Fort Pulaski

Before we left Savannah, we took a drive out to visit Fort Pulaski.  It was really an amazing structure.  The curved brick work was fantastic without a crack to be seen anywhere.

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Fiddler Crabs

When we were strolling along the board walk over the marshes and mud flats on Cumberland Island we spotted a whole bunch of Fiddler Crabs.  The males have one abnormally large claw that you can see in this photo or in the close-up.  There isn’t really much to give scale in this picture – the crabs are only about an inch across!

Cumberland Island Beach

After we hiked around the Dungeness Ruins and through the marshes, we headed out to the beach.  It was absolutely beautiful.  The water was clean and warm.  We hung out on the sand and swam for a couple of hours.

A pair of horses wandered out to the beach while we were there and entertained us by frolicking in the water and then rolling around in the sand.

Cumberland Island

After we left the Okefenokee Swamp we headed to Crooked River State Park near St. Marys, Georgia.  On Saturday, we visited the Submarine Museum.  St. Mary’s in the home of one of the Naval Submarine Bases.  The museum was an interesting place to visit but it was really more of a collection of submarine memorabilia. It was worth the visit, though.

On Sunday,  we headed over to Cumberland Island National Seashore. You have to take a ferry and National Park Service limits the number of people who can visit the Island each day since much of the Island is protected as Wilderness Area.

The Island used to be the home of several of the Carnegie families with their large estates.  The first Carnegie mansion was built by Andrew and Lucy in the early 1900’s and was called Dungeness.  It is now in ruins after a fire destroyed it in 1959.  We enjoyed touring the Southern part of the Island and seeing the various wildlife that roams everywhere.

I thought the Sepia treatment made the pictures of the ruins a little more interesting that just falling down buildings:

Okefenokee Surprise

When we were packing up to leave the Okefenokee Swamp, we had an unexpected surprise.  While we spent the day in the Swamp paddling down the Suwannee River, a bird built a nest in one of our chairs.  The chair had only been folded up for only one day but there was a complete nest in it.

Okefenokee Swamp

Prior to our current stop at the Crooked River State Park, we had been staying in the Okefenokee Swamp at the Stephen C. Foster State Park.  It is really an amazing place to visit and the bugs weren’t even really that bad.  We never saw many mosquitoes but I was annoyed by the yellow flies that bite in the evening!  I enjoyed watching the dragonflies hunt down the other insects.

After several days of discussion, I finally convinced Alan that we should take a John Boat out into the swamp.   The State Park rents canoes and boats with small motors for a very reasonable price.  The alternative was to go on a ranger-guided boat ride.  I thought it would be fun to take a boat out onto a Fork of the Suwannee River and have lunch at one of the shelters.

We got a reasonably early start (for us.)  The Swamp was really cool.  It looked like we were on a movie set.  There were dozens of alligators and we saw deer feeding right along the River.

Our first stop was Billy’s Island.  It used to be inhabited with a whole town before the Swamp became a National Wildlife Refuge in 1937.  We pulled into the dock and took a little stroll around the Nature Trail, saw some of the rusting relics and visited the cemetery.

There were a couple of shelters along the river.  We stopped at the Big Water Lake Shelter for lunch.

On our way back, the motor made a big bang noise and that was it.  I understand from Alan that there is some kind of pin that probably broke.  That meant that we had to start paddling.  At this point, we were almost 9 miles from the main dock.

The paddling didn’t go too bad.  Luckily, we were going down stream.  Alan figured if we kept paddling steadily, it would have taken about 4 hours to get back.  We passed a couple of men fishing who later passed us going home.  They said they would tell the Ranger we were stuck.  The Ranger in the Search and Rescue boat with the big motor came to get us when we had about 2 miles left to paddle.  We got towed back.  The ride was pretty cool – we were slaloming through the trees.

I had a great time.  I didn’t even mind paddling although I suspect I will be sore tomorrow.  We got to hear the birds and watch for more wildlife.  I may not have been having so much fun after another two hours, though.   I would call the day a great success even if it didn’t go as planned.

Out of the Swamp

We have made it safely out of the Okefenokee swamp where we spent the last fours days without any cell service, really bad TV reception. Before you ask – the biting yellow flies were annoying but overall the bugs weren’t as bad as we expected!

I have some great pictures and an adventure story to post as soon as we have a wifi connection. For now we are staying at the Crooked River State Park in Georgia. We are hoping to be able to take the ferry to the Cumberland Island National Seashore tomorrow.