Sunrise Sunset 2017: One of 17 in 17

Make it five years in a row! Yes, for the fifth straight year, we awoke on the east coast of Florida to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean and then ended the day by watching the sun sink into the Gulf of Mexico.

This year we began the day at Hillsboro Inlet watching the sunrise only minutes from the house I lived in while in high school.

Boats parading through the channel and a lighthouse were an extra bonus, and the sunrise did not disappoint.

Cooking and eating breakfast on the picnic tables at Hillsboro Inlet Park served as fuel for our cross state road trip.

Next stop: Corkscrew Swamp for a stroll among wild things on the boardwalk cutting through the path of Landmark Cypress.

Then on to the island for a bike ride, walk on the beach

and obligatory sundae at Dairy Queen.

Waiting for sunset included a few casts and even a couple of trout.

With waves washing over our feet, the sky changed from gold to orange and finally pinks and purples as 2017 Sunrise Sunset came to an end.


Where would you suggest we plan this adventure in 2018?

13 Down; 2 To Go

One of my favorite annual events is what we refer to a Sunrise Sunset. From the time I was in high school, I said I wanted to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic and then set over the Gulf in the same day; but it wasn’t until we created our first 13 in 13 list did this become a reality. In 2013 sunrise was in Miami on South Beach and sunset was on the pier in Naples. In 2014 we started the day on the beach at Canaveral National Seashore and watched the sunset on Clearwater Beach.

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Yesterday, barely meeting the end of the year deadline, we started the morning on St. Augustine Beach. While many are complaining about the unusual December heat, 69° at 6:30 is nearly perfect for a walk on the beach.

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The mist from a foggy morning didn’t seem very promising, but by sunrise at 7:20, the orange sky made for a spectacular sunrise.

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The morning was too beautiful to just jump in the car and drive across the state without a walk on the beach.

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Followed by a walk through the old city looking for the obelisks with stops at other must see sights.

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Next stop Gainesville for a snack and a sneak peak of the 352 Walls exhibit and a sculpture called Luna (named after our sometimes dog?) Then back in the car and on to Cedar Key.

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A 3:30 arrival meant plenty of time to walk around town scouting out our sunset viewing location and even time for Tony’s world famous clam chowder.

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What looked like a perfect sunset changed to golden glow as the sun descended behind a thick layer of clouds. However, the cotton candy clouds that followed were worth the wait.

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On the way home we were already planning for Sunrise Sunset 2016.

Chasing Clouds

 

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The past several weeks I seem to be chasing clouds. Clouds at sunrise,

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clouds at sunset,

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clouds  at all times of the day.

More than once, I’ve pulled the car into a parking lot so I can get a better look and a picture of clouds.

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I find it incredibly amazing how at every sunset, the sky is a different shade. No cloud is ever in the same place. Each day is a new masterpiece. A new wonder. A new memory. ~Sanober Khan

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The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less. ~Joseph B. Wirthlin

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We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day. ~Gavin Pretor-Pinney

 

imageIf you’re a cloud lover like me, you may want to check out the website of the Cloud Appreciation Society and the photos of clouds posted by others “cloudophiles”.

 

9 Down; 5 To Go

After nearly 40 years of talking about watching the sun rise over the Atlantic and then set over the Gulf on the same day, we added Sunrise/Sunset to our 13 in 13 list. We started the day in June of last year on Miami Beach watching the sunrise through the clouds after a thunderstorm and the evening ended much the same way watching the sunset from the Naples pier after being chased to the car by lightning less than an hour earlier.

This year we decided that Sunrise/Sunset deserved another year on the list. In fact, we made this a new tradition, one that will be witnessed from different beaches each year. Our 2014 sunrise destination...Canaveral National Seashore, and just as we crossed the boardwalk to the beach the sun began to peek over the horizon.

We kicked off our flip flops and walked south down the beach toward the launch pads visible in the distance and came across turtle tracks from a nest that hatched earlier in the morning as well as a crab that posed for the camera. Of course we both took pictures waiting for the perfect sunrise shot.

Finally the sun broke through the clouds.

After leaving the beach we drove the Black Point Wildlife Drive, a trail Meghan had taken in the spring where she’d seen birds, gators, and even a bobcat. However, we didn’t have any such luck. I guess it’s either sunrise on the beach or wildlife at sunrise. We’ll have to try this drive another time.

Then we were off to Dunedin on the west coast for sunset, but first a stop at Eli’s BBQ for some ribs, pulled pork and all the fixin’s. After a short nap, we biked the Pinellas Trail to Honeymoon Island to work off our lunch.

And for the final stop, we loaded the bikes in the Suburban and drove across the bridge to Clearwater (I refuse to ride that bridge…much too difficult.) and then unloaded the bikes on the west side of the bridge and rode the rest of the way to Clearwater Beach.

We passed the crowded public beach and found a restaurant near St. John’s Pass, ordered a drink, and relaxed while waiting for the final leg of our trip.

