Sunday morning started out with me having to get serious about writing a newsletter for a club I belong to, so I went down to the beach at about 6:40 a.m. to do that and catch the sunrise.
Well, I caught the sunrise but the wireless was not reaching down to the beach so I came back up and sat by the pool to finish it up. By the time I returned to the hotel room at 8, Ken was in the shower. When he got out he informed me that #1 he got a cold shower and #2 the people next door are even noisier than I am in the morning. He he he.
The J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge opened at 8, so I called them to see when their first tram tour was, and made reservations to go on that at 10:00 a.m. Went back to Rosies to eat breakfast because there were several things on their menu that caught my eye. I had the French Rose benedict on a croissant with mushrooms, ham, swiss cheese, green onions, Ken had bacon and eggs, do we sense a theme here? And I had a pineapple juice mimosa.
Then we headed to the wildlife refuge. After a brief detour to the wrong place, we got there and got in the tram with 4 other people, so it was a rather personalized tour.
This little guy wanted to come along.
We saw 4 alligators total
Alligator #1, mini-gator
Alligator #2, just hanging out. We didn’t even see him blink.
Alligator #3, to the right. You might want to keep your children back a little further than that.
Alligator #4 decided to take off and swim while we were watching.
Lots of birds: pelicans, osprey, cormorants, roseate spoonbills, and an anhinga who nicely demonstrated his fish spearing and throwing abilities for us. We were there at low tide so there were lots of birds on the sandbars, fishing and eating.
There is a stop set up in the mangroves, where you can see the three different species of mangroves and hear about how they affect the ecosystem of the island.
And see the kind of disturbing little crabs that live in one of the species. We wouldn’t have even noticed them if we weren’t with the tour guide, they just look like knots on the tree. Until you look at them. They don’t like you looking at them and they will sidle around to the back of the tree.
So that was fun and well worth it. You could also take a kayak and get out in the water around the refuge, but Ken doesn’t care to kayak with me any more after the Disney cruise experience. (“Let me steer! This is just like dancing with you!”)
On the way back to the hotel I suddenly remembered (well, OK, I saw the signs) for the Sanibel Farmers Market, which I had been intending to get to. So we stopped and did that. Nice mix of produce booths, food booths, and hand crafted soaps, etc. Not too many chiropractic/make up/solar panel offerings. Bought some local honey and some cut up pineapple to snack on. As we were walking around, I heard Ken saying “Uh oh, uh oh,” and wondered what was going on, well, he had sighted the mini-donut booth. YES! (Given the opportunity to get mini donuts, I WILL NOT pass it up.) Well, it was close to the end of the market, and rather than a baker’s dozen, I think we got about 24 mini donuts, so that was ok. We have to move down here now, they have mini donuts.
We had asked at the visitor center at the wildlife refuge about the different low tide times we saw listed for different beaches – well, each beach on the island is in such a different place/angle to the gulf, they all have pretty different tide times.
So we zipped back to the hotel and changed into beach gear and hit Bowmans’ Beach which had a later low tide than the one by our hotel. Found some more shells, still a couple types I haven’t even seen yet. Mostly pretty small ones, but it is fun. Ken wore his Broncos t-shirt and consequently we had some interesting conversations with some New England fans (Sanibel tourists are heavily weighted toward New England), including a couple who had just moved down to the Venice area from Boston, after Boston’s horrible winter last year.
I wore the new red hat, which had dried out over night. Apparently a good soaking shrunk it a bit because it did not blow off today.
We were loading up to walk down to the beach and Ken had me put his phone, cash, driver’s license in my fanny pack (I am soooo cool and you know it, plus I clip my shelling bag ONTO the fanny pack, making it EXTRA cool). He wondered why I was then wrapping up both of our phones in a plastic grocery bag – “Because I might trip and fall in the ocean.” It was obvious both that he hadn’t considered this and that he thought it was a very likely possibility that I would do just that.
We stayed there for about two hours, probably the highest concentration of shells we have seen. Mostly small ones but it was fun to look and Ken did find a nice whelk that I only had one of so far.
Another shelling note: G. will pick up ANYTHING, and squeeze it and possibly smell it to try and determine what it might be. Ken does not want to participate in this sort of activity. G. likes to be on the move, up and down the beach. K. will stand in one place in the water and pick up handfuls of shells and sift through them.
We were just going to snack for lunch because we were going to have a big dinner watching the Broncos game (and we had a bunch of mini-donuts, totally balanced diet), but we did stop at the grocery store because I thought we needed some protein. So we got some turkey deli meat and string cheese and other sundry snacks, also knowing that we had ice cream in the little mini fridge freezer in the room that we picked up at Love Boat Ice Cream last night. (Which turned out to be quite melty, the mini-fridge will keep ice cream for a couple of hours but not over night.)
I picked up the Sunday New York Times in the hotel office for some reading material, and we went out to hang out on our beach and watch the sunset. And then back to the room for thankfully warm showers this time. We relaxed and watched football on TV and I worked on the blog. We waited to go out to dinner until it was almost time for the Broncos game to start, at 8:30. That will be the difficult part when we win the lottery and buy a house on Sanibel, Sunday night football starts really late.
We at at George and Wendy’s, I had investigated them on line and it sounded like they had a bunch of TVs and good specials during the game. I asked the young man who was seating us to make sure they would be open late enough. “Ma’am, we’ll be open until the game is over.” Because Sanibel appears to be kind of quiet on Sunday nights.
I had clam chowder (first clam chowder of the week) and the tuna nachos (the chip part is fried wontons) and Ken had a bacon cheeseburger. I also had a Twisted Flamingo, described as: classic Pina colada and strawberry daiquiri blended with Captain Morgan and topped with a 151 Bacardi floater. It was tasty.
The nachos were good, but if you eat all of those chips you will be really full, I carefully structured and rearranged my chips so there was a bunch of seared tuna on each of them and then it wasn’t too bad.
We were hoping for a packed bar full of football fans, but it was rather quiet, a few more people came in as the game progressed, but there were probably a dozen of us in the bar total. And only one apparent real Patriots fan, and he certainly got more enjoyment out of the first half than we did! We left at half time because it was already 10 o’clock. Went back to the room and got ready for bed and kept watching – although I fell asleep so I am not even sure at this point who won…ooop looks like the Broncos won! Hopefully Ken stayed awake for that! If he did, he showed remarkable restraint, no whooping and hollering to wake up his sleeping wife. (Ken later reports he turned the TV off after the Patriots scored a touchdown in the early 4th quarter, making the score 21-7, at 11 p.m. our time. So he is actually glad he turned it off, because we have an early tee time on Monday and it would have taken him quite a while to settle down after that 4th quarter and overtime. AND he certainly would have woken his wife up, which means NO ONE is going to be happy…..) So it is has been fun Monday morning reading all the Broncos comments on Facebook.