A Short History of Blackbeard Island

In the 1700’s, the Georgia coast and its labyrinth of islands, creeks and marshes was an ideal hideout for pirates as they robbed Spain’s treasure galleons that were making their way between the Virgin Islands and New England. Legend has it that these ill-gotten goods were buried along our coastlines. In fact, one of the barrier islands is named after the pirate Edward Teach or “Blackbeard”. With long black hair and beard in braids and a dagger between his teeth, he sailed the Queen Anne’s Revenge, flying the skull and crossbones and preying upon his victims. Of the many treasure chests said to be buried, none are known to be discovered.
During the following centuries, Blackbeard Island was held under varying governmental jurisdictions, including its present day designation as a National Wildlife Refuge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. During the yellow fever epidemic in the mid-nineteenth century, the island was a quarantine station for the South Atlantic, harboring victims of this illness. There were so many deaths that a cremation oven was built and is one of the few structures remaining on the island today.
Over the years I have been on Blackbeard Island several times and have memories of it unlike any of the other Georgia islands I have visited: getting lost in the overgrown interior and the unmarked network of trails spotted with animal skeletons; visiting the old brick crematorium; and even spotting intertwined corn snakes mating in the treetops…..all in line with with the islands storied history of fear and death. On my last visit to Blackbeard, I witnessed a dozen or more osprey feeding on the south-end beach, more than I have ever seen in one place. Perhaps this is a sign that the island is in a state of rejuvenation and renewal.
Adventurers in the early days may have coined the phrase “Golden Isles” in reference to the gold that supposedly lies buried on Georgia’s barrier islands. As for me, I have found my treasure just living here.

Catherine McCrary

Sailor’s Valentine

+ Originally born in 1969, Earth Day is our way to take a stand for mother earth. It helped bring the U. S. EPA and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts into law. Today, there are still large factories around the world that continue to pollute our waters, air and land. As individuals, we can all help, even small acts like picking up trash before it ends up around the neck of an animal or in the ocean.
+ “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make” -Jane Goodall
Pirates of the Spanish Main

Pirates of the Spanish Main was founded in 1931 by Howard Coffin. It is a community service organization of high school girls with its mission to promote the Golden Isles, aid the community, and welcome dignitaries.

The photo above is from one of my years as a Pirate.

Osprey nesting season

The osprey is one of the first birds of the season to nest here. Some of the chicks are now emerging from their shells. Look for them in or around their nesting platforms, or perhaps diving for their young ones breakfast.


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