DAY 4 – SAT 10th NOV

wake at 6:00AM and have a sudden rush of blood to the head and decide to see the sunrise. I sneak around putting on shorts and a tee shirt and nearly make it out of the front door before India spots me. She and Georgia join me and we stroll down to a magnificent sight.
The sun is just starting to peak over the horizon out to sea. This bright red ball rises out of the water with amazing speed and scarlet rays glint and sparkle on the surface of the perfectly calm ocean.

The pelicans and many other birds are diving into the water and all depressed thoughts from the previous evening are blown away. The girls and I stroll along and take in the scene. It is surprising how many people are out on the beach, either exercising or shelling. This is definitely a laid back island, no late nightlife, relaxing is the key.

Back at the condo all are slowly rising. The noisy air conditioner has disturbed everyone, so we will complain when the office opens.

Breakfast is taken and we discuss plans. There are bike paths everywhere on the island and we decide to hire bikes for 3 days. This means we can get out and about and also cycle to restaurants at night. A bright light suddenly illuminates my whole world and fireworks explode around me as the spectre of no-booze days has been lifted. I am a happy bunny again.

Over at the office I complain about the annoying whine, but the lady says she is not prepared to remove Tammy. She will try and get someone to look at the air conditioning though.

It is now 8:45AM and we jump in the car to explore and pick up some odds and ends.

We drive along Periwinkle Way to the west and come across many more shops and restaurants, although these are all spread out and tastefully unobtrusive.
Driving back along Middle Gulf Drive we see many lovely properties. There is lush vegetation everywhere and many little inlets with boats moored. It really is spectacularly beautiful and amazingly quiet. It is really only Periwinkle Way that carries a lot of traffic, as this is the road that leads to and from the causeway.

We stop at the Chamber of Commerce to pick up some tourist information and then on to shop for some essentials. Unfortunately we have not managed to work our way through the 24 bottles from yesterday yet, so beer is not required.

On to the bike shop to book up for the next 3 days. Mine has a smaller bike attached to the back of it, so Georgia should be OK. For the 4 of us it costs $105 for the 3 days. The bikes are to be delivered either late this afternoon or early tomorrow morning.

Back to Sanibel Arms West to prepare for the beach.
We are allowed to take beach chairs and sun loungers from the unit onto the beach and so we troop down laden with enough equipment to keep a small army happy.
The sea laps gently at the shore and we relax! Or at least some do. Granny(J) is off for a walk up the beach and the girls start the never ending duty of sandcastle construction and paddling.
There are all sorts of birds skipping along the waters edge, little legs going twenty to the dozen.

After a few hours we decide to get some lunch. We try to find the Sanibel Café, but have forgotten to take the map and so we keep driving all the way to Captiva. Here we stop in the Green Flash restaurant, so called after the supposed flash of colour that you see when the sun sets. This restaurant has panoramic windows with wonderful views over a bay. There are also tables outside by the jetty with a few boats moored.

Lunch consists of peeled shrimp, smoked salmon, chicken quissadillas (sp?), shrimp quisadilas (I’ll try that instead this time, one of them must be close!) and chicken fingers. With drinks all round and tip the total is $72 for the 6 of us. Good value for excellent food.

Back at the Sanibel Arms West our bikes have been delivered, so we have a few hours free rental.
We are also very happy to find that the air conditioning man has been and the noise has stopped much to everyone’s relief.

Back to the beach where I impress the girls at the highly difficult skill of throwing and catching a ball in the water, then we return to the swimming pool for a splash and to formulate our plans for the next few days.

A quick shower and we are all ready to go out just after 6:00PM. Tonight is going to be our first outing on the bikes. Let’s hope it doesn’t all end in tears.

It DOES all end in tears! What I have omitted to tell you is that we were one bike short when they were delivered, so we rang up and were told that another would be delivered that afternoon.
As we were swimming in the pool Grandma(D) goes to see if the last bike has arrived. She came back and said all was fine. So when we go to clamber aboard our bikes we are surprised to see we are STILL one short. Grandma(D) has got confused between our bikes and someone else’s. We all gather round and beat Grandma(D) soundly for her heinous mistake and then decide what to do.
Poor Kev has to get the van out and drive to dinner!

We eventually settle on a place called Morgan’s Forest, which is like a mini Rainforest Café, complete with jungle, animals and dry ice fog. We intend to just have something light (which Granny(J) and Grandma(D) do) but Tam and I like the sound of one of the specials so much that we decide to split it. It is grouper stuffed with crabmeat in a creamy lobster sauce, served with jacket potato and salad for $22.95. The best meal we have had so far.

Back to the van for the drive back to the condo and our plan of riding the bikes to restaurants at night is not looking such a good idea. The bikes do not have lights and the lack of street lighting makes it very dark in places. It is not quite as dangerous as it sounds as the bike paths generally run a few yards away from the roads. I’m not sure if it is even legal to cycle after dark so we may all end up enjoying the hospitality of the local Sheriff if we try!

Back in the condo I have a beer or two and write up my trip report. Georgia, who was tired and irritable in the restaurant, has now decided to wake up and finds it highly entertaining that all the other females can’t keep their eyes open and slowly fall asleep one by one. Especially amusing to her is when Grandma(D) suddenly gives a large snort in her sleep and wakes everyone else up.

It is not surprising that they are all sleepy, after all we have reached the unearthly hour of 9:30PM.
I’m on holiday with a bunch of party animals.