Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, SC

On December 5th, 2020 we boarded The Caretta ferry from Awendaw to explore Bulls Island, a barrier island on the South Carolina coast just outside of Charleston. I very much enjoyed Coastal Expedition’s naturalist’s wealth of information about the island and its inhabitants, mostly consisting of alligators (based on my limited experience). The ferry ride took about 30 minutes. We had 4.5 hours before being picked up. We made our way to the Observatory and hiked the levies heading toward Boneyard Beach. The map does not show this but you can walk newly built levies from the Observatory to Boneyard Beach. We were told that the alligators being in the wild would quickly run to the water when seeing us otherwise we could make some noise and they would. That was not exactly what happened. Several of them were sunning on the levy and were not planning to go anywhere. Since we did not have time to backtrack and take another path to the beach, I gathered up my courage and went first. Others who had initially turned around decided to followed me. I guess they figured I offered enough protection. As a result, I was able to take some close up of these amazing and massive animals.

Boneyard beach was very much like Botany Bay. I find such coastal landscapes quite eerie. If you have not been, it is definitely worth a visit and take your camera. After Boney beach we headed back on Lighthouse road to Turkey Walk and back to where the boat was waiting on us. Bulls Island does offer bathrooms and picnic tables but one must access it by Ferry.

We enjoyed our day exploring the island. I was disappointed that I did not see the deer others have spotted or as many birds as I had hoped given that the island boasts over 293 species of birds, perhaps November is not the best time to spot them. I did learn that Bulls Island is a nesting destination for Loggerhead sea turtles. The refuge counted 3,596 nests in 2019, a significant number for this endangered specie.

Reference Cape Romain NWR, Bulls Island map, Ferry Information

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