Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sanibel Island, Day 4

When we got up this morning and looked out the window, we discovered that a turtle had crawled up right onto our beach in the middle of the night and laid a nest.  The official turtle people were already out there, marking it and staking it off.  Pretty exciting stuff!

Today was another day that I was particularly looking forward to.  We were driving off the island for our first time ever, to visit my friend Karen in Englewood.  I call Karen the  “Shark Tooth Hunter Extraordinaire!”  This lady knows how to find the shark teeth and that is something I wanted to try for the longest time.  We piled into the car at 7:30 am and headed to Englewood.  It took us about 2 hours, allowing for a stop to pick up coffee and another stop for gas.  It wasn’t a bad drive though.

Once we reached Englewood, we met Karen at the beach.  Here is a woman who knows how to roll out the welcome wagon.  She had set up a fantastic spot for us on the beach, complete with umbrella, chairs, towels, coolers, drinks and lunch.  Wow!! 

Before we even had a chance to start looking for teeth, Laurie and Wendy spotted this turtle.

Karen has the official shark tooth hunting tools – special basket device and a really cool screening device.  Don’t you just love my official terminology?  She took us down to the water’s edge and showed us how to sift for teeth.  It took us awhile to get the hang of it.  For every tooth I found, Karen found 15.  She really has the eye for spotting them. 

Everyone paid close attention to her, including this bird….

Chablis really liked the screen device....

But I preferred to just sit on the beach and sift through shell piles.  This one was my best find for the day.

For lunch, Karen introduced us to Cuban sandwiches, which were really good, hummus and chips, and brownies for dessert.  It was a perfect lunch for the beach. 

Afterwards we headed back to the shell piles...

 and then we got Karen to pose for a phooning picture.

Before we left to head back to Sanibel, we took Karen to find a geocache.  She was interested in our hobby so we went to find one that was close by.  Doesn’t Karen look like a natural geocacher?

We had such a great day with Karen – it was so much fun and we learned a lot about shark teeth.  I found about 70 pretty nice teeth.  Or rather, Karen found most of them and I helped!

Once we got back to Sanibel we ate dinner at the condo and then drove out to The Bubble Room to get a slice of Orange Crunch Cake for a little late night snacking. 

We were so tired from our busy day of shark tooth hunting that we didn’t even drive anywhere to watch the sun set.  We just sat on the beach and watched the waves roll in.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Blogger issues

Blogger seems to be having some problems and I cannot answer comments on my blog or leave comments on anyone else's blog.  Hopefully it will be straightened out soon.

Sanibel Island, Day 3

Our third day started out with a gorgeous sunrise, which we watched from the roof top deck. 

After grabbing some specialty coffees and scones from the coffee bar at Baileys, we headed out to McCarthy’s Marina on Captiva where we were to meet Capt. Brian at 8 am for our private cruise.  You can check out Capt. Brian’s blog and cruise info here:  http://captainbrianonthewater.blogspot.com/

Let me just start by saying that we had a fantastic time.  Capt. Brian had a large cooler stocked with ice on board, where we stowed our drinks and lunch bags.  The skies were a clear blue, the sun was warm and the breeze was light. 

As we got under way, Capt. Brian pointed out Ding Darling’s cottage and we got to witness a rare sighting of frigate birds (we thought he said FRIGGIN' birds, which gave us all a good laugh)

We also saw a dolphin cruise by, all before we cleared the northern tip of Captiva.  Capt. Brian is well versed in the history of the islands and kept us entertained with stories all the way to the northern end of Cayo Costa  As we nosed the boat toward shore, we noticed turtle tracks on the beach leading to and from a nest made less than 10 hours earlier. 

Not only did I want to visit Cayo Costa because of the shelling, but I wanted to find a geocache that is rarely found because of its remote location.  We hiked down the beach picking up shells and sand dollars along the way. 

First we found the cache....

And then we took a moment to snap a picture of us phooning on Cayo Costa. 

We slowly meandered back up the beach and when we reached the boat, Capt. Brian surprised us with a fresh watermelon that he had sliced up especially for our cruise.  I have to tell you – that personal touch really showed me what a great guy he is and how much he cares about his clients. 

