Alkali, beach, Calistoga, Cantina Captiva, Captiva, Estero, Florida, Fort Myers, friends, Germain Arena, hockey, Miromar Outlets, NARCh, nationals, Point Ybel Brewing Company, roller hockey, Sanibel, Smokin Oyster Brewery, Starbucks, Sun Pass, swimming
Today, we had a game in the morning against an American team. I stopped back at Miromar Outlets for a Starbucks coffee and a snack, disappointed that there aren’t too many coffee shops around Estero. We lost our game, then I left with three teammates and a friend for Calistoga Bakery Cafe where we had salad, mac’n’cheese, peach smoothies, etc. After we ate, we went back to the rink because some of the girls had games in another division. I took off in my car for Sanibel Island Beach, one of the places I visited and enjoyed last year. On the way, I decided to check out Smokin Oyster Brewery but was disappointed to find they only had one bottled lager of their own and wasn’t much of a brewery. I left there, continuing to the island, only to find that I didn’t have $6 for the bridge toll. Instead, they took a photo of my plate (like they do if you don’t have a Sun Pass on the Turnpike in Florida – like Bill-Me-Later). Once on the other side, I went to the Lighthouse Beach where we had gone before, paid $2/hour rate for parking, and took all my beach gear out to the beach in case.
It was just like I had remembered it: not too crowded, but still a number of people. I recognized the lighthouse off the beach where I had stood for my mom to take a photo before. The water got deep fairly quickly and stayed calm quite a ways out, but there is a strong current that can come around the point if you’re not careful. There are a lot of boats and jet skis off shore and you can see skyscrapers on the horizon from the other side of the inlet. The waves weren’t big enough to use my boogie board and I doubted there was much to see with my snorkeling gear, so I decided to just swim and rest a little on the beach. When I was done, I got in the car and headed towards Captiva – another destination from our last trip.
In 2011, my friends Allie and Adrienne, my mom, my brother, and I had all spent a whole day on both beaches. Today, I was running out of time. By the time I got through some traffic to Captiva Island, I needed to think about heading back – and the sun was getting lower. I decided to come back tomorrow. Instead, I sought out Cantina Captiva, the Mexican restaurant where we had stapled a dollar bill to the wall those three years before. The walls were still covered in bills, but I couldn’t find our bill anywhere despite photo comparison to locate where we had put it. It must have been removed. Instead, I had tostadas, chips and salsa, and a small margarita while I colored a new bill with the markers they gave me and stapled it to the wall in a new place. I recognized the Dos Equis cut-out my brother had clung to last time. I was suddenly feeling very nostalgic, remembering how much had changed since then (and how I haven’t seen Allie or Adrienne since we left them at the Fort Meyers airport that July 2011).
I left Captiva Island but yet again had a little spare time. I was passing through Fort Myers, so I decided to try this hole-in-the-wall brewery called Point Ybel on San Carlos Boulevard. They didn’t appear to have their own food, but I was still full from the tostadas. I got to the rink in time and dressed for another loss to another American team. After the game, I was invited back to my coaches’ house for pizza and Heinekens. We sat up until very late in the morning, watching TV and laughing. Then Vyctoria brought out a photo we had sent her 3 years ago of the two of us. She was just 13 then and it was an accomplishment for her to play on the women’s team. Now she was 16, taller than me, and fast – contributing well to our defense. We posed for a photo of us holding the photo and reminisced on how it couldn’t really have been 3 years since then, how her friend was diagnosed with brain cancer right after I left and had died this year right before I had arrived. We decided we need to take more pictures like this, oh – and get sleep. So I went back down the street, past their seahorse mailbox, and pulled into Tyler’s for the night.