By Shannon Dunnigan
This past month we visited a sister Reserve located in Sapelo Island, Georgia. The Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve (SINERR) was officially designated in December of 1976. With our fantastic hosts, SINERR Research Coordinator Rachel Guy and Education Coordinator Adam Mackinnon, we got the royal treatment and were taken on an adventure across the island.
The day began as we loaded up, along with several others (and some of our friends and family), aboard a ferry that would take us to the island. There are no roads going to Sapelo Island from the mainland and access to the island is restricted to pre-registered visitors only. The ferry departs the dock in the morning for the island at 08:30 and my goodness, it is a beautiful ride! It then returns to the main land around 12 noon and 4:30pm. Could you imagine taking a ferry to and from work everyday? I imagine it would sure keep you to a strict schedule!
We then visited several historic sites along the way and learned about the history of the island, it’s geechee culture, and, especially for a few of us, imagined what it would be like to live in such a beautiful place. Some of the stops we made were to visit the Reynolds Mansion, the Sapelo Island Lighthouse, Long Tabby, and even the Chocolate Plantation (which…despite its name, was not made out of chocolate).
We also got to view a living shoreline constructed by the SINERR near their main office. Did you know that they can have up to about 9 feet of tidal change? We also have several living shorelines at the GTMNERR, stay tuned for a future post on that!
A living shoreline is a shoreline stabilization technique using organic materials such as wetland plants, submerged aquatic vegetation, oyster reefs, etc.
Though the mosquitoes were biting something fierce and swarmed in the hundreds (at least it felt like that sometimes), this was a trip that was worth it all. We concluded our day on the 4:30pm ferry, said goodbye to our guides and went a few streets over to stay at the Blue Heron Inn. This little B & B was a treat by itself and all of us thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing evening overlooking coastal Georgia’s beautiful marshes.
Thanks again to Rachel and Adam! We cannot wait to show you around our neck of the woods.