|Tranquility lies up a shady driveway into Secret Harbour, a home located at the confluence of two canals leading to Dinkens Bayou, a waterway to Blind Pass and out to Pine Island Sound. The canal banks are covered by mangrove and the property is ringed with an abundance of palm trees, flowering plants, including red and yellow hibiscus around the pool deck. A wooden dock and boat lift provide a place to drop a line to catch and release the abundant catfish or to launch the bright yellow tandem kayak for a paddle to the Bayou and beyond.
There is little noise, save the occasional sound of a boat (Mako, Grady White, Century) taking a crew to fish or sightsee beyond the canals. Kayaks and paddleboards often glide by the property as well. There are the sounds of “plunk/splash” as fish break the water and sometimes a meandering dolphin plies the canals fishing for its breakfast. The other sounds come from the many birds which can be seen from the decks of the house. Osprey, pelicans, herons, egrets, ibis, morning doves, sea gulls and woodpeckers were common during our stay.
The home is an open plan, with sliding glass windows that open the living area onto the covered wooden deck where you can while away time reading, sunning, dining and drinking , or walk down the outside stairs to the lower deck. There is also a propane grill for barbecuing your favourite meals on the upper deck. The home has a large and inviting solar heated swimming pool, with ample sitting room and all completely enclosed by screens, keeping you free of insects and the pool clear of leaves and debris. Landscape and pool maintenance folks appear weekly to keep the grounds and pool in first class condition.
Off the main living area is a master bedroom with comfortable king bed, large closets and doorway into the master bathroom with walk in shower and a large tub and double sinks. The living room has two sofas and cable television with Bose sound equipment and two overhead fans. The dining room table easily accommodates six persons and the large island has seating for three as well. All the appliances are modern and there are ample kitchen tools, pots, pans, dishes and cutlery. There is excellent wi fi and cable connections for those who want to be entertained (although you might prefer to access the books on display for peaceful sitting and sunbathing during the day).
A stairway leads up to a small balcony overlooking the main floor and an entryway to the second bedroom which enjoys its own full bathroom. It has a queen bed, a television and ceiling fan. The third bedroom has two twin beds and television with a sitting area. Located on the ground floor, it has access directly onto the pool deck.
It is a treat to have access to the beaches at Blind Pass a short walk or bike ride. There a three terrific restaurants which are just as accessible, the famed Mad Hatter, our favourite the Sunset Grill, and for old Florida ambience, seafood and beer, the Lazy Flamingo. A trip up to Captiva also has the benefit of fun restaurants: Mucky Duck, Key Lime Bistro, Doc Fords, Captiva House, a Mexican Cantina and the popular Greenflash, with its patio overlooking the Sound, to name a few. The Island Store saves the drive down into Sanibel, has a decent wine selection (and great key lime pie) with the best tomatoes in Florida. There is a bank next to the post office and an array of shops to visit. You can arrange a fishing charter (we always rely on Captain Shawn Kelly) at Jensens, rent a boat at Tween Waters or take the Lady Chadwick which sails daily to Cabbage Key and Useppa Island with a running commentary on the waterways and history of these barrier islands, often with a pod of dolphins surfacing to put on a show. Last but not least are the fabulous sunsets over the Gulf, a sight not to be missed.
To top off an evening, there is also a firepit to roast marshmallows, make s’mores or to give you a chance to look at the canopy of stars overhead.
If you have the opportunity to stay at Secret Harbor and to enjoy the best of Sanibel and Captiva in a charming location with attentive owners and an experienced management company, you will have a relaxing and rewarding vacation experience.