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Snorkeling and swimming with the dolphins

Kentwood, MI
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Snorkeling and swimming with the dolphins

I've planned a vacation the third week of October with my boyfriend. I was under the impression that there was snorkeling and the ability to swim with the dolphins. The more I search, the more disappointed I'm getting. Can anyone recommend a day trip to somewhere that I can do both of these?

Also are there are good little hole in the wall bars on Sanibel Island?

Thanks!

The Bakery
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1. Re: Snorkeling and swimming with the dolphins

I am unaware of a dolphin swim business in the area. I know of one by Maimi and one in Key Largo. If you are out past the first sandbar, wild dolphins are often there. San Carlos Bay is home to a great many dolphins and I have always seen them, usually daily, in the bay. Manatee and dolphins can be curious about humans, so they will be around. Just a word of warning though - May to September is generally considered shark season, so pay attention. Last summer they were a problem.

My favorite bars are up on Captiva - RC Otters, Key Lime Bistro and Mucky Duck [beer and wine only], but you won't find anything like Sloppy Joe's here. On Sanibel, the Sanibel Grill and Lazy Flamingo I and II both pull lots of locals, but they aren't 'beachy' or dives like you find in Key West or the Caribbean. Skinny Legs is my favorite on STJ!

The Bakery
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2. Re: Snorkeling and swimming with the dolphins

Sorry, forgot to mention the Crow's Nest at Tween Waters Inn. They have NASCRAB races. Check around. I think some others may as well.

Kentwood, MI
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3. Re: Snorkeling and swimming with the dolphins

Thanks a million on the tip. Bummer not being able to swim with the dolphins. What about snorkeling? Any day trips that I could do to see some fish?!?! I live in MI so the only fish we see are walleye and salmon!

Did you say SHARKS!!??!?!? And do they come up close to the beach? What about if I rented a canoe or something? Do the sharks bother the people or just picking off the white fish from the shores? Oh man! Good way to give me a heart attack without even being there yet!!! :o)

I appreciate the bar tips! NASCRAB? Are you being funny or is it crabs racing? That could be interesting either way! ha ha

The Bakery
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4. Re: Snorkeling and swimming with the dolphins

Not kidding about NASCRAB - and yes, real crabs. The late session is adults only and the early is family friendly.

Yes, there are sharks. Last summer they were right up to the beach. They are usually pests evenings and night - so late skinny dips are not advised.

Small stingrays - esp baby ones - like to be right at the edge on the water. Folks due the 'Sanibel shuffle' - stir up the sand as you walk. The rays take off. Keep white vinegar handy if you step on one - hurts like the devil. Barbed tail.

Understanding that I am spoiled by the snorkeling off the beaches of St John where there are reefs and beautiful fish - the clearest water is usually off Cayo Costa, an out island you can reach by water taxi from Jensen's, via Captiva Cruises out of McCarthy's, renting a boat [but only if you are REALLY good with marine charts] or hiring a private charter captain.

The water off Captiva is usually a tad clearer than Sanibel, but I would be careful around Blind Pass due to strong currents. [True of Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel as well.] The only other public access on Captiva is up at the very end of Captiva Drive past the entrance to South Seas. Tiny lot. Last option - pay to park at McCarthy's by Captiva canoe and kayak rentals and walk down Andy Rosse Lane to the beach there. No facilities on the beach anywhere but Blind Pass.

Canoe and Kayak rentals are a GREAT way to see the bay from either island. In addition to the Captiva location above, Tarpon Bay Expolrers has Canoe and kayaks for and you'll be able to take the water route through the mangroves of Ding Darling Tarpon Bay takes you on out to the main bay and sound areas. On Captiva, you can run up towards Captiva Pass [I wouldn't due to boat traffic] or go south toward Buck Key - a protected island east of the south part of Captiva - and into the bays and bayous at the north tip of Sanibel. Absolutely great way to see dolphins. I rent bayside on Captiva most trips and they always make my day.:-)