Hello everyone! Last week we had a wonderful surprise… some friends who have a timeshare over at Sanibel Island, FL, had their plans change at the last minute and, rather than let it sit empty the rest of the week, offered to let us to stay there a couple of days. Sanibel is one of our favorite spots to relax! So, despite our current health issues, we headed over for a mini vacation. Since many of you are stuck in the cold and snow, I thought you might want to turn up the heat, fix yourselves a warm cuppa and enjoy a brief break in the warm sun for a change. Here we go….
One would think being on the west coast of Florida means sunsets on the water, but we were on the south side of the island and actually had gorgeous SUNRISES.
In the distance we can see Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs and, maybe a bit of Naples.
It’s fun to watch the skillful cast net fishermen. (If you want to watch, press the play button (the white arrow).):
To see the sunset, we have to go to some of the northern beaches, like here at Blind Pass Beach, which is just before crossing over to Captiva:
If you watch carefully, you can often see dolphins playing in the gulf waters. Here’s a very short video. Press the ‘play’ button (the white arrow).
(Hint: look in the distance toward the left) To my cat loving friends: There are lots of cat’s paw shells on Sanibel and I usually find the most PAIRS (they’re bivalves) here at Blind Pass. Just sayin’. >^.^<
There’s plenty to do on the island. #1 for me is shelling. It’s addictive and no matter how many shells one has, there’s always one more pretty one that HAS to go home.
Here are some of the shells you might find. And, yes, one of the rangers at the NWR said there ARE seahorses in the water.
Of course you have to watch out for the live ones… it’s illegal to take them home!
This guy looked like he was hoarding his own stash of shells, so I left him alone.
Tip: try finding a single tide day where low tide is just before dawn. The tide is stronger and brings in more shells and if you can get out just before dawn, you’ll be treated to nice shells AND a pretty sunrise.
You can also do the regular things, like sit in the sun – or shade – and read…
… or make sand castles or something out of the ordinary like an iguana…
… or a seahorse.
Another fun thing to do is drive through the JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge – I recommend doing this at low tide as all kinds of birds tend to come in then to feed. As of this writing, the fee is $5 per car and you can drive through as many times as you wish. (If you have the lifetime Senior Pass to the National Parks, you get in free.)
Here’s a short video of the pelicans coming in… Press the ‘play’ button (the white arrow):
There are white pelicans, spoonbills, sandpipers, egrets, ibis and others. The ranger is talking about the anhinga (commonly known as snake birds) that are often see with their wings spread out. Be sure and look up often as you drive through the park and the island… there are numerous osprey nests and there is even a bald eagle in the area.
Near sunset in the park, you can see flocks and flocks of birds coming in to roost. Watch for the mullets who seem to be jumping for joy! lol!
At the visitors center, they have something fun for the artsy-craftsy folk (Well, I THINK it’s for US, tho there were a lot of KIDS there. hahaha). They have a table with raised etchings of various forms of wildlife and plants in the area and a pile of crayons and blank paper so you can make rubbings. I put several together on a page….
I may have to try that with some of my embossing folders! : )
As you drive through the park, be sure to stop at the mangrove overlook. As you walk through you will see what look like brown ‘knots’ on the mangrove trees. Look closer!
They’re crawling with crabs! You may also see what look like strings of pearls – those are actually spider egg sacks. The guide said each one may have some 50,000 inside. Yikes! I think they’re basilica orb weavers. When you get out to the water be sure to look down… you may spot some of those seahorses!
Traveler’s tip: be sure to spray yourself with insect repellent before getting out of your car in the park or going to the beach to protect yourself from no-see-ums… those tiny biting midges or sand fleas are so small and fast you won’t know they’re biting until it’s too late.
Ok, lets leave the creepy critters behind and take a look at some of the pretty and unusual plants on the island:
This one’s called a Necklace Pod (Sophora tomentosa).
Well, it’s about time for me to cast off. (See what I did there?!) Wink-wink!
I hope you enjoyed your little trip to Sanibel Island! I’ll be back soon with some pictures from the Naples Botanical Garden to help you hold on until your spring flowers arrive!
Thanks for stopping by!
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AWESOME, D.Ann!!!! Wow……what a fabulous and beautiful post. LOVED seeing all these gorgeous photos. Way to go on the YouTubes, too!! Thank you so much for sharing this lovely trip with us.
jwoolbright at gmail dot com
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D Ann, this was a beautiful trip down memory lane for me. My husband and I loved our mini vacations on Sanibel! Your awesome photos really captured the magic 🙂
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