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Archive for the ‘Sights’ Category

Lion + Tiger = Liger?

Posted by Susanna On February - 19 - 2011

After being refused at the Big Cat Rescue in the Tampa area where the stuff welcomed us very unfriendly I decided not to waste my money for their “zoo“! The friend of mine and I gave the cats another try and decided to check out the Big Cat Habitat. Just so we could get a couple of nice shot with the big cats. We saw them – yes. But the whole spectacle seems to be more of a circus show for the big predators which private people once owned… I was surprised how many cats must have been in private households… People even had crossed lions with tigers to get a liger… The cats and bears are in a few cages which are very small but I guess they can leave when there is no public visiting. And since that place is open only at the weekends there might be quite a few options. I was glad getting a glimpse on how majestic the white tiger were looking. Even though the photos I made were not high class. There was just no real nice possibility. Everywhere people stressing and the cats seemed all far from happy about that. Later we watched the show they make which reminded on a circus show. The tricks were funny but nothing extraordinary. I still wonder if big cats are happy like that and if there is no alternative than a life like that even though there are rescued… And why is it allowed in Florida to own big animals like that? Do you need to cross a tiger with a lion?

Big Cat Habitat

White Tiger

Lion + Tiger = Liger?

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Crystal River Manatees

Posted by Susanna On February - 17 - 2011

Have you ever snorkeled with Manatees? Mostly it is actually forbidden. When I visited Australia I had done a cruise at Monkey Mia and seen them from above. Then of course in the aquarium in Sarasota and in Blue Springs where you can watch them from the shore. But in Crystal River you can actually go and snorkel with them. There are hundred and hundreds of manatees in that area migrating over winter time and even in summer a few stay all year around. There big but gentle. Some recently hurt manatees carry a special sensor buoy with them so the park ranger can follow their healing progress and their migration. The water is nice but still chilly and one is officially not allowed to dive down. Behind a designate area the manatees can relax and snorkelers are not allowed to enter. But the manatees don’t leave their designate protected area when to many people are around and especially when they move around like hippos barely are able to hold themselves in a horizontal position on the water. I have to admit that this is difficult since the water is fresh water and the current is kind of strong. It was amazing to see these beautiful animals but so annoying to bump all the time in others which snorkel or kayak. I still can recommend that place if you wish to have a once in a lifetime experience. Who knows how long it will be possible to be that close to these gentle giants.People already discussing to stop the contact with the animals via snorkeling since there every now and then still people who abuse the manatees and separate calves from their mothers. Believe it or not, the place with the spring where the manatee migrate had belonged to a private person which wanted to fill the river and spring up with sand to build condos! Ridiculous it is such a magical place and thanks god the town and private investors bought it to save its beauty as one of the unique places on earth.

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Too much to see…

Posted by Susanna On February - 16 - 2011

And too less time… For a city I had never heard before Sarasota had so much to offer… Even though we made plans what we wanted to see and take pictures off it seemed impossible to do everything… For today Andrew took us to the beach in the morning. Before arriving at the beach I was attacked by a small raccoon which was looking for food near the garbage bins. I escaped but not without taking a few photos of that cheeky creature. The beach was so beautiful that I truly wished to stay there for the whole day. The sand stayed cool so it must have been out of quartz. Few people enjoyed the sun and here and there birds. The world seemed so peaceful right here watching few people fishing for bait and few birds waiting for stealing away the fish. I felt the warm sun on my skin which I liked. I saw Amish people I had never seen before. This kind of people refuse modern life and life like 150 years ago. Very interesting. Why? I don’t know. But you notice them everywhere in this area because they wear as well very old fashioned clothes.
After the beach we went checking out the Mote Marine Laboratory. A place I can only recommend. It is a big aquarium with lots of different fish and other marine animals. They had a massive dead giant squid displayed. And which was very cute lots of baby seahorses to see. The Laboratory is very big and in another section you will see all kind of native birds and another dolphins, manatees and turtles. What is great about that place that almost all animals you see are rescued animals. There are not able to live in the wild anymore. The most interesting for me were again the manatees. There were so big and with a bit imagination I realized the relationship to the elephants.

Sarasota Beach

Mote Marine Laboratory – Fish

Mote Marine Laboratory – Birds

Mote Marine Laboratory Manatees


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The Ringling Park

Posted by Susanna On February - 15 - 2011

Meanwhile I left Orlando. Todd another friend of mine had picked me up and we went to visit his friends Lathrop and Andrew and their family in Sarasota in Florida. I never had heard of that city before and was surprised how nice it was. Even more – Sarasota and the surrounding area has so much to offer! Since Todd and I wanted to do photos of a lot of things. Turns out we really cannot decide what first. Yesterday I was just relaxing and doing some workout and Pilates with Lathrop but today I took first photos of the Ringling Park (This time we were too late for entering the museum.) and a Sandhill Crane and a Tricolored Heron. For bird watcher Florida has a lot to offer.

Ringling Mansion and Park

Rose Garden

Sandhill Crane and  Tricolored Heron


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Orlando Skyline

Posted by Susanna On February - 11 - 2011

Travis got a white tomcat called Ghost which is very much worth taking pictures of… This cat is smart and just appeared one day and stayed ever since.
To show you at least a little bit of Orlando here the skyline at sunset… The fountain was broken for years my friends told me but now its back to its beauty. Orlando’s skyline might be not as famous as NYC or LA but it is certainly nice to look at. Enjoy!

