Tag Archives: water

Field Trip On Estero Bay, conclusion

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IMG_5734-Estero-Bay-NO-WAKEToday we’re continuing our exploration of wildlife and habitats in Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve with my Florida Master Naturalist class (Coastal Systems module).

As mentioned in my previous post, Estero Bay is very shallow. Sunlight penetration allows for the growth of sea grasses (they’re green, they need sunlight for photosynthesis), and sea grasses provide an excellent nursery for marine life, which in turn provides excellent feeding grounds for birds and bigger marine life.

See how it works? 🙂

If you speed through and your prop tears up the grasses, then you’re destroying habitat and the whole ecosystem is compromised. So, always pay attention to the “no wake” and “low wake” signs – they are there for a VERY good reason.


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“DIVE-BOMB BEACH”

As we rounded a corner and emerged from under the Big Carlos Pass bridge, we saw tall high-rise buildings standing sentry over a stretch of unraked beach – kind of unusual, since beachfront high-rise residents usually want to see an unblemished expanse of sand, not dune vegetation. This beach is unraked because it is a bird breeding ground. While we were floating out here discussing the habitat, we saw two people haplessly wander into the breeding ground and get dive-bombed by the birds defending their territory. It was a perfect example of this type of protective, territorial behavior. The people ran for cover; I think they were probably totally innocent and didn’t realize where they were.

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JET-SKIERS ON TOUR IN BIG CARLOS PASS

We could hear the leader of this tour speaking to the group; they might have been eco-tourists too, just like us. It’s actually fortunate that we took this ride in June. During “season” here in Southwest Florida, these waters would have been pretty well jammed with all sorts of recreationists.

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FLYING IN ESTERO BAY ?!?!?!!?

No sooner had we taken leave of the jet skiers and headed out of Big Carlos Pass then we saw this … I’m not sure what it is but it looks like fun! It’s a regular water sports and recreational paradise down here in Southwest Florida.

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TRI-COLORED HERON

I believe we are now heading into what our intrepid boat captains referred to as “Spoon Lagoon”, the location of which we swore never to reveal. I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you…. It’s called “Spoon Lagoon” for reasons that will become obvious soon. This is a tricolored heron. You might be thinking, “Hey wait a minute, didn’t she just tell us that kind of bird was a little blue heron?”. Nope, I didn’t. See the white underbelly? Not a little blue!

 

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RED MANGROVE ROOTS

Here’s a sight I love, although I haven’t quite figured out why yet. This tangled mess is actually a the prop root system of the red mangrove tree. It’s a vast and intricate network, like a very complicated work of architecture or sculpture. I just get lost looking at it, and not unpleasantly so. Well, as it turns out, the prop roots ARE somewhat of an architectural feature. They serve as braces for the tree, to hold it up. They also collect and hold sand and silt, so an island forms under and around the mangrove. Finally, they pipe air down to the actual roots of the tree. Pretty useful, huh?

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BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON

I feel a little sorry for this bird. It doesn’t have any neck to speak of, and it must feel a bit dowdy as compared to the other, more graceful-necked herons. This was the first time I’d seen the black-crowned variety; I’ve had a close encounter with a yellow-crowned night heron before, years ago in Ding Darling. It was doing yoga and smiling at me. Good times, good times 😉

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ROSEATE SPOONBILL and WHITE IBIS

And now we come to the rhyme and reason of naming “Spoon Lagoon” – it’s the roseate spoonbill, which our captain has known to hang out in this particular spot in the bay. Along with our spoony friend is a white ibis.

The spoonbill uses it’s bill to sweep along the mud for delectable morsels to nom-nom-nom, while the ibis has a bill more appropriate for probing down into the mud.

One of the things this class is teaching me is that my camera is woefully inadequate for these purposes. Perhaps Santa Claus will do something about that…

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THE NESTING POLE

Sights such as this one are common in Florida. As habitat is lost, the osprey often improvise, as we have seen previously with the nest on top of a channel marker sign. They are also frequently given a perch like this one. You see these platforms a lot along a certain stretch of the I-4 interstate, where the birds had been building on poles close to dangerous power lines. The chicks would fall out and fry themselves. Conservation groups come along and build these platforms to encourage a safer location for the nests. I’ve also seen these man-made perches back home on Long Island, specifically in the area of the Connetquot River in Oakdale, NY. It’s kind of cool – like building a bird house, only open-air.

