Sanibel & Captiva Islands
Original, hand-drawn story map and accompanying gifts of Florida's Sanibel & Captiva Islands by renowned Illustrator and Xplorer Maps Co-Founder, Chris Robitaille.
The native Calusa Indians were the first-known residents of Sanibel-Captiva Islands dating back 2,500 years. Over 1,000 years ago Sanibel and Captiva Islands, once joined, became separated when a powerful storm swept the peninsula and opened up Blind Pass between these two barrier islands.
For more than 30 years before the Sanibel Causeway was completed in 1963, visitors arrived via a half-hour ferry ride from Fort Myers, enhancing Sanibel and Captiva's reputation as sanctuary islands and becoming a tropical paradise for more and more visitors.
Regarded as one of the islands’ most influential visitors, Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling (a Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist and noted conservationist), actively campaigned for federal protection of the island’s fragile ecosystem. In 1945, more than 6,300 acres of mangrove, bay and estuary became the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, and today is home to more than 300 species of birds, 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, and more than 30 types of mammals.