Thursday, December 6, 2012


We spent two lovely days anchored off Cumberland Island, Georgia's largest barrier island.  All four of us were completely taken by the place.  It's so peaceful and unspoiled.  It's hard to pick my favorite part of Cumberland Island -- the moss-covered draping canopy of the live oaks, the feral horses, the spectacular ruins from a bygone era, the pristine beaches, the birds.  We spent our first day on the island hiking trails and visiting the ruins of the Carnegie mansion, Dungeness.  The mansion was built in the late 1800's and abandoned in 1925.  In 1959, Dungeness was mostly destroyed by fire that was a result of suspected arson.

The Ruins of Dungeness
Dungeness Safe

Fleur de Lis fire back

The feral horses on Cumberland Island have been here since the 16th century. There are approximately 150 that roam the island. They graze openly on the marsh and forest areas of the island.  They occasionally go to the beach, but we didn't see any while we were there.  My guess is they avoid the beach most of the time since all it really offers to them is a case of sand colic.    We were lucky enough to spot five on our way to the ruins.  They'll let you get close, but not too close. We probably would not have seen any horses had it not been for these two grazing in the picnic area.  They hung with us for several minutes before heading off into the wood.  We followed them and found three more.

There are wild turkeys on the island too.  Unlike the ones back home, these guys don't seem to mind our presence.  I wonder if they realize how lucky they are they're not hunted here. . .

After lunch, we took the advice of a park ranger and headed over to Racoon Key to look for shark's teeth.  When we arrived, there was already someone there combing the beach.  We introduced ourselves and she gave us some tips on where to find the teeth.  She frequents the beach often and has found over 5,000 teeth over years.  She said she pretty much cleaned the beach out for the week and gave the kids a handful of teeth!  I managed to find just one before the sun began to set.    The tooth I found is on the top right.

Day 2 on Cumberland Island was a beach day!  It was a sunny 80º day.  We took this beautiful path that lead to the beach:
 And spotted a lovely Pileated Woodpecker!
We had hoped to see some of the other island wildlife like armadillos and boars, but they remained elusive!  We saw only one other couple while we were on the island and they saw 3 armadillos, but no horses!  Guess you have to be in the right place at the right time. We were the only people on the entire beach the whole day!  The kids played in the sand, splashed in the surf, chased seagulls and combed the beach for ocean treasures.  It was the most relaxing part of our entire trip so far.  The salt air did us all a world of good.


American Oystercatcher
Ghost Crab  

Another trip to Cumberland Island is on the schedule when we head North!  We barely touched the tip of the island!

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