Mike & Joyces Travel logs

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Places Visited: Georgia: Jekyll Island, Saint Simons Island and Brunswick

Although we stayed in a motel on this trip there is a a campground on the northern tip of Jekyll Island that is a destination for many RV'ers.

We were in the area to get together with some old Navy friends that Mike shared a home with on Saint Simons Island in the late 1960's. Four couples were meeting in Brunswick commemorating a time over 37-years ago when we were all in the Navy and living on St. Simons Island. Three of us got married to girls from the local area. This was a time of reliving a time in our lives pre-children. Now all of our children are grown and we have grand children.

In addition to the time we shared with old friends Joyce and I soaked up the natural setting of Georgia's coastal islands and all the things that make up the slow southern lifestyle so imbued in these islands. One thing that has changed is the bridge on US-17. The old draw bridge was rammed many years ago by a large ship and totally destroyed. That bridge has been replaced by a magnificent high-rise bridge that huge oceangoing ships can pass under on their way upriver to the port of Brunswick.









The bridge commands attention on the landscape of this area. You can see it from Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island and virtually any place within a 15-mile radius. The marsh grass visible in the picture to the left is essential to the coastal estuary. In the fall this grass turns a beautiful golden color thus giving this area its moniker of "Golden Isles".






The boat on the right is a commercial crabber tending his crab baskets set in the river-estuary on the inshore side of Jekyll Island.











Jekyll Island is a Georgia State Park. The state of Georgia has done a good job of landscaping the island with tropical vegetation. These small Canary Island Date Palm trees add color and charm to the island. Locals told us that they planted these Canary Island Date Palms when President Bush and the G-8 Conference conveined on Sea Island, Georgia not long ago. Sea Island is another of the "exclusive" coastal islands in this area. It is accessed from Brunswick, via St. Simons Island.






From Jekyll Island you can see huge freighters coming and going from the harbor as well as local fishing craft moving about in the estuary.









This is one of the huge car-carriers that deliver automobiles manufactured in Asia to the port here in Brunswick, Georgia. The car-carrier on the left has just passed under the "bridge" shown in earlier pictures. The picture on the right is that same car-carrier about 5-miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean on its way back to get another load of automobiles.









On a coastal barrier island such as Jekyll you can see the effects wind has on shaping vegetation. This harsh environment is tough on vegetation. The blowing salt and sand bends trees. The short stubby live oak "bushes" in the picture to the left are struggling to survive. You can see how the constant wind has shaped then. Mature live oak trees in the picture on the right have survived many years of constant battering by onshore winds. Note how they are all bending in the direction away from the prevailing winds.






















From the beach looking inland you can see how mature trees are formed in response to the constant battering by onshore winds. Young trees more resemble bushes than normal oak trees. This struggle to survive against the elements results in severely distorted mature trees.






While walking on the beach all kinds of interesting things can be seen. That is a soft coral, in the picture to the left, that has been uprooted from the bottom by shrimp boat nets. On the right is the egg case of a lightening welk.









What would a walk on the beach be without those small sandpipers dodging in and out of the waves with little legs moving like an out of control sewing machine?


On the right is a soft sponge that was washed ashore with the tide after being dislodged from the ocean bottom by one of the shrimp boats operating off the coast.








We don't often see deer while strolling down the beach but we spotted several today. The one on the left is easy to see but the one on the right is very camouflaged. Look in the center of the picture on the right and see the head sticking up. This young buck was in velvet and looked to be either a 4-point or a 6-point.









Walkways across the dune system are common along area beaches but this one was different. This dune walk over was a tunnel through the dense oak thicket that stretched for over 100-yards.


While most people don't consider a barrier island as a "desert" type environment but the dune system on these barrier islands is very much like a desert environment. These yucca plants are thriving on one of Jekyll Islands dunes.






Yucca isn't the only plant that is normally found in a desert environment that flourishes in the dune systems of these barrier islands. That is a prickly pear cactus on the left and a cedar tree on the right.


Note the extensive root system emanating from that large cedar tree.









Jekyll Island features a really nice bike trail that circles the entire island. This is one of the nicest bike trails you will find anywhere. The picture on the left shows the trail as it passes behind the motel we were staying in.













Jekyll Island has a wide variety of vegetation including yupon holly and ball moss. The picture on the right shows the tiny, delicate blooms of a ball moss. Most people do not realize that moss has blooms. Now you not only know that they bloom you have seen the flowers.









Spanish moss is shown in the picture on the left while ball-moss is shown to the right. This is the most northerly place we have personally seen ball-moss. Generally, we do not see ball moss until we get in Central Florida.












This young raccoon sat on the ground near our table at Sea Jay's Restaurant on Jekyll Island and begged for food.


The boats in the picture on the right are at the marina accessed from Sea Jay's Restaurant on Jekyll Island.










This fisherman, on Jekyll Island, proudly shows off a nice flounder. He released this fish immediately after I took the picture.



This is the famous lighthouse on St. Simons Island.









If you are visiting Brunswick you simply must head downtown and walk around the old courthouse situated on an entire city block surrounded by a wonderfully manicured lawn and ancient live oak trees replete with Spanish moss and date palms. On the north and south side of the courthouse square stately old ante-bellum homes can be seen.


















This is some of the beautiful live oak trees gracing the grounds around Brunswick's old courthouse.










The waterfront in downtown Brunswick has a wonderful marina for pleasure boats and commercial shrimp boats alike.







One afternoon we spent time with one of Joyce's uncles. We drove to their "fish-camp" on the Satilla River about 20-miles west of Brunswick. The fish camp was really nice. They spend about 1/2 of their time at the fish camp now that they are retired. The house is on a high bank that protects it from the flooding river. He had constructed this totally awesome boardwalk/dock from their house to the river. I was taken aback with this dock since it was several hundred yards long complete with a series of steps down the bluff. The boardwalk traverses the floodplain of the river. He constructed the boardwalk about 6-feet above the floor of the floodplain During times of high water several feet of water cover the dock. To keep the dock from floating off during these periods of high water he anchored the pilings to those screw type anchors used on mobile homes.







This is a picture of the Satilla River from the deck on the end of that boardwalk. The river is low with beautiful sun bleached pure quartz sandbars exposed at this time.






Until next week just remember how good life is.

Mike & Joyce Hendrix







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