Lake Okeechobee

aka “Florida’s Inland Sea”,

“The Lake” or “The Big O”

The name Okeechobee comes the Hitchiti words oki (water) and chubi (big).

The largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida! 730 square miles with an average depth of only 9 feet. At its capacity the lake holds 1 trillion gallons of water! 

There is something about being out on a big body of water versus standing on the shoreline! The airboat tour was 2 hours and the 1st hour was in the fog and the 2nd hour with the sun slowly peeking through the mist. It made for an interesting composition of photos!

Not that deep!

Lake Okeechobee sits in a shallow geological trough that also underlies the Kissimmee River Valley and the Everglades. The lake is the headwaters of the Everglades. The Kissimmee River provides more than 60% of the water flowing into the lake.

The 100 foot dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee is part of the Florida National Scenic Trail. Used by hikers and bicyclists.

Interesting Fact:  Lake Okeechobee is featured in the first episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show.

Florida Airboat Charters

Chartered an airboat from Florida Airboat Charters to get out on Lake Okeechobee. Our Captain and guide was Jason, a TWS Certified Wildlife Biologist, Coast Guard Licensed Captain, experienced airboat operator, and state certified airboat instructor. He has worked extensively with alligators and knows his lakes and marshes in Central and South Florida. In Very Good Hands!

Florida Airboat Charters offers a custom airboating experience tailored to your wants and needs. Exploring. Wildlife (Gators) and Bird Watching. Ride On!

Highly recommend taking an airboat tour on Lake Okeechobee! A learning opportunity, an experience and oh so much FUN!

Cities Around Lake Okeechobee

There are 5 Counties around Lake Okeechobee.

  • Okeechobee
  • Glades
  • Hendry
  • Martin
  • Palm Beach

All five counties meet at one point near the center of the lake!


Okeechobee is known as the ‘Speckled Perch Capital of the World’. Lake Okeechobee is a natural resource for the fishing industry and is a sportman’s paradise, including several nationally sanctioned bass tournaments.

Interesting as well as Scary Fact:  The Lake Okeechobee area was the site of the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane, the first recorded Category 5 Hurricane in the North Atlantic. One of the deadliest hurricanes ever to strike the United States. Two years before that was the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926. Both hurricanes dramatically altered the landscape of the area.

Moore Haven

A city in Glades County on the Southwest shoreline of Lake Okeechobee.

The city was named after James A. Moore, its founder. In its early days, Moore Haven was often called “Little Chicago” due to being a boom town.


A city in and the county seat of Hendry County. The city began as a settlement on the Caloosahatchee River around the time of Hamilton Disston’s efforts to drain the Everglades in the hope of promoting growth in the area. The settlement laid on the western edge of Captain Francis A. Hendry’s large Monroe County’s land. Populated with cattle drovers and trappers. In 1909, Captain Hendry subdivided his land to be sold. the majority land holding stake was bought by E.E. Goodno, which increased the size of LaBelle almost twenty times its original size. In 1925, the Florida Legislature chartered the City of LaBelle, which replaced the Town of LaBelle.

LaBelle hosts the annual Swamp Cabbage Festival, which is held in honor of the Florida state tree during the last full weekend of February. The festival includes a 5K walk/run, beauty pageant and rodeo.


A city in Hendry County near Lake Okeechobee.

Clewiston is known for it sport fishing, particularly of largemouth bass. This area was once used as a fishing camp by the Seminole Indians. The first permanent settlement began in 1920 and was incorporated as a city in 1925.

Large sugar plantations were established around Lake Okeechobee. The US Sugar Corporation remained the dominant manufacturer in Clewiston, which became known as “America’s Sweetest Town”. There was plenty of sugar cane to see driving around in this area!

By the 1950’s and the 1960’s the cultivation of citrus and vegetables as well as raising cattle were important to the economy.



Lake Okeechobee is at capacity right now with all the rain and the vegetation was full! It was hard to tell at times if I was on water or a big, grassy field! 


These gators know how to camouflage really well, especially among the full vegetation! Plus it has been warm, so prefer to be in the water swimming about!

Lily & Lotus

A favorite area of mine!

