Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday Sanibel Thrill!

Wow....I went with friends today at 1:00 PM, out on the Sanibel Thriller! We had a great time. It was a perfect warm, sunny day. The water was just a little choppy, although the boat gave us a pretty smooth ride; it was a little difficult to get good photos. We had high hopes of seeing dolphins, and believe me, we were NOT disappointed!

There was nearly a full load of people on board and we were all looking forward to a fun trip as we pulled out of the Sanibel Marina. Our Captain today was Captain JR Ireland and the narration was done by Captain Elizabeth Ireland.

We were quickly underway and flying around the tip of the island, with the Light House in full view. You will be able to tell from some of the videos that you have to be prepared for wind. :-) And, I should also mention the possibility of some water spray toward the back of the boat, depending on the wind direction etc. We had some good laughs over that.

It was interesting seeing the island by boat from the gulf side, which I had never done before. I had only been on the bay side by boat. The narration was very well done and included lots of interesting, historical information. It was also easily heard with speakers located on the side by each of the seats.

We were skimming along, looking at the resorts, condos and scenery, when Captain JR spotted a pod of dolphin. He circled back to try enticing them to follow in our wake. Soon we had four or five separate pods of dolphin following and jumping in the boats wake. They put on quite a show for a while. When we lost them, the Captain circled back and each time more would follow. I think they finally got tired. :-) They told us that it is uncommon to see that many pods at one time. That was great fun! They were so close and at times jumped very high.

We soon reached the area of Bowman's Beach, which looked very crowded today. Next we went past Blind Pass. You could see the black pipes very well, stretched out across the white sandy beach, that are coming from the dredging area. There is a markable difference in the width of the beach where the re-nourishment is being done.

From there we went along Captiva, viewing the beautiful homes along the beach and on past South Seas. We went a little way up on the gulf side of North Captiva to the area where the eye of Hurricane Charlie cut a narrow pass. That pass has since filled with sand again, but that part of the island is very narrow and still treeless. We could actually see over to the bay side where other boats were passing by.

We went back to cut through Redfish Pass (A great fishing area) over to the bay side and past South Seas' Land's End, the new swimming pools and then headed out further away from shore. The rest of the way seemed to fly by, as we looked at the scenery and laughed over friends getting sprayed with water. We went under the power lines that go to Sanibel from Pine Island. Then we spotted the Sanibel Causeway, which we passed under.

It had been nearly 2 hours since we left the marina, but all too soon, here we were again. Captain JR deserved a large tip because he had to have used up every bit of patience he has, circling around, time and time again to get the dolphins to follow us. Captain Elizabeth should also be a recipient for her knowledgeable narration. They certainly make a great team.

I know I had a wonderful time, and will be happy to recommend this trip around the islands to my family and friends. I've been on a couple of Dolphin Cruises and none compare to this. I plan to go again myself. :-) WHAT FUN!!!

People were already waiting when we arrived.

Everyone getting situated in the very comfortable seats.
On the way out of the Sanibel Marina.
After the first dolphin, I could tell that I wasn't fast enough to do very well with my cellphone camera.
Looking for more dolphin. :-)
The crowd of people at Bowman's Beach.
Wake behind the boat while going faster.
View of Blind Pass.
Looking back at Redfish Pass and the Northern tip of Captiva Island on the left and the Southern tip of North Captiva on the right.
South Seas Land's End.
South Seas' new pool area.

The folks in the back corner were getting a lot of spray on the way back.
Power line from Pine Island to Sanibel.
Nearing the Sanibel Causeway.
Going back into the Sanibel Marina.

We took a lot of video, but because of not wanting to block the view for others, we didn't get the actual view we had of dolphins jumping on both sides at once. That was totally awesome! I hope these will give you an idea of the fun we and the dolphins had. :-) At the beginning of one of the videos you will see a young dolphin with a bigger one. If you look just in front of the wake, you can see several dolphin swimming just under the water.

You may prefer to click on one of the videos to take you to YouTube where you can watch them all in full screen HD. Next best thing to being there.


Mediterranean kiwi said...

amazing post - so much to see and do, and the weather looks absolutely brilliant

gpc said...

What fun! I will definitely take a Thriller trip on my next visit!

Little Black Scrap Cat said...

Tootie, this is absolutely marvelous!! Looks like you had a fabulous day and an excellent trip! We will definitely keep The Thriller in mind for October! Thanks for all the wonderful videos!!

busybee2 said...

Tootie: you should post a note and some pictures on trip advisor about this. I think people would love to see the pics and read your report.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Enjoyed this post, Tootie. Looks like you all had a wonderful day on the boat. Here I sit with my sweatsuit on --and still cold since it's 28 degrees here today... AND--you all are out there having fun on a boat.. Doesn't seem fair, does it???? Ha

Love to see the dolphins.. AND--it's unbelievable the damage that the hurricane did.

Thanks for such an interesting post.

Melli said...

WOW! That was a GREAT trip out! We took one of those rides in Ocean City in September -- it was a lot of fun - and we did see some dolphins -- but NO WHERE near that many -- and they didn't come THAT close to us either. well... I guess a few did -- but I think we only saw maybe 8 dolphins. But we stopped, and they just played around us. It was fun!

What was better was when Krysti & I were down in South Padre Island, TX - we went out on Jet Skis - and the dolphins were out with us! Of course, I didn't get any PICTURES -- but I got to play with the dolphins!

Jacque said...

I can't wait to go back and take that cruise!

Laurie said...

WOW, the photos of the dolphins are amazing! We always somehow miss part of the dolphin and get many water shots. :)

George said...

This sounds like a wonderful cruise. Thanks for taking us along.

Tink *~*~* said...

Reminds me of a similar high speed thrill ride in Belize - minus the dolphins. Boat was filled with roller coaster freaks who instinctively raised their arms above their heads so they could catch some air time on the bumps LOL

Tink *~*~*