The ocean provides soothing relief and an escape from reality. Navigating the ocean waters and finding the beauty of nature puts things into perspective. This gives you a chance to further understand nature. For our mini vacation, we decided to take a private tour through Eric Horan Tours. He is a master naturalist and an environmental/wildlife photographer. He understands the ins/outs of the Low Country. Private tours are your choice trips, so you can discuss your own itinerary with Eric.
We met up at Eddings Point Boat Landing on St. Helena Island. There is no bathrooms here but there is a Publix Grocery store about a mile away. It is a small landing, which is good for small boats and kayaks. Eric met us there on his 19 foot Carolina Skiff which fits 5 people including him.
On our way to our first destination, we came across 100’s of White Wagtail birds!! And they flew around the boat on both sides returning to shore each time. In one direction, you see more white on them, and in the other direction, you see more silver.
Our first destination point was Morgan Island. Morgan Island lies on the northern end of the St. Helena Sound. It is a 2,000-acre island. The island is managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. About 3000 Rhesus Monkeys live here and are used by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease for the purpose of research. These monkeys are allowed to roam free over the island and can be seen playing in their natural habitat “only” by boat. The island itself is off limits and is under federal protection. The Island is monitored extensively so best to stay off, otherwise it’s a federal felony. The best time to come see these monkeys is in the early mornings. Cooler temperatures help as well as the high heat keeps them hidden in their shade. We got here at about 7:40 in the morning.
To watch the monkeys in their habitat playing is definitely a sight to see. We saw a monkey shaking a tree to try and drop other monkeys off the tree.
We also saw a mama monkey holding her baby monkey. She was very protective as we were taking photos. She was shielding her baby from us paparazzi’s. They are very smart animals second only to “most” humans! Smile, you know it’s not a joke! 🙂 Check out our You Tube Channel for footage..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXS-b0q4_rY
On the way to our next adventure in search of more birds, we went to Egg Bank, in the middle of the St. Helena Sound! We saw 100’s of pelicans! Some were flying, while others were huddled, and still others appeared to be in line on this bank that was forever ending!
Eric drove the boat around the whole bank very slowly not to chase the pelicans away. And you had to be careful of the shallow waters around it so we don’t get stuck. But we got a chance to get onto the bank which was pretty neat. Waves were on all sides of us as we stood on a bank in the middle of the ocean!
Our next adventure led us to Harbor Island. There we saw shrimp boats, and where there are shrimp boats, there are birds, and there are DOLPHINS!!! We are both dolphin lovers. We could watch dolphins everyday and not get bored! While we have had many dolphin experiences, we have never seen more dolphins in one location than we did today! They can hold their breath for so long under water, that you just have to keep clicking to take a photo!
Sadly, with Harbor Island, many of the homes there are at risk of being destroyed with rising sea levels. These are beautiful homes. So if you are able to rent here, as long as there is no hurricane coming, go for it!
On our final adventure before heading back, we visited with other species of shore birds. We saw Semipalmated Plovers, Sandpipers and Royal Terns.
As we docked, we saw 100’s of blue crabs from a single days catch by local fishers! It’s great to be in the Low Country! Check out other Pisces Tourist posts for local food spots!
This was definitely a wonderful adventure of wildlife, nature, & traveling! It is definitely great for photography as well. While everyone in our group took photos, I took 480 pictures to give you perspective! We would definitely recommend it!