Saturday, August 28, 2010

Oil plumes and Sanibel fumes: still angry but STILL oil free

There is no oil on Sanibel Island, and none is predicted. That is the good news, and we are happy for it and want to spread the word. Sanibel is so special a place that any despoiling of its habitat is not acceptable, and most likely not restorable to its original "condition". When man made structures are torn down, they can be re-built. The rejuvenation of nature takes much longer when it works, and some times it does not work at all.

But there is much of Florida in the northern panhandle and vicinity, as well as in Louisiana and Alabama that should also be protected and preserved. The BP oil disaster has affected every Gulf state – and beyond. Fisheries have been devastated, tourism to the area has plummeted, wildlife refuges and marshes have been fouled with oil, toxic tar has washed onto beaches, and thousands of dolphins, sea turtles, herons, pelicans, and countless other bird and wildlife species were coated in oil, facing slow and agonizing deaths.

And, despite the recent announcements that the oil has disappeared, as many suspected, that is really not the case. A recent study suggests that nearly 80% of the oil released by the Deepwater Horizon offshore disaster remains under the sea. That means that millions of barrels are still poisoning sea turtles, fouling the coasts of northern Florida and the contiguous states and threatening the survival of endangered marine life like sperm whales and bluefin tuna.

This is also not acceptable.

This blog generally accents the positive, and does not advocate particular positions,however, in the name of environmental protection we must take a stand now.

We are suggesting that our readers, their families, friends and colleagues become defenders of wild life and wild life habitat. We urge everyone to contact their senators to pass the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Accountability Act (S. 3663), legislation to preserve vital habitat for sea turtles and other wildlife and improve oversight and accountability to prevent the next offshore oil disaster. If passed, the Senate bill would improve offshore drilling management and crisis response and finally guarantee funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund – an important tool for preserving and restoring habitat for Gulf wildlife and other animals.

We urge everyone to support the Gulf of Mexico in every way they can, and we have written this message to focus on what needs to be done, publishing this post advertisement free to keep our intention in tack.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sanibel in Song: Lyrics to Live By

It is difficult to listen to almost any Jimmy Buffet song about Islands, harbors, boating and the laid back life of a beach devotee without thinking about Sanibel. Most of JB's music carry Sanibel in its harmony.

And, of course, there are the songs of Danny Morgan, who is a local entertainer, often compared to Jimmy Buffet. But where there may only be a couple of songs directly related to Sanibel and Captiva out of the JB song book, Morgan has created dozens of titles that directly relate to the Island. Songs like "Sanibel Samba", "Sanibel Sunset" and "Captiva Moon" are unmistakeably planted in the sands of our two beautiful barrier islands.

But despite the world wide appeal to folks of Jimmy Buffet persuasion (most often called parrotheads) and the tremendous popularity of Danny Morgan on and around the Islands of Sanibel and Captiva, there may not be a song composed that resonates more clearly and touchingly with the topicality and peace of Sanibel than that which was sung by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

The title of the song, simply stated, is Sanibel.

And the simplicity of the title may well be deliberate. There is no other Sanibel, no need to add Island, or Florida or any other qualifying term. Sanibel is Sanibel period.

But the sweet sound of the song and the key words used in its composition, take the listener directly to the Island.

Terms like

Angels of the water, sirens of the sea
Whispering their sweet love songs
Calling out to me

bring the romance of the island to life.

And the clarification of this line

Going to leave this town forever
And go where I'll never
Need an overcoat no more

certainly reminds the listener of one of the many reasons to love and come to the island.

But it's the familiar refrain that wraps up the song most profoundly and touchingly

Ooh lalalala, every night and every day
Sitting by the gulf coast just a thousand miles away,
Where they cry...
Ooh lalalala, on an island I will dwell
Starlit nights in paradise on the isle of Sanibel

Yes, starlit nights in paradise are certainly Sanibel!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sanibel's Gramma Dot's: The Closest You Can Get to Eating On Board

One of many attractive points about Sanibel Island is that there are numerous restaurants on Sanibel and Captiva.

Another is that the restaurants are quite different from one another.

There is the outrageously different Bubble Room.

The elegantly distinctive Thistle Lodge.

The family fun of the Hungry Heron.

And many lovely spots from Matzaluna to Traders, all quite distinguishable in decor and menu from one another. There is something special about all of them.

But Gramma Dot's stands out from the rest as dining there feels more like being on a ship than eating on dry land.

It's proximity to the water, the near by boats docked just outside the large windows, the sparkling clean ambiance and the white and blue decor create a ship like experience from the moment you walk into the place.

Serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, Gramma Dot's prides itself on offering the freshest sea food on the Island.

But it also offers, if one takes a moment to explore the history, a very interesting background on its namesake.

Born at the turn of the century, Gramma Dot (Dorothy Stearns) was a women ahead of her time. Dot loved an adventure. As a teenager, she traveled the world by ship with her family.

She rode camels in Egypt, rode horses and played billiards in the Wild West. She was an avid sailor who loved the sea and logged many hours exploring Long Island’s Great South Bay.

In the late 50’s, her sea explorations brought her to Sanibel. In 1963, by then a widow, she moved alone to Sanibel --a sleepy little island where most people didn’t wear shoes; and when people passed in cars, they always waved.

Gramma Dot was a woman of many talents with a zest for life. She was a ballroom dancer, published author, painter and an amazingly creative maker of “shell-things”. She was loved dearly by all her friends and family for her energy, creativity, and positive attitude.

Gramma Dot, an inspiration to generations of heirs, was a gentle, gracious lady, a giant of a lady within the family of Irelands. The restaurant was named after Gramma Dot by her son Myton Ireland.

And ok, I've got to admit it. The history of Gramma is as endearing and as intriguing as the restaurant and food it serves. Don't you agree?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Five Reasons to Visit Sanibel This September

Contrary to popular belief, September can be a beautiful month on the Island of Sanibel.

And this September promises to be a particularly beautiful month.

While Sanibel has not been affected by the Gulf oil spill, and the scientific projection has been that there is a less than 1 percent chance it will be, the greater concern has always been whether the spill could be stopped and the oil removed.

It seems promising that the well has been plugged at this point and reports are that the oil is largely gone.

So come September, there should be a collective sigh of relief that the Gulf has a better chance as we go forward. The optimism will surely be felt on Sanibel, helping to make a vacation even more enjoyable.

But that is only one reason to holiday this September, though a significant one at that.

September is, in almost any year, a transitional month. Summer visitors are gone. Fall visitors have not yet arrived. It is a month in which you can feel like a pioneer on the Island, blazing your own path. No waiting for tables at the most popular restaurants and you can linger for hours over a meal. The bike paths will be bikeless, the waterways way open and even the fabulous local grocery stores will not have the crowds of people wandering the isles.

Because of the quieter, less traveled and less touristed aspect of September vacationing, the nature viewing can often be superb. With most of the Island being a nature preserve, Sanibel is always "for the birds"....armadillo, bobcats and the rest. But not having that many people around makes sighting them easier.

And there are always great sales in the stores in September. Many stores attempt to clean out inventory to make way for new items. Check out places such as clothing stores to see what's on the discounted racks and you'll find plenty to choose from.

And, because September can be stormy, it generally is a month with fewer demands for accommodations. So the greater supply often results in reduced vacation rental and hotel prices. In fact, because the weather can be sunny as well as rainy, wise travelers might want to negotiate a longer than weekly stay and be more assured of having good weather for some, if not all, of their vacation time.

But if you should see some stormy weather, that in and of itself is quite an experience. The rains and winds can create a spectacular environment. So that may in and of itself be a sixth good reason to visit Sanibel in September!