Sunday, November 9, 2014

Daufuskie Island, South Carolina

Men, freed during and immediately after the Civil War, and their families, made up almost all of the population of Daufuskie Island until near the end of the 20th century. Many of these people owned small farms or worked in the oyster industry. Daufuskie Island is listed in the National Register of Historical Places as of 1982.  It is a 5,200 acre island accessible only by boat or ferry and lies between the Cooper and New Rivers in South Carolina. Spanish and English explorers mention it in their writings as early as 1521 and again in 1665. Indigo was the main crop on the island before the Civil War. In 1861, when Union forces captured the sea islands, most of the plantations were abandoned by the plantation owners. Those that were left behind were the workers and their descendants. They continued living on the abandoned lands establishing small farms and eventually became involved in oyster harvesting.

Since Daufuskie is an island, it's only accessible by boat or ferry. We booked passage on the  Calibogie who provides daily trips to the island, transporting passengers and goods.

On the way to the island, we passed many beautiful plantation style homes lining the river.

Nestled among those trees is a small lighthouse to assist sailors in navigating the rivers surrounding the island. It is privately owned and sits at the end of Haig Point, a private enclave.

Along the way we kept an eye out for dolphins. We spotted two pods but none swimming close enough to our vessel for a decent picture.

After about 45 minutes, we arrived at the Freeport Marina at Cooper River Landing. The large building is the marina lodge where we enjoyed a delicious grouper sandwich.

After having lunch, we headed out the main road leading into the island. While vehicles are allowed on the island, they are not prevalent. Golf carts are the preferred mode of transportation here.

We decided to rent one of the many golf carts on the island and do a self guided tour of the island. Armed with a set of maps and tourist information, we headed out onto the "Attitude Adjustment Boulevard" to begin our exploration.

First thing we discovered was the south facing beach along the Atlantic Ocean.

The beach was uncrowded and provided an hour and a half of beachcombing for us. We found several sand dollars and many beautiful shells

Along the way, we found this big nest in one of the trees. It is the home of one of the bald eagles that frequent the island.

This is Daufuskie Island's oldest and largest oak tree. That home is a 1700 square foot home.

An early church on the island.

Behind the church above, is this small building. This one room structure was used as a "prayer" room. It housed several benches and many prayer books. Church goers would enter this room to pray quietly. Soon someone inside would begin a song and everyone would join in.

After exploring the island, we returned to the marina, turned in our golf cart and spent a few minutes relaxing on the deck of the restaurant waiting for our ferry to return to take us back to the mainland.

Finally, we spotted the boat coming into the port. I thought the bird house off the pier was unique.

The "Calibogie" arrives in port. The ferry was named for the Calibogie river which runs along the northern side of Hilton Head Island.
All good things must end, and we bid goodbye to Daufuskie Island.

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