Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee. Montaigne

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge spans across Florida's Tampa Bay, with a cable-stayed main span and a length of 29,040 feet; exactly 5.5 miles. Its part of I-275 and US 19, which connects St. Petersburg in Pinellas County and Terra Ceia in Manatee County, and passes through Hillsborough County waters. 

We all have highways & by-ways that we travel on a consistant basis.  No need for maps or GPS.  All the landmarks and exits are all too familiar from years of back & forth.  That's how I am with I-75 & I-275 in Florida.  I have navigated them for so many years that I can put myself on auto-pilot and end up wherever I am heading north or south.  These days I travel north to St. Petersburg to the Bay Pines VA Hospital where the Hubbs has all his doctor appointments.  I know exactly how long it will take us to get there at any given time of day barring any unforeseeable circumstances. 

Crossing the Sunshine Skyway is a spectacular drive.  The views of the Skyway Channel & Tampa Bay grow panoramic as your vehicle reaches the 431 feet at the peak of the top span.  There are birds and boats and people fishing and Kite surfers and cruise ships and barges and lets just say you must keep your eyes on the road.   I remember teaching my niece Pookie to drive when she was 16.  The Skyway was our first big highway drive together.  She did fine as I watched her hands turn white from gripping the steering wheel all the way over the top span.  I on the other hand put a good show of support for her  but  was happy I did not have the panic attack I so desperately wanted to have.  

So today, as Hubby & I crossed the Sunshine Skyway I was my usual on-a-mission self to get him to the VA on time. The tide on the Skyway was the lowest I've ever seen and you know how I love low tide.  There were sandbars as far as the eye could see.  Lets see, stop & walk on the sand bar or get Hubby to his nuclear stress test on time?  Ratz! I hate being a responsible adult.  But, 9 hours later on our way home the doggone tide was still way out.  I felt a potty stop was in order at the south side rest area. My sweetheart took a little time out in the truck catching up on emails  while crazy me donned 2 coats & my scarf to walk out on the sand bar in 40 degree blustery winds.  Beach combing is about "the moment".  You have to be ready to grab an opportunity when one presents itself.  I climbed over the rail, down the rocks, and slogged through the muck and it was awesome!

For a beach comber mucky bottom sand uncovered by the low tide is too tempting to pass up.  Who knows what  shells might be out there.

The winter tides are the lowest as seen on Tampa Bay at the Skyway Channel today.

I am about 100 yards out facing the rest stop.  I've never seen the tide out this far.

I found out that this is the destination of quite a few shelling clubs in the area.  Sand bars are a fun place to explore because the majority of what you find is alive.  

There were lots sunray venus clams & lightening whelks. The live shells always stay to make new shells and it is against the law to take live shells.

This family was so fun to watch while they explored the beach.  Some of my best vacation memories are impromptu rest stop exploring with my family.


  1. How beautiful. I love low tides! I love sunrays! I love whelks! I love your lovely start to a new year. :)

  2. I would have loved to be out there exploring that with you. Looked awesome!

  3. What fun!! Wonderful pictures...now I need to go to the beach...it's been nice and warm here!!

  4. Crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge from north to south is our way to paradise... Sweet, sweet beachy memories... Thanks so much for sharing, Karen!!!

  5. I have been on your bridge! Cannot begin to tell you how much I miss shelling on the Florida Gulf Coast - ah, one day I will get Tom to take me.


  6. Sounds like you had a fabulous time ...great photos as always!
    Melissah from Coastal Style


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