A special place

"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, it is a special place where I spend my afternoon."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sunday at St Vincent Island

       I had a nice surprise over the weekend. My friend George, who is also a captain for Journey's, a charter boat business here on the island, came and got me down at the estuary to go over to St Vincent and look for artifacts. Because of the wildlife on St. Vincent, dogs aren't welcome. So I took the kids home real quick, grabbed some water, munchies, and of course mosquito spray and George was at the dock in 30 minutes to pick me up.
      St. Vincent is the last in a chain of four barrier islands in the Gulf out from the panhandle. There's Dog island, St.George island, Cape St. George, and then St Vincent. It probably takes about a half hour to get there by boat from St. George. It was a great day to be out on the water. It was like glass.Which was kind of surprising when the waves were crashing up on shore just a couple of days before.
The outer shell of a palm tree
that has been lifted up and out of the ground.
     The best time to go shelling or looking for anything else you'd hope to find on shore after a high tide is after a storm. Usually I'll ask George to take me over to Cape (Little) St. George to look for shells but he mentioned going over to St. Vincent this time to look for artifacts. We were hoping we'd  find some arrowheads but didn't have any luck. We did find pieces of pottery that were really cool.
     In the 1700's Creek and Seminole Indians lived on the island.  They were gone by the 1800"s and the island has been uninhabited since. In 1920 cattle were grazed on the island and sold at market in Apalachicola. In the '40's the island was given it's first oyster lease and pine lumber was being harvested. There was a temporary bridge built to transport the lumber.  Now the only access to the island is by boat.
     The Nature Conservancy bought the island in 1968 for $2.2 million. Then the U.S Fish and Wildlife repaid the conservancy with money made from Duck Stamp sales (that's a lot of stamps) and it was established as St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge.
     We didn't see any of the wildlife that lives there, but we did spot a bald eagle flying over. They have five or six nests on the island.. There's also endangered loggerhead sea turtles. Florida has the largest nesting population of loggerheads in the U.S..
      It doesn't help the loggerhead population on St.Vincent that the red wolf, also endangered, resides there too. In 1973 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife started a program to save the red wolf from extinction by placing groups on four different uninhabited islands.. St. Vincent and Cape St George were two of the islands chosen for the project.. It's because of this project that they'd  rather you leave your dogs at home. I believe both groups of fox are doing well. It's all the protein they're getting from the loggerhead turtle eggs!
      One other endangered creature living on St. Vincent is the indigo snake. It's the largest native snake in the U.S..  People seem to like them for pets and they'll bring big bucks at the pet stores. So human greed is their worst threat.
.  I'm happy with a few pieces of pottery.