Shrimp Boat Accident in Jarvis Creek

Came down for a kayak tour Wednesday morning just before 9 AM and saw some boats out in the creek from the dock. One was sitting high and dry, Diane, and in the upright position on a mud flat. img_6019  This boat has been sitting for the last several years next to the Crazy Crab restaurant on a private dock and has been very popular as a back drop for tourist taking photos off the Crazy Crab decks or our docks at Jarvis Creek Water Sports. This is one reason why Jarvis Creek does not have a lot of boat traffic which makes it great for beginner kayaks looking for wildlife. If you do not know the creek and even a lot of times if you know the creek, people still get stuck in here with some more repercussions then others. I can not exactly say what happened, but from the looks of things I could make an educated guess.

It looked like Lady Essie was towing out Diane possibly and pulled her up onto the mud-flat (grounded her) which is shallow at high-tide and hidden unless you know the creek. Maybe in assisting, Lady Essie possibly got stuck up on the steep outer bank of the narrow elbow where the main channel of the creek flows and when the tide went out, it laid the boat on its side. The average tide change is close to 8 feet and in that area at low-tide is a little greater then waist deep on average (sometimes shallower, depending on the moon), high-tide is over your head.  When the tide started coming back in, it started overflowing into the boat. Some of the rigging on the boat is broken and laying to the side which could also created a higher offset of balance for the boat so it could not right it self as the tide came back in. Other then a few items floating around, it did not smell of look like it was leaking any fuel into the water. It did not make it easy to get around in kayaks, especially at low-tide since it blocks the creeks main entrance and creates a hazard as we have to be careful of the rigging in the water. On tour we had to wait for the tide to come back in some so there was room to get around with out getting to close to the boat. (At low-tide Jarvis Creek is very limited where you can go since you can walk most of the creek at that time but does offer better wildlife viewing.) For the people on the tour this morning it was a different site and unusual. Although our main goal was to try to see the dolphins and one of the babies which has been seen in that area around low-tide being taught to tail slap (tail whip, thrash feeding, depends on your source) which we did not see this morning.

Below are a few photos which I took. Some were from the dock before going out on tour while a few others were when I got back and could take my camera out on a more stable craft since I do not usually take my camera on the water, by then the tide was coming back in.


Story in the Packet below…

Two boats grounded in marsh on Hilton Head

Two shrimp boats are grounded in a marsh on the north end of Hilton Head Island near the Crazy Crab restaurant. One has partially overturned and has taken on some water.

Responding Marine Patrol deputies from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office helped the owner get off the now-overturned boat, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sgt. Robin McIntosh said Wednesday afternoon.

She said there were no injuries, and there is no environmental concern such as leaking fuel.

The owner said he had come from Port Royal early this morning to help tow another boat that is currently docked behind the restaurant.

As the boater approached, the tide pushed the boat aground in the marsh where the waters are extremely shallow, McIntosh said.

She said the owner is making arrangements to have the boat recovered and returned to Port Royal as soon as possible.

Update from Packet on Thursday 8/15/13

Two shrimp boats ran aground Wednesday morning in a marsh on the north end of Hilton Head Island in waters near the Crazy Crab restaurant. One partially overturned during the incident and took on some water.

James Murray is captain of the overturned Lady Essie, a 1969, 65-foot shrimp trawler based in Port Royal. He said he came into Jarvis Creek at about 7 a.m. to tow another shrimp trawler, the Dianie, from the dock behind the restaurant, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sgt. Robin McIntosh said.

Murray, who is 69 and from Savannah, said he was unfamiliar with the creek and the shallow areas, and he ran aground as he was trying to leave the creek.

He said the Lady Essie then began to list as the tide ran out and came to rest on its side. As the tide came back in, Murray’s boat became partially submerged.

Murray was the only person on board, and he was not injured in the incident, McIntosh said. Responding Marine Patrol deputies from the Sheriff’s Office helped Murray off the boat and took him and the belongings he had collected to a nearby dock.

Officers said the Lady Essie was not leaking any fuel, debris or hazardous materials into Jarvis Creek, McIntosh said. They checked several times throughout the day to make sure it had not started leaking.

