12/02/21 - Little St. Simon's Island to Charleston

We got up early on our last day at Little St. Simon's Island. There was still a red glow in the sky. OK, we didn't get up that early, but it was early enough to take a little walk and say goodbye to the vulture tree before breakfast and our drive back to Charleston.

Wow, we really don't miss I-95. We expected Thanksgiving holiday traffic. What we got was a half hour delay thanks to some huge thing two plus lanes wide being hauled slowly up the interstate. We have no idea what it was, but everyone had to squeeze around it. Luckily, our little Chevy fit just fine.

We finished up with dinner at Husk, the one in Charleston. We had even more shrimp, fried oysters, slow smoked pork ribs and fried catfish. We loaded up. We were heading back west the next day.

Saying goodbye to Little St. Simon's Island

Last of the dawn's light

Yes, we got up early.

More dawn light

The lodge

Last visit to the vulture tree - We had to say goodbye.


A fire in our cottage

Seen from the ferry back

The view from our table at Husk in Charleston

En route to our hotel

Charleston streets

The city at night

More Charleston

Yet more Charleston - It was a nice long after dinner walk.

Back to Zero George

Lights at the hotel

Keywords: georgia

12/01/21 - Little St. Simon's Afternoon Walk

That afternoon, we had one of the naturalists drop us off towards the north end of the island so we could get a long walk back to the lodge. This time there were alligators as well as lots of birds, an armadillo and a variety of countryside. We stopped and checked out the various observation towers and viewing blinds and had a long, tiring but fascinating walk back to the lodge.

Some egrets

The drained land

An alligator and an egret

View of the water

Another view

The road

Another alligator


A bit of shade on the road

More birds

Yet another alligator

Scenery with an egret in flight

A view from an observation tower

Christmas colors

More of our road home

Another egret

A more forested part of the road

Another armadillo

More welcome shade on the road

Keywords: georgia

11/30/21 - Little St. Simon's Morning Walk

Little St. Simon's Island has trained naturalists who will take you on various walks. They'll drive right out with you to one of the trailheads, but we decided to start walking towards the beach and let our guide catch up with us and pick us up for the rest of the way. We had to work off breakfast somehow.

The beach itself was brilliant. To get there, we had to pass through a storm of mosquitoes, our only real encounter with the insects. They were vicious, but they didn't follow us onto the beach proper. Then we walked and explored and our guide explained things to us. There were skate eggs, a tunicate, dolphins and all sorts of birds.

The lodge in the morning

Heading to the beach


A channel

An egret


More of the land

And some more

The beach

Some shore birds

We're not sure what this is, but it's pretty neat.

Skate eggs.

A heron

A dark cluster

A tunicate, they're the vertebrate wanna-be phylum

Our photo of a dolphin

One of our traveling companion's picture of a dolphin

More of the beach country

And some more bright colors

Keywords: georgia

11/29/21 - Little St. Simon's Island

Little St. Simon's Island is a private reserve with a small hotel. We had booked a cottage for ourselves and our friends, so we settled in to rustic luxury. We arrived well before dinner, so we decided to take a walk and explore the island a bit. It was like our home country, flat swampland and lush vegetation. We made our way north along the main road. The island has a number of country roads and provides bicycles for those who haven't forgotten how to ride one.

We passed a tree full of vultures, took side spurs to get better views of swamps, got a good look at an armadillo and made our way to the South Dike after taking a number of side spurs. There were palmettos, swamplands, old bones and Spanish moss. We didn't run into any alligators which was just as well.


The vulture tree

The vulture tree in context

The road north

One of the vultures


An armadillo


Further along

A curve in the road

A mushroom

A water view

An old bone, most likely from an old feast

The dike road


More such land

A conch shell


Pine cones

Keywords: georgia

11/28/21 - Sea Island, Fort Frederica and On to Little St. Simon's Island

This was a busy day starting with a last look at the Sea Island beach and the red morning glow of the sun, then a brief return visit to Fort Frederica and finally on to Little St. Simon's Island. We packed up and said our goodbyes to The Cloister and made our way north to the harbor where the ferry to Little St. Simon's Island starts. Our little Chevy was once again crammed with all of our luggage, and, since we were going to Little St. Simon's with our friends, they had to squeeze into the back with their luggage. There was no room left in the trunk. Luckily, it was only a short drive.

