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(2019 - Winter Issue)


Just a short drive over the causeway from Fort Myers, Sanibel Island is surrounded by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Here, visitors begin bliss-filled days searching for the ultimate seashell souvenir the tides have deposited on the island’s sun-kissed shores and end their evenings watching spectacular sunsets and stargazing. It’s all part of Mother Nature’s endless bounty that awaits you.

Birding is spectacular on Sanibel, which is regularly frequented by pelicans, sandpipers and ospreys. At the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, we observed migratory birds on a sandbar in the estuary leading into the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound. Among them were double-crested cormorants, great blue herons, roseate spoonbills, egrets, white ibis and a large flock of white pelicans.

Ottawa resident Robin Fyfe has witnessed even more incredible activities near his vacation home on Bowman’s Beach, one of the quieter communities on Sanibel. “We’ve seen it all—playful dolphins, lumbering manatees and seabirds dive-bombing into the Gulf waters. Sometimes it appears as if the fish are trying to fly and the birds are trying to swim!”

Visitors to Sanibel Island inevitably make their way to its sister island, Captiva. Here, as on Sanibel, visitors collect shells, adopting the Captiva Crouch to scoop up the precious collectibles that gather on the western-facing Gulf-side shores of the island.

From Captiva Island, we embarked on a one-hour cruise to Cabbage Key, a tiny 40-hectare island where the ancient, white, wooden water tower is home to a local osprey couple. Much to our delight, we also spotted gopher tortoises near their burrows at the base of the water tower.

Returning to Captiva Island, our captain crossed the shallow Pine Island Sound. Along the way, legions of dolphins accompanied us as if to say goodbye. Little did they know we have planned many more return visits to these tranquil Gulf coast gems.      

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Discover the wondrous beauty of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel at FortMyers-Sanibel.com.

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