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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!

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Irish and Easter Fun at ‘Tween Waters Inn

March is a magical time at ‘Tween Waters Inn. In addition to a St. Patrick’s Day party at Crow’s Nest on the 17th, and a spectacular Easter buffet at Captiva House on the 27th, there are lots of ways to celebrate spring and ‘get lucky’ with fun happenings around the island all month long.

The Lions Club of Sanibel and Captiva has its annual arts and craft festival the weekend of March 17, 18 and 19. It takes place from 9am to 5pm at the island’s Community Center and the suggested entry donation is $5.

See the Easter Bunny and hunt for eggs at the Children’s Spring Festival, Saturday, March 26, 2016. Egg hunts, a giant slide, pony rides, games, crafts, face painting…all the things a kid would love. Hours are 10am to 1pm at the Community Park on Periwinkle. Activity armbands are $10.

Easter Sunday, you’ll find a bountiful buffet at Captiva House from 11:30am to 6pm. The displays are a feast for the eyes and the carving station and buffet will please even the pickiest eaters.  Call for reservations, 239-472-5161, ext. 421.

The Sanibel Farmers Market happens every Sunday through April, but it’s far from typical. In addition to fruits and veggies, you’ll find a plethora of culinary delights, from brick-oven pizzas and BBQ to lobster rolls and German bratwurst. Hours are 8am to 1pm.

Consider yourself lucky? Here are two things even the locals wish for:

See the elusive green flash. Just as a rainbow is created under certain conditions, a green flash is an atmospheric event. It is caused when light refracts, usually in a cloudless and cool sky. It will only last a second or two so don’t blink as the sun’s last rays are setting into the water, right in front of the resort.

Find a Junonia. You’ll make everyone green with envy if you find one. This gorgeous seashell is on every sheller’s bucket list. You can even get your picture in the local paper if you find one.

I wish you the luck of the Irish this month and every month, and Easter blessings.

 

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Fall Fun Around ‘Tween Waters

There is so much happening this month on Captiva and at ‘Tween Waters Inn. First of all, October is the start of the fall season and that brings great rates (like stay two or more nights Sunday through Thursday and get an additional free night)! October is also when the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge has its annual “Ding Darling Days.” It’s an entire week of FREE eco-activities like tram tours, kids crafts, hot dogs, life-size puppets with Heather Henson (Muppets’ creator Jim Henson’s daughter), scavenger hunts, wildlife encounters, and much, much more.

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2014 marks the 25th anniversary of Ding Darling Days at the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge and ‘Tween Waters is proud to be a sponsor.

The ‘Tween Waters Inn is proud to be a “Great Egret Level” Sponsor of this event – celebrating its 25th anniversary this year! You won’t want to miss it.

Since the 2014 theme for Ding Darling Days is “Let’s Go Outside,” I wanted to share some of my favorite family things to do outside right here at ‘Tween Waters Inn. Of course, you know that you can hang out at the beach, swim in the Gulf, hunt for seashells and frolic at the pool. But here are a few things you might not know about that will get your kids excited to get outdoors, especially in this gorgeous fall weather.

Rentals like canoes, single and double kayaks, and even motorboats are available at the onsite marina. You can paddle in the bay and see all kinds of wildlife, including manatees, especially this time of year. These gentle giants will sometimes swim right alongside your watercraft! Keep your eyes open for dolphins, too. What a thrill!

Onsite rentals for canoes, kayaks, bike and motorboats are right onsite at 'Tween Waters Inn.
Onsite rentals for canoes, kayaks, bike and motorboats are right onsite at ‘Tween Waters Inn.

If you’d rather just sit back and let someone else do all the work, then Native Guides is for you (and me). Give them a call to schedule a few hours of fishing, snorkeling, shelling or a picnic on one of the out-islands—you just tell them what you’re interested in and they’ll make it happen. Best of all, it’s the same price for one person or six. It is truly an unforgettable way to spend time with your family—and oh that fall weather!

From my family to yours, we wish you a happy autumn and we hope to see you around Captiva soon.

 

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