On Tuesday of this week, my friend, Kim and I decided to go over to Daufuskie Island, a small island (only 8 square miles!) tucked between Savannah and Hilton Head. Before I post my photos of my trip to Daufuskie Island, I did a little internet research on it’s history, so there will be a brief background to my photos.
The island – despite some recent development – is amazingly pristine, probably due to isolation because of the lack of easy transportation to and from the mainland. There is no bridge — and all transportation is by boat.
Now – for a quick (and incomplete!) history, beginning prior to the Civil War: At some point in the 1700′s, English planters created twelve cotton plantations, a crop that, at the time, used African slave labor. Because of the isolation of the island, as well as the absence of plantation owners, the slaves maintained their African “Gullah” traditions much more strongly than the slaves on the mainland. After the Civil War, the plantation owners fled, leaving the newly freed slaves behind, who continued to grow cotton. After the Boll Weevil destroyed the cotton crop in the early 20th century, they switched to oystering. Then the Savannah River became polluted in the 1950′s, destroying the oyster industry (until recently). After this, many of the Gullah residents left to find work on the mainland and the population diminished, and is now less than 20 individuals. Beginning in 1985 residential properties and vacation resorts were created, giving some work to Gullah people. Yet, much of the land still remains pristine and undeveloped. Transportation is by foot, bicycle, and golf cart more often that by car. In fact – there is not a commercial car ferry service to Daufuskie — at least one that I can find on the internet. However, we did see some cars on the island so they got there somehow! Many of the roads remain unpaved – covered from above by a beautiful canopy of live oaks. So – clearly – for those who live there now, and even for those who vacation there, the living is simple. Amenities which we take for granted are not as easily procured. But — from my vantage point – that is it’s beauty!
So — Tuesday’s 365 Photo will be from our Daufuskie Island trip:
365 Photo #108 — First Union African Baptist Church. Originally a Gullah church, it now is a church to all island residents — and visitors attend, too.
Now — for the bonus photos, which will be many, as I’d like to chronicle our water taxi trip over and back from Hilton Head, as well as the four hour golf cart self guided tour over the island. We were given a map and … off we went! As always – click on any photo to see it larger in Flickr…
1. An interesting and somewhat rusted boat, “Yellow Jacket” that is docked at a marina off Hilton Head Island. I believe it’s still operational, but we wondered…!
2. Dock at Daufuskie Island, Melrose Landing, where we were dropped off and picked up.
1. We did not have a guided tour, so I don’t know anything about this house, but, with the shutters closed, I wonder if anyone is there. Yet – it seems fairly well taken care of. I wonder if it’s a Gullah residence?
2. Another interesting residence on “Attitude Adjustment Boulevard”
1. Mary Fields School — made famous by the author, Pat Conroy, who wrote a book, “The Water is Wide” about his experiences teaching there from 1969 / 70.
2. Praise House – a place where slaves expressed their African religious beliefs during slavery – and the forerunner to the First Union Baptist Church (see 365 photo above)
1. Grave stone at Bloody Point – a Gullah cemetery. Note the sand dollar shell — which has significance to Gullah faith: “The sea brought us, the sea shall take us back. So the shells upon our graves stand for water, the means of glory and the land of demise.”
2. Mt. Carmel Baptist Church II (1st one burned down!). It is not used as a church, but as a museum now.
1. We couldn’t get inside Mt. Carmel Church (I suspect you need to be on an actual tour to get inside some of these places – and we were just on our own) – so we took photos of the inside through the windows. Note the bottles on the window sill. Also — it ended up to be an interesting photo with the reflections of the trees off the window
2. quilt on a chair by a window.
That’s enough for now. There is lots more to see over there, so I hope to make another trip there in the future. And … more “catch-up” 365 photos will be in the next entry!