Captiva Island is long and narrow, running (more or less) north to south. At our location on the island it’s about a half mile wide, and the Sunset Captiva community where we are staying owns the property from the east coast to the west coast. That means it’s only a few steps in one direction to enjoy the sunset one evening, then a few steps in the opposite direction to catch the sunrise the next morning — which is what I did today.
There are a lot fewer people up to catch the sunrise, so it’s a peaceful, quiet time. As I stood dockside watching the sunrise I noticed some movement in the water and was happy to see three manatee coming to the surface to enjoy the sunrise, too. The manatee, some gulls, and some pelicans were good company as I watched the beginning of another day.
This week we’re staying in a very nice place called Sunset Captiva. Tonight we learned why it got its name.
Natural light makes a big difference. It’s why many of the great watercolors were done en plein air.
It’s amazing how bright sunshine, an ocean backdrop, a blue sky, a few shells, and several trillion grains of sand can make a few abandoned beach chairs and an umbrella into a colorful scene that might appeal to a member of the impressionist school.
This lovely snowy egret, white feathers ablaze in the bright sunshine, walks the beach with a stately, deliberate grace and a commanding gaze — its attention all the while directed at the surf, and detecting fish that might be caught unawares.
It’s a beautiful bird. The fact that it’s a ruthless hunter, too, just makes it all the more interesting.
Most of the trees at Schiller Park have long since lost their leaves, but these two little trees on the south side of the park held on to their brightly colored companions until the bitter (cold) end. Then they coordinated their leaf falls so the leaves would form neat parallel yellow stripes on the grass and sidewalk that we saw as Betty and I walked by this morning.
The leaf falls must have been sudden and recent, because the leaves haven’t yet been scattered by the cold breeze, by frolicking dogs, or by little kids who just can’t resist shuffling and kicking their way through the pile. For now, though, it’s a pretty little scene in our beautiful neighborhood park.
A visit to Stonington is always good for at least one gorgeous sunrise. This morning, it was as if the sun and sky decided it was time to compete with the colorful fall foliage.
Yesterday we took a bit of fall tour, driving from Stonington over to Castine. It’s a roundabout trip that takes you on winding roads that skirt the bays and coves and inlets of the craggy Maine coast. Along the way you see some beautiful scenery — like the view above of the Eggemoggin Reach in the distance and some colorful trees from the commanding heights of Caterpillar Hill.
Castine is a charming town that is the home of the Maine Maritime Academy. It has a long history that dates back to the 1600s. If you walk away from the downtown area you’ll find streets that look like movie sets, with tidy federal-style homes and white picket fences and trees sporting their blazing fall colors. Many of the houses feature signs in front that tell of the history of the area, and the intermittent clashes between the French, the Dutch, the Mohawks, the British, and finally the Americans who fought over this strategic spot on the shoreline from the 1600s until the War of 1812.
As is always the case with coastal Maine, it all comes down to the water. There aren’t many tourist here in October, which makes it a quiet, peaceful time to visit. You’ll get a chance to experience some beautiful colors, but also the serenity of the solitary sailboat moored on the quiet waters of Penobscot Bay.