Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Greetings From Sanibel Island

 Arrived late Friday at the Bennett/Cannon condo on Sanibel Island.  I had visions of  leaving work at 5 PM, and maybe getting a sunset paddle in.  Didn't happen.  Off at 5:40, an hour to drive the first twenty miles from work past Disney, than driving at the speed limit to save gas until I got to I-4 and I-75, where, surprisingly, has the lowest gas price between Orlando and Fort Myers. $3.49.  I arrived on Sanibel Island after 10 PM.  Moon light and lighthouse light.

With Pat, Eileen, Derek, Tyler, Megan and Jack all at the condo, I brought an air mattress and slept on the patio.  Screens on three sides, ceiling fan made it sleepable.  Although I never sleep well in a location that's not my own bed.

Sunrise had me rising early. 

I think I  got the best sunrise photos when I put the lens right on the screen.
A condo is one of, if not the closest, to the Gulf, of all the condos at Shell Island Beach Club.  Also newer.  I don't remember when it was built, but I'm sure Jeff B. does.  He had this view, from a bit further back, before this building was built in front of his unit.   The building is also higher then the older units.  Two living levels, like the others, but the empty, parking, storm surge level is much higher.  Lots of room for my car, kayaks stacked on their sides on the roof, to fit.  Heck, I maybe could stand the yaks on end on the roof and it would fit.

Saturday was the last day in the condo,  Pat, Eileen, and family had to be out by 10 am.  I quietly fixed breakfast and was about to leave when Pat told me I needed to try a spread that was part of a dinner prepared by Derek, Tyler and Megan earlier in the week.  From the appetizer, I'm sorry I missed the dinner.  I then left, but not before putting a small dent in the rear passenger door of the Versa.  I saw the big pillar, I saw the post, but did not see the other post.  Oh well.   I was at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge at  8:15.

 I made one stop on the drive from the entrance to the kayak launch site.

I put the camera on the "super vivid setting"

Good for sunsets, sunrises, and rosette spoonbills.

I got the kayak in the water at 8:40.

Paddled a short way along the dike/Wildlife Drive, west into the lake like area, through a gap into Pine Island Sound.

I continued my general westward direction, along the north side of Sanibel Island.

 Lots of osprey. The prior pics are the same pair, I just wanted to post the photos I have of them in different poses.

This is the photo taken just before I turned around, just after seeing  a manatee. 9:50 am.

The bump in the upper left of the pic above is a manatee.  Two as I paddled through the gap into the "lake".  They headed out to the Sound.
 I thought the above cloud formation looked like a volcano. 
Back into the narrow waterway along the dike.  Paddled past the launch site.

Ibis, black crowned night heron and tri colored heron are nice, but would any spoonbills be in my spoonbill spot?

At first, I did not see any.  It took one bursting out of a mangrove above my head to see there were a few in the area.

Yellow crowned night heron

I turned around at the observation tower.

This spoonie was just past my secret spoonbill spot. It took off.
Returned to the launch site at noon.
Back to the condo, or rather the pool, as my brother's family had to be out at 10.  Make room for paying tenants to help pay for the place.  If you want to rent it, there's a link on the right.

 The beach was crowded.  At least for me. For the first time ever, I did not walk to the fishing pier.  My brother and nephews told me they saw, and swam near, lots of manatees earlier in the week.

I walked the beach after Pat asked me about putting the yaks in.  I said I'd rather not. A long walk, lots of people partying on the sandbars, so I thought we would not see much.  So, my relatives went to do some errands, shop Goodwill, return a fishing pole, pick up a compression sock, and I watched their stuff as a storm rolled in.
It got very windy, umbrella tables would have tipped-one almost did as I was walking past and grabbed it as the group sitting there furled the umbrella.  Meanwhile, the maintenance guy ran out to our table and lowered its umbrella.  I gathered all my family's stuff for a quick run to shelter in case the rains came. They never did.  The gang came back, I asked who wanted to go kayaking.   Pat, Tyler, and Jack.   We headed to the rental concession on Tarpon Bay, I figured we could rent two, or a tandem.   As usual, brothers have different ideas.  Pat said he just wanted to do a short paddle and we could trade off.  In that case, I wasn't about to pay $14 to launch 2 yaks at Tarpon Bay Explorers, when I had my receipt from Wildlife Drive.  The guy at the booth welcomed me back.
Stopped at the Observation Tower.

Jack and I went first. Two, maybe three manatees were just off the launch site.
Pat and Tyler took their turn.

Pat and Tyler were in the "lake"  Jack and I walked a little ways past the launch, to a "Colon's Point" sign.  A short trail through mangroves leads to the spot where the channel opens up.

We met back at the launch site, Pat landed, ant Jack went back out with Tyler and the manatees.

The wind kicked up as a storm moved close by, but did not get us wet.  Loaded the yaks, went back to the Shell Island Beach Club.

 Storms mean a rainbow

I got the group rounded up for a family photo.
 Tyler, as director, suggested I be the one looking  into the sun
I think we have the Christmas picture.

A self portrait, in the John H style.
We left Sanibel about 7:30.  Just over the causeway, where we had rooms at the La Quinta.  Had dinner at a place called Marie's Smokehouse.  With a name like that, I was thinking BBQ. Nope, fish.  Good food, indifferent to sullen service.  Back at the hotel, I learned how close my nephews are.  Two shared a bed rather than getting their own by crashing with their favorite Uncle.

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