July 4th, 2020-Little Manatee River boat ride

After 3 family values bike rides, in which my heart rate was great. I had decided on a big Whaler boat ride out into Tampa Bay and the upstream past I-75 into the “1000 islands” of the upper Little Manatee. Everyday I seem to feel better. The bay was first and a little choppy in a 13 foot boat.

Headed back into the river and the water was calm except for the boat traffic.

I was alone past I-75.

There was an increase in boat traffic as the morning went on and it was time for me to get home. Be safe and have a great 4th Peace out Tres dog

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Mariella Smith’s birthday

It was decided after a lazy rollout of coffee, muffins, cards, gifts, sung voice mail messages, phone calls and internet that we would go to Marie Selby for my wife’s birthday.

The entrance was a beautiful display of epiphytes or orchids or bromeliads.


Mariella and I wandered the grounds in mostly shade next to Sarasota Bay.

There was an installation of Dali imagery in conjunction with the garden.

A beautiful lunch at Michel’s Cafe. Great. Then some other great images.

Happy birthday Mariella.

WUSF Everglades Canoe trip

I was fortunate enough to snag a spot off the waitlist to attend a supported Everglades canoe trip benefitting WUSF. My dear friend Chris Wilkerson was available to attend so away we went to Monument Lake Campground.

We met there to go to a docent led wet walk behind Clyde Butcher’s studio in Ochopee. WOW!

Orchids and Bromeliads.

It was just amazing. Over 2 hour walk. Chris and I were able to quickly go into Everglades City and a quick look at Rod and Gun Club. An old favorite.

Back to camp with a nice dinner. The tour operator was Wilderness Inquiry and they were great.

We had an early out for transfer of this canoe city to Collier Seminole State Park. Everything in the canoes before we head out.

It took longer to get in and we paddled to Tazz Key and camping before setting up home base on Whitehorse Key.

It was high enough to withstand tide and appeared beautiful until the no see ums. Talk about WOW. In tents at 6 pm.

Happy to get moving to Whitehorse Key.

It was in this day that we saw the flock of pelicans that were the featured image. Whitehorse Key was great and more often than not the bugs were not bad at all. The most spectacular green flash I have ever seen.

The next day was a longer paddle from home base to Buttonwood Bay Beach. Fishing and instructions before leaving.

The next day a shorter paddle to a beach near by and lunch. Manatee sighting.

Last night was pizzas and sunset.

Final day with breakfast, instructions and a heartfelt goodbye for all the participants. It was a great group of people. Our 2 guides Julie and Alex worked there tails off for our comfort.

Friday morning Aitutaki and getaway day to home

A long great sleep with usual grand breakfast. A last cloudy lagoon swim and pool swim. Shower and packing. Lunch at Tamanu Beach.

We have our room until our transfer from Etu Moana to Aitutaki Airport. 45 minute hop to Rarotonga. Big crowd at airport.

Some time to kill in Rarotonga before the almost midnight flight from Raro to LA. Our hosts at Etu Moana recommended Tamarind House Restaurant for dinner and it was superb.

I must comment on the unspoiled nature for the most part of the Cook Islands. It has been a refreshing change of beauty, culture and pure type of island life. Meitaki Maata Cook Islands.

Thursday morning Aitutaki

I was given an option to borrow a scooter and did so. A great solo roll around the island.

I came back and got Mariella convinced I could manage a grandma scooter ride down to the north end of the island for lunch and a surprise and she hesitantly agreed. The surprise was the aquatic nature center that farms… clams.

It was a big treat for Mariella, as well as me, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was an amazing kaleidoscope of colors and sizes. We had lunch at the the Boatshed Restaurant with a colorful history and museum. Jimmy Buffett looked like he could have been here. Maybe he has.

On the scooter we hopped and I showed Mariella the Aitutaki Lagoon Villas. She was nervous on the scooter but, was a real trooper.

A long swim in a cloudy lagoon then the pool. Dinner at Sam and Beverly’s and it was lovely. Larry an American ex pat ate with us and it was a real nice evening. Lasagna with salad and passion fruit ice cream. Sam and Beverly were great hosts. They go to Raro for the weekend.

Peace out Tres

Wednesday morning Aitutaki after a cyclone hit Fiji

We had heard that Fiji was hit with a cyclone and the tail of it would cause some storming in Aitutaki. It did. Big swells of waves going over the lagoon reef with high winds and intermittent heavy rains.

My wife sent me out for breakfast in the rain. Poncho man.

We read for awhile and our room was made up. After a couple of hours and the rain had subsided some we went for a walk down the road to Pacific resort.

Lunch in room with short nap the pool swim. No snorkeling in lagoon today. Cleaned up and went to town for the Amuri village presentation of dance, music and singing in what is known as Koni Raoni. It was great. It is only done 2 times per year, Christmas and New Years.

Quick ride home.

Dinner at Sam and Beverly’s. Lamb shank to die for with rice and vegetables and passion fruit ice cream. Peace out Tres