Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sea Islands and Sailboats

In the past when I was doing research on the Sea Islands which stretch from North Carolina through South Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida, I stumbled across an island near where I am camping on Hunting Island, that is only reachable by boat and rumored to be owned by Ted Turner.

At the time I had this ridiculous dream of visiting every Sea Island. As a mermaid this would be possible, just swim to each one, but as a humanoid in a little old motorhome, I discovered this just isn't feasible. Many are privately owned and off limits, some have bridges that end in guarded gated communities. Some in Georgia are open to the public but don't allow dogs on the beach. Total insanity. I can't imagine going to the beach without my canine companion.

daufuskie island, sea islands, south carolina, yamacraw island

Today in the news, it was made official (if the news is to be believed...) that Ted Turner owns St Phillips Island in South Carolina. It has one 5 bedroom home on it plus caretaker quarters. You can buy it for a mere 23.777 million dollars. There is no bridge, one reaches it by boat (or swimming like a mermaid). Perhaps it is true, I found the link to the real estate listing.

The pictures of the island look nearly identical to the sea island where I am camping in my little old motorhome. I am blessed to go visit and commune with nature whereas others have to spend 23 million to go do the same thing. Life is goof.

Back in the late 80's I worked aboard a gorgeous private sailboat that was owned by a visionary man who was developing Daufuskie Island, another sea island in South Carolina. He was hoping to eliminate the need for cars on the island with folks only using bicycles, electric golf carts and horses to traverse the island after reaching it by ferry. I've always wanted to visit the island.

When I was growing up, my mother instilled in me a love for books. She required that I read "The Water Is Wide" a memoir by Pat Conroy first published in 1972 because he was a South Carolina native and the island where his story took place was close to Hunting Island, where I am now. My family used to vacation on Hunting Island in the 60's in a simple cabin that I still have a complete photographic memory of (it's no longer standing). In his book he refers to the island as Yamacraw but today it is known as Daufuskie.

daufuskie island, sea islands, south carolina, yamacraw island

I had seen another unique place my yacht owner had helped to develop, El Morro near Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela (that is where he flew me in to join his yacht.) The marina he had designed was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen with lots of xeriscape landscaping separating the harbor from the parking lots. He and his wife took me on a tour of the El Morro area, explaining the unique development. He had designed super wide sidewalks for electric carts, bicycles and pedestrians to commute in safety. Sadly, the sidewalk was rarely ever used and I never saw any electric golf carts. People didn't understand about being kinder to nature, importing the electric carts hadn't happened or they weren't being built locally, can't remember which, but they weren't embraced or on hand to be used. It seemed folks preferred noisy polluting cars. No idea if it is different now or not.

Another area in El Morro he had set aside for houseboat living. It was beautifully developed with exquisite landscaping, parking, underground utility hookups, and even the garbage containment was underground. The only problem was there were no houseboats. Something complicated had become bogged down with the government over building or importing houseboats, so it sat unused. No idea if it has come to fruition by now or not.
daufuskie island, sea islands, south carolina, yamacraw island

Another section had colorful picturesque townhouses whimsically built along curvaceous canals with common walls separating the homes. No two townhomes were identical, some small, others much larger. An artist had been commissioned to design an overall paint job with each townhome painted differently but the end result looked exquisite.

I used to walk up the huge lonely sidewalk to the only hotel to use their international pay phone on occasion. The sidewalk was immaculate, it was a shame the residents hadn't or couldn't embrace the idea at that time. I have no idea if it's pressed into service now or not.
daufuskie island, sea islands, south carolina, yamacraw island

Well, I've managed to wander all over several islands and two countries with my tale today. My brain wanders far and wide too...

Above photos are from my visit to Hunting Island 2014.

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