Sunrise and sunset, 2014, without lightning or thunder, who could ask for more?

Wonder what two beaches will be the site of 2015 sunrise/sunset?

Sunrise and the Gateway Arch

No, I didn’t go to St. Louis, but Meghan spent four days there for a conference last week and contends that St. Louis should be considered as a possible site of the most beautiful sunrise.

 

Sunrise from the Hyatt Regency 9th floor
Sunrise from the Hyatt Regency 9th floor

Meghan was surprised the first morning when she awoke and noticed a spectacular sunrise peaking through the arch from her ninth floor window of the Hyatt Regency. In fact, she set her alarm a little earlier the next morning so she could get outside to take some sunrise pictures.

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Since I wrote about the sensational sunrises I’ve witnessed and photographed this year only a couple of days before her trip, she submitted her own pictures of the sunrise in St. Louis featuring the Gateway Arch.

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She’s convinced me! Sunrise in St. Louis was much more spectacular that anything I observed in Florida. I’ll add it to the list of best places to watch the sunrise.StL4

Sensational Sunrise Search

In January when John and I created our 13 in 13 list, I insisted that we include watching the sunrise on the east coast of the state and then the sunset on the west coast on the same day. We accomplished this in June, starting the day in Miami Beach and catching the sunset in Naples. The day ended as it began…lightning, thunder, rain…but it stopped just long enough for us to catch the sun rising and setting.

Sunrise Miami Beach

Naples sunset

 

 

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I’m not sure what happened to me, but I’ve been obsessed with photographing sunrises and sunsets this year.

Sunset Fort DeSoto

Sunrise Fernadina Beach

Sunset at Mark Light Field, University of Miami

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Sunset and moon rise Lake Rouseau

Some of the sunrises on Lake Weir

Sunsets on Lake Weir

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I loved watching the sunrise over the Atlantic and set over the Gulf the same day, but as I look back at the pictures, the ones taken from our yard can’t be beat. They’re truly sensational, but I’m still open to suggestions…where are your favorite spots for a beautiful sunrise or sunset?

6 Down; 7 To Go

One more of the items on our 13 in 13 list accomplished! For almost forty years I’ve wanted to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic and set over the Gulf of Mexico on the same day. Living in Florida, this shouldn’t be that difficult, but it’s something I haven’t gotten around to until this summer.

I admit that it didn’t turn out exactly like I pictured it. Last week we woke up at 6:00 in Miami to view the sunrise on the beach. Of course, we were awakened at about 4:30 to the sound of thunder and pouring rain. When we headed to the beach for the 6:20 sunrise, it was still sprinkling and cloudy, but at least the lightning and thunder had subsided. I hoped for a clear day and a beautiful sunrise but had to settle for watching the sun peek through the clouds.

The second half of this quest took place on the Naples pier. We arrived in Naples a little after 7:00 that evening. An angry sky met us as we approached the pier. We walked out on the pier. The wind whipped up the waves. The lightning flashed. The rain began to fall. Deja vu!

I reminded myself that regardless if we could see it or not, the sun would set and we would be there. But, just as it did in the morning, the thunder and lightning stopped and the rain ended about 15 minutes before the time of the sunset. From the Naples pier we witnessed the sunset and took pictures to document the fulfillment of another item on our 13 in 13 list. Again we saw a glimmer of the sun set behind the clouds.

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Lesson learned…mission accomplished…even if it’s not exactly as pictured.

13 in 13

Sunrise on Flagler Beach - a good way to start the day.
Sunrise on Flagler Beach – a good way to start the day.

Instead of taking off  a couple of weeks this summer to go on a vacation, we’ve decided to enjoy short adventures throughout the year. To insure we don’t let the year slip away without actually getting away and making time for fun, we made a list we’re calling “13 in 13”. We’ve identified 13 things we want to do to make 2013 special.

Our list includes attending a Rays baseball game, and drinking milkshakes at Mark Light Stadium during the FSU v Miami baseball series. But baseball isn’t the only thing on the list. I want to catch a “big bass” this year so my picture can be added to the fishing file, and I want to see sea turtles hatch. We checked off watching a sea turtle lay its eggs a few years ago so now it’s time to observe the hatchlings.

For years we’ve said we’ll catch the sunrise over the Atlantic followed by the sunset over the Gulf on the same day. That’s on the list for 2013 as well. We’re also planning a couple of camping weekends in Florida parks and one in Bryson City, NC. It’s been two years since we’ve visited western North Carolina where we first met so it’s time for a long weekend.

Biking, kayaking, and boating trips at new destinations in the state made the list. And we’re planning special celebrations for the Fourth of July and Christmas.

It wasn’t easy squeezing 13 adventures in to a calendar already packed with responsibilities for work, an August family weekend, a wedding, and holidays; but we did it. I’m looking forward to “13 in 13”!

Sunset at Cedar Key - the perfect finale.
Sunset at Cedar Key – the perfect finale.