Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Good-bye to Sanibel – Homeward Bound

Well, today we said a tearful “good-bye” to Sanibel Island, Candace, and her lovely dog Darla – we already miss them all!

The last few days have consisted of a last look at this paradise – more beach time, another visit to the conservation area and a drive through Captiva with Jeff, who is finally feeling better, a tour around the impressive shell museum, and several wonderful home-made meals with Candace – who turns out to be an amazing cook.

Now we’re in a little motel on Lake Ochichobee, near the marina where we plan to leave the boat for next Summer and Fall, when it is finally repaired. We’ll visit the marina tomorrow, then head for the boat for a last “good-bye” before we board the plane in Orlando on Friday, March 31st to head for home.

We’re both ready – though it’s actually turned out to be an interesting discovery trip on Florida’s Gulf coast. We’ll certainly be back to Sanibel/Captiva some time in the future! This will be my last post … thanks for following, to those of you who have – more next year (hopefully about sailing J).

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Captiva Cruising

Yesterday was a laundry, beach and hang around the pool day (I could really get used to this!). But the day before, Candace and I had a “girls day”, while Jeff finished recuperating from his recent CFS bout.

We drove to the near-by Island of Captiva (gorgeous!!), and took a cruise from there to the tiny out-island with a large history, called Useppa. The small but very informative museum there included a whole description of the planning of the Bay of Pigs, which actually took place in the lovely hotel where we had our lunch.

A brief walk around the island before the cruise back to Sanibel revealed snaking pathways (no cars allowed) past beautiful, tasteful cottages, surrounded by orchids growing on trees and a sandy white beach (Ward’s Island in paradise J).

The trip home attracted numerous dolphin, who happily followed the wake of our ferry-like boat, dancing in the waves and evoking screams of pleasure from us viewers! A manatee greeted us as we pulled into the dock on Captiva. I took many pictures - some below.

In case you’re wondering about the state of Sea Change – the rudder has been removed, and a new one ordered. We’ll be heading back to Toronto a few days earlier than planned, on March 31st, and Jeff will go back in April or early May, whenever it’s repaired, to motor the boat to the nearest Marina here in Florida. We'll leave it until next year, and then take it across the Gulf to the Bahamas (only a year late!).

So onward and upward  - we’ll stay here until Tuesday – then start heading towards the boat to drop off the gear (rain clothes, snorkel equipment, etc.) that we’ve been carrying around in the rental car, before we fly out of Orlando on Friday.

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?