Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Botany Bay

On Thursday morning we visited Botany Bay, a beautiful land preserve on Edisto Island. We weren't really sure what to expect—some websites said to strap on your hiking boots, some websites said to wear shoes that can get wet. We mostly opted for sandals and that was a good choice.

It's a half mile walk from the parking lot to the beach, and it's best to visit at low-tide. When we checked the schedule in the morning and saw we were just about at low-tide we started hollering Grandpa's catchphrase: "Ten minutes!" (meaning that we should all be getting ready to go in ten minutes). I'm not sure we managed to leave the house in ten minutes, but we did leave pretty quickly!

Here we are looking at all the oysters and crabs we can see thanks to the low tide:

This next picture is from our walk back to the parking lot and you can see the tide is certainly much higher than it was when we came:

It was quite a beautiful walk through the marsh:

It was surprising (at least to me) how different the undeveloped beach was compared to the public beaches in the area. There's a beautiful forest just before the shore...of course, due to the wild amount of erosion this particular area experiences (on average 25 feet per year, but given the influx of storms in the area up to 50 feet annually) I suppose it's to be expected that the beach would be encroaching upon the forest's territory.

The number of trees and amount of erosion also means there's a large amount of driftwood on the beach.

One of the nicknames for the area is Boneyard Beach.

Sun-bleached and salted 
smooth, tree limbs 
and seasoned whelk ghosts 
speckle the beach. 

The kids were both excited and sad to find so many great shells washing up on shore. Beautiful, intact spiral shells of whelks, for example.

They were fun to find and observe (and add to the impromptu art installations around), but since Botany Bay is a protected area, all the shells had to stay at the beach.

We also found some large and beautiful lettered olives...

Some clams, horseshoe crabs, and all sorts of things!

We also saw some live jellyfish and crabs, and (sadly) a dead sea turtle:

There were a few nesting areas roped off along the beach where we were staying, but we didn't see any turtles besides this one. 

Walking along the beach was certainly a break from our "ordinary" beach days, though I'm not sure it quite qualifies as a break from the sun! Apparently you can walk from Botany Bay to Edisto Beach—it's only six miles!! Benjamin really wanted to do it, but we didn't bring nearly enough water to attempt a walk like that (next time, maybe). 

We had fun climbing over and under and along the fallen trees:

Since we all wore clothes to the beach (rather than swimsuits, since we were somewhat under the impression that this would be more like hiking and less like a walk along the shore), most of us tried our best to stay dry. The exception to this rule was Phoebe, who likes water no mater what she's wearing.

She tends to run toward the ocean with her arms wide open, like she's ready to give it a big hug:

Here she is following Zoë up a tree trunk:

They were both caught a little off guard by how high this wave washed ashore (though Phoebe certainly ended up getting wetter than Zoë did):

Here are Zoë and Alex doing some climbing together:

This little area was quite interesting. The trees have long-since fallen and all that's left of them are the roots, which are slowly being weathered away.

Swimming is not recommended at this beach for this reason. There are all sorts of snags and things that you'll run into underwater should you attempt it—not very safe. But the kids had fun trying to balance on the roots:

One day this once-grand tree will leave behind a mess of roots for other children to play on:

Here's Phoebe playing tag with the ocean a little bit:

And here she is pointing out a crab:

"Me catch it!" she declared.

And we just laughed and said, "Sure you will," because what is the likelihood of her catching a crab.

I mean, I used to catch and play with baby crabs all the time at the tide pools in BC. But, uh, that's the thing—BC has tide pools. A lot of the beaches are quite rocky...and the crabs are just trapped in these tide pools...

But here? I haven't really encountered any tide pools. The beaches are all flat and sandy. The crabs hide during the day and scuttle around freely at night. 

We didn't think our two-year-old would be any match for the scuttling skills of a free-range crab. But we were wrong. Phoebe stooped down and picked up a big clam shell and then just...swooped down and scooped that crab right up.

It didn't even know what hit him!

She is a crab-catching queen!

Here she is chucking a big rock into the sea:

She is not very good at throwing and is rather lucky that rock didn't come back down and hit her on the head.

And here she is picking out some pretty shells (that she then had to be convinced to put back down):

Here are more pictures of people climbing on trees:

When I got dressed this particular morning, I put on my swim team shirt and a pair of black shorts. Zoë had been wearing something different, but when she saw what I was wearing she ran to put on her swim team shirt and a pair of black shorts that she'd we matched!

Here's Grandpa and Daddy with Benjamin and Alexander:

Here's me with Rachel (who I can't believe is going into her last year of high school):

Here are Phoebe and Alexander walking with Grandpa and Darla:

Alexander was nearly always Darla's walking buddy wherever we went. He adores her! 

Phoebe was just being brave here. She usually prefers to walk with Mommy or Daddy.

Here are the four girls up on a stump:

And here we are at that bridge again, marveling at how much the tide had come in—completely covering the oyster beds we could see when we first started our little hike:

This was certainly a fun little adventure!

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