Summer on Sanibel Island – Sea Turtles, River Conditions, Fishing, Beaches, & Real Estate



Photo by our pal & listing photographer, Jim Anderson of JMA Photography.


Latest Scoop on Sanibel and Captiva Islands Sea Turtles

When Tropical Storm Debby arrived on the islands on June 23 and then stuck around for several days, many islanders worried about the sea turtle nests. The storm arrived just as the nests that were laid early were beginning to hatch. According to Amanda Bryant, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Sea Turtle Coordinator, when the storm arrived, there were 207 nests on Sanibel and 86 on Captiva. Though only seven Sanibel and five Captiva nests made it through the storm, two months of nesting season remained, with the turtles wasting no time. An “Island Sun” article in today’s paper reports that already “an additional 42 nests have been laid on Sanibel and seven on Captiva…with no signs of slowing down any time soon. Some of the nests washed over by the high tides have even hatched since the storm.”

Below are the turtle nest statistics posted by Amanda this morning after Turtle Patrol. It is pretty impressive that even with the tropical storm, numbers are up over the past two years.

As of July 13, 2012: Sanibel East – 64 nests, 129 false crawls, 0 hatches; Sanibel West – 213 nests, 462 false crawls, 9 hatches; Captiva -105 nests, 152 false crawls, 5 hatches

As of July 13, 2011: Sanibel East – 32 nests, 71 false crawls, 1 hatch; Sanibel West – 204 nests, 311 false crawls, 12 hatches; Captiva – 68 nests, 46 false crawls, 15 hatches

As of July 13, 2010: Sanibel East -13 nests, 57 false crawls, 0 hatches; Sanibel West – 101 nests, 208 false crawls, 6 hatches; Captiva – 43 nests, 102 false crawls, 5 hatches

SCCF Fighting to Improve Caloosahatchee Conditions

This week, SCCF’s July-August newsletter arrived. In it, Rae Ann Wessel, their National Resource Policy Director, posted that with the annual Florida rainy season started, they are pleased to see freshwater flow returning once again to the Caloosahatchee and estuary. “For five of the past six drought years, the Caloosahatchee has been impacted by policy decisions that cut off freshwater flow to the river and estuary during the dry season. Getting water for the river is one of the “water equity” issues we face in the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), where water for natural systems is not protected, prioritized or supplied on par with permitted users such as agriculture and municipal operations….There are several initiatives that SCCF’s Policy staff are engaged in to change these policies including producing weekly conditions reports…with our west coast stakeholder partners including the City of Sanibel Natural Resources Department, J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge biologists and Lee County Environmental lab staff….”

Sanibel Fishing Report

There is a pretty comprehensive update posted on-line today (“Fort Myers News Press”) about what’s been biting around the island, including several comments from our Sanibel Square neighbor, Norm, of Norm Zeigler’s Fly, Bait, & Tackle Shop. When I used to live at Mariner Pointe, I was amazed at the number of fisherman who came to the island for the summer since the fishing is so terrific then. Here is a quick summary of what they’re catching this week.

  • Extension of open season for red snapper until Monday. Lots of reports of those catches, plus red grouper, and gags (large ones biting in some of the passes).
  • Snook fishing also good in the passes, including Blind Pass, where channel dredging has begun. Norm also reported getting some small ones (catch-and-release) along West Gulf Dr beaches. Also at Gulfside City Park (off Casa Ybel Rd) and Bowman’s Beach, even at the Sanibel Fishing pier.
  • Gray snapper also in the passes and inshore.
  • Spotted sea trout and Spanish mackerel in the outer bays and on near-shore reefs. Spanish mackerel at the Sanibel Fishing Pier and causeway Island B too.
  • Plenty of trout reported at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, in southern Pine Island Sound, and in the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Mangrove snapper biting in Blind Pass, with keepers are being caught along Wildlife Dr.
  • Big redfish reported in the shallows of Big Carlos Pass too.

Top 10 Family Beaches

Sherman’s Travel Editorial Staff on recently posted what they consider the top ten great family beaches in the states. Sherman’s Travel Media is a leading publisher of top travel deals and vacation destination advice. It was founded by James Sherman in 2002 with an audience of travelers looking for the best travel deals on flights, hotels, vacation packages and cruises. Their website says “parents and kids alike are guaranteed to love these 10 beaches – whether for their gentle surf, range of activities, sand-castle potential or educational elements.” They are:

