Favorite Photos and Stories From 2019

The year 2019 is ending and as I was going through my photos I realized there are some favorites. Often I will go out on the boat and never get around to sharing my pictures because I simply forget.

The boardwalk beckons at Smyrna Dunes Park in January

To celebrate this past year, I have decided to explore and share with my readers what was happening month by month. Grab some coffee because my life is pretty boring … but here goes.

January and February

New Smyrna beach in winter
Winter beach walk

In January I visited the local drive-on beach with a friend. It was a rainy day, and very windy, but we took a quick walk enjoying low tide and the mostly deserted sand. At Smyrna Dunes Park I watched winter surfers enjoying the wave action and climbed the two-story pavilion to get the views. The first photo on this page was taken at the park.

Rough seas brought jellyfish onto the shore in January.

We did some boating on the nice days when the winds were calm.

boating in january
Boating the backwaters

My daughter and her fiancé came to visit in February and we went boating and shell-searching with them. Once again we discovered a huge horse conch with the living orange mollusk inside. We took a quick photo and let him be.

My daughter and I with a living horse conch found around the Indian River backwater islands


In March my son and I went to the Orlando boat show. I’d like to say that we bought this huge Cobia, but no. It was pretty impressive. We saw loads of nice boats and had a nice day but spent money only on food and drink!

Orlando boat show
Our new Cobia! Just kidding

April and May

A new way of collecting seashells!

Seashells from my BFF
Got some awesome shells from my friend

While swimming with my friend in her beautiful pool, I noticed a nearby container of big seashells sitting in green water. I began photographing them and she grabbed a basket and loaded it up and gave them all to me! Read more about them on my post here.

May & June

One day we took a ride up to Ponce Inlet where I love to explore the low tide islands for new sea life. This is where I found some beautiful living conchs.

living fighting conch mollusk


July, and all of summer, are times of big afternoon thunderstorms and heavy rainfall in Florida. One day this big flock of White Ibis spent about a half hour eating bugs, or whatever they eat, in my front yard. The darker colored birds are juveniles.

White Ibis flock of birds on my lawn
Flock of white Ibis

Even my outdoor-loving cat Skittle couldn’t handle the heat of the day in July.

cat sleeping in July
Too hot for my outdoor-loving cat to sleep outside

August and September

September is one of the worst months for hurricanes, and we were lucky to mostly miss them this year.

The Bahamas were devastated by Hurricane Dorian, a category 5, which simply hovered over the islands with winds as strong as a tornado. Most of us have now forgotten it, but the island people are still suffering and will for a long time.

Here in central Florida we got ready for Dorian, but ended up with only a little wind and a beautiful sunset.

Sunset after Dorian

October & November

The excitement of having a new boat has worn off and since we are not the greatest fishermen, my son has become very picky about going boating. The weather has to be near perfect, meaning no wind, and not too hot or too cold. We take the boat out less and less. Fall is a good time to get out on the water because the heat that brings big thunderstorms is gone.

I find that there are fewer hermit crabs along the beach in winter. And even the shrubs can have interesting changes, like the big beans I found hanging from a tree near the shore in November.


December is a busy month, but we got out for a boat ride and saw loads of dolphins. It is not unusual to see them while we are boating, but this particular day they were everywhere.

I met up with a friend and we rented kayaks from JB’s Fishcamp and spent an hour together relaxing on the water.

Kayaking with my friend

Head North – From Disney World

English: Spaceship Earth in Walt Disney World ...
English: Spaceship Earth in Walt Disney World in Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few years ago I left Florida and moved back to New England where I grew up.  My Florida friends thought I was crazy, but many of them had grown up in Florida and couldn’t stand the cold.  I missed the change of seasons.  There were things I did not like about Florida, but there were also many things that I knew I would miss.

I lived north of Disney World.  Most people know where that is, or they know Daytona.  So I would say I lived between Disney and Daytona.  It was a nice area to be in.  The east coast beaches were only about thirty minutes away, and the theme parks were about an hour to the south.  I found out about “rush hour” and knew to stay off I4 during that time of day.  And forget about driving in snow, driving in the torrential Florida downpours was worse.  I can’t bring myself to go fishing up here in the north, since the fishing in Florida spoiled me.  And I haven’t visited the beach since I left the south.  It’s just not the same here.

There was much to do around my Florida home.  Blue Springs state park is in Orange City which was close, and it’s a great place to swim if you like 72 degree water -which is the temperature year round because of the spring.  The nice clear water was a treat too, but the park is closed to swimming when the manatees come in winter.  It’s one of the best times to visit and view manatees in the wild.  With the clear river water by the spring, it’s easy to see them swimming around.

The Daytona Speedway was just up the road, and they offer tours of the track and have a museum for race fans.  And if you like biker bars, the Foxhead Saloon was always packed during Bike Week – and the surrounding weeks.  I lived so close, I could have walked there.  And just down the road (Doyle Road) was one of my favorite places – Pell’s nursery and fruit stand.

The St. Johns River was close by for boating and fishing too, and of course we could head south to the theme parks that offered Florida residents some “deals” at certain times of the year.  We never made much money living in Florida, so even the deal tickets were expensive to us.  Disney prices their tickets according to what the wealthy out-of-staters can pay (IMO).

So I lived in a great area of the state.  About once a week we would tow our pontoon boat over to the ICW and go fishing and maybe stop at JB’s Fish Camp to buy a delicious meal of fresh fish.

I am not mentioning the horrible traffic and crowds of tourists that are often found at these places, and I miss Florida for many reasons, but I honestly don’t miss living there full time.  To be a Floridian means you share your home with tourists – constantly.

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