Ahhh! Sunny and warm Florida. Such a different environment this time of year compared to cold and barren MA. My mood was instantly altered by the sight of the turquoise blue waters, vibrant year round flora, and the 80 degree temperature. Tranquility. Although my new found tranquility would be challenged several times over the course of the week by my parents;Love you mom and dad!
Sunday was overcast and 70 degrees. We made the best of the day and travelled to Tarpon Springs which is the sponge capital of the US. We entered a shop that sells sponges and handmade soaps. There was also a theatre inside playing a documentary about sponges. Did you know that centuries ago Greek explorers discovered over 10,000 miles of sponge beds in the Gulf of Mexico? Who knew? I bought myself a wool sponge for the bath, which contrary to the name is quite soft when wet. If cared for properly, the sponge can last for almost a decade. We then had lunch at a very authentic Greek restaurant. Everytime the waitress flambed a dish at the table she shouted OPA!! It really was quite festive;so much so that I couldn't help but reply with my own OPA!! The greek salad with grilled gulf shrimp was ABSOLUTELY to die for. I never realized how much I like the taste of feta cheese. God do I love food.
My parents explained that the meteorologists have a difficult time forecasting the weather in Florida since it is so unpredictable. True to form, the rainy Monday that was on the agenda, turned out to be partly cloudy. The RV park that my parents are calling home for the winter is on a canal. I spent the morning meditating on the dock until my mother returned from her quilting class. I am impressed by the activities here at the park: line dancing, zumba class, water aerobics, bingo. It did eventually rain, but cleared up around 2pm. We decided to hop into the Jeep Liberty for the short drive to the manatee observatory. To my surprise the observatory is situated right next to a power plant. Evidently this produces warm water which the manatees are attracted to. We walked out on the pier and there was a thermometer. On the power plant side it was 8 degrees warmer. The manatee weren't very active that day, but we did see a couple lolling around. I also saw a really cool spotted ray.
to be continued....