Fifth World Art by Robert Neff
ebook - Reconnecting With Life by Robert Neff

ebook: Reconnecting with Life

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When I returned home to support my widowed mother's fight with breast cancer in 2002, I reevaluated my life's journey and direction. Read more...

7 Views of Downtown St. Petersburg

7 Views

Experience the seven views from walkabout photographer, Robert Neff as they offer unique views of St. Petersburg, Florida. The postcard set or prints make a wonderful gift for the home or office. Read more...

travel & tourism

Shrimp Boats Leaving Frenchman's Creek for the Gulf of Mexico

by Robert Neff - 1 February


Just before sunset the shrimp boats prepare to leave the protection of mangroves and head out into the Gulf of Mexico. The boats have been moored all day along the entrance to Loggerhead Marina in Frenchman's Creek and are ready to raise anchor.

The engines begin to rumble and smoke trickles out of the stack. The nets are lowered until they are parallel to the water.  The captain navigates the bend in Frenchman's Creek, but proceeds with caution, looking for oncoming traffic.

Once clear of the bend, Frenchman's Creek is full of activity. On the north side of the Frenchman's Creek is Eckerd College's Wallace Boathouse, an Activities Center, multiple docks and a boat ramp. On the south side is Maximo Park and the new boat ramps.

Past Maximo Park, the waterway narrows. This is the entrance to a mangrove lined pass that connects to Tampa Bay. From there, it is a short journey to the Gulf of Mexico.

Before sunset. there is a mixture of kayaks, sailboats and power boats returning to Maximo Park and Eckerd College. With the shrimp boat's nets out, the captain must proceed with caution.

I have photographed the shrimp boats moored in Frenchman's Creek. However I have wanted to photograph the shrimp boats navigating Frenchman's Creek.

I arrived at Maximo Park and parked my car by the new boat ramps. I took the path to the new deck that extended beyond the mangroves. I positioned myself next to the entrance to the pass, where it begins to narrow. The sun was low on the horizon and the mangroves blocked the sun. I was also very close to the boats and kayaks. I was able to have a short conversation and ask how was the fishing?

At the other end of the creek, I could see one shrimp boat exiting the bend. The captain kept the course close to the northern side of Frenchman's Creek. Then cut a line for the pass. When the shrimp boat was halfway to the pass, the captain slowed to a crawl, drifted, and reversed the engines.

I turned to see why the captain had stopped. While I has been watching the shrinp boat, a sailboat had sneaked up on me. The captain was giving the large sailboat plenty of room.

Once the sailboat passed, the captain inched forward into the pass. I waved to the crews and the mate shouted back that they had seen my story and pictures. I asked what they thought? He gave a "Thumbs up!"

Shrimp boat leaving Frenchman's Creek. Heading out to the Gulf of Mexico
Shrimp boat lealving Frenchman's Creek. Heading out to the Gulf of Mexico

Read the companion story and see the pictures.

Shrimp Boats Moored Along the Mangroves

Shrimp boat backing up across Frenchman's Creek, St. Petersburg.Shrimp boat backing up across French's Creek, St. Petersburg


Shrimp boat crew just gave me the "Thumbs up!"
Shrimp boat crew just gave me the thumbs up!

Shrimp boat passing Eckerd College's Wallace Boathouse.
Shrimp boat passing Eckerd College's Wallace Boathouse, an Activities Center, multiple docks and a boat ramp.

Shrimp boat waiting for the sailboat to pass.
Shrimp boat waiting for the sailboat to pass.

Shrimp boat moving again.
Shrimp boat moving into Frenchman's Creek narrow pass

Shrimp boat lined up to enter Frenchman's Creek's pass.
Shrimp boat lined up to enter  Frenchman's Creek's pass.


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