Sanibel Island

I prefer to be surprised when I travel, and so rarely consult guidebooks. It seems to me that following other people’s opinions about where to stay, what to see and where to eat takes all the fun out of travel. I prefer some measure of serendipity: Wandering around, getting lost and being surprised.

Well, the first surprise is how close Sanibel Island is to the Continental United States, linked only by a causeway and bridge totalling some five kilometres. The first hint of the laid back lifestyle awaiting us on Sanibel was the unofficial-looking uniforms of the customs inspectors who greeted us at the bridge. Even when I offered our passports, the officer demurred with a friendly, “No thanks, sir.” I have heard of this. In some countries, a great deal of discretion is allowed to even minor officials. After long service at potential “trouble spots,” they develop an eye for the honest face and benign intentions. After only a moment’s confusion, a modest six-dollar (U.S.) fee gave us immediate entry, and we were soon aboard Sanibel.

I will report back in greater detail later, with pictures. But based on our first impressions, I highly recommend Sanibel Island as a vacation spot. Local merchants accept U.S. dollars and just about everyone you meet speaks nearly flawless, unaccented English.

I asked one young fellow, who was serving us our first Island dinner, how to say “grouper sandwich” in the local patois. He took a long time to respond, eventually asking if I’d like another Sam Adams. They are a shy people.

When I do eventually “crack” the local lingo, and gain their trust, I have much to ask about this unassuming island paradise. No doubt, things were not as idyllic as they now seem. The story of Sanibel’s independence from its colonial masters, for example: Many of these troubled island nations experienced a wrenching period of transition as they struggled to diversify their economies and redefine themselves in the modern world.

More to come…

11 thoughts on “Sanibel Island”

  1. A perfect start to your new adventure I’d say. Can’t wait to hear about it’s people and the rarely known fact they are for the most part, canibals! Yes, despite their shyness. Outraged? Doubtful? I assure you, I checked.
    I look forward to your next culinary installements Sir. Cheers from YUL !


  2. Guidebooks would have informed you that cannibals may indeed be found on Sanibel. Their location in the least densely populated area on the island is not accessible to the average tourist and requires a tee time. Similarly evolved beings may be found on another well secured island just off the mainland 7 marathons due east of your location at Mar-a-Largo. Looking forward to more of your reporting.


    1. Thanks for the tip about cannibals, but I’m certain that one look and they’d know I am too gristly even after a long braise in their pot. The poor “anthropofagi” would deplete their entire supply of dental floss having me over for dinner.


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