Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Need a Fall Getaway? Relax ...on Sanibel's beautiful beaches and claim your shells ...

Loggerhead Cay 134                                                             
 This is a beautiful, completely
 remodeled 2 bedroom 2 bath
direct beach front unit. Located
 on the 4th floor this unit offers
wonderful, expansive views of the
 Gulf of Mexico. A larger unit due
 to the glass enclosed patio.
Loggerhead Cay is a 168 unit
complex located on the east end
of Sanibel.
Reserve this one now before it gets
 away. One of our best!


Publix challenges public to donate goods for Harry Chapin Food Bank

Calling all grocery shoppers - specially those who shop on Sundays!

On Sunday, Sep. 20, Lee County Transit (LeeTran) is deploying its fleet of buses to 32 Publix locations throughout Lee County to collect food for the Harry Chapin Food Bank.

LeeTran buses will park in the Publix parking lots from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for shoppers to fill bins with nonperishable food. At 4 p.m., the buses will caravan to the Harry Chapin Food Bank's Fowler Street warehouse, where volunteers will unload the donations.

The Publix locations participating in the Sep. 20 event range from Del Tura in North Fort Myers down to Bonita Beach Road, and Camelot Isles in Cape Coral to Homestead Plaza in Lehigh Acres.

LeeTran drivers and other employees are volunteering their day's labor to serve the community.

"The community has already been very generous in the fight against hunger, but with so many extra feeding stations open during the summer, we think the pantries may need restocking again," said Transit Director Steve Myers. "By asking shoppers to purchase one or two extra food items for donation, we think we can do a great deal of good."

More than 20,000 people each month rely on the Harry Chapin Food Bank for groceries through its participating 170 nonprofit agencies. The food bank has seen an 82 percent need increase over the past two years.

Harry Chapin Food Bank Associate Director Joyce Jacobs noted that the food bank is hoping for the same outpouring of support that they experienced in the Letter Carriers Food Drive in May.

Additional information about or to contribute financially to the Harry Chapin Food Bank, contact 239-334-7007 or go to

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sandrift 1073 - 3bedroom 3bath on Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico within South Seas Plantation. Sandrift is a small 4 unit complex. It offers an indoor elevator from the ground floor to the third floor bedrooms, garage parking under the unit, tennis and one of the greatest views of the Gulf of Mexico.

How To Identify Collected Shells

How to identify collected shells

You've enjoyed a VERY early morning walk on the beach at low tide, experienced the joy of watching the birth of a new day as the sun appeared on the horizon, and wandered the beach in relative solitude. Only the serious shell collectors or bird watchers give up coffee and donuts for this appointment with nature. Your next appointment was with a bleach bottle, brushes, dental tools and mineral oil. Now it's time to become a "book worm."

Your beach treasures are scattered across the kitchen table or hobby room table if you are lucky enough to own such a space. Your curiosity is peaked. What are the names of the shells you've collected?

By now you've learned that shells are the lifeless, hard, outer covering of the soft critters that once lived within them. For most mollusks, the shell provides both support and protection.

Scientific nomenclature is kind of like looking at your family tree. The binomial method of giving a species a name is similar to the way we name people. The generic name is like our last names of Jones or Smith. The species name is like our first names of Mary or Joe.

Mollusks and other animals have both common and scientific names. The common names get established by habit or repeated usage. However, common names lead to confusion or misinterpretation.

The practice of giving species a two-part name began with Carl von Linn. Scientific names, although complex, are universal. The first part of the name represents the genus and the second part of the name is a specific ending or epithet.

It is believed that well over 100,000 mollusks are in existence. Mollusks are divided into seven classes:

n Aplacophora more than 250 species of marine, shell-less, wormlike, bilaterally symmetrical animals.

n Monoplacophora about a dozen species first discovered in the 1950s have a capped-shaped, limpet-like shell and live in great depths.

n Poplyplacophora - chitons about 800 marine species that have a shell of eight, usually overlapping plates.

n Scaphopoda - tusk shells about 350 marine species bilaterally symmetrical and have elongate, tubular, tapering shells that are open on both ends.

n Cephalopoda - include squid, octopus, cuttlefish, and nautilus - 600-650 marine species that are predators or scavengers.

n Bivalvia two halves connected by a flexible ligament more than 10,000 living marine and freshwater species.

n Gastropoda single-valve shell which is usually spirally coiled - more than 60,000 species - marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats.

