Island Real Estate, Black Bear, Weather, Tarpon, & Other Scoop

Sanibel & Captiva Real Estate This Week

It was another very quiet week here on the real estate front. Too quiet! Even our monthly Association of Realtors® membership meeting yesterday had little activity reported with just a handful of new listings announced in the 2-week period since our last caravan. Our speaker was Chauncey Goss, son of Sanibel first mayor and past CIA Director Porter Goss.  Chauncey and his family live on Sanibel and he is running for Congress, though he could not speak to us from a candidate perspective (one of those rules we have for our membership meetings). With much of Chauncey’s professional work directly related to fiscal policy analysis and federal budgeting, his presentation was called “Budget 101”. It was quite an eye-opener, even for those of us who follow the Washington grapevine, an excellent presentation though with disheartening content about the country’s financial woes.

Sanibel Bear

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Our big news yesterday afternoon was that the Sanibel bear (a juvenile male black bear) was captured near the lighthouse, tranquilized by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission employees (FWC), and relocated off island to an undetermined wilderness area. The bear was first detected on the island last June, when a remote wildlife camera at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge caught it on a night camera when it was roaming preserve land. It was photographed then by a motion-activated infrared camera at the Bailey Tract. Since last year, there have been sightings with the bear living quietly in and around the Wildlife Refuge. Few people actually saw it.

In recent weeks, however, it was spotted in different east-end locations, roaming beyond the Refuge and conservation land, and over the past 10 days, it began to demonstrate nuisance behavior. The City of Sanibel Natural Resources Department, Sanibel Police Department, Public Works Department and the National Wildlife Refuge, worked in conjunction with FWC to safely relocate the bear off-island.

According to Mike Orlando, the FWC assistant bear program coordinator, it was a dispersing bear (looking for its own territory) and almost certainly swam to the island. “We know that bears swim well,” Orlando said. “We’ve found them many miles offshore swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Why, we don’t know. Whether it came over from St. James City or up from Big Cypress, where there is a very healthy bear population, through Bonita, that swim is nothing for a bear.”

Over the next year, it was a “good bear,” Orlando said, but about two weeks ago, it started moving around, and Sanibel city officials started getting calls. “Most likely, it started getting restless, looking for a female,” Orlando said. “He changed his behavior from being reclusive to wandering all around.”

Though it never actively threatened anyone, with the bear being around people, officials decided to capture and relocate it. “The bear was never a threat to humans,” Orlando said. “We got within 10 feet of it (Wednesday), and it just took off.” Sanibel environmental planner James Evans saw the bear Thursday morning near Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach and called FWC wildlife officials, who shot the animal with a tranquilizer dart at about 12:30 p.m.

“We’re helping this bear off the island,” Orlando said. “It might have left on its own. We’re just making it a little quicker.” Orlando measured the bear (6.2′ long), estimated its weight (250 pounds) and age (2½ to 3½ years), clipped a tag to its ear, tattooed its lip, pulled some hair for genetic analysis and a tooth to determine its age. Orlando wasn’t sure where the bear would be released. “We know it won’t be Big Cypress,” he said. “There’s a population of about 800 bears down there, and adding yet another dispersing bear wouldn’t be wise.”

In making this announcement on, Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra said, “Through our Vision Statement, the City of Sanibel places the highest priority on protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat. In the case of this black bear, over the past two weeks, it became very clear his opportunity to live a long happy life would be best off-island where he can find a mate and live the remainder of his years happily and safely in a more natural, non-residential bear habitat.” Zimomra further stated, “Over the last several days as the bear began to frequent neighborhoods, including porches, our community was extremely helpful in detecting the bear’s patterns with their prompt phone calls to the Sanibel Police Department, reporting the whereabouts of the bear. Additionally, through their knowledge of our island and habitat, our City employees were particularly useful partners to the FWC during this endeavor.”

Black bears are native to Florida and are protected under state and federal laws. Dwindling populations in Florida has caused this sub species to be listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to approach or harass this animal.

Island Weather

This week while our local weather stations have reported hot weather throughout much of the U.S., it seems that the makings for a tropical depression were forming in the gulf. Island weather all week has been high 70’s to low 80’s, partly cloudy with an occasional shower, enough to make vacationers at times unhappy, but really just typical Florida in the summer. This morning there were rumblings that the same weather will probably continue for the next few days with a greater possibility of that depression forming over the next day or so. It is just the time of the year when we need to keep a close eye on the weather channel. We received our hurricane passes from the City this week so we hope that being prepared works like bringing your umbrella into the office to prevent the rain. That did not work too well today as a steady rain began at noon. It is now expected to continue until this storm makes its next move or disperses. Here is a link to the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Center.

