Last month, Doug and I spent two weeks in Florida, escaping, at least temporarily, the hardest winter we've experienced in Indiana in decades.
It was seven degrees Fahrenheit (about -14 Celsius) when we left home on January 8th.
Our first day in Florida was the warmest we were to see, at 80 degrees F (27 C). We visited Sunset Beach, near Tarpon Springs, with friends, Dean and Marilyn, who winter in the RV park at Word of Life in Hudson, Florida.
At the beach, we encountered a man from Indiana, who now lives full time in Florida. We had met the same guy at the same beach last year, and Dean didn't waste any time before renewing the acquaintance.
Dean is the guy with clothes on.
We were there to attend conferences at Word of Life, so free time was somewhat limited. Still, although cool temperatures marked the remainder of our stay and most Floridians were bundling up and shuddering at the thought of going to the beach, Doug and I managed to spend several afternoons at the beach during our two-week stay. Mind you, some of those days involved jackets and sweatshirts; but they all involved sunshine.
Other than the one day at Sunset Beach, the rest of our beach time was at Fred Howard County Park, which consists of a mainland park, much like any other park, plus an island which is reached by a one-mile drive out a causeway.
This schematic gives you an idea of the layout of Howard Park.
These trees, common in Howard Park, are unlike any we see in Indiana.
One of the picnic areas
A picnic pavilion seen across a pond.
Several dolphins were swimming near the causeway during one of our drives out to the island.
A late-afternoon beach scene on the island at Fred Howard Park
A windsurfer zipping by on a windy afternoon in the Gulf.
On many of the days we spent at the beach, we chose a spot on the north side that was sheltered from the wind by a bank of rocks, providing a nice place for us to set up our chairs for an afternoon of reading and photographing shore birds.
Our strip of beach on the north side of the island, looking toward Tarpon Springs.
In future posts, I'll show you some of the birds that were the reason I didn't get much reading done on these beach days.