The Accidental Vacation

Our last sunrise at North Captiva.

A few years ago, Mike and I Christmas vacationed on Captiva Island in a Florida.  I will remember this always because I cracked a tooth at Christmas lunch while eating shrimp. Yikes!

This year we thought we would go back. In the hurry of finding a vacation rental and dealing with interruptions, we somehow booked a vacation rental on North Captiva Island.  We just thought is was the north end of the island we had visited. But no. It was not.

We did not realize our error until we received the confirmation email stating we needed to make sure and schedule a ferry ride. They also mentioned there are no cars on the island.  If we wanted groceries, stop at Publix and bring them with you or get a service to stock your cabin for an up-charge.

Our first thought, since we were too close to the stay to cancel, was to stay in Ft. Meyers and lose the money for the rental house. By the next day we decided we would try it, and if it didn’t work, just go back to the mainland and a hotel.

There are four restaurants on North Captiva. We had a plan to eat breakfast and lunch at the rental and enjoy dinner out each night.  When I started trying to make reservations, I learned all but one was closed for vacation or renovation. I learned that it was the off season.

At this point we were ready to throw  in the towel again!  A few days later we decided to attempt it.

We finally placed a large order for groceries and paid the 40% up charge.  We thought we could always shuttle back to Pine Island if we were starving.

We met at the pier, me lugging a bad attitude and a large suitcase across the rocks.  After several hot and sweaty minutes, a boat arrived to take the three of us, lots of supplies, and five other passengers to North Captiva.

Look closely for the dolphins on the left side of the photo.

Our bags went below, the other passengers’ food went in the middle, and we sat around the edges. About halfway out the first mate and captain mentioned dolphins. As if on cue, two dolphins started jumping beside the boat. Pretty cool, I must admit!

At this point, I was tired and stinky. We got dropped off, and were given a quick tour of the island.  Then we were off to our house. It was the perfect house at the end of a lane. It jutted out farther than any of the neighboring houses, so we felt like we were alone. It helped that it was off season.

The bird at the edge of the water is a Black Skimmer. It was amazing to watch it skim the water for food.

The food we ordered was in the house, in the fridge and a cabinet. It wasn’t a fancy house, but it had all we needed for a carefree vacation.

During our stay we saw turtles, a stingray, manatees, more dolphins and lots of birds such as black skimmers, pelicans, and seagulls.  We collected so many shells that we finally had to put half of them back. Our awesome shell collection now has tons of calico, fan and zigzag scallops (my favorite!) and heart shells, sand dollars, olives and whelps.

Shells!

Mike canoed, we collected shells, watched sunrises and sunsets, and did a whole bunch of nothing.  We had more clothes than we needed as we ran around in our swimwear for several days. T-shirts, casual shorts and flip flops were all we needed while we were there. Even the one fancier restaurant that reopened while we were there was shorts appropriate.

All in all it was a restful and fun trip!  We plan to go again next year, which is not bad for an accidental trip. As Mike said, it may not be the trip we wanted, but it was the trip we needed!

North Captiva Island is also known as Upper Captiva Island.  It used to be connected to Captiva, but in a 1921 hurricane, it was separated.  The island features a 350 acre nature preserve on the south end and a grass landing strip on the north end.  The island is surrounded by white sandy beaches with great shells.  Many of the homes serve as vacation rentals, with approximately 30 full time residents on the island.

We saw a few of these guys.
We saw four manatees, but they wouldn’t pose for a photo!

There were a few bunny rabbits made of the bark of one of the palm trees nailed to trees around the island.  I kind of liked them.

Beautiful!

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