A Sea Turtle Adventure on Ossabaw Island

"We Are Family" loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings.

Ossabaw Island is one of the best-preserved of Georgia's magnificent barrier islands. With a total area of 26,000 acres, its many natural zones progressing from the ocean include beaches, dunes, meadows, ponds, maritime forests and freshwater and saltwater marshes.

The island was inhabited by Native Americans from as early as 2200 B.C. to the 18th century and offers numerous archaeological sites as well as slave cabins, a late 19th century prefab house and a grand 1920s mansion in the midst of its undisturbed wildlife. Owned by the State of Georgia and managed through a public-private partnership with the Ossabaw Island Foundation, Ossabaw Island has been designated as a Heritage Preserve by the state, with its use restricted to natural, scientific and cultural study, research and education.

This year Ossabaw Island had 365 recorded turtle nests--almost twice as many recorded during the 2014 turtle season-- so spending two nights on the island to witness baby loggerhead turtles emerge from their beachside nests and make their way to the ocean was a no-brainer. Adventure called and I listened.

On August 7th, we departed Delegal Creek Marina on Skidaway Island.  After a 30-minute boat ride across Ossabaw Sound, we were met by Mark Frissell, Ossabaw Island's facilities manager, who help with baggage and escorted us to the Club House.  Elizabeth DuBose, executive director of the Ossabaw Island Foundation greeted us and made us feel quite comfortable during social hour.  The well-planned, delicious dinner was prepared by Mark and Elizabeth.  Following dinner we enjoyed an island overview by John "Crawfish" Crawford, a lifelong coastal ecology educator and naturalist.

After an early breakfast the next morning, the group ventured out on the back of two pickup trucks for ride to Ossabaw Island's beach to watch and assist the turtle biologists in their monitoring work and learn about the life cycle of the turtles from a nest-side vantage point.  Luck was on our side, we observed hatchlings emerge and make their way to the Atlantic Ocean.

We then loaded the trucks and headed to the south end of the island for a perfectly-planned picnic.  After lunch, we were escorted to a driftwood-lined beach for an hour of hiking, swimming and exploring.  Before heading back to the Club House, we were given a tour of the lush interior of the island.

Following a shower and short nap, we feasted on a fabulous meal of Ossabaw Island barbeque.  I must say, that pork was some of the most delicious I've ever tasted.  Needless to say, I am looking forward to The Pig Roast in October.

The evening was spent chatting with the biologists and among ourselves, forging friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

A very special thank you to Elizabeth DuBose, Mark Frissell, John "Crawfish" Crawford and Robin Gunn.


One of the many marshes on Ossabaw Island.

Hello ladies.

Dinner is served.

A birthday celebration.

John "Crawfish" Crawford teaching us about loggerhead sea turtles on the island.

Sea turtle tags.

A sea turtle skull.

Ready for a fun-filled day.

Our adventure begins.

I love these tree trunks.

A stroll along the beach.

Counting the hatched eggs in the nest.

Sea turtle eggs feel a bit like rubber.

Nest-side lessons.

Off to the next adventure.

A slight detour.

The resurrection fern was plush, green and gorgeous.

Kids play as the adults toast.

Our group picnic.

Ice was a hot commodity.

Off to the beach we go.

John "Crawfish" Crawford explains the terrain.

A palm forms a cross in the tree.

A doctor at play.

Exploring the driftwood.

Contemplation.

A man and the sea ...

Driftwood art.

Striking a pose.

John "Crawfish" Crawford stumbled upon a chicken turtle, an uncommon
 freshwater turtle found in the southeastern United States.

Sunrise on Ossabaw Island.

Three slave tabby cabins.

The island research center ... I was excited to discover the functioning darkroom.

View complete album of photographs here.


For more information about educational opportunities, events, becoming a member or donating to Ossabaw Island, visit www.ossabawisland.org.


2 comments :

  1. Thanks for the great sum up and photos, good memories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Caroline! It was a pleasure meeting you. Hope to see you at The Pig Roast in October. :-)

      Delete

 

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Bonnie Morét is an award-winning photographer recognized by The Georgia Council of the Arts as "an exceptional representation of contemporary Georgia art work." Her photography is featured on Georgia Public Broadcast's Georgia Traveler. Her exhibitions include Fifth Annual Exposure Awards at Musee du Louvre in Paris, France, Art Takes Miami at Scope Art during Art Basel Miami, Metro Montage XIII at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, World of Water at the Georgia Aquarium, Open Walls at Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon, Wholly Georgia: A Look at the Effects of Southern Religious Culture, sponsored by the Art History League and Georgia State University, at Mint Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, 6x6 at the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center in Rochester, New York, @Phonography: Dialogue in the Wireless Age, at 3 Ring Circus in New Orleans, Louisiana, and About Lands and Lives of the Civil War at the 6th Cavalry Museum in Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia. Her photography appears in Modern Luxury/The Atlantan, Jezebel Magazine, and hangs in the executive offices at the Georgia State Capitol as part of the Art of Georgia exhibit. Corporate clients include Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta History Center, Chanel Cosmetics, Christian Dior Cosmetics, Sharp Mountain Vineyards, PM Realty Group, Granite Properties, Road Atlanta, Patrón Tequila, Georgia's Own Credit Union, StubHub, CBM Records and The Washington Auto Show.