27-30 May 2016.
Landing early Friday evening out of Nashville, Chris picked us up at the airport. Old mate Chris is over here from NZ doing a stint for the NZ Defense force with his wife Nadine and their two children Jacob and Lucy.
Nadine prepared some fantastic evening snacks over which we chatted for some time. The girls headed off to bed about 11. Having not caught up for a while Chris and I headed for the deck for a cigar and a chat – the next thing we knew it was 4am!
The next morning we had a guided tour of Tampa, exploring the piers and big houses along the shore front.
In the afternoon we headed across one of the three Tampa Bay bridges to a great café on the shore front. They had a small area in the water roped off where the kids could bathe under the watchful eyes of their parents. Miami vice type boats cruised past, most with one or two bikini clad woman on board with the guys in t-shirts and shorts.
On Sunday we took a drive a couple of hours up north to the Weeki Wachi Springs. Nadine had organised the hire of a couple of Canadian canoes. This place was well organised and soon they had us in the river and paddling our way down stream amongst the many other people in canoes, kayaks, or just floaties. The water was crystal clear as the river weaved its way through the jungle.
The trip was around five miles. As we got a couple of miles down stream we passed large houses set back from the river in the bush. There was a chance here of spotting a Manatee; these are sometimes referred to as a sea cow. As we paddled our way past some small houses set on the river someone called us over to point out a Manatee feeding against the bank. We watched as, she and her calf sucked up the weed growing on the rivers edge with their soft mouths.
Reaching Roger Park and the end of our journey we paddled across to a local bar for a late lunch. Back in Tampa we dropped Sylvia at the airport for her flight to Nashville. I left the following morning after enjoying another pleasant evening in Tampa.