Tag Archives: Sunset

Our favorite things about Tampa Bay: Caladesi Island

Come visit our state. Come to Florida. Come to the Tampa Bay Area and experience the best of our state. If you plan on going anywhere in the next few weeks or months, come see why we love our land.  Florida has over a thousand miles of beaches that are safe and welcoming. Come visit and see why Floridians love it here.

And, although I might be a little on the biased side here, I encourage you to specifically visit the Tampa Bay area.

A few weekends ago we visited Caladesi Island in honor of Natalie’s birthday and to have a test photo shoot, with Natalie acting as her own model.  Micheal went with us to enjoy the sunny, sandy day, and also to help steer the rays of the sun with our large reflector.

To get there, you have to first go to Honeymoon Island and park your ride and then hop on the ferry or rent a kayak to go over to the island. Being that the forecast called for rain later in the evening, we chose the ferry.  The admission that day was $12.00 per person and $6.00 for kids. I assure you that the price is well worth it.  What you end up with on the other end of that foamy, misty,  ride is genuinely priceless.

It was a quick, breezy ride to a long wooden dock. We stepped out into what is a strange little nexus of gift shop, restrooms, boat dock, and the awesome beauty of raw, nearly pristine nature.  Right behind the most excellent concession stand that carries a surprisingly large menu just hidden behind the restroom and a thick tangle of trees the view opens up into an expansive, lush 661 acre park.  “Breathtaking,” is the most apt way to describe this beach.  It is raw, primal, and still very much under the control of Mother Nature.  There are clearly marked areas that which a human foot simply cannot tread.  Every step you take on this sand is magic, and the air shimmers with gold and blue, and the song of the sea alone is enough to make you fall into a dream state, contentedly walking to the rhythm of the waves running up to embrace the shore.

We either swam or just laid back in the sun most of the day. Wildlife is incredibly varied and abundant, and very vocal.  We lounged on the sand, listening to the birds sing, or bobbed up and down in the warm, clear water.  We took a few photos here and there but spent most of the time just being silent, taking in all that we could of the jewel that is Caladesi Island.

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Drumming Ritual

Back in the spring 1996, my aunt and I drove to Key West, Florida for some fun and adventure.

We walked through Ernest Hemingway’s house. We saw nine generations of his cats with six toe paws. We saw the room where he wrote and ultimately killed himself with a rifle. Not a pretty thought, but it’s one of those facts of life. We heard of the story of where one of his wives went to the expense of making a pool. Now getting a pool in most of the states is not a big deal, but in key west, you have to dig through coral rock, which is expensive. So when he found out about it, he threw down a penny and shouted, “Well, why don’t you take my last god damn penny!” Dramatical, I know, but most artists are. Look at Salvador Dali.

Another interesting place in Key West is located at the western end of the island, Mallory Square. It is the setting for one of Key West’s most famous festivities, Sunset Celebration. Each night hundreds of people gather to take part in this solar ritual with musicians, jugglers, and street performers serving as the background ambiance for nature’s breathtaking finale.

I saw the guy who would walk on broken glass. Then there was the parrot guy who wouldn’t let me take his picture unless I gave him money. Back then I was a college student so giving money to parrot men just wasn’t in my budget.

Now for the powerful moment, the drummers.

It started with three drummers. Beating away on buckets. Nothing fancy. Just buckets . . .

To me, drumming music has always been powerful. It’s sensual. The beat connect deep to your core of being in rhythm to your heart beat.

Non-stop through all the festivities, they drummed away. You could walk away to check out the sites and hear their drumming in the background. Slowly, the sun set in the west. The drumming continued . . .

And finally, the sun set and the drumming stopped in mid beat. The ritual was complete. The day ended and night life was about to begin.

After visiting Key West, that’s when the seed was planted in my mind to move to Florida.

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