Port Salerno Seafood Festival

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The owners of the two salty dogs took their appetites over to the Port Salerno Seafood Festival this past weekend. Put on by a non-profit representing local fishers, the festival attracts some 35,000 each year and profits go to local charities.

The 30 on-site seafood vendors offer oysters, crab, scallops, clams, conch, fish and shrimp in almost every imaginable way, shape and form.

The festival is spread out along the commercial fishing docks. As you can see from some of the images above, these are not huge commercial trawlers. Most of the fishing boats are under 30 feet in length and are run by one or two fishers, who support their families on the income from fishing. Some people from elsewhere attend the festival from their boats and make a party of it.

We sampled shrimp, mahi mahi, calamari, seared tuna and crab cakes — all so fresh and tasty. For dessert I could not resist the funnel cake, which is like a long skinny donut covered in icing sugar.

A couple of years ago we went with Angus, but the festival has gotten so big they no longer allow dogs, so the two salties had to stay back on the boat. We decided not to tell them what they had missed.

More on St. Simons Island…

Bob and the two salty dogs

Here are the two salty dogs and Bob enjoying a walk at the southern tip of St. Simons Island, near the pier and the lighthouse. We just scratched the surface of what there is to see on this lovely island, the largest of the Golden Isles, which include Jekyll and Sea Islands.

Down by the water’s edge is a highly-rated lighthouse and fantastic old trees — two of my favorite subjects — so I was in photo heaven.

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The original octagonal lighthouse was built in 1811 and destroyed in the Civil War.  It was replaced in 1872, electrified in 1934 and automated in 1954. Still operational today, the light flashes every 60 seconds at night, and the structure also functions as a museum.

road-st-simonsSt. Simons park

Just north of the village is a park of stately live moss-covered oaks, some of which grow in the middle of the road.

Three majestic oak trees grow on a low earthen mound which serve as a natural monument for the more than 30 Indians buried there. A settlement flourished here more than two centuries before the first Europeans touched shore.

I could talk about Gullah culture and the slave houses that were constructed with cement made of lime, sand, water and oyster shells, but we had so little time, we could only catch a glimpse of this fascinating history of St. Simons.

As for boat culture, there are several marinas on St. Simons, all of which must contend with nine-foot tides and strong currents. As a result, all the docks must be floating docks to allow cruisers to get on and off their boats safely.

The St. Simon inlet is wide and deep and is considered very safe in all weather. It would sure be fun to come back this way on our sailboat. Who knows?

St. Simons Island, Georgia

After a long day on the road, on January 4 the two salty dogs were happy to detour off the 1-95 to visit St. Simons Island on our way to Florida. As some of you know, I’m an island fanatic so I can never pass up an opportunity to visit a new one.

We were invited to stop by St. Simons, which lies off the coast of Georgia (not too far from Savannah), by a friend who is currently living there on her sailboat. We met this gutsy and vivacious sailing buddy at a Florida marina as we wrapped up last year’s trip south, and we hit it off instantly.

Our friend is a Canadian from the west coast and she owns a similar sailboat to ours (36-foot Hunter), which she operates and maintains herself. This is no mean feat and impressed both of us to no end.

She welcomed us at her marina and offered to show us the beach as darkness fell, so the two salty dogs could stretch their legs and have a bit of a run.

As the salty dogs sniffed their way around, we caught up with our lives and I captured a few shots of the beach. I love this pensive almost silhouette-like portrait of our friend in profile, backed by the glowing water. She then pointed out some of the key sights that we resolved to return to the next day.

Back at the sailboat, we dug in hungrily to a delectable chicken curry dish, proving once again that some of the best meals are made in the smallest of  spaces.

After a lively exchange that included tactics for dealing with boatyards, recommended riggers in southeast Florida and some galley cooking tips, we parted with a promise to keep in touch and meet up again if we could this winter.

More on St. Simons Island to come.

We’re here…

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After a long journey (1500 miles), the two salty dogs arrived in Florida this afternoon. Angus is the veteran of the two, having made the drive from Ottawa to Florida many times. It is Charles’ second time. Both proved to be great little travellers. And they are sure happy to feel the grass under foot again and sniff the balmy air. More to come…