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Mar 04, 2018
I made a late February trip to South Florida to celebrate turning old. I am now somehow 50, which is a baffling number. I still feel very young, so maybe it's best I just don't think about it, right? Anyway, I splurged a bit and rented out a yacht in Punta Gorda, Florida. Now, this yacht was just a place to stay and sleep, it wasn't a yacht I could take out and cruise the Gulf of Mexico in. When seeing my options for places to stay where houses, hotels, or a yacht, of course I am going to choose the yacht!
To be honest, I probably should have done a little bit more research. To nitpick a bit, the marina was well past it's prime and nearly all of the yachts were too. But it was still a marina on the Gulf of Mexico, and they were yachts (which I absolutely cannot afford at this time). The bigger issue I had was even though I was right on the Gulf, I was a good 45-minutes away from any beaches. When I did make it to a beach, good luck finding a parking spot. So, I enjoyed my time on the yacht. It was peaceful and quiet there, I was visited by countless dolphins and manatees, and I could enjoy the Florida warmth that was much better than the Minnesota Winter Storms that I left behind.
The first day of my trip, my cousin was able to come for a visit. She moved to South Florida about six years ago and I hadn't seen her since so it was wonderful to catch up with her and her family. It was also the first chance to take in a beautiful Florida sunset! Though they did not know the Punta Gorda area well, and I obviously didn't either so we just walked to the end of the marina and watched the sunset from there with a handful of other guests of the marina. We also had a few dolphins around us on that evening. In fact, on the walk back to my yacht, a dolphin jumped up out of the water just a few feet from the walkway we were on that followed the marina. The photo above this and the one following this were both created on that evening. Beautiful wasn't a strong enough word, as you can see!
The following evening, which was my birthday, my parents came to visit. I showed them the yacht and marina, and we then went in search of a sunset and chose a place called Pine Island. All I knew was it was the largest island in Florida, but we were all lacking in knowledge for where to go watch the sunset on this island. I will have to spend more time on Pine Island on my next visit. I absolutely loved that the island was free from big corporate life. Every business there was local. Each shop, each restaurant and bar, each fishing and tourist attraction were all local businesses. I love areas like that. We made our way to a park that we saw a sign for, which seemed to be on the western edge of the island. However, the park was just a series of walking paths in the mangroves and was completely lacking in any beach views. We never even saw the Gulf from there, which just seemed really odd. So we hopped back in the car and drove around until we found a place called the Tarpon Lounge and Restaurant. It was a spectacular and beautiful place to watch the sunset! The cover photo for this blog was shot while I was still in the parking lot! That is how beautiful this place was. After making that photo, I walked over and strolled out onto one of the boat docks at the Lounge. I took a few photos and then something wonderful happened. A Brown Pelican flew by and landed on a post in the water not too far from where I stood. I quickly moved around the dock trying to find a spot to line up the sunset with the pelican and of course, the one and only boat docked at that time partially blocked my ability to line it up the way I wanted. To make matters worse, this boat was a fishing boat and had the tall rack on top for the fisher to stand on up on top of the boat. So, I did my best, and even though I truly wanted to center the pelican in the setting sun, having it a bit off-center really worked out. I absolutely love the way the photo below turned out.
On my final evening in South Florida, I went down to the Fort Myers Fishing Pier. It was just shy of an hour to get there, and once arriving I found about 212 other tourists trying to find a place to park in their 48-car parking lot. It was a zoo. After driving around the area for a bit in a frantic hustle to get to the beach before sunset, I pulled into a Seven-11 that had an empty parking lot directly across the street from the beach parking lot. I went inside, bought a snack and drink and asked if it was okay if I parked in their lot for the sunset and the guy was totally ok with that. I made it to the pier and beach with about 5-minutes to spare despite arriving at the piers parking lot with 45-minutes to spare. I took a few photos while the sun was dancing with and under the pier before it set, and then I waited around for about half an hour to get the photo you see below. I was hoping to get more of a burst of color, but this isn't bad at all, don't you think?
Have you ever been to the Fort Myers/Punta Gorda area? If so, where were your favorite places to see the sunsets while there?
I hope you enjoyed the photos. Click on any of them to be taken to each photos main page. I have some below that you can take a look at but as of now, I have not added them to my website. Thank you for viewing, and please feel free to share!
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