Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sanibel Day Four

Tuesday, December 14, 2010.  Another cool, 35 at  8 am, windy day on Sanibel Island had me launching once again off Wildlife Drive in the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. White pelicans were the wildlife highlight of the paddle.  I did not launch until after 10 am.  I stayed under the covers for a while to let the mercury rise.  I was ready to go, and did not see my windbreaker.  I must have left it with Olivia and Phineas and their parents.  So I went over there, and was told it was given to my brother Pat.  So, I stopped at that condo and got the coat.  Next stop, the Tarpon Bay rental area launch site.  As I had launched from Wildlife Drive for 3 days, I was going to swallow the 7 dollar launch charge, instead of the $5 fee at Wildlife Drive.  But Tarpon Bay looked choppy, and the protected area behind an island had oyster beds exposed, low tide.  For $7, I want an enjoyable paddle, not one in wind and walking instead of paddling.  So, back to Wildlife Drive.  Headed west, into one on the lake like areas.

White pelicans, female hooded mergansers, cormorants and brown pelicans.

 I paddled through an opening into San Carlos Bay, but did not stay long.  A bit choppy. So back to the "lake" and then into the channel, past the launch, to my spoonbill spot.

No spoonbills this visit.

Very low tide, I was surprised birds weren't feeding in the exposed mud flats.  What were feeding were two brown pelicans'
 Notice how the lower beak is stretched out? There's a fish in there.  Since no water was covering the flats, all the fish were concentrated in the deeper area along the road.  Deeper, I assume, as it was dug out to build the dike/road
 The pelican pair would swim for a while, take flight, hover, bam! dive in and get a fish.

Back to the narrow channel, west of the Observation Tower.

 Paddled into another one of the "lakes"  and through another gap in the mangroves for a visit to San Carlos Bay.

I had yet to see a dolphin in 4 days.  A short stay on the Bay was unproductive.
More white pelicans in the "lakes". Distant at first, but then I left lake, entered another, and there they were.

A young bald eagle, not yet white headed, flew overhead.  I paddled on.  In the distance, two large birds on a dead tree? Eagles? or just osprey, maybe vultures?  Closer I came.  They took off.  Bald eagles.  On a tree just of the wildlife drive, at one of the dike flow points.  Through which, after pushing across the shallow bottom, I reentered the channel along Wildlife Drive.

Landed about 1:25.   Stopped to take a few photos on the way out of the Refuge.

I stopped at the East End Deli to get a Cuban. Sandwich, not refugee, then headed to the SIBC.   Went up to Pat and Eileen's condo, grabbed a beer (one of several I put there for such an occasion) and had lunch by the pool.  Which was against the rules.  On Saturday, we figured we broke every rule but the no pets rule.  And only because no one in the group had a pet with them.  Lunch over, I realized I had not yet walked to the fishing pier. So off I went.

 The lighthouse is on the way to the pier.  The Gulf was flat. Where was this in the morning?  I walked around the tip of the island.  Still windy on the San Carlos Bay side of Sanibel Island.

Last chance to see a dolphin.  None this year.  Well, I had another chance, but saw none as I drove over the Casueway later on.
Back to the pool and hot tub.  A warm soak would have been nice, but I thought I'd get to relaxed and tired.  Not good as I had a long drive ahead of me.  A large group was going out for a double light show.  First, sunset from the Sanibel Harbor Resort, then the Edison and Ford Christmas lights in Fort Myers.   I made plans to catch the first.  To the Sanibel Arms to pack.  Here are a few pics of that venue.

Brother Pat and his buddy Mike "discovered" the Sanibel Harbor as a sunset watching spot a few years ago.

There is a full bar, with food.  On the expensive side.  Floor to ceiling windows.  An outdoor deck.  As it was cool and windy, we stayed inside, with a view, going out as the sun made its descent.

An easier driver then heading up to Captiva.No crowds  The sun is setting over the Bay, not the Gulf, but I think it looks just fine.

Nice way to end the annual Sanibel family trip.  (In contrast to the solo trip I took in August) But, it was not over. I left the computer at the condo.  As detours go, not a bad one to take back over the causeway as dusk.  Other than the $6 toll.  About the cost of my grand niece's beer. Which Jeff bought me. Thanks again
I had thoughts about heading back Friday, which is tomorrow, after work.  Stay the night, say goodby again as everyone has to be out Saturday morning, then kayak.  But I'm not going to.  Kind of a drive for one night.  But, with a three day weekend coming up.....I'm still not sure where my Christmas adventure will be. .


Tootie said...

Anxious to get the whole story. Your Grand niecling is beautiful. :)

Dark Knight said...


Anonymous said...

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My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blog posts about Sanibel Arms to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you :)