Preventive Maintenance Repairs to The Sanibel Causeway

If you are arriving on Sanibel Island in the next few weeks for a beach vacation or getaway at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn island resort, you may incur some minor traffic delays on the Causeway. bridge maintenance
Lee County, which owns the Causeway and collects the tolls for its use, has contracted with a firm to make small, preventive maintenance repairs to the bridge structures, starting Monday August 18, with work expected to continue until September 30.

According to a notice from the City of Sanibel, work will be done on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from the bridges’ shoulders. Slight lane shifting may be required, but no lane closures are expected. Short traffic disruptions during the daily set-up and breakdown of the maintenance of traffic devices is likely. There will be variable message signs to alert drivers to the roadway traffic conditions.

Most repairs will involve sealing smaller cracks and injecting epoxy into larger cracks identified within the bridge superstructure in two earlier inspections. The work will also include repair of previously identified delaminations and spalls within the bridge superstructure. These can occur when small sections of concrete detach from a slab.

The repairs themselves are not safety issues, according to the City. The Causeway is structurally sound and remains safe. These repairs are to seal the cracks so that saltwater will not intrude and affect the integrity of structural steel. The goal is to ensure the Causeway bridges reach their targeted 75-year life span. Questions may addressed to 239-533-9400.

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Ho-hum. Another award for Sanibel.

Let us take that back. Every time Sanibel Island gets an award it means some Islanders worked very hard and have been recognized for it. In this case, it’s the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF).

SCCF received the Conservation Organization of the Year award by the Florida Wildlife Federation (FWF) at the 77th annual conservation awards banquet in June at the Naples Hilton.

sccf-award-300x211

Florida Wildlife Federation District VIII Director Franklin Adams, FWF President Manley K. Fuller, SCCF Executive Director Erick Lindblad and FWF Chair Jenny Brock with the award for Conservation Organization of the Year

According to the FWF, the award was granted “because of SCCF’s outstanding accomplishments on water quality, land use policy, sea turtle monitoring, and conservation education, among other important issues.”

In coverage about the award ceremony, the Island Sun newspaper reported that SCCF Executive Director Erick Lindblad paid tribute to SCCF’s founders, those who formed the organization in 1967, and to all who have worked since then to forward its mission to preserve coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island and in the surrounding watershed.

As the Sanibel Island beach resort so close and convenient in proximity to SCCF, West Wind Inn salutes the organization and encourages any guest at West Wind Inn to put a visit to the SCCF on their to-do list when here.

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25th annual “Ding” Darling Days

With August just one day a way, it’s time to remind potential visitors that Ding Darling Days will soon be with us. This week-long, Oct. 19-25, is a truly extraordinary opportunity to experience all the nature that “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge has to offer. Our recommendation is to make your booking now to be at the West Wind Inn in October.

ding spoonbills
First, because this is the 25th annual “Ding” Darling Days event and promises to be the most rewarding ever.
Second, because the West Wind Inn island beach resort and inn is the closest Sanibel Island resort to Ding Darling NWR, making visits from here to the refuge about as convenient as it can get.
Third, as official sponsor of Ding Darling Days, West Wind Inn is eager to see as many visitors as possible have the “Ding” experience, regardless of where they stay on Sanibel Island.
With all humility, we feel West Wind Inn is the best place for Ding devotees to rest their heads at night. (And, when not being immersed in “Ding” nature, they can enjoy the nature of Sanibel’s extended shelling beach from a access point that is relatively sequestered.
See you in October.

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“Ding” Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest for 2014

First Place Michael Dougherty_2

– Last year’s first place winner by Michael Dougherty of Clarkston, Michigan

If you will be relaxing at West Wind Inn on Sanibel Island anytime through Sept 15, 2014, be sure to visit “Ding” Darling NWR and be sure to take your camera. A photograph of nature you shoot in the Refuge may win the”Ding” Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest for 2014. For more information, including rules and entry requirements, go to “Ding” Darling Society web page. West Wind Inn is the ideal place for anyone visiting the Refuge to stay since it is the nearest Sanibel beach resort to the entrance.

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Sanibel Stars

Sanibel Stars are worth a visit.starlit skies
DarkSkiesLightFixture
In 2000, the City of Sanibel passed a regulation that required restrictions on all man-made light. The original intent was to prevent such illumination from confusing baby turtles as they emerge from their nests on the Sanibel Island Gulf beaches. When the baby turtles emerges from their shells and leave the nests, they instinctively “go to the light”, which is on the western horizon. With dispatch, they can reach the water where they are much safer from airborne predators. This concept has worked during the May-October nesting season ever since.
But there was a fringe benefit for human residents and visitors. By reducing the amount of light leaking upward, the island created a magical viewing gallery for experiencing the celestial glory of massed stars in the night sky. Overnight visitors who come from urban area are stunned by the number visible stars over Sanibel Island. They see scenes that tall buildings & urban light pollution at home has masked for much of their existence.
As result, sky-watchers are drawn to Sanibel almost as much by the “Dark Skies” policy as the magnificent shell beaches.
Now, with the realization that, even with the results from the original ordinance, some 90% of homes and buildings away from the beach are not in full compliance. Recently, the City Council voted to extend the final date for full compliance until 2018. So as good as it is now for night shy viewing, i will be even better in the coming months.
The West Wind Inn, as a “partner” in maintaining the natural attraction of True Sanibel, goes to extensive lengths to provide a “Dark Skies” environment, in keeping with the safety standards guests deserve and expect. When you stay at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn beach resort, plan on staying up past bedtime to see the show.

