MS Amadea Going Under Sunshine Skyway Bridge STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT NEFF

April 8, 2017. Three ships were scheduled to leave the Port of Tampa. The MS Amadea was the second ship (bottom blue diamond). This is a smaller cruise ship that holds 600 passengers and is operated by Phoenix Reisen. After leaving Tampa, the MS Amadea's next port was Key West, then Miami and Nassau. The cruise ship was finishing a 20 nights / 21 days, one-way from Puntarenas, Costa Rico to Nassau, Bahamas.

The first ship to leave around 4 PM was the Brilliance of the Seas (blue boat icon), The third ship was the Rhapsody of the Seas, but there was a missing crew member. This delayed the ship's departure. Thus, I was only able to photograph two cruise ships going under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. I was set up at the Fort DeSoto's southernmost point. .

Source: Marine Traffic

The journey from Port of Tampa to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is 43 miles. A cruise ship takes approximately 2 hours to transverse the channel and its cuts.

While waiting for the cruise ship to get close to the Skyway, there are plenty of ways nature can occupy a photographer. Low tide provides great opportunity to catch fish and crabs in the flats. This great blue heron had been on a sand bar and flew to a spot near me .

A group of plovers, small shorebirds, had been working the area in front of me. Once they were comfortable with my stationary presence, they eventually passed in front of me. This plover quickly sucked up dinner.

The two fisherman had been wading in the shallow water. Now, it was time to return to shore

Kids found a snake skin and brought it over to show me.

Kiteboarders were out in force on both sides of the Skyway's North Rest Area.

The concrete barriers are called "dolphins" and protect the pylons from wayward ships.

The MS Amadea will pass the Egmont Ferry Pier and turn to pass the Bay Pier, going in between Fort DeSoto and Egmont Key.

Enjoy more stories and images of what I get to enjoy everyday!

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