Captiva Island, Florida — Monday marks one week since the Sanibel Causeway reopened to normal traffic following Hurricane Ian.
Beaches remain closed, but that hasn’t stopped travelers from visiting Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Some undesired traffic issues are caused by those that are still recovering. Traffic noted by some who call the island home.
“That’s what it looks like when we come back,” said Fran Fortin, who lives part-time on the island. I will go back.”
New life has returned to Captiva Island. The life that was born in the terrain and the life that decided to call it home.
“It’s good to see people coming back here. It feels like I’m alive again.”
Like Fran Fortin looking to restore the island. Over 100 days since Hurricane Ian.
“Back in Sanibel, the devastation was amazing,” he says. “The smell of rotting material and the pile of debris – it was pretty depressing, but it has come a long way in a short amount of time.”
By the time I saw the causeway reopened to normal traffic. It may have caused some concern for unwanted visitors, but Fortin noticed something else.
“Just during the day they come through Sanibel to Captiva and just look around. People who usually come here or come here to eat at restaurants look like they I’m just curious, but that didn’t matter.”
Many roads in Captiva look a little messy, but are otherwise drivable. It’s a lot different than it was just a few months ago.
“Debris was piled up everywhere, homes were badly damaged and roofs were falling off,” said John Miller, who lives part-time on the island. “It was very sad.”
Miller lives right next door to Fortin. He says he’s noticed a lot of cleanup going on thanks to less traffic.
“Except when they close lanes and do repairs and such, it’s slow,” he says. “But I don’t think many people come here.”
Let these islanders hope for a speedy recovery.
“For those still struggling, be patient,” says Fortin. “It will get better.”