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REDDISH EGRET

This reddish egret’s head nearly blends in with the reeds from far away. We recognized him by his lively hunting technique – he flaps and hops and jumps, chasing his prey all over the shallows. We enjoyed watching his antics 🙂

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ESTERO BAY SKYSCRAPERS


I am in love with the Southwest Florida sky. Clouds are endlessly fascinating to watch as they morph and change before your eyes. I am so lucky to live here, and I know it.

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THE FRIENDSHIP SENTRY ON ESTERO BAY

Our friend the cormorant strikes a regal pose atop the manatee sculpture that sits on a sign,which says: “The basis of environmental recovery lay in oneness with creation and with ourselves. Enjoy it.” The sign below it says, “Friendship Sentry”. I guess the cormorant is taking his job seriously!

This pretty much concludes the Estero Bay field trip. It was a wonderful excursion, a great way to spend a Saturday morning, and I highly recommend my classmates and boat captains for this trip, Good Time Charters. They are knowledgeable, skilled and generous tour leaders and no, they didn’t pay me to say this LOL 😉

Fear not – there are more Florida Master Naturalist adventures to document here! NEXT TIME: Lovers Key State Park !!! 🙂
BR> 

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Southwest Florida Scenery

© Copyright 2011 Tink *~*~* | http://MyMobileAdventures.com

Causeway sunsetIt’s been hot and sunny here in Southwest Florida. Late last week, the set-your-watch-by-it afternoon thunderstorm started to make appearances, although it’s not really consistent yet. Sometimes, friends on Sanibel Island say all they got was a lot of rumbling and a little spit; meanwhile, out here on the mainland, it’s pouring so hard, I can’t even see across the pond out back. Other days, they get the deluges and I don’t even get the spit! Well, it will settle in eventually, the sooner the better. I really want to turn off the irrigation system and save some bucks on the monthly utility bill.

Yet another causeway sunset shot

Here’s what sunset looked like from one of the causeway islands early last week. Also included below is a shot of one of my plumeria trees in bloom. These beautiful creamy-yellow blooms look good enough to eat and they smell absolutely outrageous. Typically, they will take a short rest and then start blooming again, right through the summer and into about October. Can’t wait for the fuschia-colored tree to bloom again!

Plumeria Report 25 May 2011

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The view to the left



The view to the left, originally uploaded by Erin aka Tink*~*~*.

That’s Wet n Wild down there – not a park I’d go to at this stage of my life unless the nieces were desperate to experience it. But it looks like there’s a lovely setting for those hotels across the lake.

Sorry if you can see the dirt on the windows; they don’t open up this high (as well they shouldn’t!)

i think I will head over and knock around CityWalk for a bit, figure out what I want for dinner, and come back here for some homework.

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Off to see the Wizard…ing World Of Harry Potter

Meeting family in Orlando for a few days; will send pics.

On the agenda: drop in on the Flower & Garde Festival at EPCOT, Universal parks and maybe a non-Orlano surprise side trip.

See Ya Real Soon!

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The Florida Strawberry Festival – and a side trip!

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
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Strawberry Festival TicketsSo, here’s the strategy. I’m meeting a friend at the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Florida on Sunday.

Plant City is roughly 45 minutes from Walt Disney World.

Yes, I know – I was JUST there. But I have an annual pass and Starwood points for free stays. So, what would YOU do?

Yep, that’s what I’m going to do, too! I’ll go to Disney first, and then hit the Strawberry Festival on the way back. Look for mobile blogging from the Flower and Garden Festival in EPCOT to commence sometime on Friday afternoon.

The last time I attended the Florida Strawberry Festival was 2008; here’s a slide show of pictures I took back then –



If you want to see all the photos individually with detailed comments, please visit my “2008 Florida Strawberry Festival” set on Flickr.

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Lakes Park Is A Pretty Place

Lots of water fowl enjoy this place – just saw some moorhens and a pelican. Also a weird, fat black goose with a red head. But I am standing amidst a bunch of fire ant mounds to get this picture and I don’t want to stand here too long….

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Water Playground



Water Playground, originally uploaded by Erin aka Tink*~*~*.

