Monday, 3 August 2015

Boat trip and Bradenton on Anna Marie Island.

About 5 days into our holiday, we ran into a few days of bad weather.  I say bad, it was still 90+ degrees, but there was thunderstorms and lots and lots and lots of rain....

Here are a few photos from those days.

We had some parakeets nesting near the house.  A little bit of investigating let me to find out they were black faced parakeets, an invasive species, probably released by an exotic animal dealer in and around Tampa.  They are slowly but surely moving into the local area.  Not always a good thing.  Florida has a big issue with evasive species.....

We had to do a boat trip. There are plenty of different companies to go with.  We choose Lil Toot Charter, out of Cortez.  They offer family friendly fishing charters and dolphin watching tours.

Luckily for us it was quite a cloudy day, otherwise we would have baked!  The dolphin watching trip last just over 90 minutes, and we had the whole boat to ourselves!

We were amazingly fortunate and saw lots of dolphins.  Even the captain was surprised by how many we saw.  There were storms brewing in the Gulf, and he thought that may have bought more into the Bay.  When you are looking out for your first one, and you see a fin less than 10 feet from the boat, then see the dolphin in the water, it is truly amazing.  Never ceases to send shivers down my spine when I see a dolphin in the wild.  

It was so worth going on the boat ride.  We all enjoyed it, the captain was nice.  Not overly talkative, but our kids make up for that!  It was also good value, considering the fact we had the whole boat to ourselves, and the amount of time we were out there.

We headed further down the island to Bradenton Beach for some lunch. I had spotted Bridge Street Historical area, so we thought we would go and check it out.  We found somewhere for lunch, sat inside, as it was so dang hot! Afterwards we went for a little explore, and the kids all got to play a game of Mini Golf, which they were very happy about.

We had a little walk down to the end of Bradenton Beach City Pier.  There is a restaurant on this pier, but it  was closed.  In fact, the whole pier was pretty deserted, bar a dolphin cruise about to leave, and a couple of fisherman.  I was quite surprised. It is a recently renovated pier, after being damaged in hurricane Sandy in 2012.  There are plenty of boats moored in and around the pier, and I am led to believe they often get manatees in the area, though we did not see any.

This is a really nice pier.  We were even fortunate enough to see a baby dolphin with its mother in and around the boats you can see behind me in the picture.  So cool!!!!

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