Sunday, May 24, 2015

Kiawah Island's Sandy Point

Sandy Point has been Kiawah Island's best worst kept secret for a handful of years now.  That doesn't take away from the beauty and somewhat secluded island feel.  It just depends on when you visit.  

Growing up on Wrightsville Beach, I was lucky enough to share a boat with my twin sister and brothers.  And, having a destination in mind for our boat day was the priority.  Once you being these explorations, it remains in your blood.  I get a #saltgiddy feeling embarking on a boat heading to a barrier island or hammock.  Sandy Point is at the far east end of Kiawah Island, and it is miles long.  It didn't take long for people to discover this beautiful end, flocking from Folly Beach and other areas of Charleston.  It's separated by the Stono River and Inlet on the east, and Penny Creek on the west.  You can even see the old logging roads if you make your way up Penny Creek a bit.  But, I came for the shells.

People not only know about Sandy Point, they know sand dollars like this spit of island as much as anyone.  So, you better time low tide well, or be prepared for a long trek.  I prefer the latter.  There is something special, and such a rarity these days, to find a place where you feel so secluded that you almost believe you're alone on your very own private island.

Here are some of my favorite finds from the short visit:

Sand dollars, key shells (lettered olives), and baby's ears.

The tiny sand dollars were found at the high tide line.

Sandy Point, and Folly Beach in the distance.
Happy hunting and gathering!  And, Happy Memorial Day!
Margaret

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!

Cheers,
Margaret

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.



Cheers,
Margaret


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.

Amazing.

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.

Cheers,
Margaret


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!
Margaret


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?

Cheers,
Margaret











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!

Cheers,
Margaret

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