Alligators and Turtles

Trip Start May 23, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2012

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What I did
Okefenokee Swamp

Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Thursday, June 14, 2012

We slept well despite having trains rumble by regularly during the night. From reading the visitors' book it seems that a lot of people come to Folkston specifically for train-spotting which is a pastime for which the fascination completely eludes me but each to his own. I prefer to try and find wildlife which at least has an element of unpredictability (especially when it comes to beavers). We had a lovely breakfast at the B&B watching the hummingbird come to visit the bird feeder, and watching the squirrels chasing each other and wrestling on the lawn.

Dave was feeling a bit better this morning which was good news as I was concerned we might be looking for a doctor this morning instead of visiting the swamp.

So we headed off to Okefenokee for our boat trip up the swamp and were told that the information we were given yesterday about much of the area being closed because of low water levels and the big fire was incorrect and the only area not accessible is the boardwalk because that did burn out in the big fire. Ah well, we couldn't have made it to Minnies Lake anyway because we would have had to come in by the West Entrance 75 miles away. Another time hopefully!

The trip up the swamp was amazing. It was quite spooky moving quietly through the water watching eagerly for alligators and turtles and the photo opportunities were outstanding. I did my best to try and capture some of the atmosphere but as I have said before, photos are never anything like the real thing. We saw lots of alligators including a couple of babies but they were hard to capture on camera because they glide under the water as soon as you get focussed. The turtles were even harder! We saw a turtle on a branch and tried to photograph him but he jumped into the water and all Dave got was a picture of a splash. Our guide took us into a more open area and we saw an enormous egret in the distance. They are beautiful big white birds. The butterflies here are huge and gorgeous colors and the dragonflies also are brightly colored and extremely large. All in all it was a great experience and very different from anything either of us have ever done before.

Next it was a big drive up to South Carolina to Charleston for the night. We are staying in the historic area of Charleston which is really pretty and our B&B - the 1837 B&B - is lovely. Our bed is a huge four-poster with a white lace canopy. I don't think I have ever slept in a 4 poster before and feel very posh. We had a fantastic meal tonight at a restaurant which was recommended to us. It was VERY expensive, but the food was fantastic and we justified by the fact that we had no lunch. I got to try okra and grits for the first time. I LOVED the grits and would be happy to have them for breakfast every day. They were even tastier than the mealy pap we had in S Africa. Dave hates both incidentally :-)

One funny thing that we have noticed since arriving in the US is that my sense of direction, which is normally non-existent, has improved dramatically and Dave's, which is normally excellent, has deteriorated dramatically. We figure it must be something to do with the hemisphere you are born in (or grew up in), but it is very noticeable and quite humorous.

Tomorrow we hope to have a bit more of a look around Charleston before heading off to Wilmington to catch up with Marie-Claire and Hal.
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