Enjoy the natural beauty, history and culture of the Lowcountry with Outside Palmetto Bluff. Outside Hilton Head’s Bluffton location offers Dolphin Nature Tours, Beachcombing Cruise, Full Tide Discovery Tour, Kayak Nature Tours, Outback Tour, Private Kayak Instruction & Tours, May River History Paddle, Introduction to Stand Up Paddleboarding, Daufuskie Island History Tour, Stand Up Paddle Nature Walk, Family Ski Day, the Ultimate Lowcountry Day, Kayak Fishing, Charter Fishing, Shark Fishing, Crabbing Excursion, Flats Boat Charter and The Bluffton Experience May River Cruise. Some events are seasonal, so please call (800) 686-6996 for availability and reservations.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced paddler, come join us in the fun and adventure of the fastest growing sport in the world! We offer Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) lessons, group and family outings and tours, sunset paddles, moonlight paddles, sunrise paddles, SUP race training, and even a little SUP yoga and fitness. (843) 368-8690.
Captain Joe has been fishing the waters of Hilton Head Island, SC for 20 years and uses his hard-earned knowledge to put anglers on fish. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a newcomer who wants to experience the waters of the Lowcountry, Captain Joe offers a fishing experience to meet your specific needs.
CHARTERS INSHORE OFFSHORE SPORTFISHING. Come onboard this 27-foot power catamaran: “The Stray Cat.” We’re hot and fast! Spend less time riding and more time fishing. Captain Jim Clark has been named to George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing A-Team. (843) 683-5427 or straycatcharter.com.
Extraordinary! Spectacular! Remarkable! Two grand clubhouses anchor Colleton River, the premiere private residential golf community in coastal South Carolina, located just minutes from Savannah and the world-class beaches of Hilton Head Island. The Pete Dye clubhouse is blessed with a magnificent sunrise, while the Jack Nicklaus Clubhouse enjoys stunning sunsets.
Hilton Head’s local golf package specialist. Hilton Head Island golf and accommodations packages. Let us customize your Hilton Head golf package. Our golf package specialists will package together the golf courses you want to play with the accommodations that suit your needs and budget. Golf only packages and TaylorMade club rentals also available.
Armed & Dangerous: A Humorous Look at a Lowcountry Oyster RoastTest
You never forget your first love…or your first oyster roast.
A high school seafood monger, I spent much of my formative years serving endless pounds of raw and steamed shrimp, scallops, clams, oysters, fish, crabs and lobsters to voracious hordes at Hadfield’s Seafood Market in Wilmington, Delaware. It was a traumatic experience—I still bear a physical scar from falling on a bag of live crabs while navigating an icy walkway between coolers.
Although I preferred my tuna from a can and despised most other forms of seafood, I thought I knew almost everything about the “fruit of the sea.” Yet, I was woefully unprepared for the social rules, pageantry and collective insanity of a Lowcountry oyster roast.
On my way to Atlanta after college graduation with dreams of finding a “real job,” I stopped to visit my grandmother at her retirement community on Hilton Head Island. I was allowed to stay in her apartment for six weeks and, 25 years later, I still haven’t left the Lowcountry.
Dinner at The Seabrook was a grand affair. Men were expected to wear jacket and tie, delicious entrees were ordered from a printed menu, a dessert buffet showcased a selection of high-calorie treats and a social pecking order determined where and with whom you were seated. A young adult in their midst was a novelty and my grandmother’s innate coolness soared to new heights as other residents vied to sit at our table.
Thanks to the dessert buffet, I gained 10 pounds over those six weeks, but became good friends with one of the dining room waitresses. A few weeks into our friendship, she invited me to her family’s holiday oyster roast. My grandmother was uncharacteristically giddy about the invitation, as if I was going to a grand gala.
“You’ll need to bring an oyster knife,” she declared while rifling through her kitchen drawers in search of said utensil.
“I’m supposed to arm myself for a party?” I innocently asked. “I don’t even eat oysters!”
She drew herself up to her full height of 4-feet, 11-inches, slapped the knife in my hand and gave me a pointed look. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she said. “It’s proper etiquette.”
Now, my mother was a Rock Hill debutante who instilled manners in my sister and I from a young age and I don’t ever recall being given a weapon before heading out to a social event. However, Grandma possessed an unerring sense of propriety, so I slid the short knife with its bulbous handle into my purse and set off across the bridge to Buckingham Landing.
My grandparents moved to Hilton Head Island in the 1970s, but we had rarely explored Bluffton and its environs. Buckingham Landing, where the ferry from Hilton Head used to dock before the bridge was built, was like entering a different world.
Traveling along a dirt road in pitch-black darkness, I only found the house because of a fire burning in the backyard and a dozen adults milling around holding beer in one hand and knives in the other. Country music blared and children stood around the fire holding red-hot spears topped with flaming marshmallows or smoking hot dogs.
Seamlessly blending in with my Philly accent and noticeable lack of shucking skills, I learned a lot at my at my first Lowcountry Oyster Roast. First, common courtesy dictates a host demonstrate opening an oyster or two for the uninitiated, otherwise a guest may starve or suffer serious injury from a self-inflicted stab wound. Second, if your beverage of choice is beer or something stronger, bring your own koozie, thermos or red Solo cup, so as not to offend non-drinking Baptist friends and family. Most importantly, an oyster roast is not necessarily about the food, but rather the camaraderie built standing around a fire or oyster table on a cold night sharing a meal and tales which grow taller with each retelling.
Fast forward 15 years and I’m married to a Lowcountry man who owns exactly two butter knives—the others were destroyed shucking oysters. We now host our own oyster roasts on a dirt road on the outskirts of Hardeeville complete with a blazing fire and white dishtowels purchased for the sole purpose of holding steaming hot oysters taken off the custom-designed metal roasting tray.
Our son mastered the art of shucking at a young age and will gladly teach you the technique. Just don’t forget your oyster knife.
The preceding article was written by Bluffton Breeze writer and editor, Allyson Jones.12
60 Colleton River Dr. | Yds 6,9,36 • Rating 76.1 | (843) 836-4400
2017 Summer Camp GuideTest
When school is out, camp is in! Get ready for the lazy, hazy days of summer with our handy guide to some of the best camps, clinics and classes taking place in Bluffton and beyond. From art and archaeology, dance and cooking, theater and sports, there’s something to entertain and enlighten every age and interest.
Top 5 Fall & Winter Golf Tips: How to make the most of your game this month.Test
Photo courtesy of Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort.
Whether you’re just learning to play golf or you’ve been teeing off for decades, it’s important to realize that golf is a sport that can take a lifetime to perfect. There are always new ways to refine your swing, practice your putt and improve your score. Fall’s refreshing weather encourages golf improvement.
As temperatures cool on Bluffton, this is an ideal time to refine your golf game and get “back to basics.” Here are a few of my top fall golf tips, to help you make the most of your game:
1. Don’t let the muscles in your hands, wrist and forearms provide the power for the swing. When you use those small muscles, your club and your swing get out of rhythm and sync. The body’s larger slow-twitch muscle fibers are more dependable under pressure. They provide the consistency you need to hit more shots with greater accuracy on the green and the fairway. When you swing slow, the ball goes fast. When you feel out of control, you are in control.
2. Stay relaxed. Encourage your body to stay relaxed and to allow the club to do its job. Respect the weight of the club, keep your body loose and keep your elbows close to your body. I recommend you stretch daily, starting with your hips, hamstrings and wrists. Frequently, in a lesson when the student becomes tense and performance deteriorates, I change the atmosphere by asking questions about other hobbies or vacation activities. This melts the tension away and performance improves.
3. Adjust your grip, depending upon the shot. For smaller shots, grip the club down low, put your weight on your left foot and use a modest backswing. For bigger shots, be sure to grip the club up high, widen your stance, use a long back swing and transfer your weight back and forward for more power. Let the club do the work. Fun-Da-Mentals make golf fun.
Photo: Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort
4. Don’t procrastinate. Your short game is where you have the greatest opportunity to reduce your score. I invite you to take my Shortgame 1 Class or a private lesson at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy, which will help you refine your skills. Most students say after the lesson, “Why didn’t I do this year ago?”
5. Think positive. So much of golf is mental and psychological. Feed relaxed, affirmative thoughts to your subconscious mind in order to maximize your swing. If you choose encouraging messages to guide you and apply solid fundamentals to your game, you’ll be able to succeed. Try our Mental Golf Workshop Class to make the most of your game.
Fall and Winter are one of my favorite times of the year in the Lowcountry. It is not too hot or too cool. You still need to stay hydrated, wear a hat and apply high-SPF sunscreen.
Make the most of your time on the golf course. I’ll see you out on the course!
By Doug Weaver, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort
Ranked the #2 Instructor in South Carolina by Golf Digest and a former PGA Touring Pro, Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy and leads “Where Does the Power Come From?” a complementary golf clinic and exhibition on Mondays at 4 p.m. For details and reservations for golf clinics, classes, lessons and on-course instruction, call (888) 322-9091 or visit palmettodunes.com.
Visit Savannah’s Historic SquaresTest
Savannah’s scenic jewels make this historic city remarkably beautiful and unforgettable.
The 22 squares in Savannah today provide locals and visitors alike with a little greenery amid all the businesses and historic houses. At one time there were 24 historic squares, but two were lost due to city development while others, such as Ellis Square, were redesigned and made even more appealing. These squares are surrounded by some charming churches, historic homes, enchanting inns and museums and are all shaded by huge live oak trees. On weekends you might see kids running around them with a football, a couple having a picnic in the grass or maybe even a proposal! Savannah’s squares are a hot spot for intimate, outdoor weddings in Georgia’s First City.
North to South:
Dedicated in 1790, this square is named for Benjamin Franklin, an agent for the colony of Georgia from 1768 to 1778. Just off City Market, this is the northwestern-most square. Montgomery & St. Julian Sts.
Designed in 1733 and named in honor of Henry Ellis, the second Royal Governor, Ellis Square has recently been re-stored by the City of Savannah. Here the “Old City Market” was located and mer-chants sold crops and wares. Barnard & St. Julian Sts.
A center of activity, Johnson Square was the first square laid out by General James Oglethorpe in 1733. Savannah’s largest square is named for Robert Johnson, a close friend of Oglethorpe. Bull & St. Julian Sts.
Originally called Lower New Square, Reynolds Square was once home to the Filature, where silkworms were housed in an effort to create silk in the Georgia colony. Abercorn & St. Julian Sts.
Located in one of the oldest areas of the city, Warren Square is named in honor of General Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary War hero, and was added in 1790. Habersham & St. Julian Sts.
Built at the same time as Warren Square, Washington Square once bordered the original Trustees’ Garden, where colonists grew a variety of experimental crops. Today it is the north-east-ernmost square in the city. Houston & St. Julian Sts.
Liberty Square was laid out in 1799 and is named in honor of the Sons of Liberty and the victory over the British in the Revolutionary War. Only a portion of the square still exists. It is the site of the “Flame of Freedom” sculpture. Montgomery between State and York Sts.
