Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Blind Pass Tuesday

Blind Pass is at the end of Sanibel Island where a small bridge connects it to Captiva Island. When I first started coming here, water flowed under the bridge, giving people who lived near the channel an access to the sea. I remember seeing people standing on the bridge, fishing over the sides. The times I was there, the water currents were pretty strong through that pass. Each time I had great luck shelling.

Over the years, the pass gradually filled with sand and had blocked off the channel. Now a restoration project has begun to re-open the pass. It was in planning stages for quite some time, but dredging began on December 3, 2008 and is estimated to be finished in May of 2009.

When the project is completed, water should flow freely to restore a flushing connection from the interior waters to the Gulf of Mexico. This will be a big help in maintaining the surrounding ecosystem.

To read more about this project and get updates as it progresses, go to the Lee County Beach Management site.

I had read they were going to close both Sanibel & Captiva parking areas next to the pass for equipment storage, etc. But as far as I could tell, the Sanibel parking area is still open. I also read that when they closed, the lot across the street from Lazy Flamingo could be used for parking.

This afternoon we drove to the lot across from the Santiva restaurants (Lazy Flamingo) and parked there with 3 other vehicles. After walking across San/Cap Road and climbing over the guardrail, we could see the big black pipes going to an area to the left, which is not more than a quarter mile from the bridge. I assume this is the sand bypassing from the pass to renourish the beach instead of hauling the sand away. There was red plastic fencing up, all around the area at the ends of the pipes and a KEEP OUT sign next to the ends. There have been stories circulating that people have been finding all kinds of huge shells coming out of the ends of these pipes.

We walked all the way around the fencing to the far side where we saw another man walking on the beach. He told us that he was told by an equipment operator that they don't want anyone close to the pipes. The equipment operator was not there while we were. The man that was talking to us, was staying in the edge of the water near that area and felt that was ok. He also shared a story about a child standing on the pipes, jumping into the pools of water that came from the pipes, yesterday. There had also been a large number of people crowding around grabbing shells and not being very nice to one another. If you know what I mean. :-) So, that explains why they have decided to keep people further away. He said he had been there all day yesterday and saw seven junonias picked up along with some tulips and other shells. Today, not much at all. While we were there, we picked up a few shells but none of them were really good enough to carry home. We took some video, trying to focus in close enough, to share so that you can see what the place looks like. During the time we were there, probably 10 or 12 people gathered to watch for shells.

When we walked back to the car, we were surprised to see that several NO PARKING signs had been put up in the parking lot. I'm really glad we got back before we got towed. :-) All in all, I don't think I would care to go back. I definitely know that on lookers are not welcome there and if they can find a way to keep them out, I'm sure they will.


ღ Alice ღ said...

Thanks Tootie, you have answered so many questions for me through email & your new blog. I worry about kids falling & getting hurt bad. I hope parents keep an eye on their kids. I don’t understand why people are so greedy, it’s pretty sad. I am curious though & will be careful this weekend; hopefully I don’t get trampled on by "those" kind of people.

Gayle said...

What kind of people fight over seashells? Or parking spaces? Or....my list could go on and on...I wish those people could see the nightmares that some of us have hidden and realize a shell isn't worth fighting over. I hope your island is back to normal soon.

busybee2 said...

Tootie: Great reporting! You and Tink should open the "Tootie/Tinky Reporting Service." The 2 of you provide excellent photo/journalism services on the Sanibel scene. I really enjoy reading everything each day.

I was wondering how long you have lived on Sanibel?

Hilary said...

Wonderful post. I can see why they'd want to keep people out, particularly if they're hanging about the pipes. Thanks for sharing this bit of history in the making.

Little Black Scrap Cat said...

My goodness! As you said, if they can find a way to keep the people out, I'm sure they will. Kids jumping off that pipe could get seriously hurt. And fights breaking out? Move on down the beach! All over a junonia? I would love to find one, but not like that!

I hope you get to meet Alice!!

gpc said...

I agree with Gayle -- it is hard to imagine being nasty over such small things as parking spaces and (sigh) shells especially! I mean, I love to find them, and they are treasures to me, but I'm thrilled for anyone else who finds a special shell, to.

I've seen the pipes, but never in action. I wonder if any of the dredged shells are live? Poor critters.

George said...

Very interesting post, Tootie. I hope the restoration project goes quickly and well.