Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hunting Island State Park, SC

Hunting Island State Park, SC
There are many buffer islands in South Carolina, that keep the ocean from getting to the mainland. The sea takes beach from one and delivers it to one further south. It's been a pattern for a long time till people came along and started putting in levees and groins and messed up the system. Now some islands are washing away as easily as Elmer's glue is washed from your hair.
Poor Hunting Island is one of those unfortunates, so I am glad I've gotten to spend some time there while I could. The beach is littered with the bones of dead palm and pine trees, bleached skeletons that haven't quite been taken out to sea yet. The light house is in its third location and the ocean is creeping up on it fast. It's a relic from a long ago past, but once the ocean reaches it, I don't know if people will care enough to save it by moving it once again. The first one was 1/4 mile from the ocean but during a hurricane in the 1800s it was obliterated and the remains are over a mile out to sea. The second one was near the northern part of the island, was sectional just so it could be moved if needed, and sure enough, it had to be moved within a few years of it's creation. Now it's been in the current location for a hundred years, but back then it was almost in the middle of the island, now it's on the edge.

I stayed two nights at Hunting Island, I enjoyed it so much. The nights were quite cool but the days warmed up. I've never spent much time at the ocean so didn't really grasp what was so special, especially if one isn't into sunbathing or surfing, both are activities that would be chilly this time of year. The first night the sun set with a few thin clouds in the west that cast a raspberry color over everything. The ocean itself became silver blue....well, I'll let the pictures speak the thousand words.

Dolphins hunting in the shallow waters at low tide
near the Fripp Island bridge.

On the north side, the island is more an island in a sea of marsh grass, not ocean, but it's clearly an island. Open sections of mixed fresh and sea water snake through the grass, changing course over the flat expanses. To the south, a bridge leads to a gated town of about a thousand large homes, complete with shopping center and restaurants. It's called Fripp Island. One of the park maintenance men told me that if I were to go over to the gate house, I'd be told to "turn around and get the Fripp outa there!".

On the last morning, out shooting some of the prettier sights in the early morning sun, a old fisherman told me I ought to go over to that bridge and watch the dolphins hunting in the low tide. So I packed up my little camp and headed over. Sure enough, there was a pod of about eight bottle-nose dolphins eating breakfast in the shallows under that bridge, competing with about 20 pelicans that dropped like bombs out of the sky and flew away with fish.

Looking up inside the light house.

Marsh grass and Mansions
Light house & Museum

Sea foam and Silver Sea

Tiny birds that skittered about in a flock.

Just had to snap this one!!