Let's look at a couple of examples. A gastropod frequently found on Sanibel beaches is the lightning whelk. It is generally found in shallow water. Lightning whelk is the common name. The class for this shell is Gastropoda. The genus is Busycon. Busycon have been endemic to the southeastern United States for over 60 million years. So, the genus for the lightning whelk is Busycon and the specific ending or epithet is sinistrum. Therefore, the scientific name for the lightning whelk is Busycon sinistrum.

A bivalve that dots the beaches of Sanibel is the calico scallop. Worldwide there are over 50 genera of scallops. The calico scallop is commonly found in 6-8 feet of water. The upper valve has colorful mixed shades and the lower valve is whitish with flecks of color. The class for this shell is bivalvia. The common name is calico scallop. The genus is Argopecten and the specific ending or epithet is gibbus, so the scientific name is Argopecten gibbus.

There are a few tools you might find helpful as you begin the process of identification. One of the best sources of information can be found on The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum website, Just select Southwest Florida Shells on the home page menu.

The Museum has produced a "water proof" guide for the shells of Southwest Florida. It is available in the Museum gift shop for $7.95 plus tax. This is great for taking to the beach with you. The three shell guides most often recommended are Peterson's First Guide To Shells of North America, Seashells of North America by R. Tucker Abbott and the National Audubon Society Field Guide To Seashore Creatures. All of these resources are available in the Museum Store.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hurricane Charley

Disaster of Hurricane Charley brought out the best in people

Sanibel and Captiva residents line up for water and ice after returning to the islands following Hurricane Charley in August 2004. This image was taken in the parking lot at Bailey's Plaza.

If you take a look at the archived editions of the Island Reporter, you might notice that the front page of our Aug. 12, 2004 issue was filled with stories covering the City Council deferring their vote on the Sanibel Bridge lawsuit, Lee County Commissioners approving a hike in the causeway toll, students preparing to go back to school and Porter Goss' nomination for Director of the CIA.

However, the following week's edition was dedicated almost exclusively to a single subject: Hurricane Charley.

"Sanibel residents began returning to the island Wednesday following the wrath of Hurricane Charley and after enduring six days of uncertainty not knowing about their homes," the first paragraph of our lead story - "Goodbye Charley" - read, in an issue that was packed with first-hand accounts of the storm, re-entry information for residents, damage assessments, insurance company phone numbers and photographs documenting how the islands picked up the pieces after being devastated by the Category 4 natural disaster.

And here we are, five years later, still talking about that fateful Friday the 13th.

"What I'll remember most is that everybody came together - the feds, the state and local officials, 'Ding' Darling and police - working towards a common cause," said Marty Harrity, who was serving as Sanibel's mayor during Hurricane Charley. "We weren't going to let anybody return to the island until we were sure that it was 100 percent safe."

In the Island Reporter's commemorative photo book, "2004: The Year Of The Hurricanes," executive editor Renny Severance wrote, "The response to the disaster was remarkable - help came from all over the country in the form of volunteers, ice, water, food, batteries and more. Human beings were at their very best - helping each other without a thought for themselves - as residents began to make their way back five days later to an island covered with downed trees and power lines."

Vice Mayor Kevin Ruane, who at the time Charley struck had been a Sanibel resident for 14 days, recalled what he remembered most about the period.

"It was the feeling of a small town that everybody wanted to get involved," he said. "That was a very dark moment, but people rallied together as a group."

Ruane also recalled volunteering himself to assist with the recovery effort, something that - prior to the 9/11 disaster several years earlier - he had not done on a regular basis.

