DAY 8 – WEDS 14th NOV

here is good news and bad news this morning. The bad news is that we are going shopping. The good news is that it is overcast and slightly drizzly. If we are picking a good morning for shopping (such a thing exists?) then this would be it.

We drop in at the supermarket first for some odds and ends and then on to the designer mall, which is a couple of miles from the causeway to Sanibel.

The ladies are given a 2 hour limit. Very generous of me I think. They set off in their attempt to assist the American economy to stave off recession, while India, Georgia and I strike out on our own.
We have a look around for a while, but there is not too much to hold our attention. Eventually we retire to the van for crisps and drink.
As India says, if you HAVE to shop, then this isn’t a bad way to do it, sat in the van, drinking Coke, eating crisps and listening to AC/DC on the local rock station. Now, if they were to offer topless waitress service to your vehicle as well, I might go shopping more often.
The women return just 10 minutes over the deadline, but I put on a show of petulance anyway. Well, it’s expected, so I don’t like to disappoint.

We are back in the condo by 1:00PM where some preliminary packing takes place in preparation for our move to the Boardwalk tomorrow.

A quick 30 minutes on the beach for some last minute shelling and we are off in the van to Captiva to go on a dolphin cruise. We have to get the boat from the very tip of Captiva, which is occupied by the South Seas Plantation Resort. After parking the van a tram takes you down to the marina. Another array of expensive boats are moored here. As we walk around the marina old eagle eyes India shouts out. We look in the water and there is a huge manatee floating around! The water is pretty murky so we only catch occasional glimpses of it before he disappears from sight, but it is another superb experience.

We board the boat at 4:00PM and make our way out of the marina and into the sound between Captiva and Pine Key. There is a man on board from the Sanibel and Captiva Conservation Society and he tells us all about the estuary and the wildlife as we cruise along. It’s a pleasant ride in the late afternoon sunshine, if a little breezy. There are many birds to be seen including pelicans, cormorants, ibis and osprey.
India and I are in the prow of the ship (the pointy bit at the front – stop me if I’m getting too technical for you here) when we look down and suddenly see two dolphins skimming along inches in front of the boat. They are moving at amazing speed and every now and then one of them will arch out of the water. There are 4 or 5 dolphins playing and jumping around the boat and we go to the back to watch them from there. They are probably with us for 15 minutes or so but it is a very special thing to see.

If you are interested, we went with a company called Captiva Cruises and we got 2 for 1 coupons from one of the local free advertising pamphlets. It is supposed to be $20 for adults and $10 for children, but we get it for half that. A real bargain.

Back on dry land we head for the Bubble Room, a restaurant in Captiva. Now, this is a very ‘Disney like’ place. It is Christmas everyday and the servers are called Bubble Scouts. The whole place is covered with photos of old film stars and old posters and there is much bric-a-brac around. In this respect it is similar to the Adventurers Club.
I have the filet mignon while Tam has pork chops, which melt in the mouth. My steak is also very good. There are many wonderful desserts and between us we order 3 including a white chocolate and coconut gateaux. Bad mistake. We should have ordered one between all of us. They are absolutely enormous. I can’t believe that anyone could finish one of these after a full meal. Everybody in the place seems to be taking home doggy bags.
It isn’t cheap as the cost for the 4 of us is $90, but it certainly is good fun. The girls have a whale of a time looking at all the weird things.

The food on Sanibel and Captiva is a dearer than other parts of mainland Florida. In fact it is the first time that we will probably spend less in WDW than outside!
Still, I don’t mind spending more when the food is good and the surroundings are relaxing.

On the drive back most of the passengers fall asleep again. There is something about the combination of dark, warmth and driving at 35 mph that is very soporific.

Back at the condo we finish packing for an early start in the morning and then wander down for a last look at the beach. The stars are once again doing their best to outshine the other natural wonders of the islands. As we stare upwards a shooting star passes overhead.

Is there anything we are not going to see on this holiday?