Thursday, December 11, 2014

Midway GA to Darien GA

     I did a lot of running back and forth to find little shrimp boat docks today, so the photos are not in any particular geographical order.  I did find a number of beautiful spots on the water along the Georgia coast.

     We are separated by about five miles of tidal marsh from the barrier islands, and I have not had any luck yet getting out onto Georgia's Islands.  Some of them require funds for a ferry trip and golf cart rental, others are private and government nature preserves.  Hopefully some doors will open.  But there still is a lot of beauty along the short of the tidal estuaries.  Today we are looking at shrimp boats - and there are more concentrated in this section that we have seen combined along the South Carolina coast.  Some of that was because of the seasons, but this area seems to have hung in there a little better in the shrimping industry.

     I am always curious about how people name their boats.  It seems about two thirds use a female's name or some feminine derivative, and of the remaining third a large percentage is either pirate or blockade runner inspired.

    You can look at a shrimp boat from a hundred yards and tell a lot about the owner and crew of the boat.  There aren't many derelicts in this area - is seems the majority run a tight ship.

     Like old cemeteries, shrimp boats have a wide variety of materials, textures and colors that come together in one place.

     Some boats you see the rust everywhere, the ropes and cables tangled, electrical wires spliced and lying about on the deck - some of the boats I would trust to go out on.  The same is true of the little marinas.  This spot below is a span of about ten feet, and I declined to try it with my camera gear in hand.

     And here is a boat that the owner let go just a bit too far . . - lying right beside the dock, occupying valuable real estate.

     And then there are always those barges and boats lying around that clearly have outlived their use, but for some reason people keep them hanging around.

      But again, in this area the marinas are in pretty good shape.  Some of them appear quite old, but you can clearly see they are dutifully maintained.

     Here is the Miss Bernadette, operated by David Chisolm, who is pictured below.  David was a heavy equipment operator in the army up until the early 1980's.  He returned and has been operating shrimp boats since - for over thirty years now.  

     This boat was his uncle's, and when it sold he agreed to come on with the new owner for a year, as the buyer didn't know a thing about boats.  David longs to get back to working the Texas coast.  He says deck hands in Texas make as much or more than captains and owners on the Atlantic.  He says the only draw-back is that you can only shrimp at night in that area, due to the clarity of the water.

David Chisolm

     David is very comfortable in his own skin and has a quick wit.  He reads the book of Psalms out of the bible with regularity, and says he works hard to stay in God's will.  After spending about an hour with him, I believe it.

    Seagulls and Pelicans that hang out around marinas are about like alcoholics that hang around the pubs so long they turn into "bar-flies."  This seagull below is so over-fed that he despises to have to fly.  You can walk right up to him - I had the camera about three feet away in this shot.  So much for a sea-food diet.

     This morning, one fellow was throwing out some fish remains and yelled - "look there !!"  I spun around and shot this - out of focus, with the wrong settings and the wrong lens.  But here is a bald eagle snatching a meal from the marina.

     One thing some of the marinas have are big ramps with winches so that you can get a big boat out of the water to work on.  All manner of algae, seaweed and barnicles will grow on the bottom of a boat, creating serious drag in the water.  This is very hard on the boats handling and fuel consumption increases dramatically.  Here is one pulled up on the ramp to clean and re-paint her bottom.

     The paint that is used has a very high copper content in order to kill off as much of the damaging aquatic life as possible before it can affix itself.  Here is a fellow grinding off the old paint.  It is terribly hard on the lungs - perhaps his beard is acting as his respirator. 

    Oops, guess he didn't like that comment.

     I would tell you his name and a bit about him, but all I could find out is that everyone knows him as "hippie."  

     A turn down a random road running toward the short brought a nice surprise.  There were tabby ruins right out on the banks of the river.  You may remember the Tabby Ruins on Dataw Island.  These are usually the oldest structures in these areas made from a base of oyster shells.

     A little digging revealed that this was a rum distillery and sugar mill in the early 1800's.  In 1824 it was heavily damaged by a hurricane and has been left in decay since.

     There was even an old water-well close by the structures.

     One of the fun things about the coast is the variety of structures you see - often right next door to each other.  There are a number of mansions build amongst the life oaks along the river-banks.

     And then there are those that have been abandoned - some so long abandoned that trees now grow out the windows.

    And then there are those that look so Southern . . like they could easily be a movie set.

     Which brings us to our parting shot.  Now this is a new one on me - but it appears to be an effective way to fix a leaky roof on a mobile home.  Just build another roof over top of the whole structure.  Problem solved, and they didn't even have to use and duct tape . .

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Have an awesome Friday !!

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