Oh to be a child again! Well, it’s a little chilly yet this morning to be running through the spray, but later on when it hits 80*, I suppose some lucky younguns will be delighted. The sound alone is pretty soothing.

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Photo Friday: Breathtaking

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*

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For today’s “Breathtaking” Photo Friday, I’d like to share some sunsets I have known.

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Above: EPCOT, Walt Disney World – October 2010

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Above: “Two Ladies In The Harbor”, New York City – September 2006

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Above: Sanibel Island, Florida – May 2009

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Above: My backyard – January 2009

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Uncommon Friends by D. J. Wilkins

Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and their buddy Mr. Firestone (sorry, I don’t know his first name) -"fathers of the American industrial 20th century" – captured in sculpture for this fountain in the Fort Myers River District

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A Tree Of Many Totems

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
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All around the Tree Of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there are paths you can wander from which you can view animals in their habitats as well as trees, flowers and the local wildlife that has been attracted to this lovely park. A key ingredient to that attraction is the abundance of water. It flows, it pools and it falls, over, through and between all manner of things built into the landscape. The whoosh of water is an ever-present lullaby in the background of this lush, jungle-like world. Let’s take a walk through it right now!

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We’re inside a cave, with the water falling outside

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The waterfall creates a constant, fine mist, which keeps things moist and encourages moss to grow.

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Ooops, I think we’ve walked in on this giraffe taking a shower! 😉

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It’s a tree of many totems…




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Photo Friday: Tranquil

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I found a new (well, to me) weekly photo meme called “Photo Friday“, which gives a word prompt each week. This week is “tranquil” and since I’m a fan of Sanibel Island aka “paradise”, I figured I had lots of material from which to choose! So I’m playing along this week. Enjoy!

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Mythos at Islands of Adventure

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
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The “Lost Continent” section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park has taken a hit to make way for the new “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” section. Casualties include:

  • The Flying Unicorn, a kiddie roller coaster, which has now been re-themed as Flight of the Hippogriff
  • The Enchanted Oak, a counter service restaurant that had the best ribs I’ve ever tasted on this entire planet, seems to have morphed into The Three Broomsticks – still counter service but with a decidedly English countryside twist to the menu
  • “Fire and Ice”, the feet-dangling-Erin-terrorizing double roller coaster, as been re-themed to reflect the Dragon Challenge in the Triwizard Tournament, an event around which Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was centered.

Still standing is the “Poseidon” themed section of the Lost Continent, including the award-winning Mythos restaurant. Inexplicably, I have always managed to miss dining at Mythos; one thing or another has prevented me from joining any of my friends and family there, thus far. So, if there is such a thing as a theme park “bucket list”, this would be on mine – lunch at Mythos. I have the feeling I’d better get to it sooner rather than later, before what remains of the Lost Continent becomes truly lost!



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Frenzy on the Sanibel Island Causeway

There’s a guy off-camera throwing gawd knows what at these beach birds. People, you should NOT feed wild animals! It makes them unafraid of people and they can become a nuisance or worse. Plus it makes them dependent on people for sustenance.

Don’t feed the animals unless it is dire circumstances (like, a blizzard, which is unlikely to happen here)

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Watching Illuminations from the gazebo in Mexico is a cluster #epcot

People shoving themselves and their kids between the tables at the rails. People seated beyond the rails who were apparently expecting to remain seated while watching are pissed off. And don’t tell me your kid got to be five and you didn’t know she screams and cries and covers her ears. People are heartless.

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Visitor At A Southwest Florida Pond

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
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JULY 19TH, 2010 – 6:42 pm: I’d just been entertaining a passel of friends for a long weekend of hanging out and reminiscing. Now they were all going home. Made the last airport run of the day and came back to the house, only to find a new visitor had arrived and was stalking a meal out in the back yard. Ran for my camera, by which time he’d moved a couple of yards over.

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He didn’t much like it when I stepped off the lanai. He proceeded to fluff himself up indignantly and stalk down the bank of the pond (probably muttering, “damned paparazzi!”).

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OCTOBER 9TH, 2010 – 4:20 PM: I saw him quite a bit throughout the rest of the summer, but had a pretty hard time getting him to show me his best side. It seems he’s extraordinarily reticent (I’m trying to be nice here – I think he might actually be a snob).