Officers determined that the Dianie, the boat Murray was trying to tow, was securely moored and did not appear to be in any danger of listing or becoming submerged.

McIntosh said they notified the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Coast Guard of the incident, but they were not involved because there was no threat or collision.

She said Murray is making arrangements to try to salvage the Lady Essie Thursday morning, and will attempt to refloat the boat. He hopes he can return it to Port Royal as soon as possible.



Wood storks are again calling the South Carolina coast home

This is good news for the troubled birds and we do get to see the Wood Storks out in the creek. It is also hard to believe but grateful that they have made such a recovery in the last about 4 years. The second article is at the bottom of this page from 2009 about the trouble the some birds and Wood Storks are or were in.

Wood storks are again calling the South Carolina coast home

No more than 15 years ago, it would have made a bird watcher’s week to see the seldom-seen wood stork.

Today, a daily siting is not unusual.  MandJ100_0911-2185

That development pleases watchers, environmental agencies and wildlife experts who are happy to see wood storks — and in large numbers — calling the South Carolina coast home.

As the population has grown in recent years, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has launched a new wood stork study — part of a collaborative project throughout the Southeast — to learn more about their movements, demography and longevity, according to a DNR release.

“These studies are important to help us track the movement of the birds,” said Ken Scott, vice president of the Fripp Audubon club and a frequent birder. “We are trying to find out where the wood storks go and which ones come back for nesting.”

DNR has banded more than 50 wood storks with easy to spot orange bands with black numbers. It is asking people who see the such storks to report the sightings as part of the project.

Scott said he has called in several sightings in the past month and knows others in the club have, as well.

Just last year, the birds were listed as a federally protected endangered species, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed in December to change that status to “threatened.”

The growing number of wood storks indicate a healthier environment, Scott said.

Pete Richards, president of the Fripp Audubon club, said the birds are a great success story, especially in Beaufort County along the barrier islands. While he doesn’t have specific local numbers, he says wood stork numbers from the club’s annual Christmas Bird Count have continued to rise.

The protected habitat here provides wood storks with perfect nesting and feeding grounds and have been a key factor in their growth.

“This data that the DNR is collecting is really important to see trends and any issues these birds are facing and then develop strategies to address them,” Richards said. “It’s important to ensure these birds can continue to live, survive and thrive.”



Older Story below about the trouble they were in….

Brown pelicans, wood stork and other coastal birds at risk, new study says
March 23, 2009

Pollution, climate change and energy production are contributing to steep declines in marsh and coastal bird populations, according to a new government report.

The first-of-its-kind report chronicles a four-decade drop in many of the country’s bird populations. The report says the drop in numbers has been caused by a variety of factors, including suburban sprawl, the spread of exotic species and global warming.

Hamilton Davis of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League said most of the zoning in the state encourages sprawl and policies must be created to use land efficiently.

He said progress is being made in Beaufort County, where local leaders have updated comprehensive plans to include progressive land planning tools, such as stormwater controls that can reduce pollution.

“They are still in implementation stages, but they are infinitely better than they were in the past,” he said. “And the benefit is preservation of wetlands and open spaces and generally less growing in a way that has fewer negative impacts on our natural resources.”

The report also shows that conservation efforts can work. Birds that live in wetlands and the nation’s waterfowl have rebounded over the past 40 years, a period marked by increased efforts to protect wetlands.

Across the country, energy production is playing a role in bird populations. Birds collide with wind turbines and oil and gas wells, and studies have shown some species will avoid nesting near those structures. The U.S. State of Birds report, released Tuesday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, was requested in October 2007 by President George W. Bush.

Environmentalists and scientists say the report should signal to the Obama administration to proceed cautiously as it seeks to expand renewable energy production and the electricity grid on public lands, and tries to harness wind energy along the nation’s coastlines.

In South Carolina, offshore wind is gaining traction as a potential source for energy, said Davis, who sits on a governor-appointed committee to study the resource’s potential.

“We need to be wary of where we will put those wind farms,” he said, adding that if wind farms are out of birds’ migratory patterns, there is less chance of harming them.

