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Tarpon Springs - Anclote River Trip

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Hank Brooks | Tampa Bay Sea Kayakers
Published Thursday, March 01, 2007

It was a cool January day when Everett White, George Laurant and myself were desperate to get out and paddle - something some of us had not done in several weeks. This was not to be a long trip, just one to help keep us "tuned up" so that we did not get too rusty during the winter.

We put in at Craig Park in Tarpon Springs. This is on Spring Bayou, where the Bishop from the Greek Orthodox Church throws the cross in the water each Epiphany celebration and the kids swim after it - bringing the winner good luck. If you are still lost in Tarpon Springs, it's over by the public tennis courts.

Tired Shrimp Boats
The plan was simple, paddle down to Anclote River Park for a brief lunch and paddle back to see downtown Tarpon Springs. The wind was blowing out on the Gulf about 20 mph, so all three of us were quite happy to only get a few bursts of wind as we paddled along. I always enjoy paddling among the fishing boats docked near Tarpon Springs. The "earthy" fishy smells make is seem like the ocean. Some of the boats in these pictures don't look like they have been used for a very long time.

After a quick lunch at Anclote River Park, we headed up the river to downtown Tarpon Springs. Since this was January the "snow birds" were everywhere, clamoring to get on those tourist boats that take the tourists or should I say "suckers" for a 30-minute "sponge diver" ride on a "sponge boat". The boat is decked out with colorful pennants flying and real sponges on strings hanging from bow to stern. They take the boat several miles down river, put a diving helmet on a diver (to make it look realistic), put him over the side and "voila" he quickly comes to the surface with a sponge held high in his hand. The tourists applaud. If you observed the sponge closely it probably says, "Wal-Mart" and "Made in China" on it.

George even talked about selling kayak rides to the tourists. We questioned his sanity and wondered aloud who would rescue George. We then came across a boat named, "Two Georges", to which I replied, "Sometimes even one George is too many." To which George said, "Some people have told me that."

Last update Thursday, January 17, 2008

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