Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Return to Botany Bay, Part III. The Beach

Click here for the first post in this series.

Botany Bay Plantation includes considerable ocean front beach footage. It’s one of the first places most visitors want to see.

To Beach 1 Last visit, pre-knee operation, I was unable to see the beach area, since it requires a fairly long hike along this road built through the Plantation’s marshy fields.

To Beach 2 It’s a walk, though, that takes even the casually observant visitor along a remarkably interesting route. The photo above may give you an idea of how the banks of the roadway have been maintained over the years. The effort still goes on.

To Beach 3 Here you can see islands of solid ground rising from the level of the marshy fields, and the trees and other vegetation struggling to survive there. Its a fascinating sight, quite unlike anything I’ve seen further inland.

To Beach 4After a few minutes’ walk the marshy fields on both sides of the road give way to more solid ground. Part of what must be a larger island on the way to the ocean.

To Beach 5 The plant life here looks to me more like that found in other parts of the Plantation.

Bench DNR has taken pity on those of us for whom walking is more of a chore by providing benches here and there for rest. Sit quietly here for a while, even if you’re not tired. You’ll be amazed at what you hear and see.

To Beach 6Depending on tides and weather conditions, you’ll begin to hear waves crashing against the shore. The ocean must be right around the next turn in the road. Well, it turns out to be several more turns. But this surely is the right direction.

Beach 1Finally we’ve arrived! This shoreline is quite different from that in front of the Aliner at Edisto Beach State Park.

Beach 2 More wild, in a way. Maybe more natural. Certainly less regular, and less predictable. Or so it seems to me. In the photo above you see one of the hardy Botany Bay Plantation Volunteers walking the beach, ready to answer questions. And this was a windy, rainy day!

Beach 3 This is quite a different view of the Atlantic Ocean meeting South Carolina’s shore than I’ve seen elsewhere. Hard to describe. But somehow uniquely Edisto Island. You’ll just have to come to see for yourself!

Well, long before I finished my visit to Botany Bay Plantation’s beach it began to rain again. So, I high-tailed it back to the car waiting in the parking area.

Birds The scenery, though, in this area simply doesn’t allow high-tailing. Look, for example, at this! Long-legged, long-billed water birds digging through the marshy field for a late lunch. Right beside the road. Now, who could walk by this scene without stopping to watch their antics. The heck with the rain!

Botany Bay Plantation is by no means a one-day project. If this sort of thing interests you at all, you should plan to devote several days. Even then there will be more to see, and more to learn. We’re fortunate indeed to have access to this remarkable resource. When I find out more about the illusive “Oqui” and his formal Japanese garden, I’ll let you know. So stay tuned.

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