23 October 2016

Cape Romain Lighthouse Tour

Cape Romain Ligfthouse, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, McClellanville, SC  
The only reason I had the chance to snag a couple of the last tickets for the Cape Romain lighthouse tour was because it had been rescheduled due to the hurricane. The tours are only done four times a year. Lucky me!

Our tour started at the Seewee Visitor Center for a slide show and history presentation by Tommy Graham who has championed the preservation of the lighthouse and done much of the hands on work himself.  He had a wealth of historical information and photographs of the lighthouse keepers to share.
The Cape Romain Lighthouses are a pair of brick lighthouses on Lighthouse Island southeast of McClellanville. The first, built in 1827, and stand 65 feet in height. The second, built in 1857, stands at a height of 150 feet. Both survived Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and although no longer active, they still serve as a visual navigation point during daylight hours. They can also be seen on our department patch. These are truly treasuers of the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge.

Following the presentation we drove on to the McClellanville boat landing to board the Coastal Expeditions boat. The trip was six miles and we couldn't have had a finer day. We nibbled on our picnic as the lighthouses came into view. We had been warned that we might get our feet muddy walking to the lighthouse but to my surprise the boat ramp had us stepping off into water and slippery black pluff mud well over our knees. All the members of our group were good sports as water overflowed and filled boots. One lady took a slip but bravely held her camera high above the water and we all made it. 

Both of the light houses had been opened for us to explore at the base but the steps were too dangerous to climb. Renovation was in progress thanks to Tommy Graham's efforts. The foundation of the old Lighthouse Keeper's home, cistern, and old buoy and a few other items were still there to explore. Swarms of mosquitoes were out in full force and after exploring we waded back through the water (with a walking stick this time!) to the boat.  

There is one more tour for this year on November 20th.