Me too man. You have me fired up about my camera now
KRY been helping me, I purchased the SX40 from Canon, which from all reviews and from what KRY says as well, is one of the if not the best bridge camera you can get, it is beastly for what it is.
I live 10 feet from the ocean/beach, 15 minutes from the National Redwood Park, 10 minutes from the Smith River, and tons of mountains/vistas here. The whales also stay here in this part of the ocean from December to January, you can see them with the naked eye, much less a solid camera. I'd be a fool not to take up photography as a hobby.