Why Book on SouthSeas.com
Ever question why you should book directly with us on SouthSeas.com or by calling 866-565-5089 versus one of the third party vacation rental companies?
The staff here at South Seas strives to provide great guest service, wonderful amenities and fun events that make your vacation an unforgettable experience. What really sets us apart though are all of the activities and amenities that are only available to our guests that book on SouthSeas.com or that call to make a reservation.
Exclusive guest amenities include:
- 24 Hour Front Desk, Security and Maintenance
- Daily Housekeeping
- Trolley service throughout the resort-park your car and ride with us
- Beach services including beach towels, chairs and umbrellas
Guests also enjoy a wide range of activities:
- Access to The Resort Pool Complex featuring H2Whoa! and Swimtastics
- Extensive Children’s programs through Sanibel Sea School, Swimtastics and Skully’s Interactive
- Family Center home to Turtle Tots, Creative Corner, Skully’s Arcade and Scoutabout Headquarters
- Sunny Island Watersports offering parasailing, jet ski rentals, Stand Up Paddleboard rentals and lessons and many more fun water activities
- Yacht Harbour & Marina - Two full service marinas, offering fishing charters and more
- Best Boat Rentals - Pontoon and Power boat rentals available. Best Boats also rents bikes and golf carts-providing two great ways to explore the resort
- Offshore Sailing School - Learn to sail classes for adults and families
- Kayak Tours-guided tours available for teens and adults
- Golf or Tennis anyone? South Seas is the home to the Pavel Blackwood Tennis Academy. Play 9 holes on the beautiful gulf front Captiva Course
- Fun filled Monthly Family and Kid’s Activities-check the latest Activities Calendar for all the upcoming events
- Great resort restaurants located inside the South Seas gates - Harbourside Bar and Grille, The Pointe, and Scoops & Slices
A Letter from Randy Wayne White...
In 1976, because all legitimate fishing guides were booked, Sanibel's newest captain arrived at the South Sea's T-dock and inflicted his maiden charter on guests of this fine resort -- guests who, like yourselves, deserve superior service, not some bumbling pretender who secretly wants to write novels, not fish.
My first trip didn't go well.
I left Tarpon Bay before sunrise, which gave me just enough time to run aground and lose a shoe near Chino Island. It is difficult to find a shoe by starlight. Minutes later, somewhere off Buck Key, a UFO -- possibly a helicopter -- dazzled me with a flare. No . . . a sailboat, in turned out. The skipper had engaged his anchor light in preference to a collision. He hollered advice as careened past. If his advice was to change course, I took it. Even so, I managed to meet my clients, 7 a.m. sharp at the T-dock.
Ask any local fishing guide -- South Seas clients tend to be a classy, genial bunch. Lucky me. Poor them. They were three good and decent souls, all eager to battle snook. Instead, they wrestled with their good manners when, for the first and only time in my life, I was stung by a catfish. The pain caused my eyes to water like a weeping child. Worse, the venom deadened my right arm. As seafarers among you know, it is a pathetic captain who, while fighting back tears, prevails upon clients to haul anchor and start the engine.
After that, things got back to normal. I ran aground again.
An omen? Nope. Rather than moving to a mountain-state, I stuck it out and chartered for another thirteen years on Sanibel -- but South Seas Resort had the good sense not to invite me back for awhile.
Like a jilted suitor, banishment only steeled my resolved to one day be worthy. Time passed; memories (and a few key executives) faded. After only seven or nine years on probation I was, once again, picking-up overflow clients at the T-dock. What a joy it was (and still is) to cross those lucent flats by boat, skirting Roosevelt Channel while fish and rays scatter, then drop into an emerald trough -- a vent created by imploded limestone -- that rivers deep and clear into Redfish Pass, or the boat basin where palms as green as macaw feathers promise a cool drink and shade.
South Seas, Captiva Island -- note the tropic rhythms; two names forever joined by geography and history, not just some slick marketing ploy. When founder Clarence Chadwick opened the resort in 1946, the property rivaled Tahiti in appearance: coconuts, pineapples and Spanish limes (key limes) had been grown here and marketed since the late 1800s. Indeed, "Home of the world's largest cultivated Lime Grove!" claims a 1940's postcard.
Another antique postcard boasts of cultivation, but of the timeless variety: "An elegant tropical sanctuary that caters to ladies, gentlemen and families. A transcendent experience."
History and tradition -- that has not changed. South Seas is not just another wham-bam tourist attraction. Families, once smitten, measure their ties to this place by generations, not years. But to pronounce a resort "transcendent?" Hummm . . . The mystic-debunking protagonist of my novels, Doc Ford, might argue the point. But even he wouldn't deny the allure.
First, though, Dr. Ford would unmask one of the area's most enduring fictions -- the myth that swashbuckling pirate, Jose Gaspar, kept captive women on this island. Not possible. Gaspar didn't exist. The pirate was the invention of publicist, G. P. LeMoyne, who, in 1915, gilded history with tales of buried treasure to promote real estate sales in Boca Grande. (I never met Mr. LeMoyne, but my novelist friend, the late Richard Powell, knew him well. Documents from U.S. Naval Archives also prove the story bogus.)
So where did that the alluring name "Captiva" originate?
You got me. It's listed on Spanish maps that pre-date the Gaspar legend. There are records of a captive, though, and he became the first Anglo homesteader: William H. Binder, an Austrian, who was shipwrecked off Boca Grande and drifted ashore on Captiva. Binder lived off the land for weeks while he built a raft, which he sailed to Pine Island, then returned by ship to Europe. But Herr Binder, like so many of us, was smitten. He returned to Captiva in 1888, and lived there until his death. In fact, he's still on-island -- as his tombstone at Chapel By the Sea cemetery proves.
The pragmatic Marion Ford would dismiss the karmic overtones as silliness, yet he, too, understands that this place is different.. In his words:
South Seas Resort, at the northern tip of Captiva Island, is one of Florida’s historic treasures. Almost five hundred acres of tropic theater that, over the years, has provided luxuriant solitude to luminaries from around the world.
This is Ford to the bone. His claims cannot be argued. Walk to the bay: Teddy Roosevelt lived on a houseboat there, where Thomas Edison fished for tarpon, and Charles Lindbergh landed his first seaplane. Stroll to the beach: Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Edna St. Vincent Malay, Thornton Wilder, Peter Matthiessen and James Jones all ruminated over books in the same bright space that you inhabit -- like Katherine Hepburn and Clark Gable before you.
Here is where my zen-hipster character, Tomlinson, would interrupt to remind us that, on an island, any asset larger than a bikini is just extra baggage, and islands are indifferent to fame. In Tomlinson's words:
Captiva is a breathing vessel grounded by sea currents, anchored to stars, an island of small secrets, moonrise to sunset, where sand absorbs footprints into an astronomy of dreams, and joins a single beach bum soul.
Now, four decades after being stung by that darn catfish, it is an honor and just plain fun to be a part of the South Seas-Doc Ford's Restaurant's family -- and we are a family, top to bottom, joined in the same quirky, excellence-driven way as the staffers you will meet, and the characters who populate my novels.
But virtue of being here (or even making plans to visit) you are a member, too. South Seas, and these islands, have a gift for attracting gifted people of kindred sensibilities. Some are famous, most are not, and it doesn't matter. You are here -- or soon will be...
This island has chosen you. Why fight it?