"Frankly, I wonder if I would be here today, doing what I do, if that event hadn't occurred," he added.

On Monday, Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra poured over some of the data related to Hurricane Charley: The total recovery cost came in at $12.754 million. Of that amount, $5.375 million was spent on debris removal alone.

"We made our first priority safety and our second priority cleaning up," she said. "They say that the real test of a community's ability to recover from a disaster is how viable that community is after five years. For us, the answer is yes. We have fully recovered. So I say how a community comes together when something like that happens is the real test."

Zimomra also stated that the hurricane plan the city had in place served the island well then, and that the current plan for disaster preparation - which has been fine tuned and adjusted with each passing storm season since Charley - has won several awards and is recognized by the National Weather Service.

"I think that I'll remember how proud I was of our citizens and how the city really met the challenge," said Jim Jennings, a council member then and now. "This city has written the book on hurricane recovery."

Although five years is a long time in some people's estimation, the wounds left by Charley appear to have healed... but they are still visible. Not resting on its laurels, Sanibel still promotes storm awareness and preparation. The next hurricane seminar is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 20 from 1 to 3 p.m. at BIG Arts, located at 900 Dunlop Road. It is free and open to the public. For additional information, visit or call City Hall at 472-3700.

"My happiest moment after Charley was standing on the causeway, welcoming people back to the island," added Harrity. "I took a little grief for keeping folks off the island for five days, but our main concern was for their safety. I'm glad that now we're enjoying the same Sanibel we all know and love."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Vacation in Paradise - West Gulf Home

This Sanibel Island home is simply one of a kind. A direct gulf front rental home that is almost impossible to find.

This magnificent, newly furnished, 3 bedroom 2 bath home offers a fantastic heated pool, lush vegatation and sweeping Gulf views on the quiet west end. Ground level, fully equipped with many amenities including wireless internet access.

We await your arrival..

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Five Years after Hurricane Charley

Look how far we've come: Five years after Charley
By KRISTIE ANDERS, SCCF Education Director POSTED: August 5, 2009 Save | Print |
On a beautiful golden summer morning before Hurricane Charley, a stalwart forest was illuminated.
BC on the islands once meant "Before Causeway." Now, to many islanders, BC is known as "Before Charley."

It has been five years since the storm churned its way through the mountains of Cuba, picked up energy in the Straits of Florida, tightened down its center and strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane in less than 24 hours.

Along the edges of the eye, tornados spun off and tore through parts of Sanibel and Captiva, shredding everything in their path to debris. Gusting winds whirling around the 5-mile-wide eye of the hurricane as it made landfall over North Captiva and Cayo Costa were estimated to be over 160 mph. Furniture, drywall, 2x4s, insulation, roof tiles and shingles were chewed up and spit out. Trees were downed and branches were broken. Leaves were macerated, leaving green and brown foam wherever the rain blew horizontally.

The barrier islands took the storm on their chins, living up to their reputation for standing up to the swirling clouds, heavy seas, and downpours. We all rebounded albeit some more slowly than others. The "Where were you?" "How did you do?" "Are you back to normal yet?" questions are still being asked.

Out in the back bay, stoic mangroves held their ground. White and black mangroves, whose branches had been pulled off in a battle against the winds, soon started sprouting new branches, resembling oversized chia pets. Some were fatally wounded, particularly the red mangroves.

Red mangroves whose branch tips had been broken could not regrow, and many simply died in place. However beneath the mighty canopy of old-growth red mangroves, lay tiny troopers just waiting for their chance in the sun. These tiny two-to-four feet high mangroves which had been shielded by the taller mature trees now had a chance to grow. Propagules that bobbed in the maze of tangled roots stood upright and took root in the nutrient rich, decaying mangroves.

On a beautiful golden summer morning before Hurricane Charley, a stalwart forest was illuminated. Eighteen months later, the struggle of the younger trees and sprouts was obvious. But just five years later there is a new generation of mangroves - not as tall and full as the old growth - but big enough to buffer the storm waves and hold the shore.

