We’ve been planning a trip to Florida for over a year and finally it was time to go!  We gave ourselves three days to get there, giving us time to geocache in eleven Illinois counties and eight more in Florida.  Geocaching along the way breaks up the drive and allows us to see more of the local countryside than we would from the interstate.  At one of the Florida caches someone had posted a DNF (Did Not Find) saying they were unable to make the find because an alligator was sleeping next to the cache.  You can bet we were watching where we stepped very carefully!
Driving down I75 we started reminiscing about the Florida attractions we had visited as kids: Ross Allen Reptile Institute, Busch Gardens, and Waltzing Waters.  These attractions along with many others are all now closed because of a mouse.  Yep, Mickey eats up almost all the tourist revenue that used to keep the old attractions alive.  People have abandoned the old reality entertainment; alligator wrestling, water skiers, and dancing colored-water and have switched to the illusions of Orlando.  Oh well, at least us old-timers have our memories!
Our Beach Path

Our first week in Florida will be spent at the Shell Island Beach Club.  This resort is on the eastern end of Sanibel and is within wading distance of the Sanibel Island Lighthouse.  We have an upper floor condo which fronts over the dune giving us a great view of the beach.  It’s close enough to the water that we can hear the surf.  We leave our doors open all the time so we have a constant background noise of the water.  Love it!

There’s not a lot to do on the island other than beach stuff: look for shells, watch the water, swimming, watch the wildlife and of course, eat seafood.  Mind you, we’re not complaining!
One of the great things about visiting Florida this time of year is the lack of tourists.  The summer tourists are gone because the kids are back to school.  It’s too early for the snowbirds, so that leaves pretty much no one.  The locals have told us repeatedly that this is the perfect time of year to visit…no long lines for dinner, empty beaches and the traffic isn’t snarled at ten miles an hour.
Moon Jelly Fish


Yesterday, we drove to Captiva Island for a boat tour.  While waiting for departure we got to watch two manatees graze near the dock.  While standing there we also saw a moon jellyfish swim by.  It was the size of a dinner platter; beautiful, but we are so glad to see it from the dock and not while we were wading!


One of the pod showing off!

The highlight of the boat ride was when a pod of dolphins started frolicking in our wake.  They would swim to within 20 feet of the boat and then jump out of the water and splash heavily back in.  They followed us for five or ten minutes giving us a fantastic show!  Everyone on the boat had big smiles on their faces and there was a lot of whooping and hollering as the dolphins jumped and spun in the air.

Later in the day, we visited the Mucky Duck where after dining on great seafood you can watch the sunset.  People from both islands (Sanibel and Captiva) gather here and watch the sun go down.  I don’t what it is, but it must be some primeval instinct that draws people to the setting sun.  I just know that wherever we go we look for sunsets; and the best spots always draw a crowd.
Sunset from Mucky Duck’s – Captiva


As I mentioned, we’ve been eating a lot of seafood.  Our favorite place so far is the Sanibel Fish House where you can get a 1/2 pound of peel and eat shrimp for $5 and/or a half dozen oysters for $5.  One great thing about Florida is that the seafood is fresh and cheap!
5 Bucks! 5 Bucks!



The sun is rising….gotta go!

Sunrise Over Ft. Meyers Beach

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