Tropical Storm Irma visited us this month. We weren't sure if she would be a hurricane or a storm when she got here, but we decided to stay either way. We'd spent the day before helping friends tie down sailboats and board up windows. By the time she hit the next morning, we were almost too tired to care. We were hanging out watching LOTR and drinking Dark & Stormies, as one does on hurricane mornings, when my neighbor called.
"Robin! Look in the marsh!"
My back "yard" is actually the marsh that stretches between Mount Pleasant and the Intracoastal Water Way, so we get some interesting critters. What we got this time was roseate spoonbills.
I'd been chasing roseate spoonbills my whole life - my last hunt was down in Quinta Roo - but there they were in my backyard. Go figure. Next were wood storks.
...and black coyotes - which were terrifyingly huge. That's why I love the Lowcountry though - it so clearly doesn't belong to us. The day ended with a very wet dash in sailing foul weather gear to the neighbors to celebrate the passing of the storm.
Then it was time for beach clean up. On Isle of Palms we found a huge trap full of live stone crabs that had washed up. It was rusty and sharp and I didn't have a tetanus shot, so of course I was all in. I shook them out one by one and watched them run for the surf. I guess stone crabs have a grip so strong they can break your fingers if they latch on. Glad I didn't know that then.
Then, Mother Nature gave me my very first murex shell. What a score.
It became Charleston Box #66, which is on the cover of my Charleston Box coffee table book.
Next we headed out to Bull Island, home of my heart. Along with a group of volunteers from the Audubon Society and the lovely folks at Coastal Expeditions, we spent the day picking all manner of refuse off those beautiful beaches. Please believe, if you saw what I saw that day, you'd never touch another plastic bottle or grocery bag.
I did have on a small backpack, so I was able to gather some treasures.
Okay, it might have been a medium backpack. Bull Island and Bull's Bay have given me some of the best days of my life. I'm cooking up a benefit with these shells so stay tuned...