Laid out by James Oglethorpe in 1733, it is one of the four original squares and was known as one of the more fashionable neighborhoods of the time. Renamed in 1883 to honor the Telfair family, it is the only square honoring a family rather than an individual. It also contains a tribute to the Girl Scouts. Barnard & President Sts.
Originally called Percival Square, Wright Square is also the final resting place for Tomochichi, the Native American leader who helped General James Oglethorpe found the colony of Georgia. Bull & President Sts.
This square pays homage to General James Oglethorpe, founder of Savannah and the colony of Georgia, and is a perfect place to enjoy a picnic or a shady break. Abercorn & President Sts.
Taking its name from a popular nickname for the American colonies—Columbia—this square is a tran-quil spot away from the hustle and bustle of down-town. Nestled within the north-east quadrant of the Historic District, it is a favorite stop for Savannahians. Habersham & President Sts.
Named after General Nathaniel Greene, a general in the Continental Army and an aide to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War, Greene Square is one of the most beauti-ful squares in Savannah. Houston & President Sts.
Located near the Savannah Civic Center, Orleans Square commemorates General Andrew Jackson’s 1815 victory in the Battle of New Orleans, part of the War of 1812. This square features beautiful red tulips in the spring and a bubbling fountain all year long. Barnard & McDonough Sts.
Named in honor of the American victory in the Battle of Chippewa during the War of 1812, Chippewa Square is where Forrest Gump’s bench was placed dur-ing the filming of the movie by the same name. Bull & McDonough Sts.
Designed in the year 1841 and named in honor of William Harris Crawford, Crawford Square contains part of a nineteenth-century water cistern and features a gazebo. It also offers the city’s first paved basketball court for residents. Houston & McDonough Sts.
Pulaski Square is named for Polish Count Casimir Pulaski, a hero of the Revolutionary War, and is one of the few squares with-out a monument. This square features some of the most beautiful live oaks in the city, as well as thick ivy ground-cover. Barnard & Macon Sts.
Named for the fourth U.S. President James Madison, this square features vin-tage cannons from the old Savannah Armory and a bronze monument of Sergeant William Jasper. The Savannah College of Art and Design orig-inally opened in 1979 on this square. Bull & Macon Sts.
Named for French aristocrat and military officer Marquis de Lafayette, this square is home to the ornate Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and fea-tures quaint benches and cobblestone sidewalks. Abercorn & Macon Sts.
Troup Square features an armil-lary, an astro-nom-ical center-piece made of iron, that is support-ed by small metal turtles. Named in honor of Georgia Gov-ernor George Michael Troup, this is one of the most pic-tur-esque squares in the Historic District. Habersham & Macon Sts.
This square is home to Gordon Row, a block of 15 identical townhouses admired for their iron-work and unique doorways. Chatham Square is named in honor of the Earl of Chatham, an early supporter of the colony. Barnard & Wayne Sts.
With a statue of Casimir Pulaski at the center, Monterey Square is widely considered Savannah’s most picturesque square. The Mercer House, the set-ting for the murder in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is located on this lovely square. Bull & Wayne Sts.
This square, laid out in 1851, was named in honor of John C. Calhoun, a senator from South Carolina, who served as Vice President under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. It offers some of the best views of the Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church and the Massie School. Abercorn & Wayne Sts.
A popular place for weddings, Whitefield Square has a lovely white gazebo that has hosted count–less wedding cere-monies. The square is named for George Whitefield, an English clergyman who founded the Bethesda Orphan Home and served as a minister to the city’s ear-liest colonists. Habersham & Wayne Sts.
Art on the Outside: Michele Roldán-Shaw’s Dolphin Mural on Calhoun StreetTest
Mayfest is an amazing annual celebration of regional artists and artisans, but local painters, potters, sculptors, woodworkers, jewelry makers and craftsmen make Bluffton the “HeART of the Lowcountry” every day.
In addition to the colorful galleries, eclectic shops and tasteful eateries lining Calhoun Street and adjacent avenues, new public art occasionally pops up in Old Town. Recently, a painting of a mother and baby dolphin leaping out the water replaced D. Pierce Giltner’s weatherworn shrimp boat image on the corner of Bridge and Boundary Streets.
Giltner, an esteemed local artist who operated Gallery Without Walls next to The Store on Calhoun Street for several years, asked Michele Roldán-Shaw to create a new installment on the former Town bulletin board; prepping the wood, providing the paints and studio space and even installing the finished piece.
“It was his kind way of lending a hand to a fellow outsider artist—meaning we don’t have formal training or a lot of slick marketing behind us, so we have to be innovative and make our own way,” she explains. “I’m very grateful to Pierce for giving me this opportunity!”
Perhaps best known as a freelance journalist (and longtime Bluffton Breeze contributor), as well as the author of two true adventure tales called “Rambler’s Life,” Roldán-Shaw’s first love was art.
“I have been doing art for as long as I can remember,” explains the avid outdoorswoman. “However, I have no formal schooling—I just follow my own muse! When I moved to Bluffton 13 years ago, I started painting the local flora and fauna I saw in my explorations.”
For instance, her Lowcountry mural at the Coastal Discovery Museum includes a black snake slithering up a palmetto tree (a memory from a visit to Hunting Island), as well as a pod of dolphins with one tiny, black newborn fin in the center (as seen on Bull Creek). She also spent several years showing her art at various Calhoun Street galleries while painting more murals for businesses and private residences.
Today, Roldán-Shaw’s primary focus is on her writing, although she still does commissioned pieces and original artwork for family and friends. A table she had painted long ago with a mother and baby dolphin provided iconic inspiration for her most recent project.
“[Dolphins] are one thing NOBODY ever gets tired of seeing,” she says. “I am very pleased with how the painting has been received in the spirit of town beautification that everyone can enjoy.”
To view Roldán-Shaw’s gallery of artwork, inquire about painting commissions or learn more about her books, call (843) 304-3460 or visit ramblerslife.com.
By James Earl (d. 1796) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
From 1937 to 1975, when it was donated to the Fish and Wildlife Service, Pinckney Island was privately owned and managed as a game preserve. Established in 1975, the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge features more than 4,000 acres of wild Lowcountry beauty, including Pinckney Island, Corn Island, Big Harry Island, Little Harry Island, Buzzard Island and numerous small hammocks.
Nearly 67% of the refuge consists of salt marsh and tidal creeks, which support a diversity of bird and plant life. Wildlife commonly observed on Pinckney Island includes waterfowl, shorebirds, bald eagles, wood storks, wading birds, raptors, neo-tropical migrants, white-tailed deer and American alligators, with large concentrations of white ibis, herons and egrets.
The refuge offers ideal opportunities for hiking, bicycling, photography and wildlife observation.
Suggested Hiking/Biking Trips:
All trips begin and end at the parking area located half a mile from the refuge entrance; distances are round-trip.
60 Hilton Head National Dr. | Yds 6,731 • Rating 72.7 | (843) 842-5900
Holiday Cranberry Mule Recipe from Hilton Head DistilleryTest
The Cranberry Mule is a holiday take on the popular Moscow Mule. It is a perfect seasonal cocktail for a Christmas get together.
Holiday Cranberry Mule Recipe:
2 OZ OF AERMOOR VODKA
1 OZ OF CRANBERRY JUICE
5 OZ OF GINGER BEER LIME JUICE
Combine Aermoor Vodka and cranberry juice in a shaker full of ice. Shake, then pour over ice. Top off with ginger beer, add lime juice to taste and stir gently. Serve with fresh cranberries, lime and a sprig of rosemary for garnish.
A lifetime love of the sport passes through the generations.
Article and photo by Captain Miles Altman, Bayrunner Fishing Charters
‘Tis the season and, as usual, I spend a lot of time contemplating gifts. I have long since figured out the favorite gift I’ve ever received: the time and effort of a few people who introduced me to fishing.
The first, to the best of my recollection, was a tiny Japanese lady by the name of Jeannie. Being a Navy brat, I grew up on military bases, and Jeannie had married a sailor who was my Dad’s best friend.
I think I was around seven when she put me to the task of gathering a sack full of hermit crabs. We were stationed in Puerto Rico, and hermits were as plentiful as fiddlers are here in the Lowcountry.
She then took me by the hand and led me to the Navy pier, where she pulled out her hammer, cracking the shells and exposing the crab’s tail that it uses to anchor itself into the shell.
It turns out the crab tail is caviar to fish, and we were soon cranking in fish left and right. I remember very little of my early youth, but that memory has always remained clear and vivid.
Fast forward six years, and another gentleman entered my life, embracing the role of Dad, just as if I was his own blood. Being an avid fisherman and hunter, it was not long before he had me on the banks of the Columbia River fishing and catching steelhead and trout. The whole ritual of gathering the rods and tackle boxes, coupled with the anticipation of a foray into the wild, was euphoric.
Being blessed now with a son and daughter, I have tried to pass this on to my kids. My son Caleb, 16, has finally come full stride in his passion. This past summer, he was up at 5:30 every morning, assuming the role of first mate. He didn’t miss a single trip. The spark is definitely glowing in his eyes, and his latest aspiration has changed to marine biology, as opposed to NBA star.
My little Sarah, 10, has many trips under her belt and can tell you every fish she has ever caught, albeit not a long list.
Some of my favorite charter trips involve youngsters who have never fished. I get a lot of gratification watching the fire light up when they catch their first fish. In these days of technology, when children’s attention seems to be dominated with cell phones or video games, getting them in touch with nature and a bent rod is fantastic.
Caleb wants to go to Florida this Christmas holiday and catch his first sailfish. He has reeled in many fish over 40 pounds — including redfish, cobia and mahi — and wants to add billfish to the list. While we have them here, they are some 60 miles offshore, making it a long and costly journey locally. When the cold fronts of December roll through southern Florida, they congregate there within a mile of shore.
I can’t think of a better gift. Merry Christmas and God bless!
Capt. Miles Altman of Bayrunner Fishing Charters has more than 42 years of experience fishing Lowcountry waters. Don’t miss the Finatic boat, which accommodates up to 12 passengers and features a special 3-hour shark/dolphin eco-tour. Contact Capt. Miles at (843) 290-6955 to book an unforgettable inshore or offshore charter fishing trip, departing from Shelter Cove Marina.
Saltwater Fly FishingTest
A handful of local fishermen have been fly fishing in Lowcountry waters since the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, but the sport has been growing in popularity in the past five years. More than just a “yuppie sport,” saltwater fly fishing offers a unique challenge and an opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the area.
A year-round sport in the Lowcountry, saltwater fly fishing is especially popular in the winter months, when Redfish and speckled trout are abundant. In the summer, Spanish mackerel, Jack Crevelle, Lady fish and Bluefish can be caught in the Lowcountry’s nutrient-rich inshore waters. Offshore fish like dolphin (mahi mahi) cobia (in the Spring only), amberjack and barracuda can also be hooked on a fly rod. The average fish caught on a fly rod ranges between 18 and 40 inches.