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As always, the minute I stepped off the lanai, there he went. Here’s a shining example of his exit strategy – he just shows me his tail feathers!

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OCTOBER 10TH, 2010 – 6:27 PM: The back of the house faces precisely west, and the setting sun glaring off the pond can be unbearable – and very warm! This is where plantation shutters come in handy. I moved to the French doors to shutter them and when I glanced out, our visitor was poised and still, silhouetted against the water’s glare in the setting sun. Whatcha lookin’ at, Mr. Visitor?

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“Dinner,” came the reply as he casually speared his. The plump, hapless focus of his attention quivered and then was still.

He swallowed it whole 😯



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Coming Soon: Next Trip to Orlando!

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
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I am scheduled to visit Orlando at the end of the month. I’ll be going to Universal for sure to see Harry Potter with some old friends from New York. Plan to stop by the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival as well. Now that Disney has launched a new advertising campaign, I suppose these “Celebrate Today” banners will be gone. I wonder what will be in their place? Stay tuned!

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Southwest Florida: Scenes From Everyday Life

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
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It’s still rainy season here in Southwest Florida, which means we are still subject to the daily deluge. Here, a waterfall forms where the roof of the lanai meets the roof of the house. This is why I pick up “junk shells” from the beaches – I use them for erosion control! If I didn’t do that, there would be a big hole right there where the pavers meet the grass.


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Here’s a sight of which I am somewhat proud. Ever since I switched to an organic lawn maintenance company, I’ve seen a few green anoles around my property. Green anoles are indigenous to the southeastern United States. They face enough of a challenge from the invasive brown anole, which comes from Cuba and other Caribbean islands. We don’t need to be further eradicating them through overly-ambitious applications of pesticides. Even though I don’t care for the presence of anoles on my lanai (they poop all over the place!), I still think it’s a good sign that some green ones are hanging around.


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(s)Wanderin’ around the Oasis

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
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The black-necked swan hails from South America and is considered the prettiest of all the varieties of swans in the world.


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A Southwest Florida after dinner treat

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
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🙂 Good thing it’s Wordless Wednesday –

because, really, there just are no words…


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How to catch a snook at sunset

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_3916A few weeks ago, I went shelling at Blind Pass around sunset. The tide was pretty low, and people were able to wade knee-high into the Pass. I stood on the Sanibel side and was interested in some kids who were playing on the jetty over on the Captiva side – fishing, horsing around, one of them striking a fencing pose with his fishing pole.

All the while, there was a guy in the Pass casting and reeling, casting and reeling. His friend kept encouraging him, even though he wasn’t getting anything. Suddenly, he had a bite! Instead of focusing on the kid, I focused on the Fishing Dude. When he finally reeled it in, he called to his friend, “Man I wish I had a camera!”

“Hey, over here!” I hollered from the shore. “I’ve got a camera!” Whereupon the Fishing Dude held his snook aloft like a trophy and I took the shot.

After they’d clambered out of the water, I asked for Fishing Dude’s email address so I could get the photos to him somehow. I ended up putting them into a set on my Flickr account and sending him the link.

Here’s that set of photos in slide show format, untouched – I didn’t even put a watermark on them, in case Fishing Dude wanted to download any of them. Hope you all enjoy!

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Wishes from the Seven Seas Lagoon

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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🙂 One night during my May whirlwind weekend trip to Walt Disney World, my brother, the infamous “Chez Bro”, had a surprise for us. He’d hired a boat to take us out on a cruise from Disney’s Contemporary resort on Bay Lake over to the Seven Seas Lagoon, where we would watch Wishes from out on the water. After we’d had dinner at The Wave, we met some of our local Orlando-area cousins up in the Contemporary’s lounge for a drink, and then we proceeded to the Contemporary’s dock. Our skipper met us there with a cooler full of soft drinks and a basket of snacks. It was a fairly warm night, no need for a jacket. The skipper guided us under the monorail bridge and then over the water bridge that passes over the road leading to and from the front entrance of the Contemporary (the road actually passes under the water!). Soon we were floating in the middle of the Seven Seas Lagoon. We could see the light parade floating in the distance but by time we caught up with it, the show was over and the barges were dark.

