Sanibel Island January 17 - February 16, 2013

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Introduction

Oceans Reach From The Beach In March of 2012 we spent a week on Sanibel Island, Florida, during a Rhodes Scholar seminar and were eager to return, this time for a month. At Oceans Reach, pictured left, we enjoyed a beautiful third story view from the lanai just 20 yards of the beach on the Gulf of Mexico.






The Beach at Oceans Reach

Beach at Oceans Reach

The Beach at Oceans Reach

In the photo above, upper right; In robes and sitting on the lanai with coffee, toast and jam, we watch sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico, a great way to start a day. Upper left; On the rare day when the wind came up and the placid Gulf of Mexico changes temperament suck it up, put on another layer, hit the beach. Lower left; Moi with my feet in white sand while folks at home plant theirs in white snow. Lower right; We've come full circle, sunset over the gulf. Up and down the beach knots of people enjoyed the sight, took photos, sipped a little wine while celebrating the end of the day. On two separate beach walks we passed weddings taking place on the sand. One sported a bevy of bridegrooms and groomsmen and big tent for the feast. The seond, the bride, groom and a minister.


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Beach Art

Beach Art

Beach Art

As a kid I built sand castles with bucket and scoop. Bucket and scoop sand castles are still built on the beaches of Sanibel Island, also works of art by creative amateurs constructed with beach debris, shells, drift wood, sea grasses and stones. In the photo above, upper left, a bigger than life brown pelican's about to perch on a branch. Upper right; Crocodile? Alligator? Godzilla's little brother? Lower right; Someone's been on the beach too long. Lower left: I have no idea how the sand balls are stacked one on the other or the details were carved into the buildings.


Beach Art

Beach Art

In the photo above, upper left; Given a few days the displays can become extravagant. We talked with the builders of this one who were having a great time expanding their empire. Upper right; A pen shell, one of thousands littering the beaches, tops a fanciful cake. Someone's birthday? Lower right, Sea turtles lay eggs on the Sanibel beaches March through October. Lower left; Queen of all she surveys.


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Friends and Family

Friends and Family

Friends and Families

My niece Marcie brought mom from Fort Myers on a day trip joining us for lunch at Traders on Sanibel. Center; Mom joined Joyce and I for a walk on the beach at Oceans Reach. Upper right; Shoals of shells up to a foot thick cover the beaches. During our first visit we developed bad cases of Sanibel Stoop searching for just the right shell. Having acquired immunity from that first exposure we were able to walk the beaches with heads high. Lower left; The island laced with bike paths we rented bikes for exercise and pleasure. Joyce took to it immediately. Not having ridden a bike in 50 years I was rusty, rusted shut really. Defying conventional wisdom one, at least this one, can forget how it's done! Remaining upright while peddling came back, steering not so much. I stuck to parking lots and long driveways practicing for the next visit. Lower right, Back at Traders restaurant for dinner we toast our luck to be on Sanibel.


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Sanibel Canines

Sanibel Canines

Sanibel Canines

Want to break the ice with a stranger? Ask if you can take a picture of their dog. Dogs love the beach. Noses to the ground the variety of exotic scents must be overwhelming. The Queen, Elizabeth of course, prefer, in the photo above lower right, the Corgi, we both being horse people. Lower left; my riding friend Kathi's standard poodle's starting the day early.


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Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather

In the photo above, upper left; A Ring Billed Gull hot foots it away from the flock with lunch. Gulls don't share well and its' buddies would be eager to filch the fish. Upper right; a mixed flock of gulls, Royal Terns, Sandpipers and Plovers loiter on the beach. They'll reluctantly get out of your way then quickly reform. Lower left; an Osprey perches, eyes peeled for his next meal. Bottom center; "Beaks and bills, beaks and bills" the mantra of the naturalist accompanying a bird watch walk. The Snowy Egret with its' black bill and yellow feet proves the rule. Lower right; the little guy's a Sanderling. Is he thinking of grabbing a piece of the Black Bellied Plovers meal? What? Where's the black belly, duh, winter plummage.


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Sanibel Critters

Sanibel Critters

Sanibel Critters

In the photo above, upper left; Athos, Porthos and Aramis sun themselves on a snag in a pond on the Ding Darling Bailey Track. Lower left; An alligator, fortunately not looking for a quick bite, catches rays along the bank of the trail through the freshwater marsh. Lower right; a Eastern Rat Snake, yellow coloration variety, slithers along a branch during our walk on the Indigo Trail in the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. Upper right, A Brown Anole lizard soakes up the sun, it is a reptile after all. An introduced species they're driving out the native Green lizard cousin.


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Sanibel Flora

Sanibel Flora

Sanibel Flora

Seeing color in January was a treat. At times I forgot it was winter up north. Almost sped through a school zone thinking " It's warm , school's out for the summer". In the photo above, upper left; a Strangler Fig holds its' scaffold in a gentle embrace. The fig gets a bad rap. It's not a parasite, rather a squatter. Upper right: Coconut Palms, just one of the seemingly endless variety growing on the island. We watched crews removing the coconuts to keep we ground pounders safe. Bottom right; Above the high water mark Morning Glories, my favorite flower, bloom up and down the beaches. Lower left; No, not a Shmoo though it resembles one, rather a Red Mangrove propagule, a baby mangrove plantlet.


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Sanibel Places

Sanibel Places

Sanibel Places

In the photo above, upper left; Oceans Reach as seen from the beach. To the left a home made ring kite dances in the breeze. It's connected via a swivel to the line of another kite higher up holding it aloft. A guest at Oceans Reach built and flew kites every day, unless the wind blew toward the ocean and he had a particularly nice kite. Lower left; The most photographed street sign on the island? Upper right; At the Sanibel Farmers Market. We bought fresh veggies, pasta sauces and fruits for eat in meals. However my personal favorite, ODE TO HIPPIE bread, from JC's Daily Bread. Perhaps it was the Hemp seeds? Get to the market early or your in for a long walk to the market site. Lower right; Our favorite place, the beach. Sea Oats, foreground are beautiful and help keep the dunes from blowing (away) in the wind.


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Epilog

Into the fourth week at Oceans Reach we decided to extend next years vacation there to six weeks. A different mind set had kicked in. Rather than a "unpack do it now or not do it at all where did the week go and repack" stay we had no reasons to rush, there was always tomorrow.

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Updated: November 18, 2014