Barry Lowes of the Hilton Head Island Audubon Society said harnessing wind is a better option for birds than pollution that can come from coal-fired plants.

Lowes said everyone needs to be aware of what a declining bird population means for the ecosystem.

“We’ve got to understand we are right in the middle of it, and whatever happens to them will happen to us too,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


•Wood stork

• Clapper rail

• Whooping crane

• Seaside sparrow

• Piping plover

• Brown pelican


Shark bites boy’s surfboard during SC contest

I surfed at this beach when I went to college in Charleston. This is not the type of story you like to hear and lucky no one was actually hurt. These beach is very popular with the surfers and provides descent waves because of the river’s channel running along the beach making it a shallow to deep fast compared to Hilton Head where is stays shallow further out. Bull Sharks are found through out the world in coastal areas and has even been found in certain fresh water rivers around the world.

Story Below…

Shark bites boy’s surfboard during SC contest

An 8-foot bull shark bit a boy’s surfboard during a competition on Folly Beach, but the 10-year-old boy was able to swim to safety.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports ( ) the boy was able to escape Sunday when he unhooked his leash. Two other surfers swam out and helped the boy to shore.

Nancy Hussey is a director of the Southern South Carolina District of the Eastern Surfing. She says she saw the scene unfold and thinks the shark got tangled in the leash.

After the attack, contest workers cleared the water and the remaining competitions were postponed until next month.

Bull sharks are known for their aggression and swimming in warm, shallow waters. But officials say such attacks in the area have been rare.


Newly discovered shark spotted near Beaufort

An interesting Shark tale in the paper the other day which to share with you since we see small sharks feeding along the banks in the creeks.

Story Below…

Newly discovered shark spotted near Beaufort

COLUMBIA — Scientists have discovered a new species of shark in the ocean off South Carolina and have named it for the region where it was found.

The “Carolina hammerhead,” thought to reach 11 feet long and weigh about 400 pounds, has been identified cruising the waters of St. Helena Sound near Beaufort, Bull’s Bay north of Charleston, and in the Charleston harbor.

William “Trey” Driggers is pictured with a Carolina hammerhead.

Biologists suspect these hammerheads occur worldwide, since evidence of them has been found in the past from Brazil to the Indian Ocean. The number of Carolina hammerheads is thought to be small, however.

“It is a distinct species,” said William “Trey” Driggers, a marine scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries division.

Driggers, a 45-year-old Sumter native and Clemson University graduate, was among a team of scientists with NOAA, the University of South Carolina, the University of New Orleans and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources that made the discovery after more than a decade of research.

Much of the work was done in the laboratory of USC professor Joseph Quattro, he said. Veterinarians in Columbia also collaborated on the discovery.

Driggers said it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between a Carolina hammerhead and the well-known scalloped hammerhead — except for one major distinction: The newly identified species has fewer vertebrae than their cousins.

Carolina hammerheads have 83 to 91 vertebrae, while scalloped hammerheads have 92 to 99 vertebrae.

While the distinction between scalloped and Carolina hammerheads is subtle, NOAA officials say it’s significant to the conservation of the species. Scalloped hammerhead numbers are dwindling in some areas, so Carolina hammerhead numbers would be even fewer, they said.

Evidence of a hammerhead with fewer vertebrae dates to a single reference in a 1967 research paper, but only in the past decade have scientists obtained more detailed information.

Some 56 sharks used to identify the Carolina hammerhead were all collected off the South Carolina coast.

Carolina and scalloped hammerheads are the second largest sharks found in Palmetto State waters, behind the great hammerhead. The animals are distinguished by their wide, anvil-like heads.

Why Are Dolphins Dying on East Coast? Experts Alarmed

Another recent sad news article I read about our favorite water creatures we enjoy seeing.

Why Are Dolphins Dying on East Coast? Experts Alarmed

Bottlenose dolphins are washing up dead in unusually high numbers along the U.S. East Coast this summer—a “very alarming” situation that has experts scrambling to decipher the cause.

