A whole bunch of years ago G and I rented kayaks at Puddledockers in Ithaca, NY. After setting us up with paddles and life jackets, the outfitter, a bored college kid, pointed to the right and said, “If you go this way, you’ll end up on the lake (Cayuga); if you go this way (left) you’ll see birds and shit.”
We went left. We like birds and shit.
This morning we went back to the Ding Darling Nature Preserve and rented kayaks. We toured it yesterday on bikes. I think I liked the kayaks better. Fish practically jumped into our yaks. Ospreys hovered overhead, then dove head first into the water trying to spear those same flying fish. G saw a turtle and some starfish. I saw watery trees reflected in still water.
We paddled a marked kayak trail through mangroves and at one point I got so close to a big heron I could have easily touched it. (It freaked me out, actually.) It is unnerving when a big, quiet, notoriously shy bird like that allows a person to get so close without taking off.
It is our last day here. Tomorrow we will be in Airport World. It has been a good getaway. We are both agreed that our time in the nature preserve was our best time here. Sanibel is a beautiful island. The water is soft and swimmable. There are plenty of good restaurants. But the best part is that 60% of the island is a nature preserve.
It has very good birds and shit.