North Island is a picturesque wilderness located only miles from the shores of Winyah Bay. Over the years, it has played a significant part in the history of our community. From the planned (and failed) Spanish colony by Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon in 1526, to the abandoned canal project of 1802, the island has always been a central part of South Carolina’s past.
Our seniors took a trip to the island this fall, and they were amazed by what they saw. The boat pulled up next to an old, rotting dock, where several pieces were missing from the deck. After climbing up the dock and onto shore, they got their first glimpse of the famous North Island lighthouse: an 85-foot structure made entirely of cut stone and brick. At the base of the lighthouse is an old Coast Guard base, untouched since it was abandoned in the early 1980s. After exploring the base, their tour guide, Mr Jim Lee, led students to the top of the lighthouse.
“The view was nice,” Camille shared, “But the wasps were a bit much. I don’t like wasps.” After their time the lighthouse, the group headed back down to ground level. There, their tour guide Mr Jim pulled out his compass and asked them if they would like to see the ocean.
“Keep up, slowpokes!” Margaret teased the others as she, Ryleigh, and Mr Jim led the hike through the woods. Far behind them, the others struggled to avoid thorny branches and dangling palm fronds as they made their way up the slope and across the island. The hike took some time, but the end result was worth it: the trees gave way to towering dunes, which ended in a steep cliff just above the sandy beach. After carefully negotiating their way down the slope, they settled down to eat their lunches.
The journey back was just as breathtaking. From mounds of shells to towering forests of driftwood, the views were perfect. It was easy to see why Lafayette, when he first landed on the island, called it DeBordieu, which translates to “the borderland of God.” By the time the group reached the dock, everyone had collected more shells than they could carry. It was an exciting adventure, and after a long day on the island, they were all ready to head home. Thank you to Mr Jim and the Tom Yawkey Foundation for giving us this amazing opportunity.