Fly fishing, as a rule, requires generous doses of patience and skill. A sporting method of catching fish, fly fishing tends to be more active than conventional bait and tackle fishing because it requires frequent casting and constant involvement with the fish. Enticing fish to eat the fly is more challenging than using a lure or live bait.
With live bait, the fisherman usually throws the baited hook in the water and waits for the fish to take the bait. With fly tackle, the opposite principle applies: you literally take the fly to the fish.
As a result, sight is of primary importance when fly fishing. First, you literally have to see the fish in the shallow water. Then, you have to try not to spook the fish when you cast the fly. Redfish in particular can be easily spooked. If you slap the water too hard with the fly, the fish will swim away.
Presentation of the fly itself is crucial. Unlike flies, bait has a scent which naturally attracts fish. Accordingly, flies must simulate food in their appearance and motion. Flies with names like the Weber Rattleshrimp, the Clouser Minnow and Lefty’s Deceiver simulate the movement patterns of fish’s natural food sources. Shrimp, crab, mullet and minnows are among the most popular prey. With Redfish, where you put the fly in relation to the fish matters.
If you put the fly too close to the fish, it will likely flee the scene; if you put the fly too far away from a Redfish, it may not respond. Usually you’ll have two or three shots at a school of fish before you either hook up or spook them.
Redfish fly fishing is most successful in shallow water, on flats at, or near, low tide, with a water depth ranging from six inches to two feet. Because the water is so shallow, you can actually see the fish you’re trying to catch.
In the summertime, Redfish travel further inland into the flooded marsh grass. When the tide is 7 ½ feet or greater, the redfish swim up on fiddler flats to dig fiddler crabs out of the marsh mud. The fish’s tails stick out of the water as they burrow, making them easy to spot.
Saltwater fly fishing is not quite as popular in the summertime however, mainly because it competes with tarpon season. Saltwater fly fishing differs from freshwater fly fishing in that the equipment tends to be larger and heavier. The flies themselves are bigger as well. Also, a boat is usually required for saltwater fishing to access the places where schools of Redfish and other species congregate.
Best of all, fly fishing offers an opportunity to observe spectacular wildlife and to witness breathtaking sunsets. After taking a fly rod out on the water, many people discover that sight casting the flats is so much fun that fishing itself can sometimes feel secondary.
Staying Cool on the CourseTest
Staying cool is vital to a successful golf outing. Golf In Bluffton is fun because of the game—it is social and it is outdoors. However, the outdoor part can mean hot temperatures and ruin your game, as well as your fun. Here are 18 tips to help you keepyour cool during 18 holes and maybe lower your score, as well.
1. Golf carts have coolers on them. Items to put in the cart include:
• Drinks with energy, electrolytes and vitamins
• Small, damp towels that can be used to wipe your skin or place on your neck and face
• Lotions and bug spray
• A spray bottle with water for a quick refreshing spray
2. Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably light in color. Long-sleeved shirts are a good idea.
3. Sunscreen applied before and during the round will protect and cool your skin.
4. Take your shoes off occasionally and wipe your feet down with the cool towel in the same way you wipe your hands, arms and neck. The cooling effect goes through the skin into your arteries and veins cooling blood circulating to other areas.
5. Hit the ball into the shady areas. Oh, wait! Most of you already do that.
6. Wear a hat with a wide brim. Some hats can be soaked in cool water without losing their shape.
7. Avoid caffeine and alcohol while on the course, as these will promote dehydration.
8. Bring a fan. OK, I am joking. Consider the moving cart a fan with gentle breezes to keep you cool.
9. Eat a smart meal before the game.
10. During the round, enjoy small snacks of cold fruit or low-fat dairy products.
11. Play early. There are tee times available at 6:45 a.m. allowing you to finish 18 holes by 10:45 a.m.
12. Golf is much more fun as a family or with a group of friends. I suggest making lunch your big group meal. It is indoors, food digests better during the day and it allows for an early or late round of golf.
13. Play late. Tee off between 4-5 p.m. to finish between 8-9 p.m.
14. Less is more. Wear little to no makeup, accessories or jewelry and don’t forget to tie your hair up.
15. Wear golf shoes designed like sandals.
16. Wear sunglasses.
17. Play good golf! When playing well your emotions are calm which allows you to stay cool.
18. If your play makes you mad, then call a pro for golf lesson. You will play better and keep you cool.
Remember golf is a skill. Apply these tips and have more fun!
Written by former PGA Touring Pro, Doug Weaver, the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy. He conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free hands-on interactive clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. For more information, call (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or go to palmettodunes.com.
In the late 1600’s, enslaved West Africans were brought to the Georgia and South Carolina sea islands to tend the rice and cotton fields. As the Emanciapation Proclamation brought freedom, many fled to Hilton Head Island and its Union Army outpost to start the first freedman’s village in the United States: Mitchelville. Many of the decendants, known as Gullah, stayed on the Island. Throughout the years, the Gullah have protected their heritage through language, food and customs. Get out and explore the Lowcountry’s rich Gullah History:
• On Beach City Road, visit Queen Chapel AME Church (established in 1865 as a praise house for slaves) and the historic Mitchelville site where a new Historic Mitchelville Park is planned within the town’s Fish Haul Park location.
• The Penn Center, on St. Helena Island, is the site of one of the nations first schools for freed slaves. November’s Heritage Days event feature storytellers and music.
• SWEETGRASS SOUVENIRS: The intricate art of making sweetgrass baskets is one of the most treasured Gullah traditions in the Lowcountry. The craft has been passed down through generations for more than 300 years. A sweetgrass basket is made using a spoon handle to stitch together the sweetgrass. Buy a basket at roadside stands and craft markets in the area. You can event make one yourself at the Coastal Discovery Museum, which hosts basket-making classes through-out the year.
Surveying the horizon and tide table it became clear a river party should be organized. The tide was high and about to turn and, with nary a cloud in the sky, conditions were perfect for a long day on the water. The necessary preparations were made and by noon a lively crowd of neighbors and friends were gathered on the dock.
The crowd was a blend of youth and age, size and shape. The college guys stood tall and tanned in their aviator glasses while the younger teenage boys sulked in their shadows full of big teeth awkwardness and unsculpted baby fat. Girls of all ages milled about in their swimsuits or cover-ups. You could tell the generation gap by the amount of cotton covering their rear end. They all smelled of coconuts and island fruits and wore oversized sunglasses, each carrying the latest trash novel or fashion magazine in a large over-decorated shoulder bag. The men looked the most relaxed. Perhaps it was the Bloody Marys or the fact that none worried about how they looked in their suits. Either way, they stood at the edge of the dock inspecting some random object in the water. Most had bellies that flopped over the elastic band holding up their suit; most seemed not to care.
The group was a sight to behold. The men moored an old bateau to a small wooden barge, loaded it with coolers of beer, a small charcoal grill, crab lines and a picnic basket and headed across the river for a lazy afternoon. If lucky, they would catch a tan, a buzz and a bushel of crab. Cousin Shelby, acting as master of ceremonies, stood in the bow and christened the leaky contraption the “May River Queen” and with a plume of smoke from the motor, they were underway.
The sun burned white in the deep, cloudless sky as the May River Queen crept upriver. The day was hot, but not oppressively humid. The water was cool as people jumped to swim beside the slow-moving flotilla.
Everyone was in high spirits. River parties were both fluid and leisurely, an excuse to get out but not enough activity to warrant use of the mind. The small 35-horsepower motor struggled to push the heavy load against the opposing tide. The pace was slow and the strain of the engine’s hum hypnotic, perfect for catching rays on a hot summer day. A tattered, red and white striped umbrella flapped in the wind casting a shifting band of shade as it rocked in its rusted perch, offering the only protection for the smaller children as they huddled together out of the sun. The ladies lay on brightly colored towels, golden skin oiled and Ray Bans directed heavenward, their tongues wagging with the latest gossip. The slander dripped like honey from the hive.
“Oooh, have you heard what that Miller boy did last week; bless his heart. I bet he never saw her coming,” cooed one particularly knowledgeable matron from beneath her oversized hat and over-painted red lips.
A small radio tuned in the classic sound of 1960’s Motown, Philadelphia and Memphis, drowning out most of the conversation radiating from the girls’ side of the barge. The men gathered by the motor and smoked cigars and drank beer, talking of football and fishing.
“How them Jawga boo-dawgs gunna fair this season?” drawled cousin Shelby’s friend John.
“Aw, heck, Dooley will have them ready; ready to lose to Pat Dye’s Tigers that is,” mocked Doctor Norton, a physician from Atlanta who loved to razz Georgia football fans.
The party barge cleared Bull Creek and continued to snake its way up the May River to within sight of Potato Island. There the anchor was tossed on an emerging sliver of sand and several ladies who preferred the tidal sandbar and Danielle Steel to crabbing on the crowded barge were offloaded. The children scattered about like fiddler crabs on a hot dock, yelping and screeching among the adult’s legs as lawn chairs and coolers were taken ashore.
With half the crew comfortably settled on the sandbar, the May River Queen continued its journey to the mouth of a narrow creek just out of sight of the river’s boat traffic. The children watched with reserved curiosity as stinking chicken necks and thighs were pulled from the reeking bait cooler, fastened to metal pins, then carefully dropped overboard. Each child scrunched up their nose and let out a collective “peee-eww” as the grease from the chicken collected on the water’s surface; not much beats the spectacle of hand-line crabbing.
So, with lines left to chum in the water, the women resumed tanning and the men cracked another cold beer waiting for the crabs to bite. Patience is essential for hand-crabbing, almost as much as watching the water boil when you cook them. You have to let the greedy crab come feast on the meat, and become gluttonous to the point it will risk its life to hang on to the rancid piece of chicken. With the bait taken, the prize was then retrieved by gently reeling in “the blue” until a net grabbed the enraged, but helpless, greedy crab. The blue crabs were then deposited in a tall peach basket and the process repeated until the basket was full.
This was the typical process until one of three things occurred—one, the tide changed and the run of crab stopped; two, the girls got too sunburned to remain; three, the beer ran out. Yes, life on the river can spoil a lazy man. However, this afternoon there happened to be a fourth element. When the visiting preacher’s youngest daughter found a way to sit in the bucket of angry crabs, it was time to call it a day and head back to the sandbar.
By the time tears were subdued, lines pulled in and the barge set back in motion, the tide had turned. Upon reaching the sandbar, we found the incoming waters had already split the exposed sand in half. The others in the party seemed to hardly notice as they sat in chairs waist deep, wallowing in the warm summer currents.
“What’s to eat?” called Kathy from her chair in the water. “We’re half-starved, fire up that grill!”
