gosh I just realized I had a lot of cars lol I think I should take the third car no tickets as a one ticket since I got into an accident and they gave me a ticket for it. Hmmm does that really count though? I technically didn't break a law.

Looking forward to more news!!! Not sure what is left here or on DA I am trying to catch up XD
Des: Black Copper Marans Chickthagirion on June 8th, 2015 07:34 pm (UTC)
These are Double Crested Cormorants. I'd be very pissed off with fake names. Common names are bad enough and they are different on area as well. This is why I prefer scientific names especially for plants.

Well it probably was scary. Chris said he got scared when I got stuck under the boat and when I first went in some swimmers asked if I was ok so that must have looked bad. But that's why we did it together. Not something to practice alone. Both are boats are very stable and don't easily tip so long as you don't purposely lean over or stand in them like we were doing. But yes it's necessary and we both still need to master re-entry. Yeah you'll have to tell me about that. It's funny how some people get scared of different things. I almost drowned as a baby and I remember that clearly but I'm not afraid of water or the ocean. I love it. My mother tried to teach me to fear it because she was afraid of it. But I told you about that other thing I did become afraid of and it's been very annoying living with that. I can almost control it as you saw. Fear takes WAY more energy to master than Anger. I don't know if it can be mastered it's the most primal powerful emotion.

The car is what I'm excited about too and I wanted you to see that. I hope today will work out for me. The hours are going to slow for me. Yeah that was a stupid myth going around when we were kids. That and black cars get hotter I almost didn't get my black car either and those are the two best car colors. Turquoise was rare back then and caramo didn't come out with it til the year after I got mine. DOH!!

I got the email today that the chicks were shipped today. I hope I get them tomorrow and not Weds so I don't have to wait around the house on my day off. My first order from them came the following day on a Tues. My second came the second on a Weds. I hope it's not Thurs either so I hope that trend won't hold but Tues or Thurs would be best for me. They sent the tracking number but that's useless because it doesn't update fast enough. Well now you have to come see them since you wanted to see me raise the next batch of young ones.