Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cumberland Island, Georgia

Cumberland Island is an otherworldly place that is accessible only by boat (there are ferries that service this National Seashore). The forest is green with enormous ground palms and hanging mosses.  Matt and I kept expecting dinosaurs or Sleestaks to appear around the next bend. Park Ranger Rene Noe gave one of the best tours we have ever had, punctuating her talk with tidbits gained from her many years of living on the island as a ranger. She included a memorable dramatic re-enactment of the meeting between James Oglethorpe and Chief Tomochichi, enlisting half of our tour group. We learned that most of Cumberland Island was owned privately by the Carnegies for a long time and a few of the Carnegie descendants still own property on the island.


One of the island's main features is the population of (now) wild horses, including descendants of the ones that Mrs. Carnegie had released from their stables upon her death. A couple of the horses wandered over while we were on the tour. These horses, who were curious about an oblivious Mark as he sat poking at an ant hill, are walking away in the shot above. At the ranger's request, we yelled at Mark, "Don't move!" He did a good job of staying still until the horses wandered off and when they were a safe distance away, the ranger clapped her hands to startle them off. She mentioned afterwards that the one horse had bit a foal recently (which died as a result). Okay, Mark, stay over here with us please.
Hmm, what's that thing?
Remains of the Carnegie Dungeness Mansion, destroyed by fire.

After spending a couple of weeks on the hard and then some sunny but cool days in Charleston, with some choppy overnight sails thrown in the mix, the last couple of warm days here has been a welcome respite. Cruisers are starting to gather in the area for the Cruisers Thanksgiving at St. Marys, which we plan to attend. As a result, we have had the chance to talk to a lot of nice people, like this well-traveled sailing couple that we initially met in Charleston.  The next few days are forecasted to be very windy, followed by a couple of days of rain.  As a result we may not be able to get off the boat much.  Let the cabin fever begin.


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