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Prepare to be “stunned”

beach umbrellas-crop-chamberOnline rating service, “Buzzfeed,” has named Sanibel at the top of its list of America’s most “stunning small towns. We agre. Buzzfeed lists Sanibel’s “seclusion and untouched beauty as its strong-points and mentions the absence of tall buildings (we call them “high-rises”). And yes, we said “top” as in #1.
We present our spectacular beach and beautiful Gulf at West Wind Inn’s backdoor as evidence exhibit number one. Come and see.
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Beach Chairs

Occasionally, we read questions online about “beach chairs”. Are they available? Are they for rent? Should I buy some inexpensive beach chairs at Kmart and donate them to a thrift shop when I leave Sanibel to go home

Different hotels, inns and condo associations have different arrangements. At West Wind Inn Sanibel beach resort, we offer beach chairs for rent at the rate of $20 per day. While not as inexpensive as buying cheap chairs on your way here and disposing of them at the end of your trip, it has definite advantages.
West Wind Inn staff will take your chair – with your name on it – to the beach in the morning, and retrieve it at from the beach at 5:00 PM each day of your rental. Unless you are eager to spend your vacation carrying your chair to and from the beach each day of your rental, you will be relieved to know that someone else will do that for you..
Incidentally, if you take your own chair to the beach, you “must” take it in at sundown. Chairs and other gear left on the beach at night can interfere with nesting turtles by impeding both the mother’s crawl to the nest site and the ability of the turtle hatchlings to get to the water, where they are relatively safe from airborne predators. Turtle nesting season is from May to October and preservation of the nesting sites has a high priority among Sanibel residents and visitors.
You may ask what happens to your chair if you leave it on the beach or leave it in your room when you go home. The answer is that it is picked up and tossed into a dumpster for trash pick-up. So bringing your own chair is questionable when it come to the protecting the environment. Also, most people don’t spend every day sitting on the beach. There are many other things to do on Sanibel. So you can rent your West Wind Inn chair just for the days you don’t want to go to “Ding” Darling NWR, the Shell Museum, shopping or being entertained at BIG Arts.
Either way, some of the best beach time is spent strolling or stooping, making a beach chair a side issue.

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They love us in Miami

Ding Darling Entry Sign (1)They love us in Miami. And not just for our Sanibel beach, which is reason enough, of course.
Author Robin Soslow writes in the Miami Herald about a trip to Sanibel and to our favorite National Wildlife Refuge, “Ding” Darling. Soslow is practically ecstatic about watching roseate spoonbills flocking into the “Ding”.

The point is made that even when the rain dampens enthusiasm for the spectacular Sanibel beach, there is plenty of entertainment. From the “Ding” to the Conservation Foundation, to the wildlife rehabilitation activities at CROW, to the world-renowned Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, even the nightlife is magical., The latter materializes as dark and starry skies, unpolluted by urban lights.

Of course, we know all this at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn beach resort. We continually brag on the beauties and benefits of our island paradise. As the closest beach resort in proximity to “Ding” Darling and nearby attractions on San-Cap Road, we attract thousands of visitors who split their time between shell-harvesting on the beach and collecting memories elsewhere on our breeze-balmy Gulf island.
It is little wonder that we have so many fans from Miami, Tampa, Orlando and other citified places in Florida. We welcome them enthusiastically. We are all sun-lovers. Our sun is just a little easier to love.

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E Awards

EAwardsLogoIt’s E Awards time again at West Wind Inn.

For those readers who don’t know about E Awards, here’s brief description:

For many years, Elaine McLaughlin was the Executive Director of the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau. That’s the organization charged with providing an exceptional experiences for people who visit Sanibel Island and other Lee County destinations. When Elaine retired, the Lee VCB created an award in her name to honor Lee County hospitality workers who go out of their way to care for visitors to the county. The list of eligible recipients includes lodging employees and anyone else who meets, greets and treats visitors in a caring and helpful manner.

Potential winners are nominated by visitors, like you, who want to recognize anyone to fulfills that standard. Winners are announced and celebrated at breakfast in September. It is a very big honor. It can lead to raises and promotions for the winners and is promoted by by the properties that employ them.

Cutting to the summary, if you were served well and above your expectations by anyone at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn beach resort – front office greeters, maids and cleaning people, maintenance workers, servers at Normandie Pub or at the Pool Deck kiosk and snack bar, anyone, please take a few minutes to send the VCB a nomination form for that person. There is no limit to the number of people you can nominated or the number of events you can nominate them for. Simply go to the this online address to complete and email a form,

It’s a great way to recognize those who serve you (and it really does motivate them to keep up the good work.)

Thank you.

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News from West Wind Inn’s favorite National Wildlife Refuge: “Ding” Darling

If you will be visiting Sanibel from now until June 7, you should plan that the Indigo Trail, between the fee booth and cross dike, and the Wildlife Education Boardwalk is closed to enable crushed shell resurfacing. It will reopen on Saturday, June 7, for National Trails Day.

On the good news front, a new “handicap lift” has been installed to serve those who want to visit the Visitor & Education Center and are challenged by stairs and ramps. There was a ribbon cutting recently. Guests at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn will find that “Ding” Darling keeps
IndigoTrail-signgetting better as a reason to be on Sanibel. These improvements excite us, as the True Sanibel experience, and the closest beach resort to the National Wildlife Refuge. We are grateful for the work of Refuge management, including Paul Tritiak, Refuge Manager, and Ding Darling Society members such as Emeritus Board Member, Marilyn Kloosterman.

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