The lack of recent blogs can partly be explained by the frantic nature of our travels over the last month. Tim’s post about snow birds positioned us in northern Florida. Since then we have covered more than 1000 miles, slinking up the east coast and exploring the nooks and crannies of the shoreline. Blogs over the next week will pick out the highlights of this time. Starting with the shrimp boat captains of South Carolina.
Heading north through South Carolina, we found ourselves at a loose end for a place to stay. Spotting a campsite sign, we headed off road for a mile into a clearing sprinkled with RVs. Each RV towed a small boat with a much larger outboard engine attached to the back. New arrivals still had a husband perched in the boat, fiddling with engines and tackle. We set up camp, battled with mosquitoes and minded our own business whilst all around us watched the local college football match on TV screens. The temperature dropped, the match finished and people emerged from their trailers. One lady came over to talk to us:
“Where you from?”
“New England? Well, you have come a long way.”
“No. England. Europe.”
“Where’s your shrimp boat?”
“We don’t have one.”
“We don’t have a shrimp boat”
“Hey, Drake, come and look at this”
10 year old boy emerges from RV.
“What do you notice is strange about these people and the way they talk?”
Squinting child eyes us up and down.
“They ain’t got no shrimp boat”
“Good. They are from England. My name is Kylie. I am a nurse. Do you know what a nurse is?”
“Yes. We have nurses in England.”
“This is my son Drake. Say hello Drake.”
“And you have come all the way from England without a shrimp boat?”
“Do you have shrimp in England?”
“And your car has a towbar for towing a shrimp boat?”
“Well I had best go to bed. We are shrimping early tomorrow morning.”
The campsite outside Awendaw is the recreational shrimping capital of Southern Carolina. We awoke at 7am the next morning to a deserted site. The shrimp boats had hit the water at first light. Kylie had offered to cook us a breakfast of grits and shrimp before she headed out, but we had missed the call. She was hoping to catch 25lbs that day, enough fill her freezer for the coming winter.
We wandered down to the water’s edge to find hundreds of shrimp tails littering the shore from last night’s parties. Shrimping boats put-putted along the waterways, and beady-eyed egrets picked their way through the prawn shells and oysters on the banks. It was a beautiful scene and made me think that having a shrimping boat with us wouldn’t have been such a bad idea after all. Perhaps then conversation with Kylie might have gone a bit further.