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August 14, 2014 / lennonsoehl

Sanibel and Captiva Islands Monday 8-11-14

We said our goodbyes to Ralph, Sherri and Grandma and left early Monday morning for a little over an hour drive to Sanibel. We took the bridge over Tarpon  Bay into Sanibel and stopped briefly at the Visitor Center which wasn’t even open yet (before 9AM). 


We continued on Periwinkle Way to check out one beach off Amelia Lane— the beaches all have parking fees ($2/hr) so you want to make sure you want to stay for a while before you pay. This beach was nice and quiet and I did actually manage to find a unique shell the minute i got there- a turkey wing. 



This is definitely the land of shells and there are so many unique ones to find- I am hoping to get some whelks but all I managed to find were their egg cases.  

We continued on deciding to go to another beach but we stopped first for breakfast at the Over Easy Cafe. All I can say is delicious! Great food and great service– and of course another glass of sweet tea! 

We decided to hang out at Tarpon Road Beach- paid the meter and walked down with our chairs, books, and bag for shells. it was hot- real hot—over 90 before 10AM and humid! We saw a few fenced off turtle nests and set up our spot. I immediately got to work on “shelling” and was dipping my feet in the Gulf where a shoreline chain of baitfish were hanging out— the line of tiny one inch fish did not stop (as far as I could see) and they created about an 8 inch swath of darker water at the edge of the rippling gulf shore.  I found some bay scallops, zigzag scallops, ark shells and a few others I am still identifying by using the Bailey-Matthews National Shell museum website- they are located on the Island and to my knowledge are the only shell museum int he nation. Alas, we did not stop in- though I am sure it would have been great! 

I wandered the shoreline for a while doing what is known as the “Sanibel stoop” for looking for some of the island’s most unique shells. I found mostly small shells and they are fun but I never did find another turkey wing so I consider that one a special find. 

I turned back and Sean had already started walking to look for me I was gone so long (not really). I was getting very hot though an we actually decided to leave the beach before our 2 1/2 hours was up— we were heading to the car and AC before 12:15 and decided to check out the frozen yogurt spot we saw before the beach. 


We called a few hotels and discovered that many had vacancy ( on a Monday in August, I would assumer that) and found that Tween Waters- recommended by Sean’s dad actually had a reasonable rate. So we decided to drive up to Captiva, got the room and then set up our home base for the night.

After a very brief reprieve from the heat, we decided to go kayaking through Tarpon Bay and the mangroves that make up the JD “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge. It was nearly 3pm when we set off in our kayaks on a self guided numbered tour through the “swamp”. 

DSCN6408DSCN6411It was still super hot and we were dripping sweat after about 5 strokes. It must have been too hot for even the wild animals because there was not much stirring except for the mud crabs that climb on the mangroves and the mullet that were jumping out of the bay. I could not get a shot of these guys because you never knew where they were going to jump! On our way back through the mangroves (the trail was a loop), we finally saw some birds– little blue heron, immature night crowned herons and a few white herons and an anhinga. DSCN6433  DSCN6437

Our highlight for our kayak ride was the osprey that were hunting right around us and diving for fish. I did get a few shots of the osprey which was nice. We did get a little nervous when they were circling where we were paddling and then looked like they were zoning in on fish near our ‘yaks.

DSCN6448Hovering above our kayaks!

DSCN6449Osprey diving in for a fish!


After this we were hot, sunburn and sweating– we needed a little break and took a tour of a few shops for some souvenirs.  Of course our day was not over as I decided we just had to take the wildlife drive through the refuge in hopes of redeeming ourselves with some more wildlife. We did get lucky although still no manatees, alligators, bobcats or turtles. We did however gets pic of egrets, anoles, yellow crowned night herons, one roseate spoon bill and we stayed cool in the car. We were able to spot, see and hear two pileated woodpeckers which were a definite highlight. Sean is officially a bird nerd because even he was excited about the woodpeckers and wanted to track them to see more of them! Our car however was not meant to travel as the crow flies- or in this case Woody!   



One Comment

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  1. Bonnie / Aug 15 2014 6:20 pm

    Jealous! I absolutely love Sanibel and Captiva!!!

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