After Fort Fisher and the Aquarium, we hopped on the ferry at Fort Fisher to Southport. Count that as a first, taking the Aliner on a ferry! I have some great pictures, but again my computer says there are no new photos on my phone. Ha, probably 100!! Maddening when you’re as tech inept as I am. 😦 Anyway, it was fun, Xena got out of the car and there was another yellow lab on the adventure too.
I was thinking I’d take the people ferry from Southport to Bald Head, but since I’m really into undeveloped islands and it’s soooo developed, decided not. It was a bit of a drive to the next destination anyway so we just drove on down the road, staying on beach roads when possible. When we got to Myrtle Beach, stayed on the bypass this time but they were having an air show, the road was closed and detoured to the beach road wouldn’t you know. LOTS of traffic, people parked and sitting on their car hoods or blankets everywhere including on the closed roads. I saw a few of the trickster flipping planes go over and was glad when I finally got to the other end of Myrtle Beach. I did however pass under a huge ferris wheel that goes over the road! Is that always there, or special occasion? Looked permanent. I really really never need to go to Myrtle Beach again! Or through it!
Didn’t make any stops til we got to the Santee Coastal Refuge, just north of the Frances Marion National Forest. This area is truly a wonderful section of the SC coast, huge section of totally undeveloped seashore and coastal forestland, wildlife/ nature/ marine refuges. Santee Coastal Refuge isn’t even on the map, if you google Santee, you’ll get a state park on Marion Lake (Santee River dammed for lake), but the Refuge is the place to go if you like undeveloped wilderness. The small campground, only 9 sites, tho I’m sure others could get in too, is wonderful. Large sites (that’s why others could get in between), with picnic tables and fire rings. It’s primitive camping, no hookups, not even water anywhere, so you have to bring your on in. Quiet, beautiful, peaceful. I was able to let Xena go free without leash. Don’t you know she loved that. I loved it too. She didn’t go anywhere, I knew the only trouble she’d get into would be to go visit others campers and beg, but the first night there were no others. The 2nd night there was a guy in a tent and sure nuff she went a visiting. He was very nice and loved on her a lot and luckily didn’t have any food out. Really great trails too, some through marshes and wetlands used as rice fields – lot’s and lots of birds, great bird watching, and lots of bird watchers too there for the day. And of course alligators!
After a very enjoyable couple of days at Santee, we went on down the coast. Checked out Isle of Palms. And Sullivan’s Island, the entry point of nearly half of the captive Africans shipped to North America, near Charleston. Sullivan’s Island is where tens of thousands of captives arrived from the West African shores between 1700 and 1775. It served as a quarantine station to protect the colonists from infectious diseases the captives (and others) might carry. Those who passed through this site account for a significant number of the African Americans now residing in the US. This painful history makes Sullivan’s Island a gateway through which many African Americans can trace their entry into America.
African culture persists along the Atlantic Coast including North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The mixing and African and European cultures gave rise to the Gullah/Geechee culture that still exists today, especially along the SC coast. They have retained more of their African traditions of language, food, religion, crafts and folklore than any other African American community. This culture was recognized by Congress by creating the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor that extends from Wilmington, NC to Jacksonville, FL. There are excellent displays at the visitors center here.
But Sullivan’s Island has another history – Fort Moultrie. Yep another fort. They just line the whole east coast. As I’ve been visiting these forts, I’ve been thinking of present day military forts that also line the east coast. They usually interrupt our visits to the beach with low flying planes and helicopters, or “air shows”, and the sounds of practice bombing poor little “deserted” islands off the coast. “Deserted”, but full of wild life!. Just like America was “deserted” but full of Native peoples. And I think how in a few more hundred years folks will be visiting the ruins of these army bases and air force and marine bases and they’ll be thinking about the inhumane things we did at a later date.
Anyway, Fort Moultrie represents 2 centuries of seacoast defense, from the earliest European settlements to the end of World War II. Different sections of the fort and outlying areas, with typical weapons, represent a different historical period in the life of Fort Moultrie, actually 3 Fort Moultries. We know the stories by now, so I won’t rehash them. You can always google them. Don’t think I’ll be visiting too many more forts, I think the intrigue is wearing off, although the history and the buildings are still interesting.
We moved on through Charleston and a big loop to Hunting Island. It’s 10 oclock now, Xena’s already crashed and I’m on the way after having walked close to 6 miles on sand today, and more than 7 yesterday and 9 flights of stairs!! So with that little bit of suspense, I’ll catch that up later. And hope soon I can get the pictures.
Xena and Lynn