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After a while, the fireworks started and they were spectacular! Here, you can see the castle is lit in blue, lurking behind the train station. Mostly, our skipper tried to float us into a position where we could see the castle off to one side, but sometimes we listed away – this was one of those times.

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Here, we’ve righted our position, and you can see the castle again, this time in lavender. I took many, many pictures but it was difficult to get clean shots due to the movement of the boat. These two were the best of the bunch. It was a wonderful experience and I’d certainly love to have the opportunity to do it again.

Please vote for Give Kids The World. They work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help grant the wishes of seriously ill children who want to visit Orlando. You can vote daily until June 30th.

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Mystic mountain mirrored

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_1442-WDW-DAK-Everest-reflectedBack in the early days of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there was an attraction called Discovery River Boats, the purpose of which wasn’t really so much entertainment as it was to taxi the guests around the park via the river that winds around Discovery Island. There was a dock in Asia and another close to the entrance of the park, just after you emerge from the Oasis. These docks have been repurposed since the attraction shut down. The one in Asia is now a shaded sitting area to rest or eat, and the other one is a character meet-and-greet spot.

I sometimes find myself wishing that attraction still existed. It can be very pleasant to float along in a boat at Disney World, a peaceful respite during a busy day. And then I get a shot like this one, and I realize that it would not have been possible with boats running around disturbing the reflections.

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Orange moon over “Algiers” Beach, Sanibel Island

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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Last Thursday (05-27-2010) was the “full flower moon” according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. The moon was orange and huge as it hovered over the Gulf of Mexico. This is how it looked as seen from the beach at Gulfside City Park on Sanibel Island – more commonly known to locals as “Algiers”.

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This is what paradise means



This is what paradise means, originally uploaded by Tink*~*~*.

The moon hangs huge and orange over the Gulf.

I can hear racoons callinng to one another in the gathering dusk.

I damned near stepped on a SCORPION on my way back to tjhe car. OK not so much paradise but into every Eden a little evil must fall, to show you how good you’ve got it.

I found a reeeeeDONKulous (Nieceling word) number of mac and cheese shells after transplanting myself to Algiers.

Life is good 🙂

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Lost scenes from the Jungle Cruise

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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🙂 Look, it’s a hippo! He’s either hungry, or else bored….

Sometimes when I’m out and about and taking photos with the camera phone, I’m too busy photographing to mobile blog. I know that sounds strange but consider: can you send email and take pictures with your phone at the same exact time? I can’t. In fact, I’m not sure there’s a camera phone that CAN do that. So if I start emailing, which can take 30-60 seconds depending on the size of the shot, I cannot keep on taking pictures while that’s going on, and sometimes miss a good shot. Therefore, I will sometimes just keep on taking pics and then forget to scroll back and start sending!

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That’s what happened with some shots I took on the Jungle Cruise in the Magic Kingdom last week. I just kept snapping and snapping and then when we got off the boat it was off to another adventure and I never sent them. I love the animatronics on the Jungle Cruise -they still look great and some of them are very realistic. I think Disney especially did the hippo and the littler elephants really well.

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This isn’t an animatronic anything. It’s part of the stone ruins that you pass before entering the temple. I call her “the goddess”. I’m not even sure why I think this is a “her” – just a hunch, I guess. She’s one of my favorite things in the Magic Kingdom 🙂

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A whimsical watery wonder

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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I was sitting on a bench in the Canada section of EPCOT’s World Showcase. A Disney Cast Member came along, sweeping up. Suddenly, he was not using the broom to sweep up garbage any more. He was dunking the broom in a pail of water and using it to draw a Mickey head on the pavement !

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Shady glade on the rose walk

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🙂 EPCOT’s rose walk has the only bench that I know of in any of the Disney theme parks that has a market umbrella installed next to it. The umbrella is a testament to the fact that it’s a rare thing to find a shady spot along rose walk. There are two places where trees throw shade JUST off the walkway. Even if you can’t sit in that shade, it still brings a smidgen of relief just to look at it on a hot day.

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Shrine by a quiet stream in Anandapur

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_1515-WDW-DAK-shrine

A shrine made of stone sits by a quiet stream at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Anandapur is the name of the fictional village. In the real world, outside the 42 square miles upon which Disney built his Florida empire, there are two places called Anandapur. One of them is in India, and the other is in Bangladesh.

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