The beautiful reflections of the big red "Duncan Island" ship are
quickly left behind as we moved on
We pass the tug with its
interesting round repeated bumper patterns, which guides the
The paper mill becomes a
geometric design not in conflict with the world of nature here but just
a statement that the two worlds can and do co-exist. It is up to us to decide how peaceful that
relationship is. The Cormorants are drying their wings from a day of fishing as the wood chips are
being processed in the background.
Onward past the Captains
House where the Harbor Masters of old could see the ships coming into
harbor from the third story "crow's nest" and then race out to guide them safely into port.
We round the north end of
the island with more shrimp boats and the old Pogie
in the late afternoon sun. Although the Pogie's used for making fertilizer were fished out, the building
is still used as a site for making all kinds of nets, including shrimp nets but also nets used in sports.
The nets smell much better than the Pogie's which really stunk up the air for which I can personally
vouch from the experience of having camped just behind this area in Fort Clinch State Park in the 1960's.
The array of nets and
floats and rigging on the shrimp boats is a challenge for any
artist. This view
gives you a glimpse of a part of the net which is of great importance to me, the "Turtle Extruder",
a device designed to allow Sea Turtles the ability to escape entrapment. It is the dark green piece with
the ice cream cone shape hanging down underneath the big orange float. This trapdoor allows escape
once the sea turtle is inside the net. The design has been modified over time to make it better,
especially enlarging the opening to accommodate some of the larger turtles.
Rounding the north end of
our island we pass the Fort at the State Park and make our turn
Crossing the Cumberland
Sound and the Georgia State Line which is midstream we find the most
sought out sight on the South end of Cumberland Island, a herd of horses which live in the area.
They are to the left nestled in the edge of the dunes in case you don't see them.
As we round the end of
Cumberland we head up the back side of the island toward Beach Creek.
Kevin really likes to take a short trip up the creek if there is time. Cecelia, Kevin's wife and native
Amelia Island gal says "this is supposed to be a one hour trip but it never is because Kevin loves
the trip so much", even though he does it almost daily it is something he doesn't ever tire of doing.
Now that is what a job should be about.
One of my favorite trees
on this island is this massive oak with it spreading
branches. You see it
as you round the point and enter the mouth of the creek. It would only be accessible by boat I believe
or a very long hike on Cumberland.
Along the creek, brown
with tannic acid, are beds of Oysters reaching upward waiting until the
high tide to bring them another meal.
The creek is so
calm that it becomes a mirror for this beautiful stand of
Bathed with the glow of the sinking sun it is an especially warm hue.
It looks like a really
beautiful place to explore or a horrible place to fight ticks and bugs,
on your own perspective and possibly the time of year.
As we make the swing
around to head back to try to make the river before sunset you can see what
"The Grange" or the ruins of Dungeness, the old Carnegie mansion, across the marsh.
Overhead it is an
especially good time to see lots of birds as they
are searching for their roost for the
night. This Woodstork, America's only stork, shows off his beautiful flight with his massive wingspread.
It more than makes up for that ugly, wrinkly, bald head.
As the sun appears to set
the forest ablaze it becomes a race as the sun is not willing
to wait for us to
gawk at the many wonders along the creek.
|As we approach the river the sun almost reaches the horizon.|
In the other direction the
moon is already up in the sky telling us night is coming on that side
of the earth.
Kevin usually likes to
make it in front of Tiger Island but this time the sun wins the race as
quite make it but a great long distance horizon view as Mr. Sun sinks quickly out of sight.
|Only a glow is left, which in a few moments time fades into the softer colors of dusk.|
Sometimes this afterglow
gives you a second blast of brilliant color if the clouds are just
but with few clouds we are left with a quiet mood of pastel colors as some lucky boater has found
the seclusion of this quiet secret cove to spend the night.
Other boaters like the
moorings more accessible to town and its amenities. It is
a quiet place to stroll and toward the weekend even catch a tune at the local pubs. Never
a huge party town for visitors except for Shrimp Festival weekend when its at least 1 am before
we roll up the sidewalks. What looks like big city lights are in reality the lights of the paper mill
as it prepares to work on through the night.
Leaving the boat I catch
the last of our reflections. I recommend this boat ride for
all who visit our
island. You will get a visual treat as well as a great lesson in the history of the island. Cecilia's
relatives were lighthouse keepers from both her grandmother's and her grandfather's side of the
family. And although one was lighthouse keeper on Cumberland Island and the other on Amelia
Island they both were keepers of the "same" lighthouse. You will have to take the cruise to
figure that one out.
P. S. Shelly's trees were spared and she came yesterday for a visit in our yard. She tried to
come again yesterday afternoon but was chased away by our yard bullies.
I will try again today as soon as it warms up.
I am trying to determine if she might possibly still be
nursing but its difficult to tell with a squirrel which doesn't stay still long enough for your eyes to even
focus. It is not very evident if she is. With other mother squirrels I have seen you could tell even from a distance.
Oh well, time will tell but she is certainly more relaxed than she has been in the past couple of months.
Please - Do not release balloons into the environment...a request from me,
other Sea Turtle and Whale Watch workers!!!
From the whale watch folks:
It's been about 2 weeks since Valentine's Day was observed throughout the U.S. and many other countries. All day long,
love and affection among family, friends, and especially significant others was celebrated. However, this wonderful celebration
can also have harmful effects on marine animals. During the last few days, NEAq observers have frequently witnessed evidence
of Valentine's Day in the form of pink and red balloons scattered throughout the Central EWS survey area.
(Off Amelia Island and Jacksonville)
Balloons are detrimental to marine mammals, sea turtles, and birds because they can oftentimes be mistaken for jellyfish or other
prey (plastic bags pose the same problem). Marine animals ingest this non-biodegradable material (typically rubber or Mylar) and
then can't digest it. This causes intestinal blockage, which ultimately leads to starvation. Not only can balloons and other marine
debris be ingested, but it can entangle marine animals as well.
Do not take part in or promote "balloon releases" no matter how noble the cause because I have personally seen the
detrimental effects even just the strings have on entangling birds and know also from seeing photos of the damage what they can do when ingested by Sea Turtles.
Return to Stories List Return to ASJG Main