Monday, December 28, 2009

Go Fly a Kite on Sanibel

There are dozens of active sports to pursue on Sanibel and an earlier post detailed the adventure of parasailing.

But for those of us still reticent about being up in the air, there are other activities that may be more appealing.

Kiteboarding or kitesurfing uses wind power to pull a rider through the water on a small surfboard or a kiteboard . Generally kiteboarding refers to a style of riding known as free-style or wakestyle.

I first watched kiteboarding in Cabarete, a windy seaside resort in the Dominican Republic. That was years ago and the sport has grown in popularity since then making Cabarete one of the most frequented locations in the world.

Now, apparently, kiteboarding has become quite popular in Florida---as well as other parts of the country---and kiteboarders are a frequent sight on Sanibel, especially in the months from October to April when the temperatures are cooler and winds are stronger. Lighter thermals blow from May through September but these are less predictable.

But let's not connect the sport of kiteboarding with the previously mentioned parasailing. Kiteboarding is complex and needs both special training and equipment.

Perhaps a little tamer, the new kite sailing, offers some fun possibilities.

The new kites made for adult use are often huge, and a strong blast of air can pull even a grown male right onto his face.

And then there's the possibility of the kite blowing back into the user.

You know, this all sounds a little too adventurous for me. Next time I'm on the Island, I think I'll just stroll over to Bailey's, buy a child's kite and run with it along the beach. That is just about my speed!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Naked Truth: Sanibel's Naturist Hideaway

Nudity has always been an interesting concept to me.

There is nothing wrong with it per se.

Yet it is always seen within the context of lewd or funny, not just naked or nude.

And, I was surprised to hear---- given common public sentiment--- that there was a clothes optional beach on Sanibel. I thought I had been to every beach on the Island but I never saw bathers sans suits anywhere. Given that the Island is such a family oriented destination, I could not imagine where this beach could be.

Doing a little research on the net, I discovered that the beach is so discreetly tucked away I don't think anyone could find it unless they joined the naturist "club".

And, it appears from their website, that the location of the beach is so secluded that members are brought there by boat.

In fact, according to their site, it would seem that the beach is not actually on Sanibel Island itself:

Florida State law prohibits nudity in a public place including public beaches. Even on a remote section of a county or state owned beach you could be arrested if you are nude. Also, there are not any beaches on the Gulf Coast between Tampa and the Florida Keys that allow topless sunbathing. The Sanibel Naturists, along with other stakeholders, owns a small section of the beach on a bridgeless, barrier island for club members' use. Only our diligent and mindful respect for the property, and the island's other visitors allows us to continue using this privately owned property for nude sunbathing. No nude sunbathing or swimming is permitted unless our property has been properly posted with our signs, as directed by Lee County officials.

So it may be the Sanibel Naturists Club, but the Naturist beach may not be on the Island.

Regardless, the concept is congruent with what Sanibel is.

A natural place, a peaceful place.

And what's more natural than swimming in warm waters (under the tropical sun) as you were born?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Sanibel Grinch that Stole (A) Christmas (Flamingo)

OK, so the Grinch did not really steal Christmas, only some plastic Flamingos dressed up for Christmas that a local business had put up...

But still.... you don't think of Flamingos on Sanibel. Roseate Spoonbill, yes, Flamingos no.

And yet there are signs and images of them everywhere.

Visitors as well as residents do get a kick out of seeing these home made and creative outfits on the Flamingos.

So it seems downright un-Sanibelian and anti-Christmas spirit to pilfer from the proliferation of bright pink birds in holiday adornment.

Why would anyone want to do this?

Is it a joke?

A deliberate attempt to annoy the business owner?

A cheap (as in free) souvenir of Sanibel?

No matter. It's not nice.

The Flamingos were perfectly content to be an island attraction and they were.

But maybe it's a sign of the times. With a sluggish economy, a bad real estate market and poor job market, is anyone feeling X-masy?

Or maybe it's a political statement about the holiday.

Some people don't like the religious aspect. Some people don't like the social aspect. Some people don't like the commercial aspect.

In fact, though he is not on Sanibel, a friend of ours, a gifted and creative song writer and singer has gotten fed up with the diluted sense of Christmas and has written a protest song that is up on youtube.

It's really cute and for those reading this blog, you might want to take a look and listen and pass it on.

Just click here:

And, oh yes, Merry Christmas one and all!