In Upper Pine Island Sound while traveling by boat through areas that lost more than 70 percent of their red mangroves, there is still evidence of the windy battle. Dead wood is slowly breaking down, still contributing vital food in lieu of dropping leaves. The taller trunks are beginning to topple. Roots of the once mighty giants still tell the story of the glory days.

White and black mangroves have rebounded. Their older trunks are stouter than their newer post-Charley branches, looking a bit disproportionate, but they still stand in their place nonetheless.

The same embattled look of mangroves was observed on Big Pine Key, about 30 miles east of Key West, where Hurricanes George and Irene beat on the back country mangroves in 1999. There were subsequent storms including Katrina, Wilma and Fay which brought storms surges are much as eight feet, creating more havoc. But on a recent visit, 10 years after George and Irene, the mangroves looked unexpectedly good.

A decade of winds and waves pushing through the dead and down branches and roots had actually knocked them into the water. The scraggly skyline mangrove fringe had lost its dead tree tops and become a vibrant, healthy green canopy crowning the troopers, and the troopers had now grown into their own forest. The old-growth relics were down. It was the new trees that were reaching for the sky.

Those same changes can be seen fringing Pine Island sound. It is obvious that a renewed and robust forest is on its way to becoming the guardian of our shorelines, maker of land, provider of food and shelter and in their unique own way - beauty. Give them another five years.

Happy five years AC - "After Charley," that is.

Sanibel Sea School

Currently, we enroll 24 students a day. During busy times, we can add additional resources to teach a maximum of 30 students per day. Students are divided into groups of 10; each group is supervised by a lead educator. Interns and volunteers assist educators in the classroom and in the field. Students range in age from 6 to 13 years. (For interested teens older than 13 years of age, please look at the adult program.)

Our morning session is from 9:00 -12:00; the afternoon unit is from 1:00 to 4:00. Between the morning and afternoon sessions, we cool down (or warm up depending on the weather) and enjoy lunch.

Typical day
Each day we offer two subjects of study. The first is covered in the morning, and following a lunch break, a second subject is presented in the afternoon. At the end of the day, each student receives a certificate of mastery.

Grown ups
We welcome parents to come along and shadow their children. However, we must request that they limit their active participation in the academic program. In addition, we do not have the logistic capabilities to transport non-students. Shadowing parents must provide for their own transportation and parking to any and all remote locations we visit during the program.

Private Individual, Day-long Include Lunch $90

Kids - Half Day $55

Summer Camp – Day-long, No Lunch $200 / Week

Christmas Camp (6 Days) $250 / Week

School Groups (Includes Lunch) $50/pupil

School Groups (No Lunch) $40/pupil

Homeschoolers $25/pupil/2-hours

Minimum of 5 pupils/group

For > 2 units, a curriculum development fee of $100 per unit will be charged

Adult – Half Day Program $55

Adult – Full Day Program $90

Group Sessions and Family Reunions are available at $20 per person per hour with a 5 person, 2-hour minimum.

Birthday Parties – You supply the cake and decorations. The fee is $30 per person for two hours with a 5 person minimum. For children 7 years old and over, the maximum is 15. For children under 7, the maximum is 8 participants.

Tuition cost may include the purchase of a healthy, but very basic bag lunch. Children with special dietary needs should provide additional or alternative sustenance during the program. Fruit juices and water are provided with the deli lunches.
This time of the year we’re focusing on:
Bivalves, gastropods, donax sampling, wading birds, fish seining, exploring the island on Indigo Trail and the Bailey Tract hikes, and the “around the lighthouse” loop.

Take Five
Sanibel Sea School participates in a program called Take Five which encourages participants to take five minutes of their time to collect litter from the natural environment.

Each of our students ‘take five’ to help clean up the environment during our field trips. We incorporate this as a learning tool. We measure and quantify litter to see how much of an impact we have made and better understand what types of materials are most commonly left behind by other users. We also encourage visitors to recycle by asking students to bring in their family’s recyclables while they are visiting Sanibel.