And so, with less than 25 minute’s worth of dry land remaining, the men set out to fire up the hibachi and grill burgers. Apparently, the sun and fun impaired their ability to master flame. It took a ring of women holding towels around the little hibachi to produce any hope for cooked food. The tide rushed in closer and closer to the small band and, just as the white foam spilled between their toes, the coals lit. There would be food after all. And so, as rays and skates cruised by in the now ankle-deep water, the burgers cooked. Chairs and baskets began floating away in the tide. Mothers scrambled after children, children scrambled after floats and fathers scrambled after coolers. The whole affair was quite a sight.
After some quick maneuvering, the last chair and child were loaded on the barge as the sun began to dip into the horizon. Shelby waded through the waist-deep water with a platter of burgers for the crew who now sat sunburned and happy, feet dangling in the water. The May River Queen began its methodical push back to the home dock after a glorious day on the May. New memories forged by the changing of the tide.
Hilton Head Island beaches are some of the finest and most pristine in the Southeast. And since summer is in full swing and they are just a few miles away from Bluffton, now is the time to take advantage of them! Here’s all that you info you’ll need to know before you go.
Public Beach Access:
Alder Lane Beach Access, off South Forest Beach Dr.
There are 23 metered spaces at Alder Lane, 54 metered spaces at Folly Field and 13 metered spaces at Burkes Beach Road. The parking fee is a quarter for each 15 minutes.
Additionally, there are 207 spaces at Driessen Beach Park for long-term parking. The fee is a quarter for each 30 minutes during the week.
The majority of parking spaces at Islanders Beach Park are reserved for annual beach passes, but there are some metered spaces.
Parking at Driessen Beach Park for annual beach passes is reserved from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Parking is FREE at Fish Haul Park, Mitchelville Beach Park, Coligny Beach Park and at Chaplin Community Park, adjacent to Burkes Beach. Handicap parking is available at no fee at all parks.
Restrooms, changing areas and sand showers are available.
Turtle nesting site and warning sign. Photo: Amber Kuehn.
Possession or consumption of alcohol
Glass (bottles, containers, etc.)
Indecent exposure or nudity
Disturbing the peace
Fires and fireworks
Horseback riding or motorized driving
Removal, harming or harassment of any live beach fauna (sea turtles, sea turtle nests and sand dollars, etc.)
Removal, alteration or damage to dunes, sea oats or other indigenous dune flora
Operation, launching or landing of unauthorized motorized watercraft
Unauthorized commercial activity
Sleeping on the beach between midnight and 6 a.m.
Unauthorized wearing of life-guard emblems, insignias, etc.
Solicitation or distribution of handouts
Kites not under manual control
Additional Prohibitions In Designated Swimming Areas – Peak Season: (Between sunrise and sunset, April 1 – Sept. 30):
Fishing or surfcasting
Surfboards, boogie boards, etc.
Frisbee or other sports involving a ball
Games with metal components
Stunt kites and sand sailing
Designated Swimming Areas:
Official swimming areas have been designated for the Alder Lane, Coligny, Driessen, Folly Field and Islanders Beach Parks. The boundaries will be clearly marked on the beach and in the water. Lifeguards are stationed at these designated areas for assistance and beach information.
Beach Marker Signs:
Hilton Head’s beaches are marked near the dune line with signs to let emergency responders know where assistance is needed. They are also useful as a reference point if you or your group should become lost.
Animals are NOT permitted between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. Animals MUST be on a leash between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., April 1 through the Thursday before Memorial Day and the Tuesday after Labor Day through September 30. Pets must be on leash or under positive voice control at all other times. Persons in control of animals on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of excrement. Ordinance signs are posted at most beach access points.
Please take care of our beaches and leave only your footprints!
22 Callawassie Club Dr. | Yds 6,944 • Rating 74.1 | (843) 987-2161
The Power of the TidesTest
By Mike Overton, Outside Hilton Head
In May of 1979, I was a fledgling college student with an idea of opening a windsurfing school.
On a whim, a truck loaded six windsurfers and equal parts of excitement and anxiety into my car as we ventured into unknown territory. I had never traveled south of Washington, D.C., and by the time I hit Coosawhatchie, it was pitch black, without a single light between I-95 and the open drawbridge from Bluffton onto Hilton Head Island.
The following week, I booked my first customer, taking him to the Shipyard Beach Club to introduce him to the sport of windsurfing. He had a horrible time: he cut his knees, got stungby a jellyfish and requested a full refund. I was devastated, but went back to the drawing board, did some research and found out that the #1 key to success for a windsurfing school was location. This meant somewhere with flat, safe water and consistent winds. My hunt was on.
Eventually, someone recommended that if I wanted great advice about opening a business on Hilton Head, I should speak with Charles Fraser. After a few weeks, I was able to secure a 10-minute appointment with Mr. Fraser. Ten minutes turned into seven hours. He took me all over Sea Pines Plantation, to lunch, to the marsh and for a sail on his boat, The Compass Rose. At the end of the day, he gave me advice that has guided my experiences, my business and my life in the Lowcountry ever since.
“If you wish to be successful with your goals,” Mr. Fraser told me, “you must understand that everything in the Lowcountry revolves around one thing – the tides. All of our history, all of our culture, all of our nature, all of our literature revolves and evolves around the tides. If you truly understand this, and if you can connect people to the tides and to the phenomena of this place where man discovers the shore, you will be successful.”
Now, almost 40 years later, I look back on those words and reflect on how appropriate they are to being a local.
From the Native Americans who traveled in dugout canoes as they hunted and gathered, to European settlers attracted to the large tidal sounds that their galleons could navigate; from planters and farmers who leveraged the tides with rice dikes, cotton and indigo fields, to the Gullah people who made a living harvesting our bounty of seafood, tides influence how people have lived for centuries.
If you want to truly appreciate the Lowcountry, experience the tides. Get out on the water, feel the pluff mud and relish the sea breeze. It is truly magical.
Great Shots from the Three Toughest Lies in GolfTest
Hitting a golf ball straight is difficult enough from a flat lie. When you and the ball are suddenly on different levels, it becomes even harder.
Facing an uphill lie, downhill lie or sidehill lie is daunting, but like many situations in golf, it can be handled well with an appraisal of the physical situation and proper compensation for it.
When faced with an uphill, downhill or sidehill lie, it is most important to focus not on the slope of the ground, but on the angle of your clubface against it and in relation to the ball. Many amateurs make the mistake of thinking they need to change their swing in these situations.
In fact, the adjustments necessary in these scenarios have to do with the position of the clubface relative to the ball against the ground, not the fundamental action of the swing itself. Let’s look at each of these shots and the adjustments they demand for successful results:
Golfers are sometimes faced with an uphill lie, where the ball is higher than the plane of the feet. Often in this situation, the club’s toe will sit slightly higher than the heel, requiring you to make subtle adjustments to prevent a poor strike.
With the toe and heel misaligned in this manner, you will unavoidably impart sidespin to the ball, causing a hook. Keeping this in mind, the first thing you must do is adjust your stance so that you are aligned not directly toward the target, but to the right of it.
When golfers are faced with a downhill lie, they find the ball below the plane of their feet. The club’s toe is often lower than the heel. A player must aim left of the target to account for the natural fade spin that will be imparted to the ball.
On a downhill lie, your weight falls forward toward your toes. Keeping this in mind, take your practice swings with the goal of centering your balance again through your thighs and over the arches of your feet. A good way to remember this is to focus your weight under your shoestrings.
Another tricky situation that differs from uphill and downhill lies is the sidehill lie. When standing sidehill, with the front foot or back foot higher than the other, you must compensate for altered loft. The change in loft can reduce shot distances by up to three clubs in some circumstances.
As when dealing with an uphill or downhill lie, you must be conscious of good balance and of taking a full backswing and completing your follow-through when faced with a sidehill lie, rather than allowing anxiety to cause an incomplete golf swing.
When facing uphill, downhill or sidehill lies, remember that success comes not from altering your swing but from making proper adjustments before you even get into the address position. Practice these types of shots as often
as you can and eventually they’ll become just another part of your ever-expanding arsenal.
A former PGA Touring pro, Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy and conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free golf clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or palmettodunes.com.
By I.J. Schecter with Doug Weaver
Photography by Rob Tipton/Boomkin Productions
Bluffton Marine Sports & SupplyTest
140 Burnt Church Road | Bluffton | (843) 757-7593.
HarbourFest Returns with Summer Fun for Everyone!Test
The festival spans the whole summer (through Labor Day) with live, dance-along performances by Shannon Tanner, as well as entertainment and face painting by Cappy the Clown every weekday from 6 until 9 p.m.
From June through August, Tuesday and Thursday nights feature even more fun and flair, with fireworks and all kinds of booths, activities and vendors every Tuesday night, and the Shannon Tanner’s Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band, the Oyster Reefers, stepping on stage for the special Parrot Palooza event on Thursday nights.
“Tuesday’s fireworks are definitely the biggest draw but Thursday is giving it a run for its money, because people love the Oyster Reefers. They really get the crowd on their feet like I’ve never seen,” said Kelly Lloyd, the Marketing Coordinator at Palmetto Dunes. “Thursday’s Parrot Palooza is super fun, you really do feel like you’re at a Jimmy Buffet concert and it’s free!”
Bluffton’s Kidz Play party rental company now has a train ride around Shelter Cove Harbour available Tuesday nights during HarbourFest. Photo by Nicolette Kay.
Some nights beach balls make an appearance in the Parrot Palooza crowd and the audience will try to keep them in the air during the music.
This year, there are fewer vendors at HarbourFest on Tuesday nights, but ones more geared towards the kids and visitors attending that compliment the shops that are already in the Shelter Cove Harbour.
“We wanted to really narrow it down to local people that visitors enjoy being here with and don’t compete with any of the merchants,” said Lloyd.
In addition to the moon bounces, shoot ‘em up carnival game, glitter tattoos and wax hands that Kidz Play brings to the festival, they also have a new trackless train making its around Shelter Cove HarbourFest.
“It starts down at the marina by ELA’s, works its way up to the King Neptune statue and then turns around so people can get a break, some generated breeze and a ride to see everything,” said Lloyd.
Every evening during HarbourFest kids can go see Cappy the Clown. Photo by Nicolette Kay.
The train is a great way for guests to make their way over to the Shelter Cove Marina, where they can see fireworks on Tuesdays in a less crowded area, and though it’s new and fun, the main attraction to the festival remains Shannon Tanner and Cappy the Clown.
“I think the favorites are always going to be Shannon Tanner and Cappy the Clown; they’re just classics. They’ve both been here for 30 years now,” said Lloyd. “People look forward to it every year and they come to Hilton Head to go to HarbourFest.”
Around Town – Things to Do This SummerTest
Sweet Summer Days
The season of porch sittin’, sweet tea drinkin’ and boatin’ is here and there’s no better way to enjoy it than getting out and about. From luxury to laid-back Lowcountry life on the docks, the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry are full of fun for everyone in the family. Choose from these exciting endeavors and enjoy some new experiences this summer!
American Prohibition Museum:
Make your way to the American Prohibition Museum, Savannah’s newest attraction featuring flappers, gangsters, a speakeasy and more. Don’t miss the ribbon cutting on June 13 and the Grand Opening, July 19 and 20! Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for children. (912) 551-4050.
