Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Slice of Wilderness

We have been to the home of Peter and Nancy Kau located on the St. Pete's end of Gandy Bridge several times already, but this was the first time Peter acted as a tour guide for my first visit to the Weedon Island Preserve yesterday morning. While Wify and her Buddhist friends stayed home to participate in the Great Compassion Mantra Chanting session, Peter and I braved the warm morning sun to explore the Preserve on foot, after a 5-min drive from his home.

The Island is a misnomer of sort as I was expecting to cross a long bridge or to access it by boat. Unlike the Lettuce Lake Park close to our home, the preserve is covered with a short shrub type of vegetation, hardly providing any shade. However, the mangroves are criss-crossed by narrow meandering waterways amenable to kayaking, which is not exactly my cup of tea. So despite a well-meaning offer from Peter, I decided to plant my foot on terra firma, or the boardwalk rather.

Along the way, Peter explained the various types of fish that can be expected to be seen in the waters from the vantage points of the several platforms strategically located thoughout. Among our visual catches are the snook, the needle fish, and the horse-shore crab. The boardwalk ended in a observation tower rising four storeys high that affords a paranomic view of the pristine wilderness that once served as an airport and the surrounding bayous and communities. However, our visit ended in the cool comfort of the Education Center.

Just when we were about to explore the Center, Nancy called Peter signalling that lunch was ready to be served. Being the gentlemen that we are who do not relish the thought of keeping the ladies waiting, we bade farewell but not before I made a promise to return later with Wify, possibly in the fall when the weather is more conducive for the outdoors.

But for now, the images below are for your vicarious experience.

The entrance sign, visually portraying what wildlife can be expected to be encountered. including the armadillo.

We covered part of the paved trail (black) and the entire network of boardwalk (light brown), a 40-min workout that does the body a lot of good.

The photowall in the Education Center, but one can hardly expect to sight all of these in a single visit.

The kayak enthusiasts exiting the circuitous inner water trails in the mangroves and heading to the great expanse of bay waters.

This is hard to see since the shot was taken without the proper lens filter, but after some time, hopefully not too long, you should be able to make up the faint outline of a needle fish lengthwise from right to left.

The spidey kingdom of two, seemingly dangling in mid-air next to the propagules, patiently waiting for any unsuspecting prey to land on the gossamer cobweb.

The imminent assault on the observation tower, topped up by corner lightning protectors, was just about to begin.

And here are the rewards of our scaling expedition: this one featuring the Bartow Plant of Progressive Energy with a stretch of boardwalk visible in the foreground, and several that follow.

The fishing pier, like a bridge to nowhere.

Pockets of lush vegetations divide the bayous.

And the summit conquerors, the broad grin says it all, thanks to a couple of like-minded visitors but armed with heavy artillery, for photography that is.

Back at Peter's home: a slightly forward leaning Guanyin radiating compassion with a backdrop of an equally serene tapestry of the azure.

An admonishment from the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen hung on the wall of Peter's home: Do not worry over the matters dealt to us, but rather be happy in their absence.

And on the way home, beach goers were already lining their vehiciles along the narrow strip of sand abutting the bay side of the approach to the Gandy Bridge.

The newly expanded Gandy Blvd, lined with new street lights under the gentle billows of the low-level cloud formation.


Lee Wei Joo said...

Great adventure! Thanks Dad for the marvelous account! Mom's drawing here is very alluring too!

c.y. lee said...

Ooo! Were those last two pictures taken in panoramic mode? They're longer and shorter than the other ones?