One of the big reasons I wanted to go to Florida for the winter was to be able to eat delicious tropical fruit in season. Like most other places, because of our inefficient market-driven food system, it’s difficult to find locally grown fruit in any local stores. I had to search everywhere. Even the St Pete farmers market had a sparse selection of in season local fruit–oranges, grapefruit, and the occasional papaya. Like most places, using land to grow food just doesn’t pay compared with using it for high rise condos and shopping malls, so even when you can find “local” produce, it comes from over a hundred miles away. Fortunately, I made it to ECHO farms (see future videos for the tour), and one of the local flea markets also featured a wide assortment of unusual, but easily locally grown, tropical fruit thanks to some southeast Asian vendors.
The Amara Zee is technically a sailboat, but because it has been adapted as a theater ship, it can’t use its sails anymore. But I had the chance to take a ride on true tall sailboat, the Lynx, when it was docked across from us. The Lynx is a small replica a schooner from the War of 1812 and features 12 sails to harness the wind’s power to maximum efficiency. We invited the crew of the Lynx to dinner at the Amara Zee one night, so they offered us free rides on their ship. It wasn’t the best day for wind, but nevertheless we got to see how the crew uses the power of the wind to sail a boat the old fashioned way. It takes a lot of hands to sail a boat like this and it was inspiring to see the skilled, strong women and men on their crew working together to hoist the sails.
This is some older footage from earlier in my trip to St Petersburg. There’s so much happening at St Pete and so much footage I’ve taken since being here, I can’t find time to get it all in. Here is a taste of a bunch of different activities I took part in during January of this year.
St Pete is like a botanical garden. In certain yards and neighborhoods there is a diverse landscape of exotic tropical plants. For a gardener and horticulturalist like me, who hasn’t spent much time in the tropics it is an adventure just to ride my bike around. On this trip I happened across a very strange fruit on a strange tree.
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My aunt and uncle take me out sailing on a sailboat my uncle built himself. This is wind power technology that humans have been using for thousands of years. I love the feeling of speeding along knowing we are moving without the use of anything but natural power. Maybe next time I can get them to do the entire trip without the motor. I know they have the skills. I’ve only gone sailing sporadically in my life and most of those times were with my aunt and uncle.
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Although I haven’t flown in a plane in a while because I’m concerned about the impact of plane travel on the planet, my uncle happens to be an avid small plane flyer. He’s taken me up in his Mooney prop plane a couple times since I’ve come here to Florida, and this video is a little documentary of one of these adventures. We flew to his sailboat and went practice racing with a few other boats, but that part of the adventure will come in the next video. I wish I could say this was a solar powered plane, but it was just diesel. Although, I’m not crazy about the impact of flying, like many other activities that are destructive to the planet, I can understand the appeal in terms of fun and experience. I just had to share this experience because it was pretty awesome. This little video series will showcase the power of the wind.
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