Written by Tam

Participants: Tam, Kev, India and Georgia

Wake at 4am and doze – next thing we know it is 7am. The room was so dark and there was no-where obvious to see the time. This isn’t good – we had relied on the fact that we are always awake early the first morning on holiday and had planned on leaving at 7am. Still we put the coffee on, pack quickly and are on the road to our next destination, North Captiva, by 7.35am.
As we drive away from Disney World the mist is rising off the grass and the sunlight glints on the Earful Tower – making it all look pretty surreal.

We stop at a Subway as it is the first place we can find for breakfast – we were hoping for something more typically American for a proper breakfast but as we are starving we settle for this. The girls are big Subway fans so are happy with their Italian sub, whilst Kev and I share a breakfast sub – with ham, cheese, egg and a Philly cheese sub.
Back in the car we head to the Publix at Coral Shores – which is recommend by the owner of the villa we are renting as being the nearest supermarket to the boat dock.
We have already given Marie the owner of Little Ark (the villa we have rented on North Captiva) – a list of items to get for us to save us having to buy them and carry them over in the boat taxi – unlike a number of other villa owners she offers this service free of charge – so we have already ordered the essentials. In Publix we buy steak, tuna, catfish, snacks and then in the liquor store we buy tequila, rum and triple sec.

Head to the dock for Island Girl Charters – we have already booked a 1pm crossing but need to pay – the price is $140 for the 4 of us for the return journey. We park the car and the cost of this is $40 for the 5 days.
We sit on dock in the glorious sunshine looking out over the flat calm water of Pine Island Sound – such a glorious day looking forward to the delights of North Captiva.

All our luggage and groceries are loaded into the boat and with various other passengers, including a gorgeous dog, and luggage we set off at 1pm. We speed off past Useppa Island and then stop at Cabbage Key, which looks lovely. We are on our way to North Captiva when all of a sudden Georgia spots a dolphin swimming in our wake. Before long we have around 6 dolphins leaping and swimming at the rear of the boat, which luckily is just where we were seated.
The dolphins made me smile so much that my face was positively aching – damn those dolphins and their aquatic acrobatics. What an amazing start to the holiday – whizzing along at full pelt, sun on our faces, beautiful blue sky and dolphins leaping just a few feet away.

It takes around 25 to 30 minutes to get to North Captiva and we slow to a crawl, as we reach the no wake zone where manatees could be. Dock at Barnacle Phil’s – a really islandy type restaurant/shop. Vicki, who Marie has arranged to show us to The Little Ark, meets us. She shows us where our golf cart is parked and explains how it works. There are no vehicles on the island and the only way of getting around is golf cart or on foot – so the “roads” are just lanes of white sand. Kev and the girls go in the Little Ark cart and I join Vicki in hers, which also contains a large cool box containing some of our pre-ordered groceries and beers. As we go along the sandy lanes Vicki explains where everything is – what there is to do and other interesting bits of information regarding the island. To get out of the parking lot by Barnacle Phil’s the first road takes us alongside the island’s tiny airstrip, which is basically a flat grassy strip in a field.

We then go past some lovely houses in various styles but the island is definitely not crowded and we don’t pass a soul. We arrive at Little Ark on Oystershell Drive, which is on one of the last lanes before the nature reserve, which occupies the southern half of the island. It is a lovely property with 2 bedrooms, it’s own pool and deck, raised screened porch dining area and a hot tub on the roof. Being only a few feet from the sandy beach it is like being in paradise.
We unpack and put away all the food we bought and the stuff that was in the cool box – everything else we ordered is already either in the fridge or on the side in the kitchen – what an easy way of doing the shopping.

We decide we really need to see the beach so walk the short distance up the lane to a deserted white sand beach – there are some dead trees – all bleached by the sun and the waves on the beach - which adds to the island feel. The Little Ark comes equipped with a vast array of fun things to enjoy on the beach and in the pool – so we sit in the chairs on the sand and relax enjoying the sound of the sea – whilst we were there only one couple walked past us.
India goes for a swim whilst the rest of us enjoy a paddle. Then India starts her quest for sea glass and shells with holes in so she can make them into jewellery when she gets home.

[Kev - I really liked the dead tress on parts of the beach. They add character and are very beautiful in their own way.]

Back to the Little Ark where we put the enormous baking potatoes in the oven. Whilst they are cooking we head down to the pool and deck to relax and swim and Georgia and I also share the double hammock and read our Kindles. Kev makes some Hurricane cocktails and as we are enjoying their fruity goodness Georgia spots an enormous tortoise strolling down the sandy lane. This explains the rustling we kept hearing in the bushes surrounding the pool deck.

For supper we enjoy the jacket potatoes, with large barbecued steaks, salad, coleslaw and bread, followed by a gorgeous coconut cream pie – accompanied by a rather tasty bottle of red wine.. It was all very delicious and sitting on the screened deck eating by candlelight we could hear the noise of the waves on the shore and insects – it was a wonderful start to our stay in North Captiva.

Head inside and look at the vast number of games, DVDs that are on offer – decide to play Game of Life – Kev takes a very sedentary approach to the game and makes no effort to participate apart from when he is given an option – needless to say he fails in life and I am the winner. By this time I am flagging – the girls and Kev play Disney Trivia but they only allow me to go to bed when I get one wedge – not easy for me, not being a Disney buff like the rest of them. The question I got right was what woke Snow White from her sleep and I said a kiss from a Prince – apparently the answer was True Love’s Kiss – but they were very kind and allowed me it, which meant I could retire to bed. Georgia was the overall winner.

[Kev - I try not to get too excited by all the game playing.]

[Kev - The Game of Life - or as I prefer to call it - the game of relaxing in the chair drinking rum and coke.]