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Old 10-03-2012, 04:54 AM   #1
Dreams really can come true !!!!
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wolverhampton U.K.
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2012 - OLYMPIC FREE TOUR - Day 4 - Clearwater - Little Toot - Manny's (2)

Day 4 – Clearwater – Little Toot – Manny’s(2)

TODAYS VIDEO – Little Toot Dolphins.

An early get up for us all today at around 6:30 since we had planned a long journey ahead to Clearwater. We left Hilton BC at around 8:30 and joined the long string of commuters travelling west along the I4 towards Tampa. Traffic was heavy so we decided to get breakfast and exited at junction 33 and soon spotted a McDonalds. The menu selection was much more varied than back home in the UK, but it seemed that I was the only one willing to try something new.

Nigel: Steak, Egg and Cheese Bagel, Hash Brown and Orange Juice.
Sue: Egg McMuffin, Hash Brown and Orange Juice.
Emma: Sausage & Egg McMuffin, Hash Brown & Diet Coke.

Travelling onwards, we headed towards Tampa joining the I275 and then turned off towards the airport along the Courtney Campbell Parkway. The journey across Clearwater Memorial Causeway is very impressive, but it was disappointing that no stopping places were available to take pictures looking towards Clearwater beach. We arrived near to Pier 60 at around 10:30 and already the nearby car parks were showing full. Travelling a little further along the coast, I found a gift shop offering parking for $10 all day. The sun was fierce as we make the walk back towards Pier 60 and the harbour. Crossing over the road, we made our way to the booking kiosk of The Little Toot. I had discount vouchers for each adult, that I had printed from their website before we had travelled. A tour had just departed, so we booked for the 13:00 sailing. Heading back towards the Pier, we noticed that an exhibition of Dolphin sculptures (The Pod at Pier 60) was being displayed near to the entrance of the Pier. Local businesses sponsored artists to decorate each Dolphin in various forms of attire. The attention to detail was amazing as can been seen from the selection of photographs below.

The heat was almost unbearable and in an effort to kill some time, we had a browse around the nearby Ron Jon surf shop. This is a lot smaller than the one at Cocoa Beach but still had a wide variety of goods. A few items caught our eye but we decided to return after our dolphin trip. We made our way to the boat dock, where a few people had already gathered. By the time the skipper arrived, it was clear we had a full boat.

We sat at the back of the boat as I reckoned this would be the best place to photograph the dolphins, however it offered very little shade from the sun. As we headed out of the harbour, the skipper pointed out a small white wooden house to the right, which looked completely out of place amongst the surrounding condos. He told us that an old lady who refused to be intimidated and sell to property developers, had originally owned it. This battle progressed to court and was eventually awarded in the lady’s favour in the form of a protection order. As a result, only one family can now occupy the dwelling at any time.

Travelling farther around the harbor, we crossed the bottom of Pier 60 in our search for the dolphins. Despite searching the usual locations, it seemed that they were avoiding us! The skipper also pointed out an enormous white painted property along the shoreline for sale with a price tag of $40 million. It was the former home of Nigel Mansell.

By now, it appeared that the captain had resigned himself to returning without any dolphin sightings, however our last port of call turned up trumps. From nowhere, two adults and a calf appeared and as the boat engines roared into life, they were quickly in our wake. They followed the boat with ease, performing impressive jumps as the passengers clapped and cheered. At times they appeared to be dangerously close to the propellers but I guess that they are familiar with the chase.

After arriving back to the dock, we returned to Ron Jon’s and purchased some t-shirts, bracelet, necklace and fridge magnet. Returning back to the Pier, we had a leisurely stroll along it, taking in the lovely views along the white sand.

Continued in next post ……

Last edited by DISWolves; 10-03-2012 at 05:25 AM.
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