Snail Kites & Snails

My 1st time seeing a Snail Kite! I was not able to captured the Snail Kite with the snail in its talons though – move so fast as well as pretty much without sound!

Snail Eggs (finally know what this is!)


I am so not a fan of the eight-legged! I had to suck it up though while going through hundreds of webs while sitting on the airboat. Those webs are quite sticky too. I would have lost it if I ended up with a full face of spider though!

Then Jason had to ask, “How many spiders do you think are out here?”. Too many in my opinion looking at all the webs surrounding me. Plus 1 Spider is more than enough for me!

(Photos by RSheridan)

 Happy Exploring!!!

SPF15 – Arts Alive!

FREE Museum Day

September 26, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Participating Museums:

I love the arts scene and community in St. Petersburg! I kept the camera at home for two reasons. Reason number one I wanted to enjoy the art and immerse myself in the arts. Reason number two I knew it would be crowded and it was not the time and place to be taking pictures. I enjoyed getting a taste of the museums in St. Pete.

Chihuly Collection

A permanent collection of Dale Chihuly’s glass artwork. Includes the Macchia, Ikebana and Niijima Floats as well as Persians and Tumbleweeds. The Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier was a favorite of mine.

I am a big fan of Chihuly’s glass artwork!

The Museum of Fine Arts is within walking distance.

Florida Holocaust Museum

The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of millions of innocent men, women, and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. The museum is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures to recognize the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides.

History, Heritage and Hope Permanent Exhibition.

On the 1st Floor. The exhibition presents the history of the Holocaust beginning with the history of antisemitism and life before World War II, followed by the rise of Hitler and the Nazis and anti-Jewish legislation.

  • Original Artifacts, Video and Photos.
  • A Boxcar that was used during the Holocaust.
  • Lessons for Today – learn about other genocides and acts of hatred occurring today.

“The Florida Holocaust Museum is home to one of the few remaining railroad boxcars used by the Nazis to transport Jews and other prisoners to places like Auschwitz and Treblinka. Boxcar #113 069-5 now rests on original tracks from the Treblinka Killing Center as a silent tribute to those who perished in the Holocaust and is featured as part of the History, Heritage and Hope permanent exhibition.”

“Boxcar #113 069-5, along with the rest of the boxcars, was the first place of death for many during the Holocaust. The bare freight cars often became a suffocation chamber for some of the people (100 or more at a time) who were squeezed into it. Those who survived the trip had to endure the journey under conditions of hunger and thirst, extreme overcrowding, and horrible sanitation. Many of those deported, especially the elderly and children died during the journey.” ~from the Florida Holocaust Museum website


  • This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement. 157 black and white photographs with the majority taken in Mississippi and Alabama between 1963 and 1966. August 1, 2015 to December 1, 2015.
  • Beaches, Benches and Boycotts: The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Bay. August 1, 2015 to December 1, 2015.

 “Tampa Bay remained racially segregated at the dawn of the Civil Rights era and many local institutions and establishments held out on integration for several years after Brown v. the Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Under “Jim Crow” every aspect of African American life in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and their surrounding cities was segregated.  Restricted covenants were in place that segregated residential neighborhoods.   African American children had to attend segregated schools that were under-funded and often in disrepair.  Blacks could only be cared for at “Black only” hospitals, and other public and private establishments like restaurants and beaches were often segregated – if blacks were allowed in at all.” ~from the Florida Holocaust Museum website

Had about an hour to see this museum before it closed and it was packed as well as a lot of information to see let alone read. I want to go back and do the audio tour.

Museum of Fine Arts

I was curious about the museum building! I did a little research and learned the following.

  • Palladian-style building.
  • Combines the styles of a classic art museum and a Mediterranean villa at home in Florida’s tropical climate.
  • Designed by John Volk.
  • 20 Galleries.
  • Sculpture Garden
  • Opened its doors to the public in 1965.


  • 50 Artworks for 50 Years – September 19, 2015 to March 13, 2016
  • Five Decades of Photography, Featuring the Dandrew-Drapkin Collection – June 20, 2015 to October 4, 2015
  • William Pachner: Centenary – Ongoing

I enjoyed the Photography Exhibit!

