Accessibility Link Accessibility compliant site
Menu

Hot Chicks, Cool Dudes: it’s Turtle Season!

Did you know the temperature of a sea turtle’s nest determines whether the hatchlings will be male or female? A warmer nest produces mostly females, a cooler nest produces mostly males (hence the headline).

Turtle nesting season starts on the west coast of Florida on May 1st (although the SCCF starts counting nests April 15th.) Here are some facts from last year’s season:

  • 189 Loggerhead nests on Captiva
  • 650 Loggerhead nests on Sanibel
  • 2 Green turtle nests on Captiva
  • 34 Green nests on Sanibel

Leatherback turtle nests are a rare event.

If you take your kids for a late-night beach walk while at ‘Tween Waters, you may spy a sea turtle crawling out of the water, or back to sea after laying her eggs. If you do, don’t approach her or shine light in her direction. They spook easily. The best thing to do is quietly admire the glorious gift you’ve been given to witness something so amazing.

Fun fact: To lay their eggs, female turtles return to the same beach where they were hatched!

Want to help sea turtles? Before leaving the beach, flatten any sand castles, fill in any holes, and remove toys and chairs. These are all obstacles for a crawling turtle or hatchling. You can also check for dangers, like trash or fishing line, and dispose of it properly.

Since hatchlings use their instincts to crawl toward moonlight on the water, any other light can be hazardous. At ‘Tween Waters, we do our part by reminding you to keep curtains closed at night, dimming balcony lights, and keeping lights away from the beach.

So remember, from May to October, it’s “Lights Out for Sea Turtles.”

Happy Turtle Season!

During sea turtle nesting season, keep porch lights out and blinds closed at night (they need to find moonlight on the water, not false light on shore).
Sea turtle tracks and a marked nest.
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

I Spy Wildlife on Captiva and Sanibel

Do your kids love animals? You just won’t believe all the wildlife you can see on Captiva and Sanibel, even right onsite at ‘Tween Waters Inn. Here are some of my family’s favorites along with a few tips on where you’re likely to see them:

Snowy Egrets

These snowy, white birds have bright yellow feet and love to walk the shoreline. You’ll also see them on fishing piers, docks, or anywhere they can steal a quick meal.

Manatees

Look for perfect swirls in the water from their wide, paddle tails, or spy their whiskered noses breathing above the waterline. Spy them at the onsite marina or while kayaking. In winter, hundreds gather at Manatee Park.

Ospreys

See that big bunch of sticks, high above the wooden pathway near the ‘Tween Waters front desk? It’s an osprey nest! Look for them along San-Cap Road, too. These birds of prey are skilled fisherman and carry off their catch in their talons. A pair lives at Sanibel Lighthouse, listen for their screechy chirps.

Gopher Tortoises

In Florida, gopher tortoises are a threatened species, so spotting one is exciting. They love walking near the road, so be alert. You can help one cross the street if you see that it’s in danger. Watch this video to learn more.

Marsh Rabbits

Believe it or not, these brown, cotton tail bunnies are good swimmers. Do the four-mile Wildlife Drive at J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge (by car or bike) in the morning or at sunset and you’ll see them roadside.

Alligators

Head to Wildlife Drive at Ding Darling to see this Florida must-see. Look for a dark snout (and some of their back) sticking out of the water, and swimming slowly. Gators love sunning themselves on the water’s edge; rangers will rope off this area with yellow tape. Keep your distance.

Dolphins

Frolicking and jumping, these mammals are magical! Look for them at the onsite marina or swimming right off the beach. Or, take a dolphin tour and see them up close.

Sea Turtles

Loggerheads are most common, and late spring to October, they come here to nest. Females crawl up the beach at night, lay eggs, cover them, and return to sea. In 60-75 days, hatchlings emerge. If you see a big turtle at night, observe from a distance and don’t shine a light. You can also spy tracks in the morning (see photo)! So far this year, 163 nests on Captiva and 504 on Sanibel have been recorded. Nests are marked with sticks and yellow tape. Please do not approach (but you can take photos)!

 

I hope you get to see all of these island favorites, and more. Oh, and look for bright pink Roseate Spoonbills while you’re here, too. (They hang out on Wildlife Drive at low tide.)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Celebrating Earth Day at ‘Tween Waters Inn

'Tween Waters Inn Captiva Island Pool Hotel
Geothermal technology is quietly at work while you enjoy the pool at ‘Tween Waters Inn.

Although we only celebrate Earth Day once a year, every day at ‘Tween Waters Inn there are lots of green initiatives taking place. Some have even nicknamed the resort “Green” Waters Inn due to its many ecological efforts.

For starters, the Olympic-size pool is heated and actually cooled (in the summer) using geothermal technology. “We can keep our pool a consistent 84 to 86 degrees year round while benefiting the environment and reducing costs,” said Chief Operating Officer, Doug Babcock. Geothermal is non-polluting and much cleaner, too. The system has been in use for nearly five years.

Guests can also do their part to “go green” by choosing to do little things throughout their stay. To conserve water and energy, guests are encouraged to use their bath towels and bed linens more than once. Recycled cards can be found by the beds and faucets advising of the program.
Throughout the property, you’ll find LED lighting and reminders to keep porch lights off. This time of year, keeping porch lights off and window blinds closed at night is an island ordinance, designed to protect nesting sea turtles from becoming disoriented. April 20th is the start of sea turtle nesting season, so it’s “Lights Out for Sea Turtles.”

During sea turtle nesting season, keep porch lights out and blinds closed at night (they need to find moonlight on the water, not false light on shore).

If you’re looking for something fun and free to do with your kids to celebrate Earth Day, head to the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, April 18, 2015. From 10 am to 3 pm, kids can talk trash, make crafts (soda bottle flower pots and plastic bottle jelly fish to name a few), there’s even free bike rentals if you pick up at Tarpon Bay Explorers. For more info on Earth Day at the Refuge, click the link or call 239-472-1100 ext. 236.

Stay green!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Top