Kids Bowl Free at Station 300:
From May to September, kids can bowl free at Station 300! All you have to do is go to kidsbowlfree.com and register. After paying a small one-time fee, kids get two free games of bowling every day all summer.
The Village Pasta Shoppe
Pasta Picnic with The Village Pasta Shoppe:
Sandwiches, barbeques, burgers and hot dogs might be what summers are known for, but this year switch it up and try something new. Pick up some fresh pasta from The Village Pasta Shoppe near the Bluffton Post Office and savor it in the shade at Oscar Frazier Park. (843) 540-2095.
$5 Movie Theater Tickets:
Did you know Tuesday is Discount Day at Cinemark? Throughout the day, tickets are only $5 on Tuesdays (plus tax), excluding XD and IMAX shows. When the days get too hot, head to Buckwalter to cool off with friends at the theater. Visit cinemark.com for showtimes.
Surf Lagoon Water Park:
When the playgrounds get steamy, it’s time to head for the waterslides and lazy rivers. Located off I-95, about a mile from the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Surf Lagoon Water Park in Pooler promises lots of laughs and splashes.
Sultry Summer Nights
As the sun sets, the cicada and cricket choirs begin to sing and hot, humid days become serene summer nights. Take advantage of the cooler evening hours to discover why the South is beloved for its romance. Here are our favorite calm and casual evening activities for a delightful date night:
Beauty on The Bluff:
The Church of the Cross is an iconic Bluffton landmark and there’s no better place than the public dock at the end of Calhoun Street to watch the sun set over the May River. Bring a chair, pack a picnic and toast the view!
Promising Nights in The Promenade:
An abundance of lively outdoor patios await at the eateries on Promenade Street. Afterward, take your date on a stroll through Old Town Bluffton to enjoy the live music found around every corner.
Wine & Dine:
Dress to impress and enjoy fine dining at the May River Grill or The Pearl this summer with excellent coastal cuisine in an ambiance-filled environment. Everyone needs a nice night out. Make this yours!
School may be out for the summer, but learning never stops—especially with these fun-filled options!
Spartina Dolphin Research Trips:
Captain Amber of the Spartina
Spend some time on Captain Amber’s boat, Spartina, learning about the local waterways and their many inhabitants. With several choices of two-hour expeditions, there’s a lot to learn! Schedule a voyage of discovery at spartinacharters.com.
Coastal Discovery Museum’s Discovery Lab:
Open on Mondays and Wednesdays, the Discovery Lab is a fun educational experience for kids of all ages. Get a closer look at live Lowcountry animals and learn about the history of the area through hands-on, interactive displays and games. (843) 689-6767.
Programs at the Port Royal Sound Foundation:
From birding, kayak tours and eco-boat excursions to story time and Tuesday talks, The Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center offers a variety of educational and recreational activities for kids to enjoy. (843) 645-7774.
Learning & Laughter at Local Libraries:
The opportunities to learn are abundant and diverse at Beaufort County Libraries, where you’ll find everything from family movies to summer reading and 3D designing (and printing) to LEGO robotics. Visit the Bluffton Branch this summer and discover something new! beaufortcountylibrary.org.
Coastal Heritage Society’s Museums:
With all kinds of interactive activities and engaging tours that take families back in time, the Coastal Heritage Society knows how to make history fun. Get a see-three pass and gain admission to three of their five museums, which include the Savannah History Museum & Battlefield Memorial Park, Georgia State Railroad Museum, Savannah Children’s Museum and Old Fort Jackson. Visit chsgeorgia.org for a calendar of events.
Buckled between the Marine Corps Recruit Depot and Air Station in Beaufort and Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Stewart Army Base in Savannah, Bluffton is right in the middle of a lot of military action. Rally the troops and strap on your boots for these excursions!
A Peek at Parris Island:
March on over to the Parris Island Marine Recruit Depot to discover the rich legacy of the Marine Corps and expansive history of the Port Royal region. This 10,000-square foot facility features historical accounts, timelines and information about the origin and impact of the Marine Corps. For hours of operation visit parrisislandmuseum.com.
Cannon Firings at the Forts: From cannon firings to re-enactments, Savannah’s Old Fort Jackson and Fort Pulaski both offer incredibly immersive experiences. Stand tall, listen up and don’t miss out!
Fly with the Mighty Eighth:
If the Air Force is your mission of choice, head out to Pooler, Georgia, where historic information awaits at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth. Learn about pilots, planes, and the impactful role of the Eighth Air Force.
Hit the Target at the Gun Range:
What’s better than getting in on a little shooting action? Civilians are welcome at both Palmetto State Armory in Ridgeland, Palmetto Indoor Range in Hardeeville and BoJax Shooting School on Palmetto Bluff Road. Indoor and outdoor ranges.
Savannah Military Tours:
Georgia’s First City is saturated with tours, but not many guides have the knowledge the veterans and military-enthusiasts of Savannah Military Tours do. Hop in their air-conditioned van and discover Savannah’s proud military heritage while visiting sites that honor servicemen and women. (912) 433-0452 or savannahmilitarytours.com.
Island West Golf ClubTest
40 Island West Dr. | Yds 6,803 • Rating 73.2 | (843) 689-6660
Roseate Spoonbills: The Pink Bird Makes a Come BackTest
By Kathleen McMenamin Vicars, Master Naturalist
Roseate spoonbills are becoming a more common sight throughout our Lowcountry marshes. They can commonly be spotted around low tides in our marshes, beak down in the water, looking for food. They are a beautiful sight with their pink feathers and distinct bill.
Roseate Spoonbills, Platalea ajaja, almost disappeared from the United States by the 1860s. They were over hunted for their beautiful plumes. Desecration of their natural wading and nesting environments contributed to their declining numbers in the early 1900s. Once preservation efforts were set forth, the species was able to successfully recolonize the Florida and Texas coasts. By the early 20th century, their population bounced back and has slowly spread back across the coastal Southeast.
The state of South Carolina has happily seen an increase in roseate populations over the years. They come into our coastal area in the spring and stay through the summer, foraging and nesting in our Lowcountry marshes. Keep an eye out for them in our marshes at low tide and nesting on Pinckney Island in the late spring months.
Roseates are easy to identify. They have a white head and neck, with light pink wings that have bright pink borders. They also have long pink legs. From a distance, you may think you are looking at a flamingo. Their bill is long and flat with a round spoon shape at the end. They can grow to be two and a half feet tall with a wingspan of up to five feet.
They prefer to live in lagoons, marshes, mudflats and mangrove habitats. In South Carolina, they are most commonly found in our marshes and may be mixed with other large groups of wading birds. They will forage for food in shallow waters of both fresh and saltwater habitats. Their large spoon-shaped bill offers them a great advantage while feeding. Roseates will sweep their slightly open bills side to side in the water, detecting small fish, invertebrates, shrimp and crabs by touch.
These birds will nest in large colonies, with individuals of their own species, as well as other wading birds. They have been known to nest in the Wood Ibis Pond area of Pinckney Island. Courtship between a pair begins when they are at least three years old. The preliminary wooing appears to be an aggressive interaction. They then begin to perch closely to each other once a connection has been made. The final courting ends with nesting sticks being presented to one another. Once the bond has been made, the male will gather nest materials, while the female builds the nest.
Their nests can be made in willows, mangroves, low scrub or cedars, but are generally all over water. The nest is a large bulky platform with a hollow in the center for the eggs. Once the nest is complete, the female will lay two to three eggs. The pair will take turns incubating the nest for up to 24 days. Both mother and father will take turns bringing food to the young, who may begin straying slightly from the nest within six weeks. They will start to fly strongly at about eight weeks.
H2O Sports on Hilton Head Island is a great place to spark curiosity and inspire learning in all ages. Learn more about the birds of our area with eco-adventure tours and live alligator exhibits. To make reservations for the Alligator and Wildlife Tour, please call (877) 290-4386. For information, visit H2OSports.com.
Manners matter whether you’re teeing off, driving or putting.
With its emerald greens, spectacular weather and world-class courses, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island are known far and wide as a mecca for golfers.
However, there are a number of written and unwritten rules of golf etiquette that every player should know.
Five Minutes – This is how much time a player has to search for a ball. If time is up and the ball hasn’t been located, the player must declare the ball lost and follow the standard rules governing lost balls.
Free Drop – A free drop offers relief from a condition which carries no penalty. For instance, a player may be allowed a free drop away from a young sapling to avoid damaging the tree. The player also is entitled to a free drop from areas that are under repair.
Honor – Having the “honor” entitles a player to tee off first in a group. It is usually determined by the golfer with the lowest score on the previous hole. On the first tee, where there is no previous score to go by, the honor is decided either by a handicap order (lower handicap usually tees off first) or by the flip of a coin.
Play Through – If any group fails to keep up with the general pace of play, loses ground on the group ahead or loses a ball, then the group behind should be invited to “play through.” Please note that this is not merely a common courtesy. A player can actually be penalized for repeated slow play.
Unplayable Lie – Any number of situations on the golf course, the important point being that the player is the sole judge of whether a ball is unplayable. There are several relief options available, under penalty, once the player has declared the ball unplayable.
Remember that common courtesy is a virtue on the green, whether you’re teeing off, driving or putting. Always be considerate of other golfers. After all, you’re all trying to accomplish the same goal—to master a game that is ever changing, elusive and, above all, fun.
1498 Fording Island Road | Bluffton | (843) 681-2628
405 Squire Pope Road | Hilton Head Island | (843) 681-2628
Golf’s Feminine SideTest
Women are attracted to golf because the game fosters a sense of independence, creates a social, uplifting environment, encourages a sense of style and improves time management skills. Golfers are not dependent on others for their success, and getting outdoors on a beautiful course in three-hour increments creates a perfect atmosphere to enjoy conversation.
My grandfather taught six daughters how to play golf. He wanted them to feel comfortable and excited on the course, in spite of a 1940s golf culture that did not welcome women. My PaPa made sure his girls transcended that barrier, and I have the same passion for female golfers in 2017. The women my PaPa taught enjoyed the benefits of golf and passed it on to their children. Now I am passing it on to you.
DOES STRENGTH MATTER FORA WOMAN GOLFER?
Strength is secondary to technique. For example, any women can change the tire on a car with the correct tools. Golf is much the same—learn how to use the tools, practice the basics, and you will have fun. Golf-specific strength will develop as you get involved.
IS A WOMAN’S GOLF SWING THE SAME AS A MAN’S?
The swings may differ between men and women because of physiological differences. Women with wider hips can have a wider stance which creates more speed if they have the correct movement. Hand and arm strength can cause a shallower approach to the ball, limiting speed and therefore, distance. In my interview with a new student I always ask about their activities, sports and hobbies. Women that play tennis and softball rotate their hips well, and their hands and arms are strong. Runners and walkers have the advantage of being flexible and supple.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE INSTRUCTING WOMEN VS. MEN?
