Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Beautiful Beach with Wild Horses!

We cruised into Georgian waters and set anchor next to Cumberland Island on Wednesday 5/4 midafternoon so had time to put (new) Victory Lap into the water and go ashore on the island.  What a treat!  It is a mixture of beaches, salt marshes, and dense live oak woods filled with all kinds of wildlife including horses running free.  It also has lots of history dating back hundreds of years.  Now  a good portion of the island is owned by the National Parks and is protected.

We walked from a dock at the Rangers station straight into this dense live oak woods then out onto the boardwalk to cross the island to the Atlantic side and the beach.  Al is getting in a nice back stretch while enjoying the shade of the woods!
Then we walked about 2 miles down the nearly deserted beach to find these two horses enjoying some dune grass.  There are inland ponds that we figured were where they get their liquids.
We came back to the island on Friday to do more exploring and when nearing the ruins of a Carnegie mansion, we found this large gathering of horses including this baby under the tree with its mom.  Judging by how unsteady its spindly legs were and the distended stomach of the mom, we decided that baby was at most 2 days old. As an aside, we did not make it over to the island on Thursday because the wind picked up to 20+ knots with high gusts.  So we were boat bound and took a day off from everything.  First day to sit at an anchorage and just read; it was quite relaxing.
Al reads every sign to learn about the area and this one is in front of what remains of the Carnegie mansion. After seeing the grounds around the mansion, including a small cemetery from the 1800's, we crossed another boardwalk to reach the beach and again walked miles with few people in sight. 
The beach seems to go on forever and is full of tiny wildlife.  We found our first intact sand dollar and observed many crabs, terns and snail-like crustaceans burrowing into the sand.

And we saw plenty more feral horses.  (Feral because their long ago ancestors were brought to the island as domestic animals and then left behind by some soldiers or settlers.
Then after shaking the sand from our shoes and scraping the horse dung off the tread we headed back to the mother ship to relax our tired muscles.  Did I mention we are sooo happy with the new canvas!

And then we were treated to another breathtaking sunset while watching dolphins slowly swim and feed in the Cumberland Sound. I don't seem to have success at catching the Dolphins as they swim along.  I do better when they jump in our wake.  I will keep trying!

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