Thursday, March 5, 2015

Ancient Secret Beach in South Carolina

It's not so secret, but ancient is definitely a way to describe this beautiful, untouched beach just south of Kiawah Island.  I haven't been to visit this magical place before because I thought the only way to get to Botany Bay was in a boat.  I was wrong.  You can visit by driving through the old plantation, and walking about a quarter mile.  You are not allowed to take any of the shells home with you, which I must say was the biggest challenge.  If you do, you can be charged a maximum fine of $470.  Check out the majestic beauty of Botany Bay.

Dirt road leading to the ancient beach.

167 Loggerhead nests?!  I hope that is a true number.

Many of the trees are not uprooted, but I do find beauty in it all.

Because of the no shell regulation, people decorate Botany Bay with the shells they find.

This looks photoshopped.  Amazing oaks waiting their inevitable demise.  They can't survive in salt water, unfortunately.

Now - you all know this was hard for me.  This ancient Channeled Whelk was tempting me.  Look at that texture!!

This lovely line of mostly "Knobbies" (Knobbed Whelks) were waiting for me to snap this photo.

Littered with beauty.

Sand Dollars were flipped up onto the shelly bank.

Botany Bay is a dense forest of oaks and palms, and then it abruptly ends.
I recommend visiting when you are in the area.  It's also an easy day trip from Charleston.  Stop at Flowers Seafood Co. on the way back home too!  Here are some additional sites with more information on Botany Bay:

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
South Carolina Information Highway - and some great pictures
Yelp Botany Bay

If you visit Botany Bay, I would love for you to share your pictures with me!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Thousands of beautiful stars washed up on America's #1 Beach

Seriously.  Kiawah Island was voted by Conde Nast Traveler as the #1 beach in the United States.  And, yesterday after a little bit of work on the island, I moseyed over to see if the recent storms washed anything interesting up on our 10 miles of pristine beach.  Dressed for church and work, I wasn't exactly fit for a stroll along the beach, especially in my 3 inch suede booties.  You should have seen some of the looks I received from appropriately dressed beach combers.  It was worth it though - what a scene.  Check out all the Starfish littered along Kiawah Island:

Assumed this Starfish was alive.  I left it undisturbed.

The weather was almost as lovely as the beach.  60 degree temperatures made it difficult to leave.  Matthew and I had a company party in Mount Pleasant, so I had to go.  Check out the shot of this freight and the Ravenel bridge.  "I wish I didn't live in Charleston and work on Kiawah Island" said no one ever.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Joyous Exhausting Island Life

My husband and I had the pleasure of staying on Kiawah this past week.  I work out here everyday, but we live in downtown Charleston.  This week I had no commute.  You would think that would give me extra time in the morning and the afternoon, perhaps even granting the ability to sleep in.  On an island?  Are you kidding?  Matthew and I started laughing out loud yesterday as we spoke of how exhausted we were; fondly I may add.  There is just so much to do, especially with the tide perfectly falling on non working hours all week.  We woke up to watch the sunrise, fished at low tide, shelled when we weren't fishing, and rode bikes when we could fit it in.  I even stumbled upon loggerheads hatching.  Are you kidding me?  And, we weren't on vacation.  We both worked full days fitting in the adventures.  I have captured some of the surprises and gifts Kiawah Island bestowed on us this week.

The two videos of the Loggerheads I will post last, because I know what will happen.  You will become mesmerized and would never view the other pictures if I put them first :). 

Kiener Whelk

One of the many found this week.  Each one feeling like the very first.

Spottail Bass.  In the slot.  (I am in SC now, so trying to call it the local name).

Sunrise - if you look closely you can see the Shrimp Boats on the horizon.

Fall sunset, and moments before I spot the Loggerheads.


Spottail Bass.  I love the purple and blue tints these have in South Carolina.  Gorgeous and incredible fun to catch.

Sunrise above, sunset below, same day and perfect island life.

Lovely gift.

Perfect light timing.

Not only are we joyously exhausted, but we have loads of laundry and de-sanding to do.
Shrimp Boats - hardest working dudes on the coast.

I hope you all are enjoying this beautiful fall.  And, even if you can't get to the coast, I hope this helps you feel like you are visiting the coast, wherever you are.


Monday, August 25, 2014

What is your favorite thing to hunt and gather?

You would think that I would have a favorite gem as a goal in mind as I hit the beach.  And, many times I do.  But more often than not, the best thing about a hunt and gather is not knowing what you will find.  I haven't had a lot of time to hunt and gather this summer, but at least I work on Kiawah Island, and when there is a second to spare I find myself combing it's incredible ten mile beach, one sand dollar and/or critter at a time.  Here are some recent finds:

Sand Dollars remain one of my favorites.  They seem to be plentiful on Kiawah Island.

Each sand dollar I find feels like the first.

Loved finding this blue crab riding out the low tide.

You can almost see how the ocean moved around this gem.

Looks like it's taking a nap, under a blanket of sand.

A great sand dollar day.

Towards the end of my hunt and gather on this August afternoon, an old friend stopped by for a visit:

Happy hunting and gathering!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mild Starfish Obsession

Have you ever noticed that Starfish are different in North Carolina and South Carolina?  And technically, I know that I am calling it the incorrect name.  Whomever is in charge of changing names of aquatic organisms, has changed the name of the Starfish to a Sea Star.  I am never going to call a Starfish a Sea Star.  I think it's special how people grow up calling certain shells names that have been passed down by family members.  For example, the Lettered Olive is not a Lettered Olive in my family.  It is a Key Shell.  And, the Keyhole Limpet is a Chinaman's Hat.  So go on with your bad self.  Call it what you want, and I will too.  No judgement here.  (Yes, and I now realize that I am talking about a Starfish, and that this has become dramatic.  Sorry for the tangent.) 

