You should visit amazing St Simons Island if you love animals! I was overjoyed to find different types of interesting animals in and near St Simons. My son in law once asked my daughter why our family always spent our vacations looking at animals. The answer is animals are endlessly fascinating, and important to our ecosystems….and I love them, and I planned the trips!
First, are you aware that the North Atlantic Right Whale spawns off of the southern Georgia coast? Every year these super endangered whales return to the waters of St Simons and northern Florida in their fight for survival. They are estimated to be somewhere around 500 animals, a very low number. They were driven to the edge of extinction by whalers who considered this whale to be the “right whale” to kill for oil. Because of their low numbers, boats are not permitted to get too close, but you can head out in the winter with binoculars and see this very rare creature. I learned about this from a boat trip with Cap Fendig’s Lighthouse Trolley and Boat Tours!
Second, St Simons Island is perfect for seabird watching! On a Dolphin Tour (we didn’t see any dolphins even though they are in the waters around the island) we floated off the shore of Bird Island, and I saw a big variety of seabirds! The Pelicans are the most beautiful in my eyes, and I had never seen a White Pelican before! I couldn’t believe how big they are, and how beautiful! We were told that they aren’t supposed to be in Georgia, but they came and stayed. However they arrived, it is fabulous to see them!
Third, it has been reported that Manta Rays have been sighted off St Simons. I looked for them, but never saw them myself. I did find an article, Catch Cobia Riding the Rays, which talks about how Cobia shade themselves under Manta Rays. Manta Ray sightings have been reported as far north as the Carolinas in recent years due to warming ocean waters. It’s a little nerve wracking to read about fishing for Cobia around Manta Rays…Mantas and fishing line are not compatible. The guys on the boat said they’d send me a photo of a manta if they managed to get one!
Fourth, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center is on Jekyll Island, just a short drive from St Simons. The most common sea turtles in the area are the Loggerhead and the Green Sea Turtle. Very rarely a Leatherback, Hawksbill, or Olive Ridley is sighted. At the time I visited, only Loggerheads and Greens were in residence. The Center serves the community in many, many ways, with nesting, turtle rescue, education, and rehabilitation. When I was there with Lauren, from the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, we saw a children’s field trip going through, and we also went back and saw the injured residents being rehabbed. I want to say thank you to Jessica Barber Scott, from the Jekyll Island Authority for giving me the tour. Our sea turtles are so very endangered, and it is good to know that these good people are always taking in wounded or stranded animals. A big problem is plastic….turtles cannot regurgitate, so when they take in plastic, it stays in their throat, stomachs, and even noses. It can starve them, or choke them, but in any manner, plastic does not belong in the ocean, or in the tummies of our sea creatures. Thank you to Georgia Sea Turtle Center for your care of our endangered turtles!
St Simons and Georgia’s Golden Isles are a treat for all people who enjoy animals! Be sure and see these wonderful creatures on your St Simon’s Island Vacation!
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