There are five rivers that converge immediately around St. Simon's Island, and helping make arrangements to travel four of them by boat is Wayne Pearce.
Wayne is from Greenville SC, but commutes here to help his father run a rental business. His step-father Ed was kind enough to take me along as they headed out fishing.
Rather than a boat-ramp, the marina here lifts the boats off the trailer and lowers them into the water. We headed out with Ed at the helm.
Tidal estuaries are not only beautiful, they are vital to the health of the Atlantic Ocean. It is said that over eighty percent of all life in the Atlantic either starts out here or depends directly on species that do start out here for a food source.
The intra-coastal passes by here utilizing the local rivers as well as the St. Simon's Sound. As always, a few cormorants keep watch from each channel marker.
Not too far along the way we came across these lovely ladies. Now and then I will be sitting in some remote place and look up to notice several of these buzzards circling overhead. I always have to wonder if they know something I don't . . .
Quite the family portrait - the dead tree sets it off well. On we went past Sea Island GA. It is said that 25% of the wealth of the United States is concentrated in the residents that live on these few square miles. As we move south, on each island we see the Spanish architecture become more prevalent.
Heading back to route 17, we cross the bridge over the Brunswick River. It is one of those landmark bridges - like Charlestons. For twenty miles in any direction you can see the bridge and get your bearings from it.
Spanning almost 2 and a half miles, this bridge opened in 2003, replacing a draw-bridge. Twice ships had collided with the old bridge, causing both damage and loss of life.
In the shadow of the bridge lies the ruins of some old piers.
This is an aerial view of this same spot taken back in the mid 1940's. This section of river was used to build the Liberty Ships during World War II. Those were the huge cargo and troop transport ships that got all of the men and material from the United States to Europe in that time period.
Two ships were sunk right outside the mouth of this river by German submarines. 16,000 people worked here building ships at the peak of that effort, but all you can see left are these few ruins of the base of the piers that supported the scaffolding used to assemble the boats.
The first ships took eight months to build, but at its peak they were building the ships in under 45 days. In its best month this area turned out 7 of these huge boats - really an amazing feat.
Moving on across the bridge we arrive on Jekyll Island. I just arrived this afternoon, so have not really dug into the history and character of this island yet.
Shortly after hitting the cause-way out to the island, you are stopped at a toll boot. The current cost to enter the island is $ 6.00 for a day.
The island is 7 miles long by about a mile wide, and mostly undeveloped. On the south end of the island we find the usual erosion.
The beaches are pristine.
On the north end of the island there is a large pier. When you look across the water you can see St Simon's island about a mile away. But to drive that 1 mile? It takes you about thirty miles by road to get here.
There is a large and well-appointed campground, and many of the campers have their Christmas decorations out.
Here are some tent campers who have this game figured out. They pitched their tent next to the picnic table, then erected a matching screened - in enclosure over the table itself.
A couple of miles up the road we find a dirt lane that I investigated based on a tip from a local. The only sign is an old vine covered wooden archway saying Amphitheater.
And back the trail a few hundred yards is exactly that - a neat little theater abandoned for some while now.
The glass is broken out of the old control-room window, and many of the old electrical gear is torn out. A quick glance online did not reveal the history of the place, although there is an effort underway to revive it.
Out back is a pond that is teeming with bird life, but I was unable with my equipment to get close enough for a good shot.
I did shoot a deer that we peering at me through the underbrush though.
By the time I completed the quick loop around the edges of the island, the sun was beginning to set over the river.
It was one of those sunsets that got a lot better after the sun had actually gone down.
I tried a twenty second exposure when it was already pretty dark. The colors are surreal - and to the naked eye it looked dark already.
There is an old village section we will explore tomorrow - but they do have a full size pine tree decorated for the holidays.
And, not so traditionally, they have decorated some of the oak trees. It really is pretty at night.
And for today's parting shot - a sign for sale in a local sign shop.
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