Dear Sunset Beachers:
It is with a heavy heart that I send this email to let you know of the sudden death of Robert Driscoll, affectionately known to all our holiday Strollers as our Santa.
Bob and Kim Driscoll have lived on Sunset Beach for many years, and Kim is the editor of our newsletter. Both Kim and Bob are former board members of the Civic Association, and Bob has organized the beach clean-ups until the last few years. There are so many things that Bob has done over the years for Sunset Beachers that it is difficult to list them all.
Bob fell victim to complications due to heart disease, and related illnesses. I wanted everyone to know the details of his funeral events:
Thursday - 7PM visitation at Beach Memorial Chapel on Corey Avenue next to the Beach Theatre.
Friday 10AM - Mass at St. Johns followed by memorial celebration of Bob's Life at Lion’s Club.
Kristy Andersen, President SBCA
The trees surrounding an unassuming little bungalow are alive with feathered jewels, and the air resounds with chirps, squawks, and an occasional throaty “Hello.”
You’ve reached the home of Captain Robert Barrett (a.k.a. “Captain Tut”) - and the Pinellas Suncoast Parrot Sanctuary. Captain Tut is a native Floridian and selfdescribed “Parrothead” who has always loved birds and boats. After serving in the Marine Corps, he earned his associate degree in business management and administration from St. Petersburg College and took a job with Gulfstar. This is when he got his first parrot – a small green conure. “That bird just captivated me,” he recalls, so much so that soon afterward he purchased a bigger fellow – a blue-and gold macaw. “I went to work for Pinellas County as a diver and earned my captain’s license,” he says, “and I took that macaw everywhere with me – even out on the boat.” But tragedy struck when the Captain was working as a demolition diver on the St. Armand’s bridge in Sarasota. Something had gone wrong with the bridge’s spring mechanism.
Tut was standing on the end of the bridge when it sprung open like a mousetrap, pinning him between the bridge and a construction crane. He then dropped to the concrete, shattering his right femur, breaking all his ribs, and puncturing his lung. Luckily, he survived, but his diving days were over. After he recovered, Tut took a job at Petland in Tampa. Because of his interest in birds, he was put in charge of their extensive avian department where he added to his expertise. He also added a scarlet macaw to his bird family. Tut soon developed a following among the customers, and the owner of Sunken Gardens offered him a position as assistant zoo director. This was the beginning of “Captain Tut’s Pirate Parrots,” a pirate-themed bird show that was soon appearing at local events.
As he became more involved with birds, Tut decided to broaden his education. He earned an Associate degree in veterinary technology, a certificate in bird biology and ornithology from Cornell University, accreditation as a certified avian specialist, and membership in the Association of Avian Veterinarians. Soon Tut was very much in demand. He became an avian nutritional and behavioral consultant and a certified avian specialist, working with some of the biggest names in the veterinary community. He assisted with surgeries and was appointed to the Advisory Committee of St. Petersburg College’s Veterinary Technology Department (where he has served for over two decades). He was hired to train birds for Disney’s Animal Kingdom and co-hosted “Talkin’ Pets,” a nationally syndicated radio program. When “McCinsey’s Island” was being filmed in Fort De Soto and the producer needed a bird who could ride a jet ski, he came to Captain Tut.
The Captain was also featured on Animal Planet and Channel 10, and even worked with renowned avian behaviorist Dr. Irene Pepperberg. As his reputation spread, people began bringing him birds that needed homes. Tut’s love for birds made it impossible for him to turn them away. “My dream was to give birds a retirement home where they could live out the rest of their lives happily,” he says. He soon garnered support from top avian vets, former clients, and many influential community members. In 2008, Tut’s dream came true when the Pinellas Suncoast Parrot Sanctuary was founded. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the sanctuary provides an alternative for parrot owners who are forced to find a new home for their pets. The birds are lovingly cared for in a clean, safe environment where they are well fed and provided with regular veterinary care and lots of human interaction. Students from PARC, a group for individuals with developmental disabilities, help care for the birds. The Captain even provides behavior therapy for parrots that lack social skills. “I’ve never met a parrot I couldn’t handle,” he says. “People call me ‘The Bird Whisperer.’ ” Tut’s flock has grown to include over seventy resident and many visiting birds.
