Saturday, February 26, 2011

Snorkling and Scuba Diving Around Sanibel Island

Most people who come to Sanibel know that it is one of the top 3 shelling destinations in the world.

Many people who come to Sanibel know that the presence of Ding Darling helps to make Sanibel one of the best birding destinations in the world.

The beach and the nature preserve give of their treasures in a very observable and transparent way.

But what may be more of mystery is what lays under the water in the seas of Sanibel.

And there is no better method to observe the life in the Gulf than by snorkling or scuba diving the area.

For the scuba diver, there are several nearby underwater explorations easily accessible. More than a dozen artificial reefs lay within 15 miles of Sanibel and Captiva.

The Belton Johnson Reef, about 5 nautical miles from Sanibel's Bowman's Beach is constructed of concrete culverts.

One of the largest reefs, the Edison Reef, is approximately 15 nautical miles from the Sanibel Lighthouse. The Edison Reef was assembled from the rubble of a former mainland bridge.

Pegasus, Charlie's Reef, is 28 miles off the island and is the newest of the reefs. It has a sunken tug boat for exploring, along with railroad hoppers. Eel, barracuda, nurse sharks and an amber jacks are among the fish that can be observed there.

And the snorkler can be just as easily entertained from the comfort of a secluded and tropical beach. Accessed only by boat, there are deserted, barrier islands a short trip from Sanibel and Captiva. Here, you can snorkel on beautiful natural limestone ledges where you can observe abundant sea life.

There are many boating outfitters that can take you out for a half or full day trip, can offer snorkling or scuba diving or a combination of both and can also customize your trip for you.

Experience how special an Island Sanibel is, not just on land but under water as well!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Travel Predictions for Spring and Summer on Sanibel Island

Making predictions about anything is always a risky business. We know how weathermen have been derided over the centuries for missing the mark and predicting brilliant sunshine when only rain followed. And economists laid end to end can't reach a conclusion on the future of the world's finances.

So we are taking a chance by announcing our version of the Oscars for vacation rentals on Sanibel Island, but we see enough justification to go out on this palm tree limb.

With April being a very confusing month in 2011, the following trends appear to be taking place. Because high season/low season rates on the Island are always tied in with the occurrence of Easter week, this late arrival of Easter has everyone wondering. Typically, low season does not begin until Easter Sunday, in this case April 24. So that least week of April is still high season as are all the weeks preceding it.

Often times, those last 2 weeks in April are after Easter Week, and therefore a low season rate. As a result bookings for both condos and homes are robust. After all, April is arguably the nicest month on the Island with sunny temperatures in the low 80's by day and high 60's by night.

So we are not seeing the great demand for the last 2 weeks of April that we have in the past. As we move closer to the date, we might see more movement with possibly greater flexibility in pricing. That said, what has happened all across the Island and all across the price breaks is that rental guests are recognizing the great opportunity and wonderful value in the booking a week, a month or longer during May. For the first time in years, many of our units are booked for all weeks in May. The nice weather in May combined with a low season rate and the postponement of April vacations is creating a feeding frenzy for vacation rentals in the fifth and merry month of the year.

The same seems to be holding true for June, again a robust month with many more inquiries and bookings than in years past.

So where does that leave the rest of the summer? Most probably in good shape. More and more Europeans are cognizant of Sanibel and Caribbean like flavor it offers at considerably lower prices. While the Caribbean does not do a deep drop in prices from winter to summer months, Sanibel Island sees its vacation rental rates cut nearly in half.

In addition, consumer confidence appears to be rising across the USA and those people who were hesitant to spend money on vacations last year, are not so cautious this coming summer. And, as always, Sanibel Island is seen as the seaside resort for those living inland or in Florida's cities, so business should be quite brisk for both July and at least the first 2 weeks of August.

Now, let's sit back and see how close our predictions come to reality!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Number One Reason to Vacation on Sanibel in 2012: WINTER

Please understand we are not trying to rub any salt into wounds.

