There has definitely been a theme with our trips: last-minute.
Our initial plan was to take our honeymoon in late April to Aruba. We were going to use these free buddy airline passes for our airfare which was going to be a huge blessing. Long story short: the airline decided to discontinue all paper passes by the second week in April. So, we canceled our Airbnb booking in Aruba and scrambled to find an alternative destination we could go and use the passes. Since we decided to only do an extended weekend we wanted to find a place that Southwest would fly to directly instead of dealing with connecting flights. This way, we could maximize our vacation time.
Surprisingly, Southwest does not offer a lot of direct flights. Of the few places it did, Fort Myers was one of them. We had actually been to the area almost exactly a year before for the wedding of my old roommate, Rachel. The island of Sanibel (which we visited for one day) was truly beautiful and we decided to make a weekend of being on the island. The next few days consisted of me scanning Airbnb rentals, looking up car rental prices, checking out car parking/shuttle services and any activities to do while on the island. Yes, I am pretty meticulous. After several hours of combing the web for good deals, we had everything booked and ready to go!
We left on Friday at 12:20pm. We were super blessed to be on the outgoing flight since there was only two remaining spots left. I can't remember the last time I was on a completely full flight. Thankfully, I got an isle seat so I was pretty comfortable for the flight. Brett, on the other hand, got a window seat :( Overall it was a decent flight minus the orchestra of crying babies. Florida is definitely a young family destination.
We landed and vacation time was on!!! After a few minutes of resting to help the slight motion sickness I was feeling, we walked to the baggage claim to pickup our bag and then proceeded to the car rental.
Before leaving on the trip, we decided that we would purchase a new fishing rod for Brett. I could sit in the ocean water all day and be content but Brett would be completely board... so to help us both enjoy the vacation we decided that making it a fishing trip for him would be ideal. Upon arriving at Bass Pro shop, a simple rod purchase turned into a rod, reel, wire, leer, hooks... whatever other fishing terminology there is to make sure that one is fully equipped to fish in salt water. Also, the clerk was ever so helpful in providing a shipping tube for us!!! What a huge blessing. With this tube, we would be able to check the fishing rod for free on our return flight home and save ourselves some hefty USPS fees.
Our next stop: Wal-mart. We wanted to pick up some water and veggies for the following day to pack in the cooler. Since it was going to be Shabbat, we knew we needed to plan ahead. Finally, after a long day of travel, we arrived at Jamie's house.
We were greeted by Jamie and a few of her friends. She had cooked some vegetables skewers and saved two of them for us when we had arrived. We enjoyed the veggies and a glass of chilled red wine. Her place was so unique. A year ago we stayed at place that had a semi enclosed pool with double doors leading into the main living room area. But Jamie's place had a full lanai with three sets of double doors that completely opened up and made the entire downstairs one big inside/outside living space. After chatting with Jamie and the group for a while, we retired upstairs to our private floor where we showered and hunkered down for the night.
We didn't set an alarm... hey, it was vacation. We did however roll out of bed around 8:45 due to one window in the room not having blinds. If that window was covered we probably would've slept for another couple hours.
I had to keep reminding myself that this was a vacation and it was okay to move at a slow pace. I have always had this constant need to maximize each day... and now that I am married I need to learn to compromise as that is not Brett's idea of vacation. To him, sleeping in and taking a nice long morning to get ready is ideal. Brett wanted to rent a place right on the beach. I couldn't consent to this as it was too pricey... in the future though, a place on the beach might be the best compromise for us both. I can get up and head out to the water while Brett is allowed to spend the morning as he wishes. Neither one of us feels rushed or is waiting on the other. One day...
We loaded up the car with Jamie's guest beach umbrella, beach chairs and cooler filled with our snacks. Our first stop was on the second of two islands right off the Causway Bridge. These little islands sole purpose is to connect one bridge to another... however, they also served as a generous way-stop for fishermen. Cars parked alone each side of the road on hard-packed sand parking lots. Men and women alike were littered across the shore and piers casting for fish.
We decided to eat at Doc Ford's. So we ventured back into the heart of Sanibel and waited for about 25 minutes to be seated. We ordered some fresh fish tenders as an app and the Cilantro Lime Snapper and the Papaya Honey Grouper stir-fry.
We finished up eating around 8:45 and ventured off the island back to Fort Myers. We arrived at Jamie's place around 9:30, cleaned out the cooler, showered and slept.
This was our last full day of the trip. After getting ready, we left Fort Myers around 10am. We stopped at walmart for a quick energy drink and a few fishing lures for Brett. We stopped at one of the Causway islands again and tried fishing under the pier for a while. After about an hour there we departed and decided to get lunch at the Island Cow.
Overall, eating was challenging. About a week before leaving for the trip we decided to go on an isocaloric diet which basically means "you can't eat anything fun" aka no carbs... so, no fruit, no bread, no fun drinks or smoothies, no dairy and limited veggies... What, you might ask, did we eat? Good question. Protein shakes and peanut butter is the answer.When we were on Sanibel the previous year, we ate at the Island Cow. The meal was pricey but MAGICAL. In fact, i had thought about that meal off and on over the past year. And we decided to get the exact same thing this time around. Fresh baby green salads with choice of fish AND we decided to be a bit naughty and get their famous Frickles (deep fried pickles and this awesome dipping sauce).
We ate the Frickles as we drove to Captiva to fish and relax at the same spot. I was so full off of the Frickles that I placed the rest of my blackened Mahi Mahi in a little baggy and intended to put it in the freezer... It never ended up there... In fact, I have no clue where it went. I do suspect those sneaky, super intelligent black birds that lingered around the beach had something to do about that. In fact, while we were relaxing, the people down the beach from us had gone into the water and while they were out, a single black bird made multiple trips to their beach bags and took off with countless food items... including a full-sized Pringle can. It was actually very impressive.
We spent the rest of the day repeating the previous day. Sitting, fishing, reading and swimming. Marvelous.