What To Do On Sanibel

As I learn more and more about social media and how to become a better blogger (i.e. better business person), I occasionally come across someone else’s blog that I find worth sharing. Here is one that I happened upon this week. It is written by journalist gal who specializes in world travel and has come to the islands many times. She has some good points about the islands and in this blog responds to the question “What to do on Sanibel Island?”  “Chris Around the World, Your Guide to Value Luxury Vacations”

 Another July 4th Happening

For the holiday early birds, it was announced this week that on July 4th, before the parade, the Sanibel Community Church will host a pancake breakfast to benefit the Sanibel campus of Summit Christian Preschool. From 7 to 9 a.m., the community is invited to enjoy a hearty all-American breakfast with all donations to support the preschool which is located at the church (1740 Periwinkle Way, next to Jerry’s Supermarket).

The day of the 4th now is filled with events from morning until night with this breakfast, morning parade, noon road rally, afternoon holiday party, and fireworks at dusk.

Tarpon Fishing

I heard some rumblings this week about Doc Ford’s pulling their entry out of a recent local Tarpon Tournament, so I checked out Randy Wayne White’s website for more info. Many of you know that Randy was a local fishing guide, before he became such a renowned author and co-owner of the Doc Ford’s restaurants (named after his books’ main character). Fishermen interested in tarpon, may find the article posted on Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford’s Website fascinating. Local book worms may also enjoy reading about Randy’s latest book. When Elise’s family was vacationing on the island last week, they were happy to meet Randy in person when they stopped at Doc Ford’s on Sanibel, and a discussion about sharks ensued.

Sundial Resort Scoop

I recently ran into a couple of the principals involved in the purported upcoming sale of the resort. Since Realtors® try to be cognizant of the confidentiality in announcing a pending transaction, my lips are sealed on the details; but stand by for some good news regarding Sundial. There should be more to report in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, here is a quick update of Sanibel inventory and sales this year, compared to 2011, followed by the activity announced this week in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.


                                 CONDOS              HOMES               LOTS        
                               No./Avg Price $     No./Avg Price $     No./Avg Price $                  
For sale:                 176/639,341          205/1,238,924        84/610,979
Pending sales:        20/577,945           31/1,026,722           4/631,000
Sold & closed in:
2012 thru 6/22       100/560,593           97/817,087              19/391,621
2011 all year          142/591,861           179/826,130            19/363,729

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 15-22:

No new listings.
2 price changes: Sundial #G207 1/1 now $239.9K, Sundial #D412 1/1 now $305K.
4 new sales: Captains Walk #F7 2/1.5 listed for $227K, Kings Crown #212 2/2 listed for $599K (our listing), Sand Pointe #212 2/2 listed for $629K, High Tide #B202 2/2 listed for $1.4775M.
5 closed sales: Seashells #26 2/2 $242.5K, Sanibel Moorings #1412 1/1 $260K, Tennisplace #C31 2/1.5 $255K, Kings Crown #215 2/2 $550K, Sundial #T207 2/2 $818K.
5 new listings: 1193 Kittiwake Cir 4/3 $699K, 1441 Causey Ct 3/2 $739K, 1234 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 $795K, 804 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $1.199M, 912 Almas Ct 3/2.5 $1.249M.
5 price changes: 1125 Captains Walk St 2/2 now $499.9K; 2166 Egret Cir 3/2 now $539,555; 1263 Par View Dr 5/2.5 now $699K; 2449 Harbour Ln 2/2 now $895K; 6440 Pine Ave 3/2.5 now $1.85M.
5 new sales: 1603 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex lissted for $445K, 561 Lake Murex Cir 3/2.5 listed for $629K, 591 Boulder Dr 4/3 listed for $629K, 2294 Wulfert Rd 4/4 listed for $998K, 2228 Starfish Ln 3/2.5 listed for $1.25M.
1 closed sale: 4630 Rue Bayou 4/4.5 $1.145M.
1 new listing: 4771 Rue Helene $436K.
No price changes.
2 new sales: 5044 Joewood Dr listed for $499K, 568 Lighthouse Way listed for $1.3M.
2 closed sales:  637 Sea Oats Dr $250K, 2251 Starfish Ln $261.9K.

