Roaming the Remote Beach: Sapelo Island, Georgia

These photographs were taken at the edge of a maritime forest which had been overtaken by encroaching dunes. I photographed these fallen branches in the first rays of sunlight on the Atlantic shore of Sapelo Island near the inlet separating it from Blackbeard Island.

Sapelo is a gem – one of the last outposts of Gullah culture in the United States. Its only access is by boat, and 98% of the island is protected. Tours are conducted by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources several times a week and lodging (and tours) may also be arranged with the residents of the community of Hog Hammock. Visitors to Sapelo must be part of an organized tour, or registered guests of residents. There’s a passenger ferry that operates from a Visitor Center in McIntosh County.

Sapelo is one of the lesser known Georgia Sea Islands, a bit north of Cumberland. A couple of years ago we vacationed there for three days and it’s still one of the best places I know for solitary beaches. It’s also an outstanding destination for those who would rather not have  to deal with a car. Bicycles are the preferred means of transportation. There are a number of possible routes on the island along it’s network of mostly unpaved roads. On the south end, there’s a lighthouse, and the Reynolds Mansion which is the location of the University of Georgia Marine Institute. Sapelo is a stunningly quiet place noted for its  pine forests, live oak and saw palmetto. More importantly, it’s an island with extraordinarily deep roots in African American history. There’s not many places like this left.

For more information about Sapelo you can visit the website of our host and lifelong resident, Cornelia Walker Bailey. I highly recommend her book:

http://www.gacoast.com/geecheetalk.html

Another good site:

http://www.sapeloislandbirdhouses.com/index.html

The images were photographed with a Contax G2 and a 28mm lens.