Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ft. Myers Trip, Day 4: Sanibel Island

RECAP:    My husband and I both grew up on the river.  Literally.  The river was just footsteps outside of both of our front doors.  We love the water.  We love the beach.  So when we decided to start venturing further than a day's drive away from our home for a family vacation, we chose the beach.  Ft. Myers Beach, FL, to be exact.  Here's what we did on:

DAY 4:

Trip to Bowman's Beach, Sanibel Island

     8:00 a.m. found us loaded into the van and heading to Sanibel Island, hoping to reach it in time for low tide, on day 4.  We had read that Sanibel is known to be one of the shelling capitals of the world, and we were not disappointed when we arrived, shortly after low tide.  The weather was cool when we arrived, but was pretty toasty by lunchtime and some members of our crew warmed up enough to require their first official swim in the gulf!  This was a super fun day!

     While Ft. Myers Beach is more built up with condos, hotels, and beach houses, Sanibel remains in a much more natural state.  There is public parking for Bowman's Beach with a rate of $2 per hour and at 8:45 in the morning the lot was pretty vacant and we had no trouble finding a spot.  Next to the parking lot are dressing rooms and restrooms, which were an unexpected convenience.  We walked about 1/4 mile from the parking area to the beach, including a couple bridges over fresh water.  The boys and I were heavily scouting for luck!  

The Walk:

One of the bridges over fresh water
My husband/the kids' science teacher was pretty pumped up to see the mangroves, which he had just taught the kids about the week before!

The Beach:

We made it!

Hardly any visitors so early in the


So  many shells!

So pretty!

The Wildlife:

We may not have seen any gators on our walk, but Sanibel did provide us with plenty of wildlife to view!  Shortly after we arrived I was a few feet into the water searching for shells when I heard movement to my right.  I looked over expecting to see a jumping fish, and saw instead, an annoyed stingray inches from my ankles swooshing away from me.  I get super excited about things like that, and it may or may not have been the highlight of my day and scared me silly all at the same time!  The dolphin, directly below, was a little less startling!

Our first dolphin sighting of the week also occurred on Sanibel.  I am 100% certain this was our daughter's highlight of the day!
The beach was full of seagulls and our 3 year old took GREAT delight in feeding them.

The rest of our family took great delight in hearing him laugh as they flocked around him!

And I enjoyed this memory as one of the highlights of my Sanibel day until...

...later in the week when my husband zoomed in on this photo of the "Welcome to Sanibel" sign he had taken.  There, right on the sign, plainly written, were the rules.  To  my absolute HORROR, listed as rule number one was:  NO FEEDING WILD BIRDS!  Oops.  I suppose it's probably not good for the birds and perhaps people don't like the fact that after you feed them they become a little too confident and try to steal food directly from your hands.  Half of my mom's sandwich was swiped right out of her hand by one of the fattest, bravest seagulls on the beach that day.  We, of course all thought it was a total hoot!

More Fun in the Sun!
Smashball, the beach game of the week!

"Do you think we'll EVER find any shark teeth?"

Shelling and cooling off!

By the time we left Bowman's Beach, it was PACKED.  The empty lot we had found in the morning was full, and the traffic was slow.  The drive that took us only 42 minutes that morning, took over 2 hours on the way back home.  When we finally did arrive home we headed back to the beach and pool, not wanting to waste a minute of the warm weather and sunshine!

We were all tired by the end of the day, but our wildlife adventures were not quite over yet.  As we lounged around the house, barely moving more than beached whales, we discovered a little friend living with us:

"Dunk, the Living Lizard," named after "Dunk," the original toy lizard of our 5 year old.

This little guy/gal was great fun for the kids.  As for me, I was so stuck to the couch that despite my great love for seeing animals I don't usually get to see, I simply had to view this little one from the camera.  Grandma and Daddy put it outside where it reportedly ran like a mad-lizard, most likely to its' sudden and untimely death, off the patio.  

Sanibel's Treasures at the End of the Day:

Here's what we did on:  Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8 Day 9

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