Sea Island again

The late sunrise light - to the east

More red light at morning


Yet another bird

Breakfast hunt

Fort Frederica again

Very different light

A modern bridge

The ferry to Little St. Simon's Island

Along the waterway

Our living room on Little St. Simon's Island

The garden

Keywords: georgia

11/27/21 - Sea Island and Fort Frederica

The next day we wandered the beach at Sea Island some more, and we visited Fort Frederica. Ages ago, this area was near the border of the British Empire and the Spanish Empire to the south, so these islands were strategically important. Fort Frederica was the British outpost, and there are still ruins from the old fort.

The big Christmas Tree at The Cloister

Another day on the beach at Sea Island

A sand dollar

Porch, where we had lunch

Fort Frederica is quiet today.

There was a whole town here, but only the foundations remain.

More foundations

What's left of the fort

A strategic waterway, or at least it was

The kitchen garden at Fort Frederica

Another foundation

Back to the beach towards evening

Sand pipers


And another

Even later

Sentry cormorants

Keywords: georgia

11/26/21 - Christmas on Jekyll Island

We spent a day exploring Jekyll Island. It was once a retreat for the wealthy and powerful but is now a state park. We took the little guided tram and visited a number of houses that once belonged to this or that family. It was an exclusive club and, in many ways, like Newport, Rhode Island with its seaside estates. The big lure was once hunting, fishing and shooting. Now, it's tourism which is just fine with us as we were tourists at the time.

The flat, wet coastal lands

A little fellow

The Christmas tree

Interior decorations

Another tree

Check out that wreath

A close up - how Christmassy

Stained glass at the church


Keywords: georgia

11/26/21 - Christmas at the Cloister

We found these pictures a bit late, but we're inserting them here. Welcome to The Cloister at Christmas.

Keywords: christmas, georgia

11/25/21 - Thanksgiving at the Cloister

The Cloister is an old fashioned family oriented resort. It was a bit formal, one of the few places left where jackets are required for dinner, but comfortable and hospitable. We just couldn't face Thanksgiving indoors, so we arranged for a take out meal we picked up at the golf resort. There were four of us, one of whom didn't eat turkey, but they gave us at least an eight pound roast turkey, probably bigger and enough sides - sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing - to serve maybe eight people. It was way more food than we could handle, but our friends took home most of the left overs.

During the day, we explored the beach on Sea Island. It's a pretty Atlantic style sand beach, the kind that runs from Cape Cod to Key West. Since we used to live on the East Coast, we found it familiar though it had been a long time. We found sand dollars and a horseshoe crab shell. There were pelicans and cormorants. Inland, on the tidal waters, there were egrets and tall grass. We walked a fair ways and worked up an appetite for dinner which provided to be a very good idea.

Sea Island beach


Birds - mostly cormorants

On the beach

Beach grass

Beach flowers

Signs of autumn

Christmas is a-coming in

More Christmas

A horseshoe crab shell

The beach resort

Our Thanksgiving table

Our Thanksgiving dessert

Inland waters

Towards sunset

An egret

Evening light

Later on, more color

On the Cloister grounds

Keywords: georgia

11/24/21 - Outdoor Dining With Alligators

Our friends took us out to a seafood restaurant with a view of the bay and lots of alligators. We had boiled shrimp again, deviled crab, St. Louis ribs and corn on the cob. Then, we wandered over to the alligator pond and enjoyed the reptiles.

A big old fashioned seafood place

The alligator pond

Some alligators

Keywords: georgia

Keywords: georgia

11/24/21 - A Morning in Savannah

The next morning, we explored Savannah. One of our friends had lived there for a number of years, so she knew the layout and lore. It's a very pretty city with its old trees, old houses and shaded parks. Our friend is a lawyer, and the area was full of old fashioned, well connected law firms, so she had a gave us a good sense this aspect of Savannah culture and history. Savannah was, and still is, a port city.

