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Shell Shocked: How to avoid getting lost on Sanibel

May 2, 2018
By ART STEVENS , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Did you ever ask yourself what was your most memorable moment on Sanibel?

I remember the time I got lost - yes, lost. It was my first time on Sanibel and we were staying at a very small condominium unit facing the beach. Without bothering to study the building's architecture to serve as a landmark, I decided to go for a long walk along the beach.

Giving in to the famous Sanibel stoop, I casually wandered along studying the various sizes and shapes of shells. Every so often some sunbathers would point to the Gulf and I'd witness a squadron of dolphins perfecting their diving routine.

Article Photos

Art Stevens

I must have walked for about 45 minutes and decided it was time to get back. The sun was at its noon time zenith and my growling stomach told me my wife would have a sandwich ready for me. Maybe a quick swim in the luxurious pool before lunch and afterward a nice nappy poo.

I walked for what seemed like 45 to 50 minutes when a horrible thought struck me. I had no idea what the condo units looked like. But I was sure I had taken the same amount of time walking back as I had taken to start my walk. Shouldn't I be near the condo by now? No need to panic, I thought. Just ask someone.

"Excuse me," I started to say to a passing beach person. "Can you tell me where " That's when the second horrible thought struck me. What is the name of that darned condo unit?

"Yes, sir. Can I help you?" the beach person asked.

I began to stammer. "This is rather awkward. My first time here and all that. It seems I'm trying to find the condo building I'm staying in. I guess I didn't bother to study what it looks like from the beach."

"No problem, my good man. Simply tell me its name and I'll point you in the right direction."

The perspiration forming on my forehead wasn't only from the sun.

"That's the problem," I said. "I can't seem to remember its name. To tell you the truth, they all sound alike. It's something like Sanibel Arms or Sonesta Sunrise. Or is it Sanibel by the Sea?"

The beach person was compassionate, to say the least. "There, there now. Try to concentrate. Is it the Sanibel Beach Haven? Maybe the Surf'n Sanibel? Or the Sanibel'n Surf?"

I tried to concentrate. "Is it the Sanibel Sunrise? No, no, I've got it. It's the Siesta Sanibel. No, that's not it. The Century Sanibel."

As I became reduced to muttering Sanibel alliterations, the beach person stared at me. "You're quite right," he said. "You are lost." And he wandered off.

For the next 10 hours I meandered back and forth along the beach attempting to find a single tell tale sign that would identify my habitat.

When they found me around midnight sitting by the Sanibel lighthouse, I could be heard murmuring, "Or is it the Sunrise Siesta? No, the Sanibel Sands - or was it the Sanibel Sandpiper? The Sandman? "



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