Woke up to a storm this morning. It was dark and raining outside. My initial reaction was disappointment because after all, one goes to the beach expecting (hoping for) sunny weather. Then after a few moments, I realized that it would be the perfect time to explore the island and check out information on kayaking. So, after an hour or so of my daughter dressing, rejecting, dressing again, several shirts strewn about on the bed and me sighing loudly in exasperation, we were finally ready to go.
By the time we walked outside the rain had slowed to a drizzle, just enough to keep it cool but yet still easy enough to drive around in considering I didn’t have a clue of where I was going to be driving. As it was, there was no need to worry about losing my way. There’s only a couple of main roads that takes one from the eastern part to the western part of the island. The island itself is roughly 8 or 9 miles long. It wasn’t packed from end to end with tourist stops and shops like so many tourist destinations are. There were gift stores and shelling stores but for the most part they were tastefully spaced apart. There were still so much undeveloped land throughout, which I love. I don’t much like places that are too touristy and overdeveloped.
At the end of Sanibel Island, there is another small bridge that connects to yet another island called Captiva. This island is even tinier but obviously home to some very affluent folks judging from the houses, or rather – mansions, we saw. A lot of them were set back deep in heavy foliage so we could just see that there was a large house and some elaborate detail but never enough to see the whole place. the island is so small that most of these houses have a view of the Gulf. By this time the sun had come out clearing out all the storm clouds and the view was wonderful.
Some of the views these houses have….
We took some pictures of the houses themselves but somehow I get the feeling it might be a violation of their privacy if I posted them here.
After driving about on this tiny little island, we decided to head to “Ding Darling”. A national preserve that had been established on Sanibel years ago to protect the birds, marine life and wildlife that inhabit this place. If you looked at a map you would see that the southern part of the island is where the hotels and shops are and the top half is all preserved land. We weren’t able to drive through due to the roads being repaved, but they had kayaking trips that would take us into the mangroves. After talking with someone about this, we signed up for a kayaking trip departing at 8:15 the next morning.
Since the storm cleared out and the sun was out, it was time to head back to the hotel and get on the beach! Once on the beach, we could see that the overnight storm had kicked up even more shells than we had seen the previous days (if that could have been possible). The water was warm and gorgeous. If the beach was full of shells, I just knew that if I was patient, I should be able to find a perfect, unbroken shell specimen in the water. I wasn’t out there in waist deep water very long before I was rewarded with this…
My perfect shell. It’s about the size of the palm of my hand.
My daughter on the other hand wasn’t so adventurous, she came out into the water but couldn’t handle all the shells brushing up against her feet. She’s the type that needs to know exactly what she’s stepping on and with the waves and current being so strong, there was no way to see that deep. I probably didn’t help matters when I kept digging around looking for shells and scooping up sand dollars. Every single time I scooped something out of the water, I had a sand dollar in my hand. They were live so of course I put them back, but she started freaking out over the fact that we were probably standing on a breeding ground for sand dollars and worried that we were hurting them. She finally couldn’t handle it anymore and went back up on the beach where she could keep an eye on what she was standing on. The sand dollars appeared to be clustered in a line at a certain point all up and down the coast so I just moved away from there and kept diving and digging. I found more large shells but nothing quite as perfect as the one above. That’s ok, though…one gift from the sea was wonderful.
To bed early again, the sun and salt water is really putting my mind and body into serious relaxation mode.