Day 8 - Friday, March 9, 2007
Kingsbay Naval Submarine Base
It was such a long drive from Tampa, Fl to Kingsbay Naval Submarine Base on Thursday that we decided to spend another day at this very nice campground. The entrance to the base was really interesting as you can see below. This is what we saw…. a submarine appearing to surface through the ground!! Really cool!
Going to the campground we passed by a display of some of the missiles loaded on some of the submarines.
The campground was really new with each site having a concrete pad that was level with full hookups including cable TV. While there the extra day we took the opportunity to take the ferry from St. Mary’s, GA to Cumberland Island National Seashore.
St. Marys, GA to Cumberland Island National Seashore
Cumberland Island is Georgia's largest and southernmost barrier island. Pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wide marshes whisper the stories of both man and nature. Cumberland Island is one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands in the world. The island has one of the largest maritime forests remaining in the United States and one of the largest wilderness areas in a National Seashore on the east coast. With 17-1/2 miles of clean sand beaches and 19,565 acres to explore (the park covers 36,415 acres of which almost half is marsh) the remoteness and visitor restrictions make this a unique place to visit. One of the oldest barrier islands on the Atlantic Coast and with a landmass larger than Manhattan Island, Cumberland Island National Seashore is blessed with rich soil and a number of ecosystems within the confines of its shores. You read a short history of the seashore at: http://www.outdoorplaces.com/Destination/USNP/gacumisl/
The ferry took about 45–50 minutes. We were escorted by two Dolphins froliken in the wake, much to the passengers delight. Once there we were met by a National Parks Ranger who gave us quick history lesson about the seashore and how it came into the hands of the National Parks Service, a really interesting story. There were huge Live Oak trees all over the island; many were over 300 years old. It’s hard to get a real perspective of how large these trees really are from just looking at this picture; however, trust me they were huge!
In 1880 Thomas Carnegie bought most of Cumberland and built the largest mansion ever to be located on the island. The 59 room Scottish castle completed with turrets, a pool house, 40 outbuildings, golf course, acres of manicured gardens and a squash court must have look incredibly out of place on the Georgia Coast. The mansion was used as a retreat through 1959 when it too burned to the ground.
We walked around a little and tried to get to the other side of the island to see the seashore itself; however, we ran out of time and only got to the sand dunes before we had to turn back to be able to catch the ferry back to St. Marys.
Lots of sea gulls followed as we ferry’d back to St. Marys.