Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shrimping at Sapelo Sound

Normally I have a daily schedule for what I have to do for my work and what I have to accomplish for all my tasks. But today I was confused.  A friend invited me for shrimping a while back. I have been fishing but I have never been shrimping and not sure what to do or what to expect. As the beautiful weekend approaching, "should I go birding or shrimping?", while debating, my phone rang. Nancy's voice was warm and welcoming and she wanted to make sure I can find my way to her place because some of road signs were missing and she told me the GPS might not work properly near her area. Grabbed my water bottle, raincoat and put my boots on, next thing I found myself flying on highway I-16 towards Savannah! Most images here were taken randomly by my smartphone and Olympus EF370. I hope you enjoy my little adventure and have a fun time of shrimping!


Miles and miles of wildflower bloom along highway I-16, just pass Macon, Georgia.
My wings are flapping fast and my heart is racing for the unknown ...
Click all images to enlarge pictures :)



Chris was adding gas and ready for a fun day


Shellman Bluff, McIntosh County, Georgia



20  feet shrimp nets. You do require a fishing license  in the state of Georgia.
Free lifetime pass for age 65+



Shrimp GPS, a precision fishfinder to help us spot shrimps. 
Johnnie was teaching me how to search for shrimps and I was more interested in those many tiny numbers



Our first wild-caught shrimp ...super excited :)


We were not alone...Everyone knows Sapelo Sound is a prime location for large shrimps


No matter where I go, birds are with me all the time...I swear that I tried very hard to
bird around our boat  when  Captain Johnnie was searching for shrimps :)


A small squid about 2 inches long. Click image to enlarge.
I was so amazed to notice that his spots change color  when I held  him on my palm! Skin of squid is covered with chromatophores, which can change color to almost invisible according to the surrounding or when encounter predators. Captain Johnnie told me to pay attention when I put him back to sea ...omg! This tiny squid squirted its ink when I threw him back to the sea. So glad I have  not provoked him too much to get ink on my hand.



This is a fish we get to keep. Most fish we caught were too small and I had to put them back to sea. I have no idea how many small fish really got back to the ocean cos gulls were just waiting right beside our boat


Shrimp time!! As soon as Johnnie started pulling back nets, I was ready to collect them and preserve shrimps immediately on ice. Captain Johnnie told me you can "feel" shrimps. I was not quite understand what he meant until I held his nets in my own hands. When shrimps got caught, you will feel the kicks from shrimps trying to get away. Vibration of kicks will get carried from nets to the rope. Not sure how many times Johnnie threw nets into the sea, I was anxiously waiting each time when he pulled the nets, not only for shrimps but also waiting to see what treasure he found ...Now I understand how much fun shrimping could be!

A tiny flounder and it will swim around the Atlantic ocean and get to see this world :)



Stingray. We caught few of them and Johnnie told me to be extremely careful and he did not want me to get hurt. Of course, this guy goes back to his home.....after I snapped a photo of him :)



Catch of the day! Too small to keep, so I put him back to the sea



Shrimp trawler is going home...I often see gull gangs fly around trawlers during birding trips but never know why. Fishermen will clean up shrimps and throw shrimp heads back to the sea. It's a feast for these opportunists! Now I know why :)



It's fascinating to see hundreds of gulls hovering, and catching shrimps. They could get very aggressive towards their own kind and seeing a flock of gulls chase after another gull who caught a prey is not uncommon.


It was a fun and fruitful day. Our boat was very heavy and we were heading home!

How can I go placed without birding? Nancy and Johnnie have been telling me about a magical place full of birds, called "Sutherland Plantation", a gated community located inside Sapelo Hammock Golf Club. I wanted to bird this place so badly and not sure if we would have time birding after shrimping.... Not only did we see Yellow Warbler, Palm Warblers, Prairie Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Painted Buntings, Yellow-rumped Warbler (our first bird of this season), Indigo Bunting and American Redstarts, Johnnie promised me for a Marsh Wren and he effortlessly "summoned" this Marsh Wren under a perfect light!

Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris ..Click image to enlarge

I had such a great time visiting my friends at Shellman Bluff! I'd like to dedicate this post to Nancy and Johnnie Crosby, not only are you passionate birders, gardeners, you guys are great cooks and I love your food! Nancy, you are a lovely and caring character to be around. People who know you are very fortunate and I wish they all know how lucky they are! Johnnie, no doubt, a great birder just like Nancy, a wonderful photographer, also is the greatest captain I have ever seen. I praise your knowledge for bird and marine life. You know how to pinpoint shrimp location by instructing Chris to maneuver our boat without even looking fishfinder, wow!....I have nothing but admiration and respect! Thanks to you guys that this trip would not be fun without your indefatigably entertaining and accommodating!

Working on a short video and I hope you return soon! -- Happy shrimping and happy birding! -- Linda


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