We enjoyed our snack on the beach and then continued hunting for treasures.  We found a couple of great things – Almost immediately I found a guadia nautical.  We also found a lot of beautiful sand dollars and Chablis found a huge arrowhead sand dollar.  I had never seen one of those before.  Chablis also found a very large star fish. 

He was still alive so we took some photos and placed him back into the water.  But the find of the day was the seahorse that Wendy found.  It was lying dead in a tangle of seaweed.  And it was in pristine condition!  It’s almost 4” long.  It’s a real beauty and Wendy was thrilled beyond words. 

 Here is just a portion of what we found....

All too soon our 4 hour cruise was drawing to a close.  We climbed back into the boat and pulled our lunch out of the cooler to eat on the ride back.  We had a simple lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but we had made one for Capt. Brian and he seemed to really appreciate the thought.  We had barely eaten half of our sandwiches when a pod of dolphins swam up.  All thoughts of lunch were forgotten as we scrambled for our cameras so we could take some close up shots.  What a thrill!

On the ride back to port, Capt. Brian let Laurie take the helm (a brave move on his part) and he climbed up front to point out some things of interest and to entertain the girls.  He had them in stitches.

After the cruise Capt. Brian showed us some of the shells from his personal collection.  All in all, it was a lot of fun and I highly recommend a cruise with him.  It was a real highlight of our trip.

We then stopped at the Captiva Chapel by the Sea to walk around.  The history of this cemetery is really interesting and you can read about it here:  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~flswphs/cem/captiva/index.html

After that we stopped at Blind Pass to check out the shelling on the Captiva side.  I have to say I was rather disappointed this time.  The shell piles were not as large as last year and the shell selection was poor.  I did get to take some nice photos of the pelicans as they flew around and dove for their lunches. 

We called it quits early and headed back to the condo, where we cleaned up and then headed out for a yummy dinner at the Hungry Heron.  Afterwards we did a little souvenir shopping...

stopped at Jerry’s Market to look at the birds outside...

 and then stopped on Periwinkle to grab another geocache.  It's someplace on this tree, but I won't tell where!

We then headed out to the causeway to watch the sun set. 

What can I say except that it was the end of another perfect day!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sanibel Island, Day 2

Our second day started early as we were anxious to get out and explore.  But first we had to stop near Baileys store again.  We are geocachers, and if you aren’t familiar with this fun sport, please check it out here:  http://www.geocaching.com/     There’s a cache hidden near the store, we quickly found it and then headed off to Blind Pass. 

We went for a long walk east on the beach, where we checked out lots of shell piles. 

Laurie found a coconut...

 we saw an osprey nest...

and then we stumbled across a nest with eggs on it.  I have since found out that they are most likely plover eggs.  We kept our distance, but took some nice pictures. 

We had the latitude and longitude for a geocache that we wanted to find.  It was located near a swampy area, we found it with no problem, logged our find and then headed back to Blind Pass. 

Along the way I found a perfectly intact, dead, horseshoe crab. 

I scooped it into my hat to take home and almost immediately tripped over this adorable crab.  He sat and posed for a quick picture and then he scurried off into the water. 

Next we saw these White Ibis birds hunting along the shoreline for their lunch. 

But that time it was around 12:30 and we were getting hungry ourselves, so we started back to the condo, but first we stopped along the way at this tower. 

This is one of the reasons I like geocaching so much.  I have been going to Sanibel for years and had no idea this tower was there.  We climbed the tower and enjoyed the view.  Then we searched and found the geocache that was hidden here.    

After a quick lunch at the condo, we relaxed and swam on our beach until dinnertime. 

One of my favorite restaurants on the island is Timbers.  We celebrated with a drink and a nice meal. 

Afterwards we strolled around the grounds of Pointe Santo and took a moment to shoot another phooning picture. 

Since it was still early we headed out to Captiva.  We wandered the beach until sunset, picking up shells and enjoying the pleasant evening. 

The girls were coaxed into posing for some pictures and then stared in awe of another beautiful sunset. 

Needless to say, our second day was packed with fun and interesting things.
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