Ask my innkeeper if I could leave the car parked at the Southernmost Inn, and paddle 2 miles or so to Sanibel and Tarpon Bay? Or drive north to Pineland, and make the six mile crossing to Cayo Costa State Park a voyage I made in December, 2008 ? Or, again leaving the car after checking out, and just paddling around the tip of Pine Island? Well, I came south for better weather, and to see Sanibel. So instead of making the two- three mile paddle, I made the almost 40 mile drive to Sanibel Island and the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
Lots of rosette spoonbills in the water on the left side of Wildlife Drive. No pics. This isn't Cannon's Car Chronicles. I paused at the spot on the right side of the Drive that often has spoonbills. None. To the launch site, in at 10 am.
I'm glad I have a kayak. The number of cars on the Drive was overwhelming. At least to me. More cars on a January Monday then a Sunday the week before Christmas.
No spoonbills in my spoonbill spot. They all must have been on the other side of Wildlife Drive, which is off limits to any entry. I did see two, and another bald eagle, fly overhead. I left the channel, entering another lake like area. Saw a canoeing couple, who asked what the large brown and white raptor was. Osprey. I paddled through an opening back in the Sound.
I landed at 2:20. Being on Sanibel, I wanted to walk the beach. Pine Island has no beaches of any significance. I thought I'd go to the Bailey Tract, leave the car, and bike to the Tapron Road Beach access. I did that back in April, 2005. This time, two surprises. One, the amount of cars in the lot. About 10. In December, on a Sunday, less then 5. And a sign warning of a hefty fine if not parking to use the Tract. So, I left, went to the Lighthouse Beach, and paid $2 for a hour's parking.
A pleasant afternoon, high of 72.
I walked to an on the fishing pier, then to my brother's timeshares, then back to the lighthouse, then back to the beach.
I may have seen a dolphin, a glimpse of a dorsal fin, but if it was, it did not surface again while I was watching
Parking time running out, I left at 4:30. I did see a dolphin while driving across the causeway.