It is important to treat the student as an individual—both physically and mentally. Women tend to like the more social aspect of golf and have less focus on competition, so our female classes allow for team play, a casual pace and less emphasis on individual score.
HOW DO WOMEN STAY MOTIVATED?
Ask friends to join you in a class. Most new women golfers are looking for health benefits and social interaction. Enlist in our five-week trial program, or take a private lesson to build confidence. Take advantage of our Ladies Only Class each Wednesday from 9-11 a.m., or join our free class on Mondays from 4-5 p.m. Call Coach Doug Weaver at (843) 338-9598 if you have questions or want to get connected to a compatible group and time.
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO BEGIN?
Bring a teachable, social attitude, wear good tennis or walking shoes, and don’t worry about equipment needs—this is included in the lesson. If you’re wondering what to wear, visit our Palmetto Dunes Pro Shop. Golf teaches us that with the proper tools, we can relax and enjoy the game—its exhilaration, grace and effortless power.
Written by Doug Weaver, a former PGA Touring Pro who was ranked the #2 Instructor in South Carolina by Golf Digest. He is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy and leads “Where Does the Power Come From?” a complimentary golf clinic and exhibition on Mondays at 4 p.m. For details and reservations for golf clinics, classes, lessons and on-course instruction, call (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or visit palmettodunes.com.
Real Christmas Trees vs Fake: There is No DebateTest
White pine is a dense, full tree that has soft, blue green needles. This tree has a pleasant pine scent and decorates well with light weight ornaments.
By Amber Hester Kuehn
History Of Christmas Trees
The whole idea of bringing greenery into the house at the winter solstice (shortest day and longest night of the year) actually began as a pagan ritual. The sun god was “sick” in the winter, and the solstice marked the beginning of his recovery. The plants that stayed green in winter months reminded people that the lush landscape would return when the sun god was fully recovered and warmer months approached. Over centuries, the Egyptians, Romans, Druids, Celts and others have had versions of sun gods and greenery representing everlasting life, life over death, and more prosperous times.
Christmas trees as we know them today can be traced back to Christians in 16th century Germany. During this era, Martin Luther, a protestant priest, inspired by stars shining through the trees, wired candles to branches of his tree to replicate the moment. Inspiration through nature – I get that. It wasn’t until the 1800s that Christmas trees appeared on this side of the Atlantic – German immigrants in Pennsylvania decorated small trees with apples, cookies, popcorn, berries and nuts. However, Christmas trees were still regarded as pagan and did not gain in popularity until the very trendy Queen Victoria and Prince Albert put one in their palace in 1846 for all the world to see, illustrated in the London News. The decorated Christmas tree would become Americanized for years to come. Food decorating small trees became floor to ceiling trees with handmade ornaments, and candles gave way to electric lights.
It takes about seven years for a tree to mature to the average Christmas tree size (six-seven feet).
About 30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States each year and 350 million are currently growing on Christmas tree farms that exist in all 50 states!
For every tree harvested, up to three seeds are planted to replace it.
President Theodore Roosevelt banned the use of natural trees in the White House in 1901 to enhance opposition of deforestation. In 1905, the U.S. Forest Service was established to protect millions of acres of national forests. I am very proud of this major conservation movement, but Christmas trees are harvested from Christmas tree FARMS. They are planted with the intent to harvest and they are replanted constantly. This is not deforestation! I bet you thought I was going to say something else.
Fraser Fir has strong branches, blue green foliage, and a wonderful aroma. Because they require cool summer weather and higher altitudes, they do not grow in South Carolina. However, many farms carry pre-cut Fraser Fir for families who want to enjoy the tree selection in a farm atmosphere.
Natural trees are a renewable resource and can be recycled. In other words, it does not end up in a dump for 10 years attempting to biodegrade. I used to think that a fake tree would save the environment, and this may be true if you kept the same fake tree forever and passed it down as a family heirloom. However they, especially with the pre-lit trees, last about three years max. Every time you “get rid of” your fake tree, manufactured in China (85%), you are contributing PVC (polyvinyl chloride) to landfills. After about nine years, lead (stabilizer) may leach from the chemical compound. Fake trees became popular as advertised to be fire retardant, but they are not fire resistant. Recycling fake trees? Recycling PVC is cost prohibitive. It can be done, but municipalities are not going to be able to support it.
Shipping fake trees from manufacturing plants in China is no short trip. The fossil fuel consumed may cause more damage to the environment than taking the natural tree in the first place. Visualizing the working conditions does not get me into the Christmas spirit, and I’m pretty sure elves aren’t joyfully dancing while busying themselves producing Christmas decorations.
Leyland Cypress is one of the most popular trees grown in the South for Christmas trees. This tree drops very few needles and with proper care, will easily stay dress throughout the entire Christmas season. In addition to being a beautiful tree with soft foliage. It is grown from cuttings and does not produce pollen; therefore enabling many asthma suffered to enjoy a real tree in their home.
There are several Christmas tree farms in South Carolina. Remember, the Lowcountry has a temperate climate and most evergreens prefer a colder climate, so if you want your tree to last longer, purchase a palmetto tree, decorate it and have a Pluff Mud Christmas! Whatever floats your boat!
Just know that by buying a live tree, you’re making a decision that will conserve the environment, which should be a theme in our lives.
The May River Shrimp Festival promises fun for the whole family!Test
July 19 – 20. 5-9 p.m.
Oyster Factory Park, 63 Wharf St.
What It’s About:
May River Shrimp Festival will return to the Oyster Factory Park from 5-9 p.m. on Thursday and 4-9 p.m. on Friday with live music, an arts and crafts village and a food court full of our delicious seafood from local restaurants! A part of the Bluffton Sunset Party Series, the May River Shrimp Festival welcomes the community to celebrate local foods, vendors, craft beer and homegrown music in a kid- and pet-friendly environment. Tickets for the Bluffton Sunset Parties are $5 at the entrance, while children 12 and under get in for FREE. Everyone is welcome. Come by boat, bike or golf cart. Lawn chairs and leashed pets are permitted, but no outside food or drinks will be allowed.
For more information about the May River Shrimp Festival, go to blufftonsunsetparty.com or call Bear Foot Sports at (843) 757-8520.
Teeth, Tail Fins & TouristsTest
Captain Amber, are there sharks in these waters?
You know, there is a foolproof way to tell if there are sharks in the water, and it works anywhere on the globe. Put your finger in the water and touch it to your tongue. If you taste salt, there are sharks! Every body of saltwater has sharks in it. In South Carolina alone, there are 13 families and 38 species of sharks roaming our waters.
The first thing to know about sharks is that they have evolved over millions of years and are the oldest of fishes. Their common ancestor existed before the dinosaurs, approximately 400 million years ago, and sharks haven’t changed much in 200 million years, since the end of the Cretaceous period. They are perfectly built for their environment and purpose.
Secondly, one of the major differences between sharks and other fish is a skeleton made of cartilage, instead of bone. All species of shark are in the class Chondrichthyes—cartilaginous fishes. Cartilage is much softer than bone and this adaptation gives the shark an advantage as an apex predator, allowing it more flexibility and maneuverability.
Sharks lack a swim bladder which gives other fish control over their buoyancy. Although cartilage is lighter than bone, sharks still sink, so they must move constantly to stay off the ocean floor. Some sharks, but not all, must swim their entire lives so water runs over their gills and oxygenates their blood.
An airplane mimics the shape of a shark with a fusiform body streamlined like a bullet, large pectoral fins on each side to help with lift (wings) and a tall caudal fin (tail) and dorsal fin for stability. In addition to cartilage, elastic connective tissue called collagen gives the shark ease of motion when thrusting its tail fin back and forth for propulsion. Like stretching a rubber band and letting go, this lateral motion releases equal amounts of energy in both directions, allowing sharks to move fast with minimal effort!
Little known fact: bony fish (Osteichthyes) and sharks emerged from a common ancestor before fish produced scales. Sharks have dermal denticles or “skin teeth,” which are made of dentin, the same material found inside teeth.
However, both classes of fish have teeth, which is probably the first attribute you think of when the word “shark” is mentioned. The roots of their teeth are embedded in gum tissue, instead of jaw bone like ours. Sharks shed their teeth at every meal and a large shark may lose 30,000 teeth over its lifetime.
There are approximately 500 species of sharks on earth, which sounds like a lot, but in comparison, there are 25,000 species of bony fish. Sharks live in all parts of the ocean marine environment. Some stay in the deep, others venture close to shore, some travel great distances, some visit the surface, and some can even tolerate fresh water (bull shark). The smallest shark (dwarf dogfish) tops out at six inches when fully grown while adult whale sharks can approach 40 feet in length!
Fish typically reproduce with external fertilization meaning that eggs are fertilized after they are laid. Sharks mate with internal fertilization, the type of sexual reproduction you have to explain to your kid at some point. It is obvious when a female has mated because of the bites and clasper barb marks inflicted by the male shark. Pleasurable? Probably not. Luckily, she can store sperm for at least a year, minimizing the encounters. The bonnethead, according to an article published in the August 22, 2007 issue of Biology Letters, is one of four shark species that is capable, in rare cases, of a virgin birth (parthenogenesis).
Although they all mate, sharks have various methods of reproductive development. Some are oviparous (lay eggs after mating), others are viviparous (give live birth) and some are ovoviviparous (carry eggs which hatch inside of the female). The sand tiger shark is ovoviviparous with a 9-12 month gestation and has two uteri, producing only one offspring from each uterus. These two shark pups consume all of their siblings in the womb and continue to feed on their mother’s unfertilized eggs for sustenance. The three-foot-long sand tiger shark pup is more developed at birth than other species of sharks.
The most common sharks in South Carolina’s estuaries are Atlantic sharpnose, sandbar, bonnethead, blacktip, finetooth, scalloped hammerhead, nurse, lemon, tiger, sand tiger and dusky. Spinner, bull and blacknose sharks are also observed to a lesser degree. Sharks are usually more plentiful near shore in the spring and summer and move off shore in fall and winter.
Captain Amber, is it true there aren’t many sharks around Hilton Head Island because the dolphins scare them away?
Ummmm…no. We have plenty of sharks, but larger sharks have a greater range and move even further off shore in lean months to find fish, since larger sharks require larger food. As nurseries of the ocean, estuaries are not the best place to find large prey items. Dolphins pretty much bogart food in the winter, and there is less to share. While sharks typically don’t prey on dolphins, they may attack vulnerable pod members. However, the entire pod will defend the weaker members of their family and the shark may get more than he bargained for. Examples of sharks that would attack a dolphin would be bull sharks, tiger sharks or great white sharks, in a pelagic (open seas) environment.
Sharks feed primarily in low light or at night. Death by shark attack is rare in our area and the last fatal shark attack in South Carolina took place in 1852. It is important to realize sharks don’t seek revenge and are simply following a path leading to the most food. By the way, sea turtles are on the shark menu and sea turtles swim to shore to nest—at night! However, there have been more shark bite reports lately in the Carolinas. My theory is more sea turtles plus more tourists equals more opportunity for interaction. I do not believe that after millions of years sharks are changing their behavior, unless they are running out of food in the big blue.