We just offer this blog topic as food for thought.

This winter has been an especially brutal one with at one time or another snow in every state except for one: Florida.

Right now as we write this entry, it is what we consider a "cold" day on Sanibel Island. it is only 57 degrees at the moment with a high of 69 expected. For us, this is, indeed, winter weather. But the sun is shining, the sky is mostly blue, the trees and grass are completely green.

So let's compare, shall we:

  • In and around Detroit, Michigan plenty of snow on the ground with more predicted and a current high of 27 degrees.
  • In and around New York City, 26 degrees with snow predicted
  • In and around Minneapolis, 26 degrees with snow predicted
  • In and around most of the country....cold, cold, cold and plenty of snow (and ice)

And what does the difference in temperature mean for a vacation on Sanibel over winter?

Well, even cold days give way to warm ones, and you might anticipate a swim in a heated pool, or at least a walk on the beach. There, you can gather sea shells, watch dolphin frolicking in the waters, observe pelicans fly and dive for their dinner, perhaps even be approached by a friendly egret or heron who may be looking to "beg" their dinner from you.

You don't need to dig out your car to go out to eat. Just jump in and start it up and head to your favorite restaurant on the Island where you will be assured a friendly face and satisfying meal. And when you are done, no need to sit in a freezing cold car, shivering all the way home. Just start and drive.

Is bundling up in winter a burden? You bet it is. Just putting on the layers is a nuisance, then unlayering and then layering again. Here, on a "cold" day, you can wear a sweater or jacket over your shorts and be pretty comfortable. On most days, your shorts and a top are sufficient, yes, even in winter. Quite a good deal, no?

Do you get SAD (seasonal affective disorder) when the weather is gray and gloomy? Even on our cold days there is generally plenty of sunshine. Do you get cabin fever when snow and ice limit your outings? Even on a cold day a lovely walk or bike ride is right out your door. Do you get tired of having every door and window shut so that your precious (and costly) heat does not escape? Even on a cold day on Sanibel, it is sunny enough during the day to open up your condo or house and let the fresh air in.

OK, you probably get the point by now. If you are thinking of coming to Sanibel in the winter of 2012, your thoughts are definitely in the right place. But because January through April are high season, when most visitors travel, now is the time to put those thoughts into action. Research and reserve your place in Sanibel today!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sanibel Offers Nice Options for Diet Restrictions

One of the nice things about Sanibel Island is that it not only offers the weary soul quietude, the inquiring mind stimulation, and the warm of heart so much to love in nature, it is a bountiful destination when it comes to food.

The island abounds with places to eat from fine dining to the quintessential "hot dog stand".

A couple seeking a romantic holiday, can find it in such sophisticated restaurants as The Thistle Lodge.

The whole family can have a fun night at The Lazy Flamingo on Sanitva where they can try their hand at the ring game.

And the solo cyclist can satiate an appetite and quench a thirst at the only "fast food" eatery on Sanibel, the nationally known and loved Dairy Queen.

But there are many who can not eat just anything and must restrict their intake to special foods.

Those seeking vegetarian menus can find selections in many, if not most, of the Island restaurants, and some, like the Blue Giraffe feature some lovely options such as portabello sandwiches and vegie burgers.

And vacationers who can not tolerate gluten or have celiac disease will find that most island restaurants understand the no wheat flour restriction and can guide them to acceptable choices on the menu. At least one restaurant, Matzaluna, not only offers the more typical and natural gluten free meals, they prepare gluten free Italian dishes to order. There are not many places in the entire country that can offer gluten free eggplant parmigiana at all, let alone one that can compete with traditional preparations.

Prefer to buy and cook your own?

Again, the two largest grocery stores on Sanibel, Jerry's and Bailey's, offer diet restricted foods in an amazingly satisfying variety. They carry gluten free, sugar free and lactose free products. And both stores also offer a nice variety of organic foods as well.

The number of options for those diet restricted as well as not on the Island of Sanibel is one of many reasons we call it paradise.