Thursday, 23 March 2017

An Unexpected Guest

“Don’t swim in fresh water in Florida” we were advised. “Why ever not?” we naively replied. Alligators inhabit the fresh water here, and they’re especially abundant on Sanibel Island (who wouldn’t prefer to be here, after all?).

So early in the morning, a couple of days ago, we looked out of our bedroom window, and there was a big one – stretched out in the sun – 10 feet from the house!! (Pics below). I probably got too close to take those pictures … but I was cautious.

I’ve been exploring Sanibel on my own since then, as Jeff is again under the weather – but slowly recuperating. Yesterday, I biked for an hour to Tarpon Bay Explorers, and took a kayak tour into the mangroves (2nd time in a kayak – did ok). Lots of upper and lower body exercise.

Today I biked to the “Ding” Darling Wildlife refuge for a tram trip around the conservation area. Saw another alligator and many different kinds of birds – I can now identify most of them! There was a huge thunderstorm as we headed back to the visitor’s centre where my bike was parked, and a lovely couple from Pennsylvania offered me and the bike a lift home in the rain – so nice!

And I’m looking at real estate ads for this place J. No, we’re not buying property here anytime soon – but one can dream, no?

Monday, 20 March 2017

OMG - look where we've landed!!

Well we really scored - we're in paradise on Sanibel Island in a gorgeous 2500-foot home, most of which is all ours. The lovely owner, Candace, has a wing of her own, and we hardly see her, and her adorable golden doodle, Darla, keeps us company on the couch whenever we invite her.

Sanibel is truly our kind of place - no high-rise hotels, totally nature-oriented, with an almost empty white sand beach, about a mile from the house. The house itself is on a little lake called Lake Murex (with alligators!), and we have bikes that take us just about anywhere on this 12-mile long island, on paved bike paths. Honestly, we feel like we've landed in heaven - we just booked to stay two extra days, until next Sunday.

On the agenda for this week is mostly relaxing, but we'll probably visit Captiva Island, maybe on a "dolphin cruise", and definitely spend a day at the Ding Darling Conservation area to see local flora and fauna. Here is a sample of my pics …

Saturday, 18 March 2017

A Wonderful Last Day in Sarasota

We had a wonderful last day to finish our stay in Sarasota. Jeff and I visited the Marie Selby Botanical garden, with its wondrous orchids, and ate lunch on a bench overlooking a pond full of Coi. We were lucky to be there during a Chagall exhibit as well – with a number of his original paintings, and parts of the gardens designed to look like the ones that inspired him in Southern France.

Then Jeff rested in our hotel room while I did a load of laundry and painted by the hotel pool (inspired by the gardens). We finished the day with a Thai dinner out to say goodbye to Ingrid and Chuck. We really enjoyed their company!

Tomorrow we’re off to Sanibel Island (yeah!!) – and 5 days of staying put before we head to the East coast and make our way back to the boat, to prepare to leave.