Sharks live long lives and are slow to reproduce. A consistent decline in the population will not recover quickly and they are at higher risk than other fish. An essential keystone species in the marine environment, sharks maintain the health of the ocean by taking out the weak, dead or dying. There is so much we do not know about the ocean and its inhabitants, but it is undeniable that if this awe-inspiring creature is not protected, we will see adverse changes in the marine environment.
Under current South Carolina Department of Natural Resources regulations, there are only two sharks likely to be encountered under normal fishing circumstances that recreational anglers can keep:
• Atlantic sharpnose shark
• Bonnethead shark
All other species must have a minimum fork length of 54 inches. Fork length is measured from the tip of the shark’s nose to the fork in the caudal fin (tail). A shark with a 54” fork length would have an approximate total length of 5 1/2 to 6 feet.
Shark fishing from the shore is illegal. For details on shark populations in South Carolina estuaries and fishing regulations, visit dnr.sc.gov/marine/mrri/shark.
Written by Amber Hester Kuehn, Marine Biologist / Owner, Spartina Marine Education Charters. Photos courtesy of Jeff Kuehn.
The Majestic Great Blue HeronTest
One of the many creatures you are sure to encounter in the Sea Pines Forest Preserve is the Great Blue Heron. A Lowcountry treasure and a beautiful example of nature at her finest, this giant bird stands up to 39 inches high and is an illustrious predator.
Often, these magnificent birds can be seen on the banks of lagoons either fishing or warming themselves in the sun. The Great Blue Heron is a master fisherman and uses its long, colored toes to entice fish. When prey ventures too close, the heron uses its razor-sharp beak to strike with deadly accuracy and rarely misses its quarry. Guests on the H20 Alligator Boat often get to experience this thrilling sight up close, with a knowledgeable guide who can point out the little details that make the experience even more enjoyable. While you are bound to see a variety of other birds out on the water, the Great Blue Heron is a special treat.
The Great Blue Heron is one of the largest birds in the heron species, with a range encompassing all of North America and some of Central and South America. They mate and nest from December through March, so this time of year is the perfect opportunity to see one.
Their diet consists mostly of fish; however, they have been seen eating eels, snakes and frogs as well. The Great Blue Herons in the preserve are indigenous to the area and live within its boundaries year-round.
Great Blue Herons are an integral part of the Lowcountry’s ecosystem and exciting for families and guests to witness while visiting the area. Many other birds share the preserve with Great Blue Herons, including Egrets, Storks, Night Herons, Green Herons, Ospreys, Bald Eagles and more. However, the sighting of a Great Blue Heron is sure to be an unforgettable encounter for all who experience it.
The Important Work of the Waddell Mariculture CenterTest
If you have never heard of Waddell Mariculture Center (WMC), let me start by saying that it is the ONLY facility like it in the United States. And, yes, it is in Bluffton, South Carolina and has been for over 30 years! It is a research facility managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), where biologists have perfected methods for farm raising fish and shrimp. Individuals worldwide visit Waddell to collect information to successfully produce farm-raised seafood.
In addition to their primary mission, biologists at the center assist with other marine life issues in Beaufort County. There is a tight community of marine biologists and enthusiasts in this area—some have graduate degrees in marine science, some are charter boat companies that offer ecology tours, some are non-profit organizations and nature clubs and some are fishermen and boaters who pick up trash in the May River.
At all levels, there is concern for the marine life in Beaufort County. When an opportunity comes around to support marine research and mingle with some seriously dedicated individuals, there is no better time to catch them than when they are socializing at the Annual Taste of Waddell fundraiser, an oyster roast and cookout taking place on the Bluff of the Colleton River at Waddell Mariculture Center.
Here are just a few of the Waddell Mariculture Center’s achievements:
• Beaufort County has the best red drum fishery on the East Coast. Waddell’s red drum stock enhancement program is responsible for that continuing success having stocked over 20 million fish in South Carolina waters. These fish populations are monitored using DNA technology developed by SCDNR.
• WMC is undergoing a renovation to the main office and laboratory building. Part of the renovation plan includes the installation of cobia and spotted sea trout spawning systems. The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry awarded the center a grant for the purchase of new seawater filtration equipment to prepare water for the spawning tanks and recirculating systems.
• WMC has stocked a million spotted sea trout in Charleston waters over the past few years while developing a rapid response stock enhancement program to protect this fragile fishery from severe climate fluctuations and habitat degradation.
• WMC received a research grant to monitor the effects of storm water on Beaufort County’s sensitive saltwater marsh. Working with University of South Carolina Beaufort and Beaufort County, they will develop baseline data to improve the county’s storm water management plan.
• WMC opens its doors to students for tours and lectures. More than 500 students tour the center each year and biologists provided lectures and tours to more than 3,000 guests. Donations made to the Waddell Fund were used to support two full-time college internship positions this year. The center was able to offer volunteer work to five college students, who worked at least one day a week aiding biologists.
• WMC biologists assist SC seafood growers. They provide information and training to state residents when requested. This work is important, as the United States now imports 91 percent of its seafood and seafood farming accounts for 47% of all seafood. The center’s biologists assist state fish pond and coastal impoundment owners by addressing management needs, including water quality, weed control and species management.
• The center is also part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Biologists provide aid and assistance to injured turtles, whales, dolphins, and birds.
Limited reservations are available for the 11th Annual Taste of Waddell. Visit friendsofwaddell.org to register or call Dave Harter at (843) 785-4106. If you are interested in supporting the Waddell Mariculture Center, but cannot attend the event, tax deductible donations are accepted for the Waddell Mariculture Center Fund at: Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, PO Box 23019, Hilton Head Island, SC 29925. For more information, call (843) 681-9100 or go to cf-lowcountry.org.
Written by Amber Hester Kuehn, Marine Biologist. Owner, Spartina Marine Education Charters
Family-Friendly Fun at the Coastal Discovery Museum, Summer 2018Test
The Coastal Discovery Museum is a great place to discover everything about the Lowcountry.
The Tom Peeples Discovery Lab: This will take place at the Coastal Discovery Museum and be open every Monday and Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. starting in June through August. Your visit to the lab is a fun educational experience for all ages. You will get a closer look at some live Lowcountry animals like fish, horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, frogs, lizards, snakes, and a friendly alligator. Discover unique and fascinating stories about the Lowcountry’s history and the environment through hands-on, interactive displays and games. Suggested $2 per person donation. Children must be accompanied by an adult. You will check in at the Discovery House before you visit the Lab.
Explore Honey Horn Program: The Coastal Discovery will introduce a new program in June to “Explore Honey Horn” every Wednesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. Your experience on this guided tour around the museum’s picturesque and historic grounds. You will visit the salt marsh, see historic buildings, and learn about the gardens, plants, and trees on site. Your museum guide will share stories about Honey Horn’s past and its natural history. Cost is $10 adult, $5 child and reservations are required. Sea Turtle Life: The Coastal Discovery Museum will introduce a new program in June through August every Thursday at 1 pm. Sea turtles live an extraordinary life. Explore the amazing journey of Loggerhead Sea Turtles from eggs to adulthood. Discover just how easy it is to help protect these fascinating sea creatures. You will not see live sea turtles, but this is a hands-on, eye-opening, experience filled with unique educational materials to see, touch, and interact with. This family-friendly indoor experience is also a nice escape from the afternoon heat or rain. Cost is $10 adult, $5 child (ages 4-12) and reservations are required.
Hands-On History this summer at Coastal Discovery Museum: The Coastal Discovery Museum will introduce a new series of programs every Tuesday from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. June through August. See history come alive through these hands-on, family-friendly programs led by experienced first-person interpreters. Planned activities include “Games of the Past,” “Camp Dig It,” “Living History with Captain William Hilton” and “Indigo Discovery with Eliza Lucas Pinckney.” These family friendly educational experiences are fun for all ages. Cost is $12 adults, $10 child (ages 5-12) and reservations are required by calling 843-689-6767 ext. 223 or online at coastaldiscovery.org.
Living History with William Hilton will take place 6/12, 7/31 and 8/28 and you will hear from “Captain William Hilton” about his life and harrowing adventures along the Carolina coast. Camp Dig It will take place on 6/19, 7/10 and 8/14 and will introduce you to the field of archaeology. Participants will “excavate” a simulated site, identify artifacts, and use real archaeological methods.
Indigo Discovery with Eliza will take place 6/5, 7/24 and 8/21 and you will journey to the past and “meet” Eliza Luca Pinckney. Hear her unique story, learn how indigo dye was made, and make your own indigo tie-die t-shirt to take home.
Lowcountry Critters with Joe Maffo at the Museum: The Coastal Discovery Museum will host “Lowcountry Critters with Joe Maffo” every Wednesday and Friday in June, July and August from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This casual “Meet and Greet” will help participants to learn more about the alligators, snakes, turtles and other critters that share Hilton Head Island with us. Joe Maffo with Critter Management will bring along some of his “friends” to share with everyone. Participants will have a chance to get an up-close view of the various animals, learn more about them and take lots of photos. There will be no formal presentation; visitors can stop by various stations to meet the different types of animals on site. Cost is adult $10 and child $5 (12 and under) under 5 are free. No reservations for this program just drop in and see!
Coastal Discovery Museum is located at 70 Honey Horn Drive on Hilton Head Island. For more information on or to make reservations for any of these events, call 843-689-6767 ext. 223 or go online at coastaldiscovery.org.
Beating the Odds: Sea Turtle SurvivalTest
By Amber Hester Kuehn, HHI Sea Turtle Protection Project Manager
Photo provided by Amber Hester Kuehn.
About 30 years ago, a loggerhead hatchling sea turtle emerged with a hundred others from one sandy hole on a dark Hilton Head beach. She was two inches long and headed for a vast sea of darkness. Odds against her, instinct set her course as she entered the surf and swam east as fast as her frenzy would take her. As night turned into day, the journey became more perilous. Pelicans swooped in and barely missed her, although others were not so lucky.
Photo by Jeff Kuehn.
The bulky bird pushed her down deeper where a fish tried to swallow her. A boat zoomed by and she tumbled in the wake, away from the fin fish disaster. The water was full of bubbles, but her magnetite had since connected with the magnetic fields of the earth to set her back on track. Her ancestors navigated the ocean before the dinosaurs roamed the earth – she was born with the potential of inheriting all of this knowledge if she could just survive long enough to walk into the water and swim against the waves for 30 minutes. Twenty miles offshore with 40 miles before she reached the current, shelter and food, she kept going.
The Gulf Stream “Express” took her across the Atlantic and to the Azores, an isolated island chain off the coast of Portugal. It took about a year – not a fast train, and not the safest route either. Other currents tempted her to move away from the North Atlantic Gyre; they would have taken her to the frigid waters of the Arctic or into the middle of the Sargasso Sea where she would get nowhere. There were other sea turtles there when she arrived, ages ranging from one to 10 years, from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. One by one, new hatchlings were arriving as the older ones moved out, never to return. Where did they go?
