Hilton Head, South Carolina

From Florida, we headed north a few hours to Hilton Head.  We had heard a lot of good things about this particular destination, so we decided to give it a go.  It was particularly touristy; golf courses and tennis courts everywhere.  Our interests didn’t jive with the island crowd so well.  Luckily, the beaches were beautiful, there was a fantastic state park nearby, and the sites of Savannah were only an hour away.  I’ll focus on the island of Hilton Head in this post, since our day trips deserve their own attention.

Beachy birds.

Beachy birds.

In town, we saw the requisite sites: the iconic lighthouse (somehow, I neglected to get a picture of this)…

Eric atop the Harbour Town Lighthouse.

Eric atop the Harbour Town Lighthouse.

The Harbor

The Harbor

Nice views.

Nice views.

…and King Neptune, god of the sea who doubles as a giant sundial.

Release the Kraken!

Release the Kraken!  It’s three o’clock!

The beach was gorgeous, but the weather was a bit chilly.  Nevertheless, I braved the cold and the wind, and went in search of tranquility.  I found it, along with a variety of treasures which I will now share with you.

Horseshoe crab.

The omnipresent horseshoe crab.

Did you know that the horseshoe crab’s blue blood is used in the medical industry?  Crabs are harvested, bled in a lab, then released back into the wild.  A protein in their blood, which binds endotoxin, is separated out from the collected blood.  This protein is used extensively in laboratory testing to ensure the sterility of injectables medications and implantable devices.

sponge

A real, live (dead) sponge.

starfish

Most of a starfish.

Whelk eggs.  each pod contains up too a hundred baby whelk in their shells.

Whelk eggs. each pod contains up too a hundred baby whelk in their shells.

White coral and a piece of horseshoe.

White coral and a piece of horseshoe.

The blob!

The blob!

Apparently, this blob is actually a tunicate, AKA “sea pork.”  I did not make that up.  It only looks like a blob once it has dried out on the beach, apparently, after having digested its own brain.  Speaking of The Blob, the 1988 remake of this classic film was made in Abbeville, Louisiana – a past residence of mine.

One-legged birds abound.

One-legged birds abound.

That’s it for the island of Hilton Head.  I’ll have a couple of posts about our day trips soon!

-H

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