Students who participate are rewarded with an SX3 Trash Free sticker. Each week, we display the growing quantity of recycling and keep a tally on the positive effect our students have had on the island of Sanibel.

Sanibel Sea School : : 414 Lagoon Drive, Sanibel FL 33957 : : (239) 472-8585

Friday, August 7, 2009

Enjoying the Simple Pleasures of the Island

Relaxing on the beaches during the quieter summer months is a favorite among island residents and visitors.
Sunny hot days, rumbling thunderstorms and little traffic.

Welcome to Sanibel in the summer time.

If you are craving a peaceful getaway without congestion, long lines in the grocery store and a price tag that fits more easily in your budget then the islands in the summer could be your way to go.

During this time of the year the mercury soars to temperatures in the mid 90s. The gulf waters often feel to the touch as though a long hot bath was drawn for you.

But if you don't have an aversion to heat the beaches offer up their teal surf and sand without the crowds. Shop owners tend to feature hot deals and discounts on one-of-kind finds by local artisans as they get ready for the fall and winter seasons.

Restaurants often promote two-for-one deals as well as happy hour specials during the summer months.

Bridgit Stone-Budd, marketing director for the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of commerce, said she recommends people check out the organization's web site where business members often list red hot deals such as discount lodging rates. During the summer accommodations are often slashed below what they run during in-season rates. The web site can be found at

Summer on the islands entices many to enjoy simple pleasures such as taking a stroll along the beach, skimming the island on a bike, sipping a long, cool drink in the shade, nibbling on an ice cream cone at one of the several ice cream and sweet shops and checking out wildlife near sunrise and sunset when critters are most active.

The "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge is open from dusk to dawn all week long except Fridays. Tram rides and kayaking tours are available for reasonable fees at the Refuge's concessionaire the Tarpon Bay Explorers. To make a reservation and experience a close-up with nature including birds and mammals, call 472-8900.

With the absence of the winter crowds, now's the time to try out a new sport leisure activity such as skim boarding or paddling. Yolo Sports on Captiva has a variety of rentals and sales. Ask for Scott Slind, a surfer and staff member for help.

Some find the summer months a time to read, reflect and ponder without the crowds and hoopla.

Public Relations executive and part-time resident Art Stevens adores the serenity and beauty of the beaches in the summer months. Stevens said he loves to walk along the beach and take in the wildlife.
"Just truly enjoying nature," he said with a sigh.
He said he also enjoys going out for a leisurely dinner at one of the island restaurants sans the long waits. And he loves the fact that he does not need to use a pool heater to jump into warm water at his home.

Shelling for gems from the sea costs nothing and can be a fun family adventure. The Bailey's Matthews Shell Museum located on San-Cap Road features programs for children as well as tours of the museum for a modest fee. And those lucky enough to find a junonia can come to the Sanibel-Captiva Islander and have their photo put in the newspaper as a reminder of their adventure.

Kathleen Hoover, Public Relations Manager for the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum said she adores time at the sea.
"My deepest sense of peace and tranquility is found by the sea. Proximity to nature brings a sense of sanity to a world increasingly fraught with complexities and the challenges of everyday life," she said. "While hunting for shells everything else fades into the background. Finding the perfect shell is nothing short of amazing when you think of the tumultuous storms survived and the journey as they're tossed about by crashing waves, landing just above the tide line as if they were placed there just for me."

For more information about the Shell Museum and its program, call 395-2233. Cost for a family of four to visit the Museum is less than $25.

For local attorney and Sanibel resident Jason Maughan, a relaxing summer day on Sanibel equals a day of grilling and chilling along the Causeway beach at dusk.

"You can watch the sunsets," he said.

Local residents list thunderstorms and the tranquility of some of their island joys during the summer.

"Sun, Surf and Sand," said Stone-Budd. "Rolling thunder showers in the afternoon. These are a few of my favorite things."

Sanibel resident and artist artist Myra Roberts said she lists the quietness and sensational sunsets as inspirational.

