Posted by: Doc Bruce | June 12, 2006

The Sanibel Light – About the Only Thing that Happens on Sanibel After Dark

The Sanibel Lighthouse is an historic landmark located on the eastern edge of the island – for you gps buffs, that’s 26.45271 x -82.0141. It was first illuminated in August of 1884 and was designed as a navigational aide to mark the mouth of San Carlos Bay. Its light is 98 feet above the ground and was created by a beautiful and very functionally complex, third order fresnel lens. Punta Rassa, on the mainland side of San Carlos Bay – across from Sanibel – near the current causeway is at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River and was at the time, a thriving port that among other cargos loaded many cattle to be shipped to Havana. The lighthouse was one of two identical lighhouses, the other was placed at Cape San Blas, on the Florida Panhandle. While en-route to Sanibel, the ship carrying pieces for both lighhouses sank, divers were dispatched and sucessfully recovered the lighhouses. The Sanibel lighthouse sits on the eastern edge of Sanibel, and although it is not open to public tours, visitors may walk around the base of it and enjoy the shelling on nearby beaches and views of North Fort Meyers and on clear days of Naples to the southwest. Also check out the Sanibel fishing pier just west of the lighthouse – ’cause you never know, it might just be your lucky day. For a detailed discussion of fresnel lenses, visit

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