beach trip proof + lessons

we are rookie travelers. we almost never go anywhere and when we do each trip is so far away from the last we forget basically everything about vacations. #1: you almost always need 3 extra days. days 1 and 2, and sometimes 3 are usually spent struggling to adjust.  you're exhausted, trying to cram too much into those first few days because you're excited to be there and YOU MADE PLANS DAMMIT! 

so by the 4th day you are so ready to vacay like a kardashian but you only have one more day. 

3 extra days people. 3 extra days. 

also...splurge on the good sunscreen. 

 

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my target hat sucked. i mean, i should've known. the issue is it's too floppy and looks like a limp conquistador hat rather than a chic saint tropez hat. also it's aggressively large. i think i would rather have something like this in the future.

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not winning any photography awards with this one....but i show you this to tell you a little story...

this is the view from our room. backstory: we won a week in this condo via fiona's school auction. it's not exactly on the beach as we first thought. it's on a causeway. the beach is small and goes nowhere. the water was brown, brackish and VERY warm. not complaining at all! (totally complaining a little) but it's not what we would have chosen. that said, it was nice to not have to pay for lodging. though we did have to pay 6 whole dollars every time we wanted to be on sanibel island. which was twice a day. we were right off the causeway bridge but technically in ft. myers. anyway...

the first day there mike and fiona were swimming in said warm brackish water and i was standing on the beach there looking at them and talking to them. they were about 6 feet out, when i saw this long monster swimming behind them, passing them. at first i thought, THAT'S A FUCKING ALLIGATOR!. then i thought, yeah, that is DEFINITELY an alligator. it was about 4-6 feet long and totally minding it's own business but it was right behind them so i casually said, hey guys...come here....come toward me...this way.... they both turned around and saw the same thing i saw. there was no screaming, just moving in the right direction at a quicker than casual pace. i asked around and apparently it IS an anomaly but not completely crazy. especially in these shallow brackish waters. needless to say we did not go back in that water. 

 

there were lots of pretty sunsets....

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this is blind pass beach which was supposed to have all the shells. but all the shells were small. i was hoping for a giant conch shell. but i didn't come at 4 am (recommended) or after a storm. 

 

this is mostly all you got..

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lame. 

 

these trees are everywhere and they are called sea grapes (thank you instagram friends) and i quite like them. 

 

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sadly there just isn't a lot of good food on sanibel/captiva. we tried though. 

 

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highly recommended: buying some fresh local fish from the source and cooking it yourself.

also: the grocery store prices are jacked up as fuck. sometimes to double their regular price. which is INFURIATING. looking at you jerry's

 

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one of my favorite things we did was the ding darling refuge. it smells terrible but it's SUPER cool. this marsh or lake or whatever it is was so crazy eerily quiet. it's like all that muck underneath absorbs the noise. the surface of the water was so still it looked like glass. really really cool experience. 

 

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look at the clouds perfectly reflected in the water. nutty.

 

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mangroves are totally fascinating and beautiful. 

 

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we also saw dolphins which you can see here

 

overall we had a great time. would love to go back but stay on the captiva side and are currently accepting leads on rentals on the actual gulf of mexico.