The Dali Museum

The museum is situated on the curve of Bayshore Drive overlooking the Bay. Beautiful Location!

The Dali Museum is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by the late Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali.

  • 94 Original Oils
  • 100 Watercolors and Drawings
  • 1300 Graphics, Sculptures, Holograms, Objects of Art, and Photographs.


  • Dali Revealed – May 19, 2015 to Spring 2016. 48 archival photographs taken by French photographer Robert Descharnes. Candid moments from Dali’s life from 1950 through the end of his life in 1989.
  • Escher at the Dali – August 22, 2015 to January 3, 2016. Highlights M.C. Escher whose visual illusions puzzle and delight. Impossible constructions and use of tessellation. 135 works covering Escher’s entire artistic career, including “Drawing Hands”.

I could have spent more time here exploring the intriguing and puzzling art!

“Dali Bird” – L-o-v-e (Photos by RSheridan)

Here’s to Celebrating and Supporting the Arts! Get Your Creative Side On!

Sea Birds

By the Seashore


Check Out the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary!




Looks Almost Like This Bird Is Wearing a Tux!


Striking Pose!


(Photos by RSheridan)

Happy Bird Watching!

Natural State of Being

For the Whole Being

A place to breathe.  


A place to unwind and slow down the pace.

A place to relax, reconnect and recharge. 

(Photos by RSheridan)

A Great Place to Become One With My Whole Being!

A Healthy Lifestyle

What Does A

Healthy Lifestyle

Mean To You?

I am thinking about . . .

  • What I Eat (mindfulness, moderation, making good, healthy choices).
  • What I Do (motion, movement, activity, exercise).
  • What I Need To Release and Let Go Of (reducing the anxiety, pressure, stress, tension).
  • What Choices I Make (about health, fitness and wellness).

Practicing . . .

I am actively practicing to live a healthier lifestyle. It is a process of making gradual changes over time. It is a lesson of self; self confidence, self love, self respect, self worth. It is learning, growing and gaining experiences.

I am communicating, interacting and connecting with my whole being again. I am listening to my inner voice. I am following my heart and coming from a place of love. I am learning to believe and trust in myself.

Connecting . . .

I am discovering . . .

  • My Strong.
  • My Health and Happiness and Feeling Good.
  • My Love of Doing More of What I Love.
  • My Sense of Self In Being True To Who I Am.
  • My Sense of Humor.
  • My Goodness and Positiveness.

Discovering . . . (Photos by RSheridan)

I am inspired, motivated and energized in living a productive lifestyle.

Love to Hear Your Thoughts, Please Share!

The Roseate Spoonbill

No, Not a Flamingo!

I finally was able to photograph a Roseate spoonbill while exploring Gulfport, Florida! I have spotted a few Roseate spoonbills over the past few months. A wading bird of the Ibis and Spoonbill families. The Spoonbills bright pink coloring leads people to think they have seen a Flamingo! 

  • Immature Spoonbills have white, feathered heads, and the pink of the plumage is paler.
  • The bill can be grey, pink or yellow in color.
  • The Spoonbill’s spatulate bill allows it to sift easily through mud.
  • The Spoonbill feeds in shallow fresh or coastal waters by swinging its bill from side to side as it walks through the water.
  • The Spoonbills pink color is diet derived. The colors can range from pale pink to bright magenta, depending on age and location.
  • The Spoonbill feeds on crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs, newts, and very small fish.

(Photos by RSheridan)

Watching the Bird Action!

Lettuce Lake

Where the “Wild” Things Are

Driving into the park was quite the experience! That feeling that you have truly left the city life behind in taking a left off the main drag and entered a unique space (aka the swamp). Such a special place to explore and adventure within. You just want to take your time here and look for the special and the unique as well as the wild and the exotic!

Lettuce Lake Regional Park. A 240-acre park just outside the city limits of Tampa. The park opened in 1982.

Location: 6920 East Fletcher Avenue, Tampa, Florida. Admission: $2 per car. Hours:  Spring/Summer 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Fall/Winter 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Do not forget to pack!