Nearly 120 corpses have washed ashore in coastal states from New York to Virginia in July and the first week of August, which is much higher than the normal number of strandings attributed to natural deaths. Virginia has had the highest mortality, with 64 animals found during that period.

One of the dolphins tested positive for morbillivirus, a measles-like, airborne virus that’s often fatal in dolphins.

Trained responders examine a dead male dolphin on Ocean View Beach in Norfolk, Virginia, on August 1.
Trained responders examine a dead male dolphin on Ocean View Beach in Norfolk, Virginia, on August 1.

A morbillivirus epidemic hit East Coast bottlenose dolphins in 1987 and 1988, wiping out at least 900 animals and striking a major blow to that population of migratory dolphins.

“Because of the sheer number of animals [dying] over multiple states, people are very concerned that this might be a repeat,” said Trevor Spradlin, a marine mammal biologist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service.

Several potential causes of death being investigated include other diseases or pathogens caused by viruses or bacteria; biotoxins caused by harmful algae blooms; pollution or chemicals, especially from concentrated spills; ship strikes; or acoustic trauma from ships or other infrastructure, he said.

“All indications show there’s something serious going on.”

Determining a Cause of Death

The spike follows a general trend in more dolphin strandings—or, in scientific speak, unusual mortality events—that have occurred in recent decades in the United States.

In the northern Gulf of Mexico, for instance, where there’s an ongoing unusual mortality event, 1,031 dolphins and whales have washed up dead since February 2010. (Also see “Dolphin-Baby Die-Off in Gulf Puzzles Scientists.”)

The “concern is we’re doing more and more to protect dolphins from harm, yet dolphin strandings are on the rise,” said Matthew Huelsenbeck, a marine scientist at the nonprofit Oceana.

“No one seems to have a solid grasp as to what’s going on.”

But many are working to find out. For example, NOAA has a stranding network of experts who report and collect the corpses of recently deceased dolphins in an effort to determine causes of death.

A corpse is first taken into the lab for evaluation and basic triage to see if it has any visible marks that may point to the cause of its demise. Next, a tissue sample is taken and tested for viruses, which could identify a direct cause.

Then there’s a longer-term investigation that involves testing blubber and organs, such as kidneys, for traces of heavy metals. Studies have shown that stranded dolphins have heavy metals in their systems.

“Dolphins are some of the most toxic animals on the planet, and it makes their immune system compromised because they’re carrying so many heavy metals and toxins that accumulate in the food web,” noted Huelsenbeck. (See “The Secret Language of Dolphins.”)

Pneumonia often occurs in dolphins with low immunity.

“Just like in humans, if you have certain afflictions affecting your immune system, you’re more susceptible to pneumonia,” he said.

What’s more, he noted, most of the East Coast dolphin deaths have occurred in areas with heavy human footprints, like the Chesapeake Bay.

“Possibilities Wide Open”

Gregory Bossart, the Georgia Aquarium’s chief veterinarian and pathologist, has been studying the impact of infectious disease and pollutants on bottlenose dolphins in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon (map) for several years.

He’s found that many of the lagoon’s dolphins carry toxic mercury at 20 times the level permitted in human food by the U.S. government.

The dolphins there have been suffering from a host of diseases, including new papilloma and herpes viruses and fungal diseases. Some of the diseased animals share a “profoundly” suppressed immune system, he said, likely caused by the dolphins’ constant exposure to environmental stressors like mercury. (Related: “New Diseases, Toxins Harming Marine Life.”)

Even so, Bossart cautioned that no one should jump to the morbillivirus conclusion for the current East Coast deaths before all the information is in—much more pathology work needs to be done in the lab.

“The possibilities are wide open,” he said.

Ocean Canaries

Overall, the experts pointed out that the dead dolphins may be alerting us to troubles in our oceans.

Said NOAA’s Spradlin, “Marine mammals are like the canary in the coal mine”—many bottlenose dolphins live on the same coasts and eat the same fish that we do.

“Our first mandate is to protect the dolphins, but the underlying bigger picture is if things are hurting these animals,” he said, “[they] could also be hurting people as well.”