1 new listing: Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 $679K.
2 price changes: Bayside Villas #5308 3/3 now $579K, Captiva Bay Villas #2 3/3.5 now $1.998M.
1 new sale: Captiva Bay Villas #D 3/3.5 listed for $2.995M.
1 closed sale
: Bayside Villas #5234 1/2 $262.5K. 

No new listings.
1 price change: 56 Sandpiper Ct 2/2.5 now $669K.
1 new sale: 11514 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 listed for $2.395M.
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.

Fall “Really” Has Come to Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Heading to the Sanibel Lighthouse this afternoon

After hair-raising rainstorms on Monday and Tuesday as a couple of what the weathermen called “cool fronts” passed through the area, Sanibel and Captiva weather finally cleared yesterday. Today the skies are bright with temperatures now in the high 60s. Right through the weekend, island temperatures are supposed to reach daytime highs of only 76 degrees. Yippee! Now begin the very best six months of weather in Southwest Florida – when we watch the up-north forecasts, grin, and look forward to more business.

This is the pond just inside Casa Ybel resort between the parking area & Thistle Lodge

(These photos were taken this afternoon and show the residual effects of the extra rain in the ponds at Casa Ybel Resort – more water in them than normal for this time of the year.)

This is the pond just inside Casa Ybel resort between the parking area & Thistle Lodge

Tarpon Bay Explorers

The events during “Ding” Darling Days this week and which wind up tomorrow were a good reminder of the many eco-tours offered through Tarpon Bay Explorers at the end of Tarpon Bay Road and overlooking the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Here is a quick summary:

  • Kayak Tours – kayak with a naturalist through the mangrove forest along the Commodore Creek water trail. Learn about the rich back-bay ecosystem and the wildlife that lives there. Or, go as the sun goes down on a paddle to the Rookery Islands when hundreds of birds – egrets, herons, ibis, cormorants, and pelicans – come to roost for the night. Also a great vantage point for witnessing those famous Sanibel sunsets.
  • Nature Cruises – Aboard a quiet environmentally-friendly covered pontoon boat, these cruises offer a way to observe the rookery islands and birds, the mangrove estuary, and the refuge while looking for dolphins and manatees. Breakfast, daytime, and evening cruises usually are available.
  • Refuge Tram Tour – Accompanied by experienced naturalists to help you spot wildlife, these tours follow the road through the Refuge, meandering past tidal mudflats and mangrove forests. Expect to spot roseate spoonbills, white ibis, herons, egrets, pelicans, osprey, and other colorful birds feeding, resting, and preening. The presentations include fascinating tales of the Calusa Indians and the early days of the Sanibel and south Florida.
  • Also available are fishing charters; pontoon, kayak, canoe, and bicycle rentals, plus a nature-inspired gift shop.

Do’s & Don’ts for Great Customer Service

One of the best compliments that SanibelSusan Realty receives on our “feedback” forms that Elise mails out after transactions are closed, is that our customer service is top notch. There was a recent Realtor® magazine article that sums up the “do’s” and “don’ts” of customer service. It fits the bill:


…ask clients questions about their goals, needs, and dreams.

…be proactive. Call clients before they call you.

…what you say you will do – and more.

…be a problem-solver.

…keep a list of service providers such as handymen and cleaners.

…ask for feedback at the end of every transaction.

…keep smiling.


…let web sites, e-mail, and other technology substitute for personal contact.

…prospect until after your customer care tasks are done.

…be available 24/7. It is OK to set reasonable limits.

…worry that you are wasting your time.


Another New Sanibel Event

Osprey photo taken by Jim Anderson of JMA Photography

Be sure to check our “Upcoming Events” tab above for the many happenings already scheduled this winter. This list keeps getting longer…and longer. Another one was added this week when the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) announced a new event to coincide with the start of osprey breeding season. Did you know that ospreys return to the islands in the fall? Much like the snowbirds they come back to get their nests in order and settle in for the winter and spring. In Southwest Florida, ospreys start incubating their eggs in mid-January, so CROW this year has decided to celebrate these wonderful birds with a new event called “OspreyFest”. It will be on January 15 and features CROW’s “Story of Ospreys” presented by Sanibel’s former mayor and founder of the International Osprey Foundation, “Bird” Westall; Claudia Burns, longtime CROW volunteer; and Dave Horton, illustrator of “Look Who’s Flying”, an educational coloring book about ospreys and creator of the Hortoons seen in many island locations. Space is limited at Sanibel’s historic Island Inn, so sign up early for the 4:30 p.m. festivities which also include a silent auction of osprey-related items and a three-course dinner. All proceeds will go toward the care and feeding of wildlife patients at CROW.

