Monthly Archives: March 2017

Yoga on Daufuskie Island

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If you’re looking for some activity during your stay on Daufuskie Island, a yoga class could be just what you need.  Located at the Melrose Fitness Center, the Daufuskie yoga space has fantastic views of the beach, ocean, and palm trees.  It’s a perfect spot to relax, unwind, and tune in with your body while experiencing the beauty that this island offers.

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entrance to the Melrose Fitness Center

Laura Winholt, owner of Om Cat Yoga and lead instructor on Daufuskie, is an E-RYT 500 hour registered Anusara Yoga teacher.  Anusara yoga, which means “flowing with grace”, is grounded in inner and outer body alignment, and Laura has a particular focus on balanced action. She has been leading yoga classes on Daufuskie for over a decade!

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Yoga classes on Daufuskie Island are currently offered at the Melrose Fitness Center twice a week; Sundays 9:30-10:30am, and Thursdays 4:30-5:30pm.  The Thursday class is taught by Renee Harding, who blends a variety of yoga styles including Anusara, Kripalu, and Thai Yoga techniques.  Classes are $10 when you use a pre-purchased class pass, and $13 for drop-ins.  All you need to bring is your mind, body, and spirit — mats and props are set up for you ahead of time.  A light treat of chocolate or fruit is provided at the end of the class.  Private classes are offered upon request.

For more information or to purchase a class pass, contact Laura at db1945@hargray.com.  Namaste!

 

May River Excursions: water taxi from Old Town Bluffton to Daufuskie Island

Anyone who’s planned a trip to bridge-less Daufuskie Island knows how many boat options exist for transportation to and from the island.  It’s enough to make anybody’s head spin!

One of the quickest and most scenic routes to Daufuskie is through May River Excursions, located at 81 Calhoun Street in Old Town Bluffton.  The trip takes about 25 minutes and costs $45 per person round trip.

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May River Excursions leaves from the public dock in Old Town Bluffton.

After you check in with Molly in the May River shop, you’ll head down the historic road to Bluffton’s public dock.  There you’ll hop on the water taxi with one of their many experienced captains.  May River Excursions has a route unlike any other to Daufuskie.  You’ll wind through small creeks and inlets, feeling as though you’re taking a secret “back way” to the island.

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Wildlife viewing opportunities are abundant on this 25 minute boat ride

Along the way, you’re sure to spot some wildlife.  Dolphins, fish, herons, eagles, and ospreys are a common sight!  The dolphins are especially social, and if you’re ahead of schedule, your captain may slow down to give you a better viewing.

Once you’re done touring Daufuskie Island and head back to the mainland, you may want to spend some extra time exploring historic Old Town Bluffton.  This charming little town offers unique dining and shopping opportunities for your group.  If you’re lucky enough to be in the area on a Thursday, be sure to stop by the local farmer’s market, usually open 1pm-6pm.

Remember, May River offers more than just rides to Daufuskie!  If you’re looking for more adventure, try a fishing charter, crabbing charter, or dolphin excursion.  For more info, call May River at (843)304-2878.

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An Early Spring on Daufuskie Island

On Daufuskie Island, it is normal to see a layer of sandy dirt covering homes, buildings, and golf carts.  However, anyone who has visited the island over the last couple of weeks has probably noticed a new shade of dust that has taken over the island — the dust of yellow pollen.

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Yellow pollen currently decorates the majority of homes on Daufuskie Island

The Spring bloom came early this year to Daufuskie, about 20 days earlier than usual according to the U.S. Geological Survey.  The month of February saw an average temperature of 68 degrees Farenheit; 8 degrees warmer than February’s usual average.  There were seventeen days in February over 70 degrees on Daufuskie Island this year.

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The Azalea, one of the most popular flowerings shrubs in the southeast, usually blooms late March into April.  The Azaleas on Daufuskie Island this year, however, started blooming in late February!

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“Phenology” is the study of earth’s natural cycles, which includes seasons.  Spring is categorized by not only warmer temperatures but the return of migratory birds / insects and flowering of plants.  Daufuskie Island has certainly seen warmer temperatures and flowering plants, and many migratory birds have begun to resurface.

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Wood Storks, who migrate south for the winter months, have arrived back on Daufuskie Island.

While we enjoy the early warm temperatures and splashes of colors popping up, an early spring can be dangerous.  In previous years, the early onset of warm temperatures in February and March promoted early growth and flowering of spring species.  Temperatures then dropped in April, resulting in extensive loss in diversity in the southeast. The average last frost date on Daufuskie Island is April 1st-10th, so our frost-sensitive flowers could be in danger.  If these species die, they do not regrow for that year, which leaves crucial pollinators with little food.

False or early spring upsets the complex relationships within our ecosystem.  Some plants (such as many of the flowering plants on Daufuskie) respond to changes in temperature as their queue to flower.  Other species such as Beech and Oak trees use daylight as their signal that Spring has arrived.  Thus, these species will become out of sync if warm temperatures precede extended daylight time.  In addition, if a plant blooms a month early, hibernating animals which eat those plants may lose an important post-hibernation food once they become active.

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This map shows the early onset of spring in the south-eastern United States. This year, early spring is happening first in the Southeast, but it is advancing upwards and outwards.

Early spring is one of the biggest red flags of global climate change throughout the United States. Spring plant growth has been shifting earlier documented over the past couple of decades amid rising global temperatures. “Earlier spring onset may cause phenological mismatches between the availability of plant resources and dependent animals, and potentially lead to more false springs, when subsequent freezing temperatures damage new plant growth,” says a recent study in Environmental Research Letters.

For now, we bask in the March sunlight, enjoy the blooming flowers, and hope that no damage is done to our unique and flourishing ecosystem here on Daufuskie Island.

 

-Tour Daufuskie Naturalist