SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 @ 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.
International Coastal Cleanup – Sanibel Causeway Islands
Join Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum and Keep Lee County Beautiful, Inc. for the Ocean Conservancy’s 32nd Annual International Coastal Cleanup on September 16, 2017. Last year, more than 791,000 volunteers worldwide removed 18 million pounds of trash from coastlines. Come to the Causeway Islands between 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. to check in and pick up your data cards, trash bags, and safety vests. Please bring your own water to reduce the use of plastic water bottles and to reduce the use of plastic gloves that will be available please bring your own work gloves. For more information on the Ocean Conservancy’s Coastal Cleanup click here.
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Back in December of 2016, I called and spoke with Lisa about my entire family’s plan to bring our parents to Ocean’s Reach in July of 2017 to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. My siblings and I had been planning for over a year to surprise them with this trip (all expenses paid) in honor of this amazing milestone. As I spoke with Lisa, I explained we had always come to Ocean’s Reach from the time I was very young. It was our favorite vacation destination and would provide the perfect location to celebrate mom and dad. I appreciated her excitement and enthusiasm as I carried on about how much Ocean’s Reach and Sanibel meant to my family. Our vacations there have truly been a cornerstone for the majority of our lives.
Tom and Cindy Barry first visited Sanibel sometime before 1982 and came back with their four children (Matt, Pat, Kateri and Natalie) the summer of ’82; this vacation was spent at Blind Pass. The family of six returned to Sanibel during the summer of 1984 and stayed at Ocean’s Reach for the first time. With the exception of one stay at the Sandpiper Beach Condominium sometime in the 90s, the Barry family claimed Ocean’s Reach as their vacation destination over the next 33 years. While enjoying family vacations over the last three decades, the Barrys have introduced Ocean’s Reach to family, friends and coworkers. Four generations of the family have spent time walking the beach in front of Ocean’s Reach including both of Tom and Cindy’s mothers and all five of their grandchildren. It has been a place of relaxation and rejuvenation, reflection and rehabilitation, comfort and joy, peace and above all else love and family. The memories that have been created over the past 33 years are what inspired Tom and Cindy’s children to bring them back to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
It’s our family’s favorite place and mom and dad said multiple times throughout the week how wonderful it was to have all of their kids and grandkids in one place. We had the best time the week of 7/22-7/29 making new memories on our little island paradise and are already planning to bring the whole gang back in the next year or two. Much appreciation to Ocean’s Reach and their owners for always providing warm, friendly hospitality along with exceptional service.
Tom and Cindy Barry – August 26th 1967-2017
Bottom family photo, from left to right:
Kateri (Barry), Jordan and Shiloh (2) Fears; Natalie (Barry), Dan, Grace and Maggie Holmstedt; Tom and Cindy Barry; Matt, Angela, Conner and Ansley Barry; Minnie and Lowell Gossett (Matt Barry’s in-laws).
By Charlie Sobczak; Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander
One of the most efficient flying birds in the world, the magnificent frigatebird rivals the albatross family in its ability to remain airborne for extended periods of time. Extremely light and with an enormous wingspan, it has the lowest wing-loading (weight to wingspan) of any bird in the world. Seemingly suspended in the breeze, the frigatebird resembles a kite or large black bat soaring high overhead.
The frigatebird is kleptoparasitic, a feeding characteristic most often found in insects but also observed in certain birds. This means that the frigatebird will often harass a gannet, anhinga, or booby into disgorging its catch, then snatch it away from the other bird in midair — hence the nickname, pirate of the sea.
On the open ocean the frigatebird survives on squid, jellyfish, fish, and even young sea turtles. A truly spectacular flyer, the frigatebird has been observed synchronizing its speed and aligning its direction perfectly to snatch flying fish while the fish is airborne! In the Florida Keys, this behavior makes the frigatebird a welcome sight for anglers searching for the pelagic fishes of the Gulf Stream (dolphin, wahoo, marlin, and tuna) because the frigatebird tends to follow these fish in hopes of feeding on their by-catch or capturing the flying fish fleeing before them.
The male frigatebird has a large red pouch that it inflates during breeding season. The chicks of the frigatebird are pure white and extremely vulnerable to predation. They remain with the mother for more than a year after hatching, and because of the risk of being killed by other nesting frigatebirds, they are never left unattended. Because of this lengthy upbringing, the female frigatebird mates once every other year.
The frigatebird has been known to get swept up in major storms. In 1988 Hurricane Gilbert carried a flock deep into North America, leading to record sightings as far north as Ontario. Recent DNA testing has shown that the frigatebird is more closely related to the penguin than to the pelican family where most scientific literature still places it. Most predation to the frigatebird comes at the nesting site. It has no known predators once this large bird is at sea.
This is an excerpt from The Living Gulf Coast – A Nature Guide to Southwest Florida by Charles Sobczak. The book is available at all the Island bookstores, Baileys, Jerry’s and your favorite online sites.
