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Published: September 27th 2013
The title is a misnomer, there are not 10 things to do on a wet day in Clearwater, let alone 101 but we tried.
Unbeknown to me, a meeting of the travel committee had taken place in Starbucks at 7-30am and decided the howling gales and leftover hurricane outside the window was too much for a day at Busch gardens so everyone returned to their beds. When I woke up at 9-30 having missed the 8-00 alarm (which had been turned off) I panicked expecting everyone had left without me only to be reassured by a snoring lump under the duvet next to me who mumbled something about the trip being cancelled. By the time the curtains were thrown back, the wind and rain had subsided and it had turned into a quite nice but very cloudy day. Still too late for Busch Gardens though!
Consulting the weather radar (which everyone does out here every 20 seconds) we decided to look for other activities for the day and settled on the Clearwater aquarium home of Winter the dolphin (the one with no tail that starred in the film with Harry Connick Junior)
The aquarium is only a couple
of miles form the hotel but we summoned the Mustang from the bowels of the hotel and much to the girls disgust, dropped the roof for a blast along the seafront! We were barely out of second gear when we arrived at the entrance to the Clearwater Aquarium. Now this is no Seaworld, it is a marine animal rescue facility with some spectator activity to generate income. It's also under a huge amount redevelopment at the moment as they prepare for "Winter 2" to start filming in October so it is a bit of a building site.
Inside as well as Winter and it's two mates in a very small pool (temporary apparently as her usual pool down the road is under renovation) there are injured turtles, rays, Sea otters and one isolated single male dolphin abandoned and sunburnt as a baby who now loves there. I know they can't be released but the amount of space the dolphins had felt particularly restrictive. We were unable to see Winter apart from a dorsal fin now and again as she swam around a dark tank with her buddies. There were also two huge white African Pelicans housed in a small
glass room, these aren't injured and are there for the film (they played Ralph?!?) but again it felt very restrictive for them.
After a couple of hours in there we were done and we set off along the beach front with the roof down in search of some lunch. We pulled in at the Post Corner a greek (ish) restaurant just along from the Hyatt and had a great set of pizzas and Greek dishes. After lunch we headed for the huge crazy golf course on the seafront, but this being laid back Clearwater the guys was on a break for an hour and we couldn't be bothered to hang around.
We headed back to the hotel and the pool for some afternoon refreshments before heading out in the evening to the Clearsky restaurant next to the hotel. Good restaurant with great choice of food and we were also able to watch the Rays destroy New York at baseball on the big screens behind the bar.
We returned to our usual after dinner haunt on the beach with leftover wine and beers as the beach bar was still closed!
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