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Linda and Seamus USA Trip2
17th Nov 2011 - 21st Nov 2011
Hunting Island

We left Edisto Beach at around midday and made our way to Beaufort in South Carolina where we were going to shop, dine out and spend the night in yes, you guessed, a Walmart car park.  So, with the shopping done and Linda having had a haircut we headed over to Ruby Tuesday for dinner.  This was our first time eating here and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  We had the salad bar which was delicious, accompanied by two hot garlic and cheese biscuits (similar to a scone) and then a main course.  When we arrived back at Harvey we discovered we had a buddy for the night - another RV had parked parallel to us.  All was well until 4am when they decided to send in a team to clean the carpark.  We slept fitfully after that until 7.30am.  This is twice now that we have been disturbed by the car park being cleaned - we are thinking of putting in a complaint to the management!!!  In the morning we decided that we would do our laundry whilst in Beaufort and we also needed a post office and as luck would have it both were en route in the same parking area and even better there was a Walgreen's opposite where Linda could top up on her favourite bite cream in readiness for Hunting Island. 

We eventually got on our way and discovered that we were in armadillo country as we passed two that were dead on the side of the road.  Linda also saw two glossy ibises but alas there was no time for a photo.  We approached a large bridge and noticed that there was a group of people waving boards around.  We wondered what on earth was happening - the boards were blocking our route.  Just as we got to them we could see that they were protestors who were claiming that the bridge that we had just got our wheels was not structurally safe!!!  Too late, there was no turning back even if we had wanted to and so we crossed the drawbridge with everything crossed.  We arrived at the park at about 1.30pm and were greeted by two camp hosts smelling strongly of bug spray - not a good sign.  We found our spot, got set up, had a quick bite to eat and then headed for the beach. The site looked as if we were on a tropical island with all the palm trees and the beach reminded us of Botany Bay Plantation beach as there were so many trees that had found themselves in the sea as a result of erosion.  It was a lovely flat beach and it was possible to cycle it at low tide and so we put this on our agenda for some point during our stay.  We found another two sand dollars but unfortunately one broke.  We were amazed at the thousands and thousands of birds (we could see scoters and scaups) resting out at sea.  They were possibly taking a break during their migration to the south.  We were again treated to the sight of dolphins fishing close to shore.

We awoke to a cold and windy morning on Friday with temperatures in the mid 50s and so we did not venture out on our bikes until 11am.  We cycled along the main highway towards Fripp Island and stopped off at a wildlife viewing area.  We heard a bird making a lot of noise and when it landed we could see that it was a belted kingfisher and so Seamus approached it carefully from the road to try to get a good shot whilst Linda remained on watch in case it moved.  We were pleased with the results.  We cycled on to a boardwalk area and here we saw a flock of ruby crowned kinglets and we spent a while trying to get a good photo - hmm better luck next time.  Then it was on to the nature centre where they had a good display of live snakes, turtles and terrapins.  From the nature centre we walked out on a pier and watched dolphins fishing.  We decided to cycle back via one of the trails which passed the visitor's centre.  Just outside of the building was an algae covered pond with a fountain in which a female alligator had set up home (we didn't see her).  We watched a film about the history of the island and the lighthouse in the centre and then we headed back to Harvey.  We saw another kingfisher, yellow throated warblers, woodpeckers, nuthatches and a tree creeper on the way back but we missed out on getting a photo of the latter.  By the time we got back it was 3.30pm and we were definitely ready for lunch.  It had started to get cold again and it got dark at around 5.30pm.

On Saturday we had an enforced day of rest as Linda was feeling decidedly off colour.  She had awoken to a huge bite on her ankle that had swollen and she generally felt unwell.  We managed just a short walk on the beach and spent the rest of the day in Harvey.   

Thankfully on Sunday Linda was feeling better although her ankle was still a little swollen.  It was another gorgeous day and so we decided that we would walk along the beach to the lighthouse as it was not too far to go. It was, however, still very uncomfortable for Linda to walk very far as her walking boots were irritating her ankle and it started to swell again.  We abandoned the walk and took to our bikes.  This was much better even if it was much further to go to the lighthouse by road.  We purchased our tickets to go up to the top of the lighthouse and started the climb.  On every platform on the way up there was information on the lighthouse's construction and operation and it was very interesting.  All went remarkably well and Linda managed to get to the last set of steps when her fear of heights took over.  There was no hand rail on the lefthand side of the last flight of steps and that, together with the fact that she was beginning to feel just how high up she was finished Linda off and Seamus climbed the last part alone and took the required photographs.  

In the early hours of Monday morning we experienced our first violence since being in the USA but thankfully it was just two racoons arguing over something.  It woke us both up and we were so busy watching that we didn't manage to get a photograph before it was all over and they each went their separate ways.  On Monday morning Linda felt completely recovered from her bites and her ankle swelling had virtually disappeared and so we decided to cycle out to the Education Centre by road and then cycle back on the trails as it was such a lovely ride.  However, the best laid plans and all that........  We set off after Linda had sprayed herself liberally with bug spray.  We thought that we would look at the beach first and it was then that the plan was delayed because the tide was out and you could cycle along the beach.  Neither of us had ever done this before and so we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  It was so hot by the sea that Linda remarked that it was not bug spray she should be covered in but sun screen!!  The tide turned and we left the beach to start on our original plan and thoroughly enjoyed retracing our tracks of a few days before.  However, this time there were no kingfishers, kinglets or dolphins to be seen which just showed how you needed to be in the right place at the right time to see the wildlife.         

Next: McIntosh Lake, Townsend, GA
Previous: Edisto Beach, SC

Diary Photos

View from Harvey en route to Hunting Island

Looking up the beach at Hunting Island

The Belted Kingfisher

A view up the river from the cycle path

Hunting Island Lighthouse

Seamus enjoying his bike ride on the beach

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