The economic downturn has made the need even greater. A recent pet shop closure brought nine new birds to the Sanctuary. Though Tut wants to expand his avian family, space limitations are making it difficult. He’d also like to share his birds with other parrot lovers. “So many people want to come by and see the birds, but I can’t have an attraction in my current set-up,” he explains. He is currently searching for a new location. His goal is to find a facility that educational attraction where the public could interact with the parrots and learn more about these beautiful, fascinating creatures. In the meantime, he will continue to be a friend in need to his feathered companions because, according to the Captain, “I guess I’m just a birdbrain at heart.” For more information about the Pinellas Suncoast Parrot Sanctuary, visit their website at
“Locals know” is the unofficial motto of this bar, which opened as a sandwich shop in 1982 and has now become an institution on Sunset Beach. It is difficult to describe the vibe at Ka’Tiki except to say that once you have been there, it will always feel like your local bar – no matter which corner of the world you actually call home. A reporter from the St. Pete Times wrote, “When Jimmy Buffet sang of lost salt shakers and days lost to tequila, he was probably thinking of Ka’Tiki, where being a beach bum is still considered a respectable profession.” It is the place to go for great live music, affordable drinks and good fun on Treasure Island.
Ka’Tiki offers a number of specials every week. Tuesday night is Ladies’ Night from 6pm to 10pm and Hospitality Nights are Wednesday and Thursday from 11pm to 2am. The third Wednesday of every month hosts a Zodiac Birthday Celebration. There are also daily drink specials such as the Cuervo Frozen Strawberry Margaritas which are only $5 every day. If you are at a loose end on Wednesday afternoons, come over and play some pool because it is free between 11am and 5pm on Wednesdays. Wednesdays are also pet food day, so if you drop off cat and/or dog food to benefit the SPCA at Ka’Tiki, you can enjoy a free well drink or draft beer for your donation. Mark your calendar for their not-to-missed upcoming Halloween party on Saturday, October 30. The costume judging will take place around sunset—7pm-ish.
One of the things that has made Ka’Tiki famous is the live music, which is featured seven nights a week. There is a blues jam every Monday night and a variety of different artists and bands every week. Check their website (katikisunsetbeach.com) to see if your favorite is going to be playing there any time soon. While you are on the website, also make sure you check out the great recipes featured there. Also see their listing in the Bars & Bands section of this issue of BeachLife on page 33 for up-to-date information.
Ka’Tiki offers a full bar, featuring major brand names on beer and spirits. They are located at 8803 West Gulf Boulevard, Treasure Island, and definitely operate on island time, so leave your stresses and concerns at home and come enjoy the great live music and fun!
Tuzo's Island Treasure
For your Holiday Weekend, come stay on one of the most unique islands, Sunset Beach!
Find your island treasure here on Sunset Beach in this hideaway two story unit nestled just a block away from the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. "Live on Island Time" by relaxing with endless sunny beach days and picturesque sunsets. The upstairs one bathroom with sleeper sofa is still available. The unit also offers an outside patio eating area with grill.
Hurry as the 4th of July will be here soon!
To reserve your getaway call 727-423-6085
WEDNESDAY is PET FOOD DAY
Drop off Cat or Dog Food to benefit the SPCA
( IAMS OR SCIENCE)
& enjoy a FREE Well Drink or Draft on us !
What is a Veteran ?
A Fun Site ...
From Aug 31, 2008 St Petersburg Times:
When Jimmy Buffett sang of lost salt shakers and days lost to tequila, he was probably thinking of the Ka'Tiki, where being a beach bum is still considered a respectable profession. Stick to the beer and the hard stuff here, wait your turn at the pool table while noshing on chicken wings, and you'll fit right in."
~ ~ ~ SOLDIER'S DANCER IS A WINNER ! ~ ~ ~ SEE HERE ~ ~ ~
Ka'Tiki Golf Team
Our First Win !
Pete Gallagher and Kelly Green, hosts of WMNF Community Radio's weekly Florida Folk Music Show (Thursdays, 9-10 a.m. on 88.5-FM), and a group of folk singers accepted an invitation to paddle the Hillsborough River and talk about the great outdoors.
"Most Florida folk singers write about swamps, rivers, scrub ... the land we love," Gallagher explained. "Our songs speak to vanishing wilderness and a lifestyle that has slowly disappeared. There is a natural connection between Florida folk songs and the Florida environment."Click here for pics and the rest of the story.
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