Florida Vacation - Sanibel Island

On our second full day of our trip, we made the 1.5 hour trip north of Naples to Sanibel Island.  Sanibel is well known for the fabulous shells that supposedly wash up on its beaches.  I say supposedly because although there were a lot of shells, none of them were amazing.  They were mostly tiny, boring, broken shells.

But that aside, Sanibel is still a really interesting place to visit.  It's sort of throwback - you feel like you've taken a step back in time when traffic lights didn't exist and everyone gets around on bicycle.

Biking is what you do on Sanibel Island.  It's totally flat and the little town laid miles and miles of bike trails just off the main road out of the way of traffic.  Some of it's even in the shade.

 We first biked to the tip of the island, where an old, tiny, unimpressive light house was the main attraction.  I was more impressed by the beach - crystal clear water that was ridiculously warm and super shallow for a long distance.  We didn't go out far into the water - we still had a lot of biking to do and we had really just started - but the distance we did walk out didn't have the water over our knees and the waves were mild.  It would have been a great spot to take little kids.

 The picture above shows what most of the beach looked like. Yes, there were a lot of shells, like we had read about in the books.  But they were all like this - extremely disappointing.  Perhaps we needed to come after high tide or after a storm?

We hopped back on our bikes and rode just over 7 miles to the J. Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve.  I was nervous about making that trek because of the distance - I knew we'd have quite a hike left - but we did it anyway.  

Sadly we didn't see much wildlife.  A few birds, that was it, really.

I'm still smiling at this point, but don't let that fool you.  I. was. HOT.  As you can see, I had already shed my shirt by this point, something that I don't do unless these are extreme circumstances, given that I still have 10 ponds of baby weight I neglected to lose sitting around my stomach region.  But oh my god was it hot, and any unessential clothing had to go.  Thus, bye bye shirt. 

DH maintained a much more respectable appearance than I.  Also notice that his face isn't beet red, and for some reason, his sky is a beautiful blue whereas mine was a murky gray.  Was that a sign?

Anyway, we biked the 4 miles or so through half of the park, taking the short cut bike trail, and by the last two miles, I was done.  I stopped looking around for any wildlife. I stopped making conversation.  My only goal was to get to the end alive.  I kept my face down and took deep breaths. 

When we got back to the information center it had started to rain.  DH went to fill our water bottles and I laid out a beach towel in the middle of the sidewalk near the bike rack and just laid there in the rain, trying to get over the dizzy, nauseous feeling that overwhelmed me.  Yes, I was in the middle of pedestrian traffic and no I didn't care.  Yes, people gave me funny looks, but no, no one asked if I was ok.  I didn't care thought.   I just knew that I wasn't going to lay in the wooded areas where there might be a lurking crocodile so the sidewalk was my only option.

The ride back to the bike place was long and hot, but I made it.  I was drenched in sweat in ways that I had never been before, my legs felt like jelly and I was more than a little cranky, but I survived. 

After that we went to Bowman's beach for some relaxation.  Now I was in my element, but DH was starting to experience the heat exhaustion that I had already gone through, so he didn't last long at the beach.  His crankiness kicked in and after less than two hours we headed out.  It was too much biking for me, and too much beach for him.  Oh well.  Lesson learned - don't oversee it on the second full day of your vacation.

Day three was the Everglades, so the next Naples post involves LOTS of gators!


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