And for those looking for a cool place to relax and escape it all, the island boasts the Island Cinema where first run movies are shown and the Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater where patrons can enjoy live, funny performances.

Madison Mitchell, the Schoolhouse Theater's marketing director, said the two show currently playing "That's Entertainment" and "Where the Girls Are" will engage the entire family. But hurry fast because "That's Entertainment closes on Saturday, Aug. 15th and "Where the Girls Are" ends Thursday, Aug. 13. For tickets or more information, call the Schoolhouse Theater at 472-6862 or visit their website at The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater is located at 2200 Periwinkle Way Sanibel.

Still not sure how to enjoy the simple summer time pleasures the islands have to offer? Try them all. Take an evening walk to one of the island's sweet shops grab an ice cream cone, take your chilly treat and stroll to the beach and watch a marmalade sunset spread across the sky. Even better take a loved one with you to share these simple island pleasures.

Blind Pass Open

After nearly a decade, Blind Pass finally open
By JANE BRICKLEY, POSTED: August 5, 2009
"After nearly a decade, Blind Pass finally open"

An aerial view of Blind Pass taken last Friday prior to the breach by the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. Note the difference between the murky water in Roosevelt Channel and the clear, aquamarine gulf waters.
With a little push from Mother Nature, Blind Pass officially opened last Friday night after almost 10 years of closure as water eroded its way around the sheet pile wall on the Sanibel side of the pass, creating an opening.

"This area was the last to be dredged and the remaining beach berm was not strong enough to hold," said project manager Robert Neal of the Lee County Division of Natural Resources in his most recent e-mail update.

Construction continued throughout the week as workers removed parts of the sheet pile wall in an attempt to reduce the strong current so that divers could work to remove old creosote bridge pilings in the pass.

Last week, Neal told Blind Pass mailing list recipients that the County also intends to authorize additional dredging of up to 40,000 cubic yards, to be completed in October.

"The additional material will be dependent on the volume of shoaling experienced when the sheetpile wall is removed," Neal wrote.

Accompanying Neal's most recent update was an aerial photo taken by the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation prior to the water breach.

"Everyone needs to take a good look at the aerial photo of Blind Pass as taken by the SCCF on Thursday. We cannot help but be delighted at the 'oops"' opening of the Pass over the weekend," said Captiva Erosion Prevention District chairman Mike Mullins.

"The CEPD and all Captivans, Sanibelians and neighbors have waited too long for this event - all will be thrilled. The SCCF aerial photo expresses better than words the questions about water quality. Contrast the Gulf water separated by the metal sheet wall and the Blind Pass water," Mullins said. "The water in the gulf is a brilliant, turquoise color and the water east of the wall on the pass side is a nasty, brownish color. This rather stagnant water fills the back bays and bayous.

"The ecology will benefit the most from this flushing of the Pass which is afforded by the current ripping through the opening. Consequentially, our bayous and channel will also benefit," he continued. "Only those who have their heads stuck in the sand can avoid wondering how much of this brownish color emanates from mangrove tannins and how much comes from Captiva's ineffectual septic systems."

Mullins, who was thrilled with the accidental opening last weekend penned a short poem, entitled "Ode to Blind Pass," to express his joy:

"Open at last, open at last.

Please, dear Lord, make the opening last."

The CEPD has set a date for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of Blind Pass on Friday, Sept. 25 at 10 a.m.

A Romantic Getaway on Sanibel Island

Plan a memorable trip for Two that Will Leave You Wanting More of Each Other..
Are you the type to plan trips to the city only to find out that your too exhausted by the hustle and bustle to really enjoy your partner's company? Booking a vacation for two in Sanibel is the perfect getaway. The island is small enough to feel like you've gotten away from it all, but it still has a few shops and restaurants so you don't feel too far from civilization.

Here are a few tips to help make your trip great:

Booking in advance will ensure that you have a place to stay (hotels fill up quickly during the on season). Choose a hotel that offers a beachside view. If that's not within your budget, there are several great hotels that have beach access within a few feet of your door, which can be just as good.