Osprey nest on the road to the Sanibel Lighthouse

(The osprey nest shown here is on the road leading to the Sanibel Lighthouse. Look closely and you will see the osprey that just landed on the nest as I was passing by today. The close-up osprey photo is courtesy of Jim Anderson with JMA Photography. Jim takes many of our listing photos and provided us with this one when he filmed the osprey nest just opposite our listing at Seashells of Sanibel #37, which is available for $274,000. A great price considering the special view!)

BaileyFest on Sunday

Photo from BaileyFest 2010

If you are in town, be sure to catch BaileyFest at Bailey’s Shopping Center on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. The Sanibel School fifth grade essay winners on “Why Sanibel Is Special To Me” have already been crowned King and Queen and will be riding wearing all of their regalia in a mule-drawn carriage. There will be plenty of food, drink, family fun, and entertainment including the Country Rhythm Cloggers who have performed at Dollywood and DisneyWorld, local vocalist Frank Tornio singing Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones tunes, our local pal Jennifer Valiquette on sax, The Sanibel School Band, the Kellyn Celtic Arts Irish Dance Academy, and the BIG ARTS Sanibel Chorus. Chorus has only had one practice since last spring – and it was during the big rain storms on Tuesday night – so we may not be back to true form but will give our best at 2 p.m. singing “Hey, Look Me Over”, “Va Pensiero”, and the Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole version of “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World”.

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity October 14-21

6 new listings: Spanish Cay #D6 2/2 $329K, Sundial #H308 1/1 $395K, Loggerhead Cay #332 2/2 $425K, Island Beach Club #320F 2/2 $429K, Sandpiper Beach #103 2/2 $595K, White Pelican #111 2/2 $1.085M.
5 price changes: Sanibel Arms West #K3 2/2 now $448K, Seawind #109 2/2 now $479.5K, Sandpiper Beach #303 2/2 now $610K, Gulf Beach #207 2/2 now $739K, Sayana #202 now $869K.
3 new sales: Sanibel Arms #E6 1/1 listed for $214.9K; Sanibel Moorings #1312 2/2 listed for $399,999, Loggerhead Cay #174 2/2 listed for $749K.
2 closed sales: Mariner Pointe #1062 2/2 $279K, Sayana #302 2/2 $865K.
3 new listings: 5745 Pine Tree Dr 2/1 $435K, 1236 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $794.9K, 413 Bella Vista Way 4/4 $1.95M.
11 price changes: 9239 Kincaid Ct 2/2 now $249K; 1212 Middle Gulf Dr 2/2 now $339K; 1647 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex now $369K; 3145 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 now $479,974; 987 Black Skimmer Way 2/2 now $555K; 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 now $789.9K; 1433 Sanderling Cir 4/3 now $799.9K; 913 Kings Crown Dr 4/3 now $1.249M; 660 Anchor Dr 4/4 now $1.949M; 4701 Rue Belle Mer 4/4 now $2.65M; 1290 Isabel Dr 6/4.5 now $4.499M.
6 new sales: 1046 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 listed for $395K, 480 Peachtree Rd 3/3 listed for $549K, 1538 Royal Poinciana Dr 3/3 listed for $685K (short sale), 1182 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 listed for $719.9K, 1251 Seagrape Ln 3/3 listed for $2.196M, 3577 West Gulf Dr 3/3.5 listed for $3.325M.
3 closed sales: 998 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex $300K, 5659 SanCap Rd 2/2 $525K, 4628 Rue Belle Mer 3/3 $687.5K.
1 new listing: 1450 Tahiti Dr $269,555.
No price changes or new/closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price change: Beach Villas #2516 1/1 now $449K.
No new or closed sales.
No new listings.
6 price changes: 53 Sandpiper Ct 2/2.5 now $679K, 11521 Laika Ln 3/3 now $1.445M, 16205 Captiva Dr 4/4 now $1.975M (foreclosure), 15158 Wiles Dr 5/4 now $1.995M, 16238 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 now $3.999M, 16310 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 now $4.6M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 11550 Laika Ln 4/3.5 $1.4M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 1114 Schefflera Ct now $499K.
No new or closed sales.

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.

Until next Friday, here’s hoping you are enjoying fall in your neck of the woods too.