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Tampa Bay Tripping; Boards and Birds; Rabe Pizza????

My Lovely Daughter Elisabeth has wanted to go paddleboarding when she visits us down here in Florida, but the weather has not cooperated when she was able to get off work for a few days and visit from DC. So while we were in Tampa on our American Eagle Shakedown Cruise, we decided to rent a couple of paddleboards for two hours and try them out. Here is Corvette Chick showing me how it’s done.  

Now here are Bob and Jan taking their turns. Looks pretty easy, doesn’t it? (Don’t let the apparently calm seas fool you… a catastrophe is about to happen!)

And here is Jan after the 12 foot freak wave hit her… or was it a 15 foot hammerhead shark? Anyway, Jan is explaining what happened to the young girls who came out to see if she was okay. (The kids belong to the guy throwing the cast net and his wife.) 

We saw many sea and shore birds yesterday. Here are just a few Black Skimmers (Rhynchops niger) goofing off and gossiping on the beach; Wikipedia even describes their behavior as “They spend much time loafing gregariously on sandbars…”  They are called skimmers because they fly just above the surface of the water with their lower mandibles skimming the surface, picking up small fish and crustaceans, mostly at night. They are also very noisy!   

These Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa) are very shy; I tried getting closer to them, but they kept moving away. (It might have been because I hadn’t showered yet…) 

There was a little girl running up and down the beach who scared the birds on several occasions, sparking more than one aerial display of formation flying. 

This was much appreciated, especially since the current administration has cancelled the Navy’s Blue Angels performances due to the sequestration nonsense. But I did miss the jet noise and smoke trails, just a bit… 

This example of tightly packed precision flying impressed Suzanne when we looked at it closely. It was a stunningly beautiful display, and there was not a single mid-air collision!

Here are our two American Eagles, side by side at the MacDill AFB Family Campground. Maybe we will try some tight formation flying on I-75 when we make our Mach 1.5 trip back to The Villages on Sunday… and maybe NOT!

Dinner out was at a pizza place, a chain that we had been very impressed by when we ate at their Fort Lauderdale restaurant. Unfortunately, the Tampa extension is still working out some kinks in their menu… such as, My Lovely Healthy Bride opted to share a pizza, with broccoli rabe and tofu toppings. (Okay, I’m kidding about the tofu, but really, “rabe”? NOBODY eats rabe on pizza!) The only thing that saved dinner were the chicken wings with carmelized onions and foccacia, which were spectacular. Oh, and we stopped later for a cookies and cream milkshake at Chick-fil-A; that sure salvaged my evening!  


  • Jennifer
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Ty, those are captivating photos of the birds. I especially like the Black Skimmer with the champagne colored waves washing in toward them. Their mandibles are so colorful….

    Nice photo of you and Suzanne with the fresh pizza as your centerpiece…

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Jen, The shore birds were amazing; I could have spent hours just watching them. As for the pizza, I should have stuck with my favorite, pepperoni… rabe was just too weird. Ty

  • Jennifer
    Posted April 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    That's funny. I'm not sure about rabe either. It's very vegetarian..

    Florida really attracts beautiful birds. So therapeutic Isn't it? When I lived in Florida I just loved to walk the beach and listen to the sound of pelicans and other birds….


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