Sunny Sanibel Island - Sunsets and Shelling


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Published: March 27th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

Royal TernRoyal TernRoyal Tern

Gathering on the beach with the wind in our feathers.
Hello again dear friends,

We are writing to you from the warm and sunny beaches of Florida, Sanibel Island more specifically. This missive will start you off with a short history lesson. Dave and I met in September of 1992 and began dating in December- by March of 1993 things were serious and we decided to take our first vacation together. Later I learned that Dave was a bit worried because he had spent most of his time with me at work and wasn’t sure I knew how to relax. In Sanibel he saw the real me and was pleased. As you may have guessed by now our first trip was spent on Sanibel Island. We have returned here to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. Wow, 15 years and it has flown by.

We’ve been in Pittsburgh for 10 months now and it was high time for a vacation. It was our first real taste of winter in 13 years and the experience was not the most pleasant. Wait a minute….10 months without a vacation? We certainly cannot allow this to happen again!

You may not believe this but Dave and I decided to drive to Sanibel from Pittsburgh. We love road trips, the customer friendly airlines didn’t seem to have any seats available that would allow us to use our hard earned frequent flyer points and our dog Miss Lillie loves the beach. Miss Lillie was planning to file a grievance with the puppy union if we didn’t bring her along. Since that is a tough union we decided not to mess with them. This dog loves the water!!

We are staying at the same hotel we stayed in 16 years ago although we have upgraded to a nicer room. http://www.sanibeltropicalwinds.com/
It is a small mom and pop hotel on a quiet beach. If for some reason you want to stay here, avoid room 5 unless you have to, it is very small.

Sanibel and Captiva Islands are small islands located south of Ft. Myers. The toll bridge used to be $3 and now it is $6. That is a lot of inflation for a bridge that has been paid for a long time ago. Oh well, a state with no state income tax has to get its money somehow….

The Lazy Flamingo is our favorite restaurant on the island. They
Tropical Winds HotelTropical Winds HotelTropical Winds Hotel

Peaceful and very close to the beach!! 239-472-1765
have three locations and are just as wonderful as they were all those years ago. There are not many things more pleasing after a hard day on the beach than a bucket of beer, a bucket of oysters and a basket of shrimp. Life is grand in south Florida!!

We spend our days reading in our beach chairs, taking walks on the beach with Miss Lillie and watching folks spend quite a bit of time collecting sea shells, which are a main course of activity on this island as they are everywhere! There is even a sea shell museum on the island.

The people who are renting the rooms near us are rather dedicated shellers. We’ve listened to them chatting; comparing shells and they seem to know all the names. We’ve seen professionals on the beach with shovels, buckets and nets for scooping and shifting through the shells. Our neighbors have found the best time to hit the beach is about 6:30am, an hour before sunrise they head out with their flashlights to comb the beach at low tide and before everyone else has a chance. They have been successful in their endeavors and have their shells displayed on the ledge of the screened in porch for all passersby to admire. Shell envy is running rampant in our complex. This shelling thing is rather contagious. You can tell your self that you have shells at home and that you don’t need any more but you find yourself starring at the sand as you walk. One catches your eye and all of a sudden you have a pocket full of shells and asking yourself why you didn’t bring a baggie.

While sitting on the beach contemplating any number of world issues you can’t help but wonder how many seashells there are in the world. This beach is covered with them. Each day we see scavengers with baggies full of shells marching up and down the beach looking for that one last perfect shell. There seems to be an abundance of them on Sanibel. Why here more than other beaches that we have explored? What makes this place so special? If there is a marine biologist out there with the answer I’d love to hear from you or I will need to do some research.


The beach is not crowded as this is not a spring break destination for college kids. There are some parents with grade school kids, but mostly older folks looking for what is here……..lots of quiet. Life is generally pretty slow here and that’s fine by us.

The sunsets are well attended and do not disappoint. We are in search of the “green flash” but have not seen it here as of yet. If you have ever witnessed this, you know what we mean. Sanibel Island offers beautiful sunsets.

Sanibel has several famous restaurants- The world Famous Mucky Duck restaurant is known for its Key Lime Pie and its sunsets. The Bubble room is eclectic.

The Jacaranda has always been one of our favorites and where we decided to spend our wedding anniversary.

Observing nature here is fun as well. J. Darling Nature Preserve is a quiet place that is a reserve for the various waterfowl in the area. It was hit pretty hard in 2004 by the hurricane season and seems to continue to recover. We did not see as much wildlife on this trip as we have in the past but it remains a lovely drive and walk. It did seem to be a hot spot with many fishermen. It is quiet and has lots of areas to pull over and snag a few fish.

The lighthouse is on the eastern point of the island. You can look across the bay at Ft. Myers. Touristy shops and beach front condos are scattered across the island but the planning commission has done a great job of preserving the quiet and privacy of the island. The fishing pier was very busy the afternoon we went for a visit. Pelicans were dive bombing nearby which I think might have decreased the number of fish available for all those hopeful fishermen. Sanibel has something to offer for boaters, fishermen, shellers and those just seeking some quiet time on the beach.


If you would like to know the history of Sanibel Island please refer to the web site. http://www.sanibel-captiva.org/islands/history.asp It has an interesting history and well worth taking the time.

We hope that spring will soon arrive in Pittsburgh as we have once again realized how much we love the sun and warmth of these climes.

We would love to hear where you are traveling this year. Please write and share with us.

Farewell friends,
DolphinDolphinDolphin

We watched this dolphin play 5 feet from shore for about 15 minutes.


Dave, Merry Jo and the water logged but quite contented Miss Lillie



Additional photos below
Photos: 27, Displayed: 26


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Sanibel SunsetSanibel Sunset
Sanibel Sunset

The end of another perfect day on Sanibel Island.
Pelican ConventionPelican Convention
Pelican Convention

We think they were having a union meeting. Nice location.
J. Darling Nature PreserveJ. Darling Nature Preserve
J. Darling Nature Preserve

The quiet is astounding.
MIss LillieMIss Lillie
MIss Lillie

SHe is a beach hound!!
Miss Lillie Miss Lillie
Miss Lillie

Nothing better than a good roll in the sand!
A crazy dogA crazy dog
A crazy dog

Mom and dad say I have to take a bath now.
Beach puppyBeach puppy
Beach puppy

Miss Lillie loves to swim
The water is greatThe water is great
The water is great

Come on in and play with me.
Relaxing on the beachRelaxing on the beach
Relaxing on the beach

Dave at his best.
Sunset on the beachSunset on the beach
Sunset on the beach

We are out for our evening stroll along the beach.
I am worthy of a few photos!I am worthy of a few photos!
I am worthy of a few photos!

The Great Blue Heron
Terns on the beachTerns on the beach
Terns on the beach

They stand together like a little army.


25th April 2011

what a great anniversary celebration! I was looking through your blog and saw the trip for Sanibel Island. It caught my eye, because my grandpa has a condo on Boca Grande, which only a short boat trip away from Sanibel. We've gone to Sanibel and Captiva a few times too. It's such a beautiful area with great beaches.
25th April 2011

that last comment was me! I wasn't signed in :)
25th April 2011

Boca Grande is a nice location
Yes, we love it down there. The beaches are great.

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