Michele spent a lot of time in the water this trip. She and Ian are the sea shell hunters in the family. For years they have hunted the elusive Junonia shell, but haven't been lucky enough to find one. However, they do always seem to be able to bring home pounds of other really cool shells (tulips, conchs, whelks, kitten's paws, nutmegs, etc.). Nathan usually snorkels to find his treasures. The big finds were sea urchins and starfish, but we couldn't keep them... they were alive.
Since we typically spend the entire day at the beach, we bring a lot of STUFF. The boys were [finally] a big help this year, as we had to carry chairs, umbrellas, beach bags, coolers, fishing gear, bait boxes, skim boards, and rafts to our spot on the beach. However, lugging our stuff didn't seem so bad, because the path to the beach was so beautiful.
A full day at the beach can sometimes cause some uncomfort-able conditions. We know this from experience. Some of these issues include: sand and/or small shells in your butt crack, bug bites, sunscreen slime, and that "fishy" smell. This year, we were lucky to have use of the 'Tween Waters Inn pool and showers. Around midday we would hike across the street, shower, take a cooling dip in the the pool, and have some refreshing "boat drinks"....ahh.
On our last night at the beach, Michele and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary. The boys stayed at the condo, and Michele and I were able to go on a "date" - just the two of us. We had dinner at Biddle's, a restaurant near the Sanibel Causeway. We ordered entirely from the appetizer menu. Sashimi tuna, scallops, stuffed shrimp....yummo [yeah, I watch Rachael Ray]. The restaurant was decorated in what Michele described as "Tommy Bahamas". However, I thought it more resembled Rick's Cafe Americain from the movie Casablanca. They had live music...a husband and wife team who played everything from Motown to 1930's swing. They were actually quite good and got most everyone out on the dance floor. Sitting near us was a couple who had to be in their 90's. They got up and boogied often. I hope that Michele and I are still around and able to enjoy nights like that when we are their age. The whole night was romantic...and perfect. Just for the record, this ranks as my favorite anniversary date with my beautiful wife.
This trip started with a very conscious effort on my part to de-stress. As Jimmy Buffet sang, "changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes." For eight wonderful days there was no stress: mission accomplished. Now, I can only rely on memories until the next time we head to a beach. Until then, this is the mental image [from the Sanibel Causeway] I am choosing to use as the desktop background in my brain: