Our Sanibel Stoop Stop

Sand Snowman on the beach with shell accents

Sand Snowman on the beach with shell accents

One week in paradise is not enough, but since we are headed next to the Florida Keys no complaints from me. Sanibel is a shellers’s heaven especially after a storm or gusty winds. By the time we got to the beach several days had passed and pickin’s were slim. Still I found the right combo of jingle shells to make a pair of earrings. The Sanibel Bead Shop is next door to Periwinkle Park and I made three visits to get supplies for a few projects. So that stoop thing, you can picture it, someone bent over looking for shells on the beach or in the water; either way you are bound to score.

I got lots of practice- finally using beads I'd bought on MV and Jekyll Island

I got lots of practice- finally using beads I’d bought on MV and Jekyll Island

The Park is lovely with mostly not-so-mobile homes, 80 RV spots, two duck ponds; one with colorful birds, lemurs, geese, ducks and a black swan. Four days a week, Libby brings out the stars and engages young and old(er) in an hour-long show and tell about these rescued birds. They develop strong attachments to owners and become unhappy when they are moved; feathers ruffle in danger or happy or want to attract mate.  Mother Nature gave them a “bird of prey” sense and they know when a bird of prey is overhead; even the ones they don’t need to worry about.DSC00712 (800x600)
Young and old(er!!) enjoyed the demo one morning and many photos were taken.DSC00730 (800x600)

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DSC00648 (800x600)Drove through the five-mile long “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge. Did same 23 yrs ago; seems like yesterday or eons ago. We’d been visiting Russ’s parents who had retired early to Longboat Key, but this time visions of moving to Florida danced in our heads. We cruised the area between Naples and Bradenton, even finding a home on a canal we entertained purchasing (the home not the canal). Wild and crazy right? But who wants to work in paradise? Decided to work in the Tundra, save our pennies….then retire in paradise.DSC00662 (800x554)As you drive through the preserve you can always stop and park on the right shoulder but many convenient overlooks exist and they primarily serve as a place to fish and to allow a through-flow of water.???????

I never got to researching this dude- looks like a type of tree crab? or maybe it’s a frog crab? crab frog? The refuge posted plenty of info signs along the drive but nothing about these which we found on many trees as we walked from the road to an overlook through the mangroves.??????????

Near the end of the drive was the Calusa Shell Mound Trail which was interesting and great signage about the Calusa Indians, shell mounds and how the Calusa thrived for thousands of years as fisher-gatherers.DSC00669 (800x600)

Closing in on the warmth we crave; Sanibel temps have been very low 70s daytime and during the night as low as 50.????????????????????????? Still using our electric heaters at night; the benefit is they make terrific mug warmers for breakfast coffee and tea. The sun feels so good and sitting at the picnic table trying to make perfectly round wire loops (they tend to be teardrop shape but you want round) was one of my favorite activities.

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In the park one RV site really got into the spirit!

Another favorite activity was checking out all the Christmas decorations throughout the park as well as the entire island. Judging by the types and extent we figured that many RVers came here routinely and had just the right lights and setups to decorate their spot.

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Our cheap and easy decorations and a new antenna!

Our cheap and easy decorations and a new antenna!

Our site backed up to an oval duck pond and I enjoyed the ducks, ibis, egrets, herons and cormorants as they went about the business of life in paradise.

Oh, do you come here often?

Oh, do you come here often?

 

No traffic lights on Sanibel or Captiva, just a traffic cop by Jerrys Market and as you enter the island off the bridge

No traffic lights on Sanibel or Captiva, just a traffic cop by Jerrys Market and as you enter the island off the bridge

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