I am excited to show footage of two Starfish I found on Kiawah Island on two different occasions. I had never seen a live Starfish move like these two do.  In North Carolina, Starfish are more orange and textured.  I have even seen a purple one in North Carolina after storms.  For some reason, South Carolina Starfish have a smoother texture, and a lovely sand color.  And, they like to perform.  Since I can't pick a favorite, I thought I would include all 8 videos of the starfish footage.  Enjoy!

Which one is your favorite?


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kiawah Island Love

I have to say that I don't love July 4th crowds or islands.  The crowds and hoop-la of a holiday weekend on an island, make it an island that I don't recognize.  My love of being on an island is mostly a result of feeling like the only person there.  The coveted isolation and personal relationship with that island is something I crave and need.

The great thing about Kiawah Island, SC is that it is 10 miles long.  And, on the east end of the island is a creek you must cross to get to a great shelling sand bar.  So, not everyone is willing to take the plunge to go over.  So, this July 4th I found my island love, and 28 sand dollars.

Here is a sample of my independent and American finds:

Matthew also did some fishing, and brought home some free flounder who were uncomfortable with their new confinements.  (Bit of a grainy picture, but he was far away from me).

I hope you all enjoyed celebrating our nations birthday!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I am the worst blogger ever...Kiawah Island is a dream!

Do you sometimes realize you are something, but you actually never embraced that something?  Maybe it's because you don't like the "marketing term" it gives you, or in my case, you are slightly insecure or scared what that term may mean to the public.  And, when I say insecure, it's completely out of respect for people who are really what they are.  I'm talking about being a blogger.  I'm terrible.  I don't do what you are supposed to do, and although I am okay most of the time with how badly I am at being a blogger, I do think about it. With that said, I continue to keep the blog doesn't just go away.  It's in cyberspace.  By the way, I am dying laughing right now because I actually just used the word cyberspace.  And, now I just realized that I am copying my cousin who does this italicized visual option when she is talking as her real self.  Sorry Anna!  (But, for those of you who don't know her blog, it is a REAL blog -, and it's really badass).  I'll stop now, Anna, forever - no more copying. BUT, I think I just got away with using the word cyberspace with that strange tangent..

That entire paragraph is just a small window into my completely complex (not trying to give myself a compliment), somewhat smart and very distracted brain.

I was trying to say that I don't think of myself as a blogger.   I'm trying to build a brand.  I used to hate to write until I went to business school and I had to write.  Compared to my "colleagues" (nice work trying to get us to use that word), I was the worst in my class.  I learned how to do it though, and actually started to enjoy it.  But, it doesn't come easy to me.  It takes A LOT of time for me to write something I am not embarrassed by - and many times, it's just easier not to write it.   And, I don't even know if I'm doing it correctly. Seriously though - time wise -  now that I am working full time and trying to keep my business alive, how can I even have the time to be a blogger.  And, I don't even have children.  How do you working Momma's do it? 


Regardless, I am going to try harder.  Because it's a passion.  Not just shelling, but the coastal outdoors - the fact that many children don't go explore these outdoors - the primitive joys of catching your own food, cooking it, and eating it - exploring not only barrier islands but new cities - taking a chance on something new even if it makes you uncomfortable - looking someone in the eye and discovering a new and different character that brings your personality out more - being real - waking up and instead of rolling over, jumping out of bed to see what this day can bring!  It's really about being more positive, but even more so, it's about experiencing what is really out there to live.

My husband, Matthew and I, moved to Charleston a month ago.  I work on Kiawah Island.  Matthew found the job posting online.  My negative outlook on that posting said, "I have never gotten a job from an online posting, but why not."  I got a call 20 minutes after posting my resume, and a job a week later.  Matthew laughs that of course I got a job on a barrier island.  And, WHAT a barrier island.  10 miles long, pristine beach - the sand sticks to the bottom of your feet as you walk.  I'm from a beach - a lovely beach with tropical waters and different types of barrier islands - ones that require dredging often.  (I have to say, I was worried moving here to Charleston - I thought I might love it more than Wrightsville Beach.  I do love it, but Wrightsville is my home, and being on Kiawah makes me miss it more - but what a gift!  To work on an island, and to be reminded of the one I grew up on and learned from).

The second weekend we lived in Charleston, I was working on Kiawah that Saturday Morning.  After some showings, I met the husband at The Beach Club for lunch and a walk east to shell.  It was just what I needed.  It's not Wrightsville, but it is home.  Islands have a way of making me feel at home.

Look at the gunk (official term)...oh, and Kiawah Golf Resort's Ocean Course Clubhouse in the background.

My first sand dollar as a Charleston resident.  (My favorite shell to find)!
Kiener whelk I happened to find by stepping on tips of it, as it was buried in the sand from the tide.

My love, The Horseshoe Crab.  Kiawah is a Horseshoe Crab haven.  Live, and unfortunately dead.

The dollar.  My favorite dollar.  (I am rolling my eyes at myself).
Cheers from the coastal low country!


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