The morning came with grace. In the pre-dawn light, a gentle breeze cleared the air while the sun’s rays painted the saltmarsh with reds and purples. With a week of cloudy skies behind us, this beauty was welcome.

After a delicious morning breakfast, we set out on the M/V Godwit and Gannet to Saint Phillip’s Island State Park. Weaving through the channels of the saltmarsh in the morning light was a delightful tour of the sea-islands ecosystem. Estuarine bottlenose dolphins played in our wake as we passed by, moms and calves rising in tandem as they fished and played. Wading birds erupted from the coastal marshes, driven to the small grass mats by the exceptionally high tides.

We were the only people on Saint Phillip’s Island. This pristine sea island has never been developed aside from one house and some structures for visitors to enjoy it by. Via tram and foot, we set to explore what it had to offer. Spanish moss swung from the live oaks, holly berries giving color to the already saturated flora. At the end of the path lay a beach where the Atlantic Ocean greeted us. Abundant driftwood gave us countless photo opportunities with its endless patterns and forms.

After another exciting boat ride through the coastal marsh, we visited the Penn Center. This US National Historic Landmark was the first school for formerly enslaved persons after the outbreak of the Civil War. Our guides taught us about this rich history and let us look at their detailed and enthralling exhibits.

Coastal South Carolina has shown us so many of its incredible corners. We’re so grateful to experience such wonderful parts of a beautiful place. While we’re sad to see this voyage end, we carry these memories with us and will share them with the excitement they deserve.