The walk began with a beautiful driftwood-covered beach on the north side of Jekyll Island, an Atlantic barrier island in Georgia. There was well over a mile of tree-sized driftwood. Despite the hazy and overcast day that leached all the contrast out of everything in the scene and blurred the line between ocean and sky, the driftwood was interesting enough that I managed to take 30 pictures along the beach, all while trying to keep up with Andrea, who was pushing Elizabeth in her jog stroller, frequently at top speed to try to evade the pestilent swarms of sand gnats. The eery forms and shapes of the driftwood reminded me of some really old trees I saw in County Kerry in Ireland, and reminded Andrea of the ents in Lord of the Rings.
The fauna highlight was a dolphin thrashing around in the gentle breaking waves at the shoreline, before it finished whatever it was doing and went swimming back out to deeper water. I was closer to a dolphin in the wild only once, when I was sailing off the Florida keys. I was sitting on the bowsprit of a 42 foot sailboat, splashing my feet in the bow wave, when a dolphin came up and rode the bow wave!
By the time we’d walked the length of the driftwood beach and joined back up with the biking trail near the fishing pier, we’d gone two miles. That morning as we looked at the hand-drawn tourist map over breakfast, we’d figured on a total of 4 or 5 miles. I should have been suspicious of an island that would let their only brewery fall in to ruins, and even more suspicious had I known there were no markers or signs devoted to the historical significance of a brewery. After all, this is a country of puritans and southern baptists; an island sanctuary with a brewery deserves mention!
The history of the island is pretty interesting; the ruins we saw belonged to the DuBignon family, whose patriarch fled here from France, as he was on the wrong side of their Revolution. Interesting that he moved to the USA and founded his own landed aristocracy off the Georgia coast.
The distance from the north side of the island back to the hotel area in the island historic district is listed on the map as 3.3 miles, so I still can’t figure out how we walked over 7 miles today, but at least it was a helped us work off all the rich southern seafood meals we’d been eating!