Nov 15-16 – Historical Savannah, Georgia, surprisingly is much different than Charleston, although not that far in distance.  Savannah has old brick/stucco buildings with decorative iron railings and balconies.  The style is not the antebellum style of Charleston.  There is a huge shipping port here.  Savannah has lots of town squares full of camellias, azaleas, Spanish moss, and palm trees.  We also see a person with a sidearm in a holster – it is okay to carry a weapon in the open here!

 The Savannah National Wilderness Refuge provides a wonderful 4 1/2 mile drive through the wetlands looking for alligators, but without success.  We do see lots of birds.  America’s smallest church is nearby with room for 12 and beautiful stained glass.

Nov 17 – Jekyll Island in Georgia was the millionaire’s playground in the day.  It is still very exclusive and has 4 golf courses within its 10 square miles.  We take a long bike ride along the shores,  seeing beaches choked with downed trees from a recent hurricane.  Our favorite stop is the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, a hospital for injured sea turtles.  We are lucky to see a sea turtle receive IV nutrition, as well as have its infected flipper irrigated and dressed.  This turtle has a deep gash in its shell from a boat strike.  An injured tortoise chewed on by a Great Dane is also treated, having its front legs irrigated and dressed.  These infected wounds are being treated with maggot therapy to get rid of the infected tissue.  Amazing how similar the treatment is to what we might see in humans.  The vet even uses Tylenol and Tramadol to treat pain.  Other turtles and small hatchlings are also being cared for here. Amazing visit to see these magnificent creatures.

Nov 18 – We visit Hofwyl-Broadfield plantation in Georgia, which was once a 7300-acre rice plantation.  Up to 357 slaves labored here draining the swamps, leveling the land, and digging ditches and dikes.  Malaria was a huge problem, as well as alligators and snakes.  With the end of slavery, the plantation became a dairy farm before being donated to the government.

Nov 19 – We cross into Florida and visit Amelia Island. Fort Clinch State Park is here and we hike through the hammocks, live oaks, Spanish moss, and lots of different types of palm trees.  At the huge beach, there are lots of surf fisherman looking for a fish called whiting –  one man catches and releases a small shark.  He told us earlier in the day he had caught a hammerhead shark!

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