Shade trees in one of the squares

An old building and shade

The view up

One of the famous squares of Savannah

More shade, surely a great relief on a summer day


Old brick

A door

A staircase

Another shady square

A modern street

Another park

Savannah style

A statue of a wild boar

More shade

And more shade

Great old trees

A tourist conveyance

Another old building

Keywords: georgia

Keywords: georgia

11/23/21 - Charleston to Savannah

We usually don't travel for Thanksgiving, but this year the friends we usually celebrate with were in Georgia. They even reassured us that the COVID prevalence was lower in Glynn County than back at home. We flew into Charleston and spent the night at Zero George which was both charming and convenient. The next day we picked up our rental car, a little Chevy. It was tiny and bit underpowered, but it was the Chevy that could.

We drove to Savannah and stayed at the Marriott down by the river. It was an old converted power plant, so it was huge and still had its smokestacks towering over it. It wasn't Thanksgiving yet, but the elves were hard at work setting up Christmas trees, draping everything with lights and building gingerbread houses. We were told that our hotel and its environs is usually full of drunken bridesmaids, but we didn't see any.

We met our friends for dinner at Husk and ate on the upstairs porch. Those old buildings were designed for the summer's heat, so they have a fair bit of protected outdoor space for dining. There's something to be said for vernacular architecture. It was a great meal. Naturally, we had some Carolina golden rice along with local oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp with peanuts, lily white biscuits, heritage pork with chestnuts and flank steak with a potato pancake.

The Zero George courtyard

The river in Savannah

A close up of the working port - According to Bloomberg, it's #1 for chicken foot exports to China.

Another view along the river

A gingerbread house under construction

Instead of alligators, they used to have these guys. That skeleton was too big for our lens.

Christmas and minerals


Husk outdoors

An evening urban walk

Urban lights - something we've been missing

More evening in Savannah

Christmas at the candy shop

The candy shop


The river boat

More evening lights with a touch of Christmas

More Christmas decorations as we neared our hotel

Evening lights in Savannah

Keywords: christmas, oysters, thanksgiving

Keywords: christmas, oysters, thanksgiving, georgia

11/22/21 - The Flight to Charleston

There was some pretty impressive scenery on our flight from Seattle to Charleston. We flew other snow covered mountains, broad plains cut by river channels and then the flat lands. Most of the time the skies were clear, but as we neared the Atlantic coast, there were clouds below and perfect conditions for a glory. That's an anti-solar halo around one's plane's shadow. It was visible for much of our flight as we approached Charleston, but then, as the sun started to set and we had a beautiful sunset to watch. As with so many west to east flights, we started early in the day and arrived late in the day, but we had some great views en route.

Keywords: flying, georgia

08/26/15 - Arkaba - The First Day

If you know us, you know that we are fond of such luxuries as well padded beds, air conditioning and gourmet room service, so it probably seems a bit of a stretch to imagine us camping, but a-camping we did go. We started at the luxurious Arkaba Homestead not far from WIlpena Pound which is a geological formation in the Flinders Range north of Adelaide.

We started in the national park and headed west, crossing from one set of mountains to another. The "pound" itself, short for compound, is flat, but surrounded by mountains. The vegetation, wattles, gum trees and sycamores, was exotic, and the wildlife exotic. We followed the well blazed trails and soon ran into a flock of yearling emus who eyed us curiously, but warily.

Then we climbed the west wall of the pound, old mountains in layers of red, gray and brown rock. We passed through the gap and left the national park heading down to the Hysen Trail, named for a painter who painted the area much as Georgia O'Keefe painted around Santa Fe. It was a steep descent and not all of it followed a well blazed trail, but we soon reached the main track in the valley, but we didn't stay on it long. We took an unmarked side track, not blazed at all, to our campground.

One of the walls of Wilpena Pound

Flat country

Our trail

Some emus

Another wall of the pound

A view from the gap

The Red Range before us as we began our descent

Another view of the Red Range

Red rocks

The spectacular layered mountains


Keywords: australia, georgia