Ghost the cat

Orlando skyline

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Blue Springs

Posted by Susanna On February - 9 - 2011

Since yesterday I am in Orlando at friend Travis place. He lives at a lake which is nice but right now it is so freezing. I feel the temperature difference since I came from the south so much. Today I had to get up fairly early around 5:30am so I could observe the manatees at Blue Springs. It was amazing kind of magical as the mist rose from the warmer spring river which was crystal clear. Everywhere trees from which moss hangs down. I never had seen that before only in Florida so far. The gentle giants moved slowly in the water. Alone or mothers and their calves. From November trough March they rather stay in the warmer spring area than at the colder waters of the St. Johns River. I noticed the some of the manatee had scars from boats on their back which is the biggest threat for them. Still I can’t wait until I will finally snorkel with them. So far I had only heard that that is possible in Crystal river and who knows for how long since some stupid people tease and hurt these animals for fun while snorkeling. Very sad and I hope these people start very soon to learn how to live in respect with our brothers the animals on that one given earth. While watching them I noticed a few bald eagles on the other side of the river. This was a very new experience. I had never ever seen these majestic birds in their natural habitat before. Beautiful…
On the way back to the house we Travis showed me the ‘Senator tree’ known to be the oldest in Florida and one of the oldest in North America. It stood there with it”s sister tree ‘Lady Liberty’ more than 2000years! Imagine what these trees had experienced. They used to be landmarks for the native Americans and the senator had survived a hurricane which had taken off a big part of its original seize. But still they were impressive.
“As of 1993, The Senator is estimated to be 3,400-3,500 years old, the 5th oldest tree in the world. The tree’s volume had previously been estimated at 4,300 cubic feet (120 m), but a 2006 survey by Will Blozan of the Native Tree Society has measured the volume at well over 5,100 cubic feet (140 m), making The Senator not only the largest Bald Cypress in the United States, but also the largest tree of any species east of the Mississippi River.”
I love old trees.
Latest after that I felt already a bit sick and a migraine… And after visiting some friends of Travis I went straight for a 15hours sleep… Just needed it!

Blue Springs

Senator tree

Orlando bulldogs

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Butterfly Garden Key West

Posted by Susanna On February - 5 - 2011

There is a butterfly garden in Key West as well and since I love butterflies I needed to go… Everywhere hundreds of butterflies and some tiny birds. It is a wonderful place and at the belonging shop they even restore butterflies so you could hang them in your room. My friends had given me that big butterfly in Ecuador but it was not good enough for being restored. Too bad….

Butterfly Garden Key West

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Key West

Posted by Susanna On February - 4 - 2011

After a few days in Miami mostly fixing my laptop and external hard disc problems we went to Key West. It is the most southern tip of Florida and the US.  It has been a long drive yesterday and we arrived today early in the morning. It was crazy almost every hotel is booked out. Key West seems to be a hot spot in the states and I have to admit – I love this place. It has so many lovely restored historical houses and nice little shops and galleries. Hemingway had lived here for years with his second wife (her uncle bought them a house over here) and he had breed Six-toed cats which descendants you can still see relaxing at the house. I love the Audubon gallery where I got an original print as a gift. Audubon was probably the most famous bird drawer in the late 18th / early 19th century. I got even a book of him at home since the drawings / prints are so amazing. Basically they are as good as photographs since they had no cameras back then. Jon and I had met two crazy guys from around Boston and we went to a cruise around the keys in the evening.

Key West

Hemingway House

Sunset Cruise

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The Butterfly Effect

Posted by Susanna On January - 30 - 2011

After a long exhausting day I arrived yesterday in San José the capital of Costa Rica. I just wanted to spend one day over here but since it is weekend many things were closed. On my search for an ATM machine I met two American men who had stayed here for longer. We started chatting and since I was on the way to the butterfly place (As you might guess – I love butterflies.) they joined me. The Spirogyra Butterfly Garden is worth a visit. All over you can see the most beautiful insects flying around… After the visit we all went to a very great dinner. Thanks Rick for the invitation!

Spirogyra Butterfly Garden

San José impressions

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Pura Vida in Costa Rica

Posted by Susanna On January - 22 - 2011

After border crossing yesterday this was my first day in Costa Rica. Since I don’t have much time (10days) until my flight to Miami I just want to spend as much time as possible at a nice spot not traveling in buses. So I had heard of the Corcovado National Park supposedly the area with the highest biodiversity on earth. At least this is what National Geographic said. I am staying at ‘The Corner – La Isquina’ hostel with Ronnie and his family. They were excellent people and my friend and I could even cook in their kitchen. Later Ronnie went with us to the swamps for feeding the crocodiles. It was like at Isla Parida feeding the caymans. Most crocodiles were similar seize but one was massive. Another small one missed already a part of its tail, a leg, an eye and looked totally scared over. We observed as well various types of birds. Since it was still raining there was not as much time to explore outside.

Puerto Jiminez Crocodiles

Puerto Jiminez

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