My family recently returned from an amazing beach vacation, and at first, I was hesitant to write about it; the place is so special, I don’t want it overrun by tourists. It was a beach where we went as children with my parents. I wasn’t sure what to expect, whether my memory served me correctly, or if the place was the same. To my surprise and happiness, it was exactly the same, but not in a cheesy, outdated way. Quite the contrary, the island and the natural habitats had been conserved by a local conservancy that prevented the place from being overdeveloped with hotels and high-rises.
The place is Kiawah Island in South Carolina, and it was teeming with life, both on the island and in the ocean. We saw deer around every corner while biking on the 30 miles of walking and biking trails, and alligators sunning themselves around dispersed lagoons. There are 10 miles of packed beaches where we biked and saw jellyfish, conch, horseshoe crabs, snails, crabs, and of course, the highlight for me, dolphins. The dolphins were about 15 feet off the beach. They were tail-slapping and clearly foraging for fish. Dolphins off South Carolina are also known for something called strand-feeding, where they chase fish off a shallow beach or sandbar and then strand themselves on the land to feed on the herded fish before falling back into the water. We didn’t see this behavior, even though we did sail by some of the areas where they are known to do it. Hopefully, we will see it someday as I hope to visit Kiawah annually with my family. This special place reminded me why I wanted to be a marine biologist and encouraged me to start this blog again.