However, when we finally got on the now gravel road among so many other cars, we were pretty delighted with all the wildlife we saw. New birds included Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Reddish Egret, Double- crested Cormorants, a Willet, and Black-necked Stilts. Of course the other “usual suspects” were there as well. The Arizona folks were intrigued by the tiny tree crabs crawling along the limbs of the mangrove trees—hardly bigger than a quarter and quite black. In a contrasting color was the orange-red Mangrove Salt Marsh Snake we saw swimming close to shore on the Gulf side of the Preserve. On leaving Sanibel, we found a nice restaurant with a view over the water to have fresh seafood and muse over all the creatures we had enjoyed on this trip. Then we had to rejoin the crowds to cross over the causeway yet again. TAMPA We had anticipated arriving in Tampa about 2 or 3 in the afternoon but that was not to be—the never-ending stream of traffic, wrecks along the way causing horrible detours and interminable episodes of gridlock transformed what should have been a 2 or 2.5-hour drive into a 6+ hour ordeal, meaning we reached the Renaissance Hotel at the Tampa Airport in the total dark (about 8 o’clock). The darkness and a very circuitous route from I-275 to the hotel was made possible only by GPS. We could not imagine how anyone unfamiliar with the area and without GPS would have ever found that hotel. But success at last and a nice meal with a jolly waiter made our last evening together very enjoyable.
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