Accessibility Link Accessibility compliant site
Menu

A Winter Wonderland for Manatees

One of my favorite things about a winter vacation at Tween Waters Inn, besides the beautiful weather, is the influx of manatees. When temperatures dip to the north, the manatees head south looking for warmer water. Here’s a quick guide of where to find them and what to look for.

 

How to spot manatees

Look for round swirl patterns in the water. The swirl is caused when their large paddle tail moves up and down.

Scan the water for dark masses. Manatees usually surface for air every 3-5 minutes, but can stay down as long as 20 minutes. You might also see their snout and whiskers poking above the water’s surface.

 

Where manatees hang out

The marina at Tween Waters Inn is a fantastic place to see manatees (and dolphins)! They tend to hang out by the docks and by the mangroves to the right of the kayak rentals. <Innsider TIP: If you have a bayside room at Tween Waters Inn, you can often see manatees from your balcony/lanai!>

Manatee Park in Fort Myers is another great location. The power plant next door pumps out warm water so the manatees gather in droves. It’s quite a sight, and it’s a nice drive from the resort.

J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge is only a few minutes away and in addition to manatees, you can see all kinds of birds and an assortment of wildlife, including gators and otters.

 

Manatee laws

‘Look but don’t touch’ when it comes to manatees. If you’re kayaking or paddle boarding, try not to cruise over top of a submerged manatee; you never know when they’ll resurface. They might pop up right beside you though, and that’s ok! Just admire and enjoy your good fortune.

See you at the docks with fingers crossed!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Summer Bucket List

Summer is here! If you’re like me, you’ve got a list of things you want to accomplish in the next few months, some for yourself, some for your family.  Luckily, ‘Tween Waters Inn can help, and what could be better than accomplishing goals while on vacation?

Try Something New

Rent a jet-ski and race across the water. Be brave and sing karaoke at Crow’s Nest. Ever tried yoga on the beach? You can here. Expand your horizons and get out of your comfort zone!

 

Be One with Nature

Set off on an eco-adventure by renting a kayak and paddling through the mangroves. Look for dolphins, manatees, beautiful birds…who knows what you’ll see! Maybe even an otter.

 

Expand Your Palate

Sushi? Scallops? Anything other than a chicken nugget? Try new foods at Captiva House Sushi. While younger ones may not want to try tuna sashimi (although it is SO good!), maybe a Dragon Roll could pique their interest. And, eating with chopsticks falls under the category, “Learn Something New!”

 

Be Adventurous

Get a bird’s eye view of Captiva when you try parasailing. Talk about an adrenaline rush! Or, how about sailing? It’s a bit lower key but still exciting as you cut through the waves with the wind in your hair.

 

Be Still

Take time to just do nothing and re-center yourself. I recommend spending a few hours at the brand new adult-only Serenity Pool with private cabanas (you’ll find it by the tennis courts). Of course, a visit to the Spa at ‘Tween Waters is always good for the soul.

 

Learn Something New

Just down the road is the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. Their Welcome Center is not only air-conditioned but has fantastic interactive displays about animals found on the island. It’s not only educational, it’s fun.  

 Enjoy your summer!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Seashells on Captiva Island — Treasure at ‘Tween Waters Inn

Having now lived in Florida for seven years, one would think I knew a little more about the largest attraction to SWFL — the seashells — but in fact, I have kept myself fairly blissfully ignorant. I say, “blissfully ignorant” because I know that if I would ever learn the names of the shells, which shells were rare, which shells to look for and how to find the best ones, I could never simply walk down a Southwest Florida beach again without a bloodthirsty search for perfect hidden treasure.

IMG_2667-1But alas, it was time I take the plunge, stoop on Sanibel, crouch on Captiva, and educate myself on this treasure from the sea. I enlisted the help of a friend to help identify some of what is said to be 250 species of shells on these barrier islands, but if you’re not as lucky as me to have a local shell-educated friend, ‘Tween Waters Inn, Captiva Island and Sanibel Island boast a variety of local experts willing to take guests on shelling expeditions in search of knowledge and the perfect souvenir (for a small fee of course).

I learned five of the easier shell names to remember and identify, including angel wings, kitten’s paw, shark’s eye moon shell (my favorite, not only for the name but the stunning swirl of colors), calico scallop and lighting whelk — only 245 more species to remember!

Innsider Tip: If you’re the type the usually wins the a raffle or lottery, then be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the prized Junonia shell — it is not only fairly elusive, but also considered lucky if you should unearth one.

With an abundance of shells, it should be easy work to find a small souvenir to fit in your suitcase, but if you’re seeking the full shelling experience, I also picked up a few tips on digging up the best of the best in crustaceous treasure:

  • Make certain to have a container to keep your shells in as you search: As an inexperienced “sheller,” my pockets and hands did not have nearly the capacity necessary.
  • Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen: Typically, you have to get up early in the morning around low tide, to snatch up the perfect shell before your competitors, but it’s still hot and still sunny.
  • Pay attention to moon phases and tides: It’s amazing what a difference a full moon can make on the extremity of the tides!

But the best recommendation I can give to an inexperienced sheller is simply to stop and enjoy the experience. There is no better sound than the tinkling give and take of the shells being pulled into the ocean by the waves!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Top