Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fort Myers, FL (part II)

More adventures in Fort Myers. We woke up early enough to get a 9 AM start on our venture to Sanibel and Captiva, two of the many barrier islands.

We crossed over the bridge and causeway after paying our $6 toll, and headed up island to the far end of Sanibel. Our thought was to get past all the closer beaches and head for the far end of Captiva Island, to see if we could find a beach that was not terribly crowded. My second motive was to get to a beach that was listed as a good snorkeling beach, so I could pick shells that hadn't been tossed up on the beach yet.
We traversed all of Sanibel Island without seeing more than a glimpse of the water.

The road goes right up the center of the Island, and the Island is heavily wooded. It is very chic, with gated houses, on large well landscaped lots, interrupted only occasionally by a boutique general store or small shopping center. There were numerous opportunities to get to public beaches, but the parking situation was similar to our last foray to Fort Myers Beach. A short driveway to an impossibly small parking lot. We chose the very last beach on the north end of Captiva, and having arrived before 10 AM the lot was only about 1/3 full. The parking is metered and costs $4 for each 2 hours. We plugged the meter for 2 hours and headed for the beach.
We were rewarded with a great place to set up our chairs, dappled sun coming through a small grove of palms. We had heard legends about the tons of shells that wash up on these islands and we were primed!
My only disappointment was the water clarity. As with Fort Myers Beach the day before, the water was so cloudy I could see only 18" to 2 feet in front of my mask. We walked the beach looking in the sandy waterline for un-broken shells and there were many thousands of small ones but we were looking for a Conch shells, Lettered Olives, Ribbed Contharus, and anything exotic. When there are thousands of shells your eyes go cross-eyed very quickly!
We caught a break- we were thrashing in the surf trying very had to get some fresh shells when we came across a shell net that someone had abandoned in the sand. this is a very cool device that allows you to scoop shells out of the surf and sort through for the keepers.

I still had fun swimming and snorkeling in the waters off the beach. I continue to be amazed at the shallow waters on the gulf coast. The sandy shelf usually continues out hundreds of feet off the beach. Underwater there is nothing to see really, as there are no rocky bottoms- only smooth sand and the occasional shell. I have great hopes for the keys- I want clear water, reefs, and fishes!

I did manage to get a first class sunburn on my shoulders and back- I'll be out of the sun for the next several days. I have the sun block- I just forgot to get Joan to put in on my back- everything else that I protected with sunscreen came out okay.

Even Joan got into the water- this is a first for this trip- and she had a great time scooping nets full of shells and sorting through them.

Yesterday and today (Fri and Sat the 2nd-23rd) We did some exploring by car, and went to Walmart to get our prescriptions filled. Something always goes sideways during this process. I am grateful that we have the ability to get our prescriptions filled no matter where we are in the country, and that they will bill our insurer- (a tiny Oregon only insurer). Having said that, I have to wonder how come the order always gets screwed up- it's all on the computer- come on- really? Our trip to Walmart took us through old downtown Fort Myers.

The Fort Myers area has been a popular winter destination since the 1880's and even attracted the likes of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, who both had vacation homes here backing up on the Caloosahatchee river.

As I mentioned earlier, this particular RV park is the tightest we've been in, and I promised pictures.

Everyone is very friendly and very considerate and we are having a good time- regardless of the close quarters.

We have wanted to get some spare keys made for the motorhome for some time now, and it turns out that it is more difficult than it would seem. Today we looked up the local Camping World to see if they carry the special blanks that we need for the entry door keys. We made a pact that we would not go hog wild and buy anything else but light bulbs and keys. When we got to the store, they did not have the key blanks, but they could direct us to a locksmith in Fort Myers that could make the keys. As luck would have it-the shop was open today (Saturday), and had the proper key blanks to make the keys! The second item was replacement bulbs for the directional reading lights that operate on 12 volts and take a 12 volt mini-flood. We needed 2 that had burned out, and I wanted to replace them with LED style lights if possible. Unfortunately the LED replacement bulb was $17 against the $3 cost of the OEM incandescent mini-flood. Joan remembered that we had received a coupon for $10 off our next purchase at Camping World. Joan went out to the car and got the iPad, opened our mail from Good Sam and showed it to the cashier. Score! We got one LED bulb for $7. Gotta love the technology.

Jeff and Joan

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