Shelling - North Captiva is well known as a shelling collector's paradise. Examples of shells you may find include: lightning whelks, cockles, cones, pens, olives, tellins, coquinas and conch. We have many shell books at our home to help you identify your collection of shells. The best shelling season is in the winter months when we have a "nor'easter" but you can still be successful in shelling at low tide during any season of the year. Some of the best shelling is down on the state land at the new cut created by Hurricane Charley.
Barnacle Phil'sBarnacle Phil's is a favorite with local fishermen, boaters who come from neighboring islands and vacationers to North Captiva. You have a choice of dining in or dining out by the docks. Barnacle Phil's has an eclectic menu that offers fresh fish, chicken, veal, beef and chef's specials. A must try is Roberta's world famous black beans and yellow rice. Barnacle Phil's is located at Safety Harbor. For more information or reservations, call 239-472-6394.
Mango Island CaféMango Island Cafe is a private delightful tropical restaurant overlooking Hidden Cove and the Florida Wildlife Sanctuary. You can enjoy your favorite drinks and a delicious island meal while you watch osprey and pelicans soar by and you may even spot a wondering manatee in the cove. For reservations or more information, call 239-395-1500. Mango Island Cafe is located off Barlett Parkway at the North Captiva Island Club.
Island DeliIsland Deli at the North Captiva Island Club offers a wide variety of deli sandwiches and boxed lunches for your boating trips or for lunch at home. There is also a well stocked grocery store and they also make pizza daily and also some evenings.
Shopping - We have two wonderful shops on our island that sell a wide variety of items that you may wish to purchase for friends back home or for yourself as a wonderful memory of our beautiful island.
The Coconut Connection upstairs at Barnacle Phil's is a wonderful eclectic boutique that its owner and manager has carefully chosen for visitors to North Captiva Island. You can't leave this small store without purchasing the perfect outfit for sun/play in addition to various whimsical t-shirts, baseball caps, and sweat shirts.
The ice cream shop at Barnacle Phil's is a daily must for many islanders and especially our family. They also sell Barnacle Phil's t-shirts as well as a wide variety of art work and other neat gift items.
Grocery items such as canned goods, dairy products, cleaning supplies, sundries, sodas, beer and wine can be purchased at North Captiva Island Club. They also have hot coffee available in the morning along with the daily Fort Myers Press newspaper.
Bird Watching - Bird watching is a favorite activity of most visitors to our wonderful island. North Captiva is an island sanctuary for many species of birds including osprey, ibis, cormorants, egrets, bald eagles, terns, brown and white pelicans and many more. We have binoculars to get a closer view of the various birds and also many books and videos to help you learn about the birds you have observed.
Swimming - Manatee Haven has a screened pool on the sunny side of our home. There are many water games for entertainment including water basketball and water volleyball. Manatee Haven guests also have a private beach access that is approximately 200 feet from our home. Boogie boards, sun umbrellas, beach mats, sand toys, fishing gear and beach towels are available for your use and enjoyment.
Fishing - Fish abound in the waters of Pine Island Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. The back bay of the sound is good for sea trout, grunts, snook, tarpon, redfish, and ladyfish. The Gulf and passes are great for sheephead, tarpon, mackerel, snook and grouper. The best fishing is in the early evening or during the day up by the air strip or over by the fish house.
For your fishing needs we recommend you contact Gretchen and Dennis of North Captiva Charters, Inc. You can contact them at 239-707-9701. They also have an excellent website with many details: www.northcaptivacharters.com. You can have a lot of fun fishing the waters around North Captiva.
Fishing boats, 18 feet Center Consoles with 90 hp outboard motors are available for rental at Island Personal Watercraft Rentals. They can be reached at 239-540-4884. Island Personal Watercraft Rentals is at the North Captiva Island Club. They have a complete inventory of boats, waverunners, guided tours, fishing trips, kayak tours available for your enjoyment. They can even create a complete tour for you to meet your needs or you can tell them what you would like to see and do and they will plan it for you. They also have sunset cruises aboard their 22 foot deck boat, or their 24 foot pontoon boat. The guided tours on the waverunners is a fun afternoon for all family members.
Star Gazing - From our second level there is a winding staircase that leads to a private deck, or Crow's Nest, for enjoying sunrises and sunsets and also for star gazing. We have an easily portable Edmunds astroscan telescope that is very easy to use and can be carried to the observation deck. There are four different lenses with the Edmonds including a Barlow. A second new Orion Sky Quest telescope is also somewhat portable and it can be used on either level of the home. It is also very easy to use and has its own information system to let you know what you will be able to view each evening.
It is often possible to view our Earth's sisters including Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Uranus and sometimes Mercury through these telescopes. Astronomy videos and books are available to help you identify specific stars and planets as well as current Night Sky magazines.
Other Wildlife - One of the most common animals that you will see on North Captiva Island is a brown small reptile that is often called a lizard. These small reptiles are actually Cuban anoles. They belong to the iguana family and are very useful because they feed on all kinds of insects.
A must see on our island are the two families of river otters that are found around the docks at Barnacle Phil's Restaurant and also North Captiva Island Club. They are fun to watch as the mothers are trying to teach their young to swim and hunt for food but the young would prefer to play with each other.
In the summer months, many sea turtles come to North Captiva to nest along the shoreline. There is a no lights ordinance in effect during the nesting season to prevent newborn sea turtles from becoming disoriented. One of the most memorable experiences is to observe a giant loggerhead come ashore to construct a burrow and lay her eggs.
Two adult bobcats have also been observed on our island. Some visitors have been lucky enough to get a picture of the pair. They are usually found in the state refuge but have been observed in the community.
On your ventures around the island you are bound to see the tracks of our gopher tortoises; follow the tracks and hopefully you will see one of them. They often can be seen feeding on grasses along the paths in the very early evening. It is important that you do not disturb any burrows or the tortoises that you see.
In the summer of 2005 two manatee mothers and their young have taken up residence along the shallow inlets on North Captiva. As the waters around the island get colder in the fall they will migrate to warmer waters around the electric plants. A boating speed limit is in effect around the manatee zones. A mother and her calf are already back for a return visit in May, 2006.
It is also important to keep in mind that golf carts are not permitted on the beaches on any part of North Captiva Island.