When booking your hotel, do some research to find a hotel with smaller accommodations to try to stay away from louder, large families. Some hotels even feature quarters that are exclusively private for romantic getaways.

Most Sanibel hotels know that you'll be staying for a while, which means rooms have a kitchen area fully equipped with a stove and microwave. Some even include utensils and plates. Opting to stay in and cook a quick meal is much more romantic than heading to one of the crowded restaurants that usually charge too much for food that isn't that great. It's widely known that Sanibel is known for the beaches, not the cuisine, which is frequently overpriced. It's cheaper and more fun to stop by one of the local markets to grab some essentials or quick eats.

Don't worry about planning too many activities; just be spontaneous! After all, this is a romantic getaway. Don't stress yourself out by making huge itinerary. The most you'll have to worry about is having sunscreen on hand for that spontaneous drive to Captiva (trust me, you'll want to check out the beach, it's absolutely gorgeous).

Having a good time doesn't always require more cash, although I do recommend renting a bicycle from one of the local shops during your stay. The island is so small that relying on a car can seem silly. That, and if you go during the on season you'll find that making a left anywhere can seem impossible. Don't let the burden of a car make your stay hectic.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sanibel Art Camp at BIG ARTS

Date: August 4, 2009 - August 7, 2009
Time: 09:00 AM - 03:00 PM

Children entering kindergarten through 5th grade will be offered activities on a rotating schedule that includes painting, pottery, music, drama, and movement. Arts and music appreciation, weekly projects, and interactive stage productions encourage interest and wonder in the arts. The fine arts apprentice program for middle and high school students provides an opportunity to be an instructor or to take classes.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Dolphins swimming after the boat, at Sanibel Island. Look up Sanibel Thriller- one of a kind experience. Must do if visiting or live in the area!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Beached Whale Shark - Sanibel Sea School

SHARK WEEK 2009 campers built a 40 ft. scale model of a whale shark on Buttonwood beach! Sisbro Studios filmed the process and created this time-lapse sequence. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean, with some adults growing up to 50 feet. Despite their large size, they are gentle filter feeders that consume some of the smallest organisms in the ocean. It is nearly impossible to be killed by a whale shark, but even more predatory species of sharks are unlikely to bother humans. You are more likely to be killed by a toaster or by debris falling from the sky than you are to be attacked by a shark. Sanibel Sea School is a 501(c)(3) marine conservation and education nonprofit located on Sanibel Island, FL. To learn more, visit us at!

Pointe Santo

Sunday, August 2, 2009

St. Isabel Catholic Church will have only 1 mass on Sunday morning
at 9:30am and 1 mass on Saturday evening at 5:00pm for the months of
August and September.
Family friendly eco-cruise offers a fun, educational and enjoyable adventure

