Monday, January 10, 2011

Amphibious Assault and Seashell Expedition

We set out Saturday morning under sunny skies.  Our course led past Captiva Island, which,  (according to legend) was (like Useppa)  where pirates kept women prisoners (hence the name "Captiva").  This island is also famous for the quantities of seashells strewn on its beaches and  . . .  it's reachable only by boat.  We checked the charts, plotted a good anchorage,  dropped anchor, and dinghied ashore.

Come on, little dinghy!  You can make it!

When we started out, I felt (to be honest) frightened to take a dinghy trip. You have to clamber over Dragonfly's steel railings as the boat heaves in the surf, negotiate the tiny steps jutting from her stern, clamber into our tippy little craft.  Now, we're used to it, and we drop down with, if not total grace, much greater speed.

About half the land on Captiva (and on Sanibel, its neighbor) is protected as one kind of wildlife refuge or another, and a nonprofit, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, has a marine lab that's doing research on habitat restoration and water quality. 

Equipped for rapid seashell assault
The organization works to protect nesting populations of endangered Least Terns and threatened Snowy Plovers.  And there's a native plant nursery, with the goal of encouraging homeowners to landscape with native species. 

Ruddy turnstone makes assault on sand fleas
We had the beach to ourselves, except for the peeps and ruddy turnstones foraging in the surf.  If you MUST be held captive on an island, this one would bring consolation in the beauty all around.


  1. Sanibel is my most favorite island - its beaches are natural and un"groomed", buildings are no taller than the treetops, lights are forbidden on the Gulf side (this protects nesting sea turtles), almost no street lights across the island, and nary a stoplight to be found. At present a large 28 acre tract known as the Bailey Homestead is optioned until June 2011 for purchase by the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation; sale price is $4 million, with additional funds needed to restore the Homestead. This tract will otherwise become a development of probably 3 dozen big new homes. Keeping my fingers crossed.