Beached. Yes. But let me say this about that: on Sanibel Island, it really wasn’t all that bad.
There are still loads of things to do on the island, fully functioning limbs or not. With a few ultra-adhesive bandages and layers of CoBand to keep it in place (just in case) you can:
Stand Up Paddle Board
We shoved my foot in a plastic bag and taped it around my ankle. With the boards we’d rented from YOLO Boards (for reals) we paddled up the coastline, into and across Tarpon Bay and through a circuit of Mangrove trees. It was hot as Hades and even more sweaty but we saw a dolphin and a million little starfish. Too cute.
That evening, then, after waiting out a storm (by way of family seafood dinner, where we watched dolphins cruising through the bay just outside our window) we took the boards out for a sunset paddle. The water barely seemed to ripple as we glided past anchored sailboats and streaks of the day’s last sunbeams. We skimmed past some insanely posh mansions and watched gulls crash into the water after their dinner.
I caught the biggest fish. So big, in fact, we had to throw it back. I thought for a minute that I wasn’t going to be able to reel it in – I hadn’t worked out my arms in a while and he was heavy and fighting. I had a vision of myself being pulled off the boat and in and under the water to join all the bait I’d lost. Waterproof bandage or not, it would have done nothing for me then. But I did it! Got the fish! We took a few pictures of me looking like a badass then I told the fish “thank you” and let him swim away. Bumpas caught his Red Fish shortly after – reeled it in like an expert. We took that one home (since it was smaller than mine … ), grilled it up and feasted.
There’s a bike path that goes all around the island. Parts go through canopies of trees, another by the wildlife refuge, and all of it is maintained. We took our red cruisers out many times – to the hardware store, to breakfast, to the post office and just because. Once, we accidentally rode to the best Pina Colada on the island. All I had to do was place the bike pedal on my abnormally high arch instead of the ball of my foot and the island was my oyster.
Boating x3! We took a speedboat around Sanibel and Captiva, learning the history of the islands while dolphins surfed in our wake.
The Bumpas’ rented a deck boat so we could tool around at our own speed (*ahem* fast) and island hop, stopping for lunch at Cabbage Key, the alleged inspiration for the infamous “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Bonus: I had a little trouble getting on and off the boat as I couldn’t jump in and swim to shore, so Bumpas carried me, totally Romantic Comedy style.
And, my favorite of all, was a sunset dinner cruise with wine and chocolate cake.
Florida was fantastic, despite the internal fear that I’d ruined the trip on the very first day. Instead I got the princess treatment: Bumpas’ nephew made me my very own flotilla for the pool with a hot pink, blow-up raft and as many noodles as he could find.