  • Good walking shoes.
  • Sunscreen and cool clothing.
  • Bug spray.
  • Water.

A Hardwood Swamp Forest

  • Oaks
  • Cypress domes

Park Features

  • Visitor Center (an interpretive center with natural history and wildlife exhibits). Education programs available.
  • The Audubon Resource Center (ARC) is operated by the Tampa Audubon Society in the visitor center.
  • Trails and boardwalks – walking, hiking, biking.
  • Picnic areas with picnic tables as well as shelters (some shelters are reservable). Barbecue grills.
  • Playground.
  • Fitness course.
  • Fishing with a dock/pier.
  • Canoe/kayak launch with rentals.
  • River access.
  • Birdlife and wildlife watching.

Pretty much something for everyone that visits!

I loved exploring the fauna and flora as well as the birdlife and wildlife from the boardwalk! The boardwalk is 3,500 feet with an observation tower. Pets are not permitted on the boardwalk.

On the Boardwalk

Water is Key to this Environment/Habitat

More than half of the park’s property lies in the natural floodplain of the Hillsborough River. A natural storage reservoir for floodwater and improves water quality, which acts like a biological filter to remove excess nutrients from the water. Due to the recent rains and flooding some of the boardwalk was under water. The water was pretty clear and could see water plants, bugs, fishes, etc.

Gator(s) – Plural

This sign needs to say, “Beware of Alligators”!

Can you spot the gator?

Taking a Nap

This one was just hovering in the water.

Popping the head up.

Swimming towards the people on the boardwalk.

A Favorite Photo (Photos by RSheridan)

Here’s To Exploring Natural Environments – Enjoy!

You Got This!

Finding That Ease

With Your Whole Being

I know I talk about trusting yourself, but how does one do that! By testing and experimenting and practicing. By learning, growing and changing. By experiencing the world you live in each and every day!

Traveling . . . Adventuring . . . Exploring . . .

Baby Steps

Do you take baby steps, giant leaps or something in between?

I know I baby step in order process a situation! I feel in control and use my energy to the best of my ability. It is telling myself that I can do it! Getting out there, stretching my comfort zone and trying new things. I do not have to be good at it and with patience, practice and time I will improve!

That building of self confidence, self knowledge and self trust! That ability to communicate, interact and connect to your whole being. Being ready as well as prepared to cope, change and transition. You see that transition from a big picture view point as well as in detail by taking it one step at a time! 

The hardest part is not necessarily taking that first step, but finding the inspiration and motivation to go and to move forward in what you need and want in your life!

Taking Baby Steps . . .

Adding Steps . . .


Do you practice and test and practice some more?

Some things I am good at while other things I need to practice to be good at! I have to try new things to see what interests me. I have to test it out to see if it is something I want to continue to do. I do not want to waste my time doing things that do not interest me or that I do not love doing either!

By practicing and testing it out you can process it and take it step-by-step! There will be self doubt and fear. There will be improvement and growth. One try at a time and practice doing it over and over again!

When practicing think about putting the self judgement on the down low and focusing on your curiosity! 

Practicing . . .

Testing . . .


The greatest lessons come from the mistakes and the failures we make! There is nothing wrong in that. It is okay to practice and test as well as mess up and try again. How do you think you got where you are at right now!

Making mistakes and having failures is part of the process in getting to where you need to be! It does not necessarily mean that it was not meant to happen. It happened in order to keep you going and moving you forward. These are called learning opportunities or life lessons!

I know I think about why is this happening to me and what does it mean! Words like could, should and would pop up in my head and stop me in my tracks. I need to think in terms of I can and I will instead. Take a step or two, practice, test, and repeat! 

You will start believing in yourself and eventually even trusting yourself more! 

Learning . . . Growing . . . Gaining . . .

Making Strides . . . (Photos by RSheridan)

Here’s to Getting Curious! Love to Hear Your Thoughts, Please Share!

Rainbow Skies

A Natural Canvas





(Photos by RSheridan)

Savor the Sunsets!!!


The Exotic


Finally found the gators at Sawgrass Lake Park!




(Photos by RSheridan)

Happy Exploring!

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