After a decade, she too got a glimpse into her destiny. It took her back to the beginning. The Lowcountry had changed a bit, but her instinct attracted her to foraging grounds where blue crab, horseshoe crab, whelk, clams and urchin lay in wait. As she continued to mature over the next 20 years, there were many near misses. Others were struck by boats, swallowed hooks or ate plastic, but this one survived and destiny called again. She had not walked in 30 years, and now with 400 pounds to carry, it was not as easy as it had been. At least it was dark – under the cover of darkness to avoid predators and eluding the heat of the summer sun, she could take her time digging the hole two to three feet with a narrow chamber and a bowl at the bottom. Contractions, 120 eggs and a disguise were left behind. Then she returned to the ocean, but she would be back. She is the survivor, one of 10,000 hatchlings that she walked with 30 years ago. She beat the odds.
Helping on Hilton Head
Photo provided by Amber Hester Kuehn.
The first sea turtle nest laid on Hilton Head Island in 2015 was on May 8 – an early start to the nesting season as the water temperature warmed up faster than usual. We start looking for sea turtles near shore when the water temperature reaches 70 degrees. The last nest of the season was laid on August 12, 2015. This year, obstacles for hatchlings ranged from extreme heat and storms to artificial lights. We can’t control the weather, but we can flip a switch. A lighting ordinance on Hilton Head Island since 1990, declares that lights visible on the beach should be OFF May – October, 10 p.m.-6 a.m. Visitors and residents alike should be aware of this very important aspect to sea turtle conservation. In 2015, hatchlings from 18 nests were destined for porch, landscape, and construction lights instead of the moon’s reflection on the Atlantic Ocean compared to four nests last season. In other words, approximately 2,000 hatchlings died unnecessarily because exterior beachfront lights were left on all night.
Photo provided by Amber Hester Kuehn.
The 2015 sea turtle nesting season was the 30th anniversary of monitoring on Hilton Head Beach. One of the nests this season may have been laid by a female that emerged during that first year of sea turtle nest conservation on HHI in 1985. There were 324 nests laid on HHI this season, nearing the record nesting density of 339 nests in 2013. We are coming full circle and will start to see the fruits of our efforts in the coming years. Genetic tagging has allowed us to monitor individual nesting females over the past five years.
According to genetic data collected, nine females nested for the first time on HHI in 2015 and a total of 93 individual females emerged to nest – obviously, some more than once. We look forward to learning more about the sisters, mothers and grandmothers of our loggerhead sea turtles with each subsequent nesting season. If you know beachfront residents, or visitors renting a house on the beach, PLEASE ask them to obey the ordinance. Female sea turtles avoid lights for nest site selection and hatchlings are attracted to them. You can make a huge difference by simply flipping the switch!
For generations, the May River in Bluffton has united Lowcountry residents who live along the shores of this shimmering estuary.
During the antebellum period, Savannah-area plantation owners brought their families to spend the summer under the shade of the live oak trees lining the May River. The breezes off the river prevented the intrusion of mosquitoes lurking on sweltering rice plantations and spreading diseases like malaria and yellow fever.
When Union soldiers drove Hilton Head residents out of their homes during the Civil War, they sought asylum in Bluffton, which earned its name from the signature high banks along the May River. That natural bluff made it easy for Confederate soldiers to spot an invasion attempt during the tumultuous Civil War.
South Carolina’s economic saving grace during the post-war Reconstruction Era, the May River was used to transport goods and summer vacationers between Savannah and other port cities.
By any measure, the most coveted resource sold along the water trade route were the oysters that inhabited the pristine river. South Carolina’s oysters, or Eastern oysters as they are called, continue to be in high demand for the authentic taste of the Lowcountry the bivalves provide. As the oysters clean and filter the water of the May River, they absorb some of the salty Southern flavoring that can only be found in South Carolina’s waters.
Home to some of the nation’s tastiest oysters, the May River also serves as an unofficial community gathering spot when the tides roll out. On any given summer day, the May River Sand Bar is lined with boats blasting music, mariners playing cornhole, the sweet smell of fresh food on the grill and kids chasing after newfound friends. The sunset version of this come-as-you-are party may be the highlight of any South Carolina summer.
A short walk from the shops in Old Town Bluffton, the May River can be accessed at the end of Calhoun Street or the sandy Brighton Beach. Tours of the Church of the Cross are available from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Tours of the Garvin-Garvey Freedman’s Cottage are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $5 per person; free admission for children.
Polo Ponies Prepare for the Annual Polo for Charity EventTest
I began exploring the daily life of the athletes who play polo, in preparation for the Annual Rotary Club of Okatie Polo for Charity event on Sunday, October 28. I assumed that the riders were going to be athlete divas, simply because of the game’s moniker, “the sport of kings.” I quickly learned that the horses, not the riders, are the athletes who get the “diva treatment”—but deservedly so.
First off, they are called ponies, although they are typically huge, hulking creatures of pure muscle and singular intent. When the game began centuries ago, no horse higher than 54 inches was allowed, so the horses were technically “pony” sized. Keep in mind that people were much smaller then, too. Today, there is no size limit. Polo ponies can typically weigh well over 1,000 pounds.
These full-sized equines get the royal treatment but, frankly, they earn it. Polo is fast, rough and one of the most dangerous sports in the world. They start “playing” the game, or training to play, by age three. Polo horses run the equivalent of two or more miles at full throttle during a seven-and-a-half-minute period of play, and any polo enthusiast will acknowledge that a good pony contributes up to 80% of the team’s abilities.
Sheila Sulak is a former polo rider who has been a fixture at the annual Okatie Rotary Club polo event every fall. She tells me that these horses “are amazing” and go through exceedingly rigorous training. They must learn complex commands from the riders that are given primarily with subtle cues, mostly from the rider’s legs or weight shifts, not the reins. They have to be accustomed to bumping into other thousand-pound horses running at full speed. Sulak says, “You have to have a horse you can trust. You get to know them and they know you.”
Sulak says they can be compared to human gymnasts—versatile and fit, with the ability to turn or stop on a dime. “They have to run really fast, then suddenly stop, which you don’t find in any other horse sports. It puts a lot of strain on their joints and back, so the horses get intense care.”
It’s a full-time job for several humans to care for each horse/athlete. So, what does a polo pony day look like?
Breakfast could be as early as 5:30 a.m. Depending on each horse’s dietary requirements, they get a mixture of oats and other feed that is usually measured and mixed individually. Horses are left to eat their breakfast and digest it for around an hour while their stalls are cleaned. The horses are each groomed, and then one horse is tacked up; the rider will ride that horse and lead two horses on each side. After they are exercised for about an hour, they typically rest for a few hours midday while barn chores are being carried out. Between Z’s, they munch on hay and relax while their every need is attended to.
Photo: By en:User:RRukat – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10859062
Grooming is of the utmost importance to these ponies. They are washed down daily and receive a manicure, where their hooves and shoes are picked and cleaned. Polo ponies even get a new set of shoes about every 21 days from a blacksmith. Horse’s manes are shaved or braided to prevent entanglement. A free flowing mane and tail would increase the likelihood of becoming entangled with players’ mallets or the reins.
Photo: By Alex brollo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=685585
Proper healthcare is also essential. All medical needs are met by veterinarians. The vet may even recommend chiropractic adjustments and vitamin supplements. Remember, these are expensive athletes, and proper health care is a must to keep them in top physical condition. Polo ponies purchased in the high-goal world are typically very expensive, often well over $30,000 per horse.
At every professional polo match, it is mandatory to have an equine ambulance with a team waiting on the side of the field, ready to rush in if needed. According to the The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA, not one intentional case of neglect has ever been reported in the professional polo world. It is quite clear it is a game played with honor and pride with the utmost respect for the ponies. These horses are intensely cared for, like a professional athlete. They may be pampered, but they are NOT divas.
During a polo match, riders are allowed to change horses as many times as they feel necessary, ensuring their horses are not overworked and are safe from injury. The mental and emotional state of a horse is just as important to the polo players as the physical state. If a polo pony is not a calm and happy horse, having formed a trusting bond with the polo rider, they will simply not do well on or off the field.
18 Chechesse Creek Dr. | Yds 6,694 • Rating 72.6 | (843) 987-7000
The ACE Basin: A Natural Marvel in South CarolinaTest
Just a 25-minute drive from Bluffton lies a natural marvel untouched by commercial industry. The ACE Basin — named for the convergence of the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto Rivers — offers 350,000 acres of diverse ecological beauty and the Southeast’s most expansive estuary system.
Although some of the area’s tidal wetlands were converted to rice plantations in the mid-1700s and into hunting retreats in the late 1800s, the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge has ensured that approximately 12,000 acres of this natural environment will serve as a protected habitat for the creatures that call it home, including a number of endangered and threatened species.
Bird watchers travel to South Carolina’s ACE Basin to watch bald eagles soar overhead and marvel at the ospreys, egrets, herons and sandpipers as they gracefully flit around the wetlands of Bear Island. Hunters seasonally descend upon the forests of the basin’s Donnelley Wildlife Management Area in search of white-tailed deer and wild turkey.
The basin’s collection of pristine freshwater streams, saltwater marshes, tidal creeks and brackish waters offers fishing enthusiasts a chance to catch large bass and to spot members of the ACE Basin’s large family of alligators. Visitors are invited to paddle through this area by kayak or canoe and enjoy the sights and sounds of this natural treasure.
Offering excellent hiking, biking and nature trails, the ACE Basin is the perfect place to introduce children to the wonders of biology and ecology. The less adventurous can get a taste of the basin’s swamps, wetlands, uplands and forests by driving along designated dirt roads or down the make-shift road lined by moss-draped live oak trees to Grove Plantation. The antebellum house that now serves as the office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, was once owned by Brooks Brothers’ President Owen Winston and occupied by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.
The ACE Basin’s public sites, including Bear Island, Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, the Edisto River and the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, are open to the public year-round during daylight hours. Dogs are permitted, but must be on leashes.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his “I Have a Dream” speech among the Gullah community on St. Helena Island, SC. The 1991 movie Daughters of the Dust, about three generations of Gullah women, was the first feature film directed by an African-American woman to have a general U.S. theatrical release. Photo: By Source,… Read More…
By Georgene Mortimer, Island Winery The Hungarian word for wine is bor, but one thing for certain is that with its fascinating history, unique growing conditions and range of flavors, Hungarian wine is anything but boring. Like all renowned European wine regions, around the fifth century AD, the Romans brought grapevines to the land known… Read More…
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By Kathleen McMenamin Vicars, Master Naturalist Wood storks can be seen gracefully soaring over marshes or feeding in the shallows during low tide all over Bluffton. These large wading birds are the only breeding species of storks found in the United States. This once-endangered species is currently making a great comeback along the Southeast coast and especially in Beaufort… Read More…
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