1. Cannon Beach, Oregon

2. Cape May, New Jersey

3. Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts

4. Coronado, California

5. Daytona Beach, Florida

6. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

7. Newport Beach, California

8. Orient Beach State Park, New York

9. Poipu Beach Park, Hawaii

10. Sanibel Island, Florida

National Association of Realtors® Analyzes Flood Insurance Extension

Florida Realtors® posted the following article on Monday as follow-up to President Obama signing “H.R. 4348 on Friday, extending the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years to 2017. Since 2008, the flood insurance program has been extended for a few months 18 times and allowed to lapse twice, sometimes forcing homebuyers in flood zones to postpone a closing.
            “According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Florida had over 2 million flood insurance policies as of Sept 23, 2011, or roughly 37% all NFIP policies, and 97% of Florida communities participate in the program.
            “National Association of Realtors® (NAR) analysts say the extension brings “long-needed certainty to real estate transactions in the 21,000 communities nationwide where flood insurance is required for a mortgage.”
            “The five-year extension is more than simply an extension of the program, however. It’s also a major overhaul of elements that could impact some Florida property owners.
            “The NFIP extension law:
• Establishes a formula insurers can use following a major storm to determine if property damage should be attributed to rising water (NFIP coverage) or the effects of wind (private coverage).
• Phases out rate subsidies for certain properties (second home, business, severe repetitive loss or substantially improved/damaged) built before 1975. These properties will be charged full actuarial rates for flood insurance, but the increase will be phased in over four years at 25% per year.
• Prohibits subsidies for property not currently insured by NFIP. This includes property that had flood insurance in the past but allowed it to lapse.
• Allows any of its flood insurance premiums to increase by 20% annually; the annual cap was 10% previously.
• Allows property owners to pay for flood insurance in installments.
• Eliminates rate subsidies on severe repetitive loss – properties that have made repeated claims.
• Strives to improve the accuracy of floodplain maps by creating a technical council of experts, and establishes an independent appeals board for homeowners and communities to resolve flood map disputes with FEMA. If an owner successfully challenges a flood plain map, his or her expenses related to the appeal will be reimbursed.
• Requires a lender to end flood insurance it “force placed” on a homeowner and issue a refund.
• Allows NFIP to refuse policies submitted by a private insurer. NAR says this rule comes in response to a 2010 event in which State Farm dropped a private program and transferred more than 800,000 policies to an NFIP program.
• Creates a team to study an expansion of the flood insurance program to cover other natural disasters beyond flooding. That could lead to disaster insurance that includes other events, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.”

Agency Plans Home Mortgage Market Makeover

Florida Realtors® also posted this article about the new government agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it’s planning for some major changes to the home mortgage market in the next six months. Its main goal: to improve the fairness and clarity for borrowers applying for home mortgages.
            “The newly created agency has made the mortgage market its top agenda item…. As a first step, the agency says it will propose new lender rules later this summer for revising “good faith estimate” forms, the forms which homebuyers receive before closing that lists borrowers’ costs. The agency wants the forms to clearly state the interest rate on the loan that borrowers will pay, how this rate potentially could change over the term of the loan, and exactly how much cash they’ll need at closing.
            “The agency says the changes will help make often-confusing forms more understandable and complete for buyers. The agency also has plans to overhaul how mortgage servicers provide services to borrowers facing foreclosure, requiring clearer information and improved service options.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 6-13

2 new listings: Kimball Lodge #244 1/1.5 $449K, Island Beach Club #230F 2/2 $539K.
3 price changes: Mariner Pointe #1092 2/2 now $389K, Sandpiper Beach #303 2/2 now $599K, Compass Point #143 3/2 now $1.049M.
5 new sales: Sundial #C206 1/1 listed for $297K, Blind Pass #A204 2/2 listed for $369.5K, Seawind #A103 2/2.5 listed for $450K, Sandpiper Beach #105 2/2 listed for $640K, Yacht Haven #2 3/2 listed for $819K.
No closed sales.
7 new listings: 2102 Egret Cir 3/2 $378.9K, 3002 Poinciana Cir 3/2 $379.9K, 1753 Bunting Ln 3/2 $479.8K, 445 E Gulf Dr 2/2 $699K, 6009 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3 $925K, 1550 Angel Dr 3/2.5 $1.075M, 4689 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 $2.295M.
4 price changes: 1121 Skiff Pl 3/2 now $567.5K, 9319 Kincaid Ct 3/2 now $579K, 760 Periwinkle Way 3/2.5 now $1.374.9M, 830 Limpet Dr 4/4.5 now $1.895M.
2 new sales: 220 Southwinds Dr 2/2 listed for $499K (our listing), 9454 Calla Ct 3/2 listed for $597K.
5 closed sales: 1649 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $360K, 4791 Rue Helene 3/2 $555K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 $792K, 2294 Wulfert Rd 4/4 $935K, 1690 Sabal Palm Dr 4/3 $1.45M.

No new listings.
1 price change: Coconut Dr now $325K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 3830 West Gulf Dr $355K.

No new listings or price changes.
2 new sales: Gulf Beach Villas #2116 1/1 listed for $439K, Bayside Villas #4322 3/3 listed for $507K (short sale).
No closed sales.

No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 53 Sandpiper Ct 2/2.5 listed for $649K.
No closed sales.

Nothing to report.

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions. If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.