Cape Coral and Southwest Florida Feature Stories

Sanibel Island Light

Sanibel Island Light Lighthouse

Mid-morning, I grab a video camera and head out to the eastern tip of Sanibel Island with the intention of filming Sanibel Island Light.

The parking lot is more crowded than I’d normally expect in mid-July.

Wrestling soul-crushing humidity, I force a few crumpled-up one dollar bills into the pay-to-park kiosk, print my parking ticket and dutifully place it on my dashboard.

Heavy with uber-tourist style camera gear, I fumble my way onto Lighthouse Beach. Flat with hard-packed sand and broken, unremarkable, sun-bleached shells -- Lighthouse Beach remains the most public of Sanibel Beaches by way of easy accessibility.

Although the skies are slightly less than cloudless, a hazy heat hangs in the air reducing the crystalline qualities of another hot-oven day in Southwest Florida.

A few crunchy steps across brittle shells, and the strange lighthouse becomes visible. Ancient. Oxidized. Dark with rust. A resolute skeleton holding impressive ground against the flipping calendar pages of multiple generations. Slightly eery, like a lighthouse from a foggy, coastal ghost story. It looms, timeworn, in stark contrast to the tropical, palm frond day and a beach full of senior citizens posting digital photos to Facebook from their iPhones. Time moves on while Sanibel Island Light remains unchanged.

Gazing upon the square-pyramidal structure, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if everything went black and white, the causeway disappeared and I realized I was “then”, not “now”...trapped in an image on an antique postcard in a dusty old shop.

Are those old postcards the YouTube videos of yesteryear?

The video I’m taking, as I circumnavigate this landmark structure, is just one more public chapter of a place people will surely be drawn to long after I’m gone.

Dizzying, to think on the journey this metal has taken through the years. Created in a metal factory in New Jersey in 1883. Loaded on a ship which ultimately sunk two miles from Sanibel. Salvaged from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico by a crew of hard hat divers from Key West. Lit for the first time on August 20th, 1884. 23 US Presidents. Residents. Tourists. Hurricanes. Salt. A torrential downpour of sunlight. The rapid current of passing time.

Anyway, I know I usually get a bit verbose in my video features - so I thought I’d try something a little different today -- eleven minutes of unnarrated and raw video footage showcasing the historic Sanibel Island Lighthouse. Enjoy.

-- video and writing by Eric Taubert

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