"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Cumberland Island

>> Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cumberland Island is one of the crew’s favorite places on the planet. Although it has a history of human inhabitants, from pre-civil war plantations, to communities of hundreds of African Americans, to wealthy descendants of the Carnegies, the Georgia barrier island currently is a national park and wilderness preserve of maritime forests and marshes. We shuttled ashore at 6 am and walked silently through the dark, twisted forest of live oak trees to the Atlantic coast. White sand beaches stretch the 17 mile long length of the island. We sat on the beach in the cool blue pre-dawn glow, quiet with our thoughts, reflecting upon the hard work it has taken in over three weeks to come so far. As the orange dawn rose, we bathed in the cool breakers. On Ocean Classroom, we joke that there will be magical days when the students will see dolphins jumping over rainbows. As it turns out, we were in luck on this sweet morning! The early light illuminated a doubled arched rainbow over the island, and just past the breakers, dolphins surfaced for air. We all felt awe and excitement on our secluded beach, watching the sun rise under double rainbow arches, feet from dolphins! We spent the day hiking and exploring this magnificent wilderness. We visited the ruins of Dungeness, a burned down mansion once owned by the Carnegies and utilized as a center of social life at the turn of the century. The eerie remains of this once lively home reminded us that this is one of the unique places on the earth reclaimed by nature. Its stewards are now the wild horses, alligators, armadillos, and eagles. Cumberland is famous for its wild horses, and we observed some of these free animals feeding on the grassy fields surrounding the building. Armadillos crossed out paths while we hiked through the live oak forests. After a very long afternoon hike, we collapsed near the docks and had a sunset BBQ, savoring our last moments on land for potentially two weeks.


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