Mary Laser with a tarpon caught while fishing with Capt. Matt Mitchell photo provided by our friends at the Island Sun!
Summer water temperatures have been hovering right around 88 degrees for a few weeks now. During the blazing afternoon heat, the water temperature in the shallows on the outgoing tide can get well over 90 degrees. Fish, like people, get much less active during the hottest part of the day and seek cooler water by either going to deeper water or in the shade of mangroves and docks. Extreme heat has the same effect on fish that extreme cold has slowing the action. Afternoon thunderstorms are a welcomed event as they cool off the surface temperature of shallow water. During the outgoing tide, we spent some time this week enjoying a great shark bite. Anchored up just inside any of the deeper passes with half a fresh-cut mullet, we had the rods bent and the drags screaming. Many of this crazy shark action was blacktip sharks up to five feet long. These blacktips are one of the more sporty sharks to catch as they jump, make lightening-fast runs and can change direction on a dime. Often these battles required dropping the anchor ball and chasing the sharks down before they dump the spool.
Other species of sharks we caught just inside the passes included Atlantic sharp-nose, spinners, bonnet heads, bull sharks and giant nurse sharks. Each time we did this, we hooked into a few real monsters that, after a few minutes of drag screaming-fun, broke off by either tailwhipping the line or getting a sideways bite on the heavy mono leader. The best action on these sharks has come during the first hour of the falling tide before the current gets moving too fast.
One area that always seems to produce fish during the summer heat is Captiva Pass. The outer sandbars are a great place to sit and chum with small live shiners to catch Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, pompano and trout. The deeper water in the pass once you locate rocky bottom holds gag grouper and mangrove snapper. The docks and down trees on either side of the pass is great for snook. Tarpon come through this pass, and sharks are always around. Captiva Pass is just one of those places that offers lots of options and seems to always produce some type of action. Capt. Matt Mitchell has been fishing local waters since he moved to Sanibel in 1980. He now lives in St. James as a country fishing guide. If you have comments or questions, email captmattmitchell@aol. com
Paint the Beach Plein Air Festival invites artists from across the country to come and experience all Fort Myers Beach has to offer and create paintings of and on our beautiful sub-tropical islands! During the event, the public is invited to observe this challenging form of open air painting as artists compete in multiple competitions all week long throughout Fort Myers Beach. The artists capture the beauty, texture and light of the local landscape.
Registration will be open to the public July 15 – September 30, 2017. Each participant must pay a $50 non-refundable entry fee to sign up. We hope to see you at our 8th annual painting competition, with over $6000 in cash & prizes!
Thanks to the FLorida Living Magazine for the following information!
Blind Pass and Turner beach have the best shelling on Sanibel and Captiva. Some will argue Lighthouse Beach at the opposite tip of Sanibel island is better. No doubt a lot of shells roll up there, but it’s heavily picked over. When coming from the mainland, it’s a shorter trip, so more visitors stop there. It’s also closer to the hotels and condos. The result is a crowded beach with lots of newbie shell hunters scouring the sand as well as experienced shellers. There are still plenty of common shells to be found, but beating the old pros to a prize shell is a challenge, as they often start early in the morning.
You’re more likely to find a rare shell at Blind Pass and Turner Beach. Before reaching the pass, shellers have to drive past a string of beautiful, hard to resist Sanibel beaches. By the time they pull into the Blind PassBlind Pass Shells parking areas, their numbers have thinned. The result is a better selection of shells than found at any other Sanibel beach.
There are several different areas to shell. There’s blind pass itself, with far more shells on the Sanibel side than the Captiva, which is mainly large rocks. More shells are found on the Gulf side of the bridge, and under it, than on the inland side. If you walk along the bank on the inland side, watch the tides. On a low tide it’s easy, but if you’re walking back on a high tide, you may have to fight through mangroves. On a low tide, it’s possible to wade out to a sandbar. Take care when doing so as the currents can be treacherous.
Captiva side of Blind Pass
The Rocky Captiva Side of Blind Pass.
Both sides of Turner Beach are excellent places to find shells. You can wander for miles without encountering many people. It’s often difficult to get away from the crowds when walking the sand by Lighthouse Beach. Another spot to check out is on the Captiva side where the sand meets the jetty. Sometimes shells pile up in impressive mounds there.
Make sure you know the ten rules of shelling. Pick a time when the tide is low. Gas up the car, and make the trek to the best shelling on Sanibel or Captiva
Southwest Florida is filled with fascinating wildlife, and CROW provides a unique opportunity to look into wildlife rehabilitation and meet the staff responsible for their care. Wildlife walks are the best opportunity for visitors to get an in-depth look into the inner workings of our hospital and the treatment process. The program has two parts: an introductory presentation covering our medical and rehabilitation methods and then a guided tour through treatment areas of the hospital, concluding on our rehabilitation grounds. Wildlife Walks are approximately 1 and 1.5 hours: a 45-minute presentation with a 45-minute tour. This program is open to all, but it is not recommended for children under the age of 13.