Richard Finkel, left, displays a horseshoe crab to participants in last week's eco-friendly family cruise to Upper Captiva.
Last Thursday seemed like your typical sunny, breezy, picture perfect summer afternoon for folks embarking on Captiva Cruises' latest on-the-water offering: a three-hour family friendly ecological boat tour of Fosters Bay on North Captiva Island.
And it was. But it was also so much more.
Led by Richard Finkel, an environmental educator for the past 10 years with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, 16 passengers climbed aboard the 40-foot sailing catamaran to get an closeup look at some of the unique inhabitants of the Back Bay Estuary during the special excursion, where they would soon discover why the waters surrounding Sanibel and Captiva provide such a vital habitat to all.
"These islands contain some of the most dynamic eco-systems found anywhere," Finkel told the group as they headed out from the dock at South Seas Island Resort. Less than 20 minutes later, Capt. Yogi Schmidt was backing the vessel into shallow waters off of North Captiva, where it would anchor throughout the afternoon.
Before heading off on foot for some exploration and adventure, the group - from age 6 to a handful of "40-somethings" - enjoyed a little bit of casual swimming and careless frolicking in the crystal clear tropical waters. Wading in soft sands, in the bath-like Gulf, seemed the perfect ambiance to begin this science-minded getaway.
Armed with a seine net, three large buckets and a couple of samples collected on previous journeys onto the island, Finkel gathered the participants together and began to explain a little bit of history about the region. He told them that they were standing on a "low wave energy beach," adding that the daily tides rarely rise or fall more than three feet.
"But anywhere that you live along the coast, the tides are going to effect your daily life," he added.
Leading them from the Gulf of Mexico side across to the San Carlos Bay portion of the island, Finkel noted the tremendous difference between the two, most notably the decrease in wave action.
"Where would you prefer to live - on the Gulf side, where the waves are crashing along the shore?" he asked. "Or on the Bay side, where the tidal presence is much calmer?"
Almost immediately, something caught Finkel's attention. He ran about 10 steps to his left, and quickly pulled a horseshoe crab from the water. Youngster and adults stepped in for a closer look at the creature, which the former park ranger at Acadia National Park in Maine noted was an arthropod. He also pointed out that horseshoe crabs are actually closer in relation to spiders than they are to other crabs.
"I think it's fascinating to see peoples faces light up when they learn something new, or a kid's eyes get wide when they find a hermit crab," said Finkel, who explained that the idea to offer an ecology-minded cruise was initiated by Captiva Cruises owner Paul McCarthy. "We wanted to do something that was more 'hands on' than other cruises."
Enlisting the help of two children, Finkel unfurled a large seine net and dragged it around a small area along the shoreline. All were surprised to see that the quick dip yielded a treasure trove of interesting sea creatures caught in the net - including a kingfish, shrimp, molt and a true tulip - before being examined and set free.
"I think it's great that they're getting to learn about this stuff because they are our future," said Jill Johnson of Ramsey, N.J., who attended this cruise along with her husband, Tim, and three children, Connor, 14, Calum, 12 and William, 8.
Following some more free time in the water after an afternoon of exploration, the group jumped back onto the catamaran and started sailing lazily back to port, with soft music from Sting, Norah Jones and UB40 providing a serene, carefree backdrop.
"I liked seeing the horseshoe crab moving all around in the water," said William Johnson during the trip back to Captiva.
The Hall family - mom and dad Debbie and Drew, plus kids Rachel, 14, and Leah, 6 - from Charlotte, N.C. said that they first heard about the cruise in last week's Sanibel-Captiva Islander.
"It just sounded like something the entire family would enjoy," said Drew. "

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blind Pass May Be
Opened This Weekend

Blind Pass could be reopened to boaters this weekend, for the first time in
eight years.
The initial dredging project is expected to be complete Friday, July 31, said
Robert Neal, coastal engineer with Lee County Division of Natural Resources.
“The tentative date for removing the steel sheetpile wall and opening Blind Pass is
Saturday, August 1,” Neal added, weather permitting.
“That is great,” said John Jensen, of Jensen’s Cottages & Marina on Captiva. “Oh
my gosh, guys who have been here a long time think the fishing is going to be unbelieveable.
It is going to make a huge difference with the water flow and everything.”
Lee County intends to authorize additional dredging up to 40,000 cubic yards with
a completion date of October. The additional material will be dependent on the volume
of shoaling experienced when the sheetpile wall is removed, according to Neal.
He said marking of Wulfert Channel and the pole and troll zone in Wulfert Flats
should be in place prior to opening Blind Pass.
Neal said while the opening is taking place no boats will be allowed through. “Once
the equipment is out of the way then it’s up to the navigator. I’d give it a few days to
see what the sand does.”
No specific time has been set to allow the gulf waters to flow into the bay and vice
versa, but it will happen during the contractor’s work day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Still remaining is for Lee County to remove the old creosote bridge pilings, discovered
in the dredge area. That work is scheduled for August 31.
The pass has opened and closed on its own over the years. Reopening the channel
is expected to improve the water quality on the bayside. It will also restore what was
once a much-navigated pass for boaters.