My husband and I have been traveling to vacation on the Isle of Palms for 15 years, and decided to do something a little different this time. We took the Coastal Expedition's tour of Bull Island. We (as usual) were running late and had to run the quarter of a mile long dock to the boat and jumped on just in time. (So try to give yourself enough time to walk from the parking lot and bring cash or a check and we got the last 2 seats out of the 40 person seating.) Our naturalist was named Ian, and he was SUPER. The whole 30 minute trip on the ferry he pointed out flora and fauna and worked with the boat driver, Captain Chris, to stop so we could see the dolphins jumping through the water. We chose to stay all day, and started with naturalist Ian's island walk, which was a 2.25 mile walk that taught us a lot about the island's history and inhabitants. He left us at the new observation tower where some people ate a snack and there were viewing binoculars and the birds were singing and alligators were around. (Now if you only stay for the 1/2 day it would already be time to start heading back to the boat because the island is a LOT of walking!) We were free for the rest of the time with the map the guide gave us, and we had a FABULOUS time! We went in early March and it fluctuated from cool to hot, so LAYERS are really helpful. We definitely got a lot of sun, so next time we will take sunscreen. We packed lunch, bug spray, and 2 nalgenes of water. By 4 we were out of water, but they also sell water on the boat for $1 a bottle. There are rudimentary bathrooms, at the very beginning of the island, so it would be almost impossible to make it back to the bathrooms from the beach....a loo with a view was the most reasonable choice. One bag of seashells per person is allowed, and there were an UNBELIEVABLE amount a beautiful shells on the beach, so take a small plastic bag with you. We used small hiking packs that fasten around the waist and it seemed perfect for us. Many people brought so much stuff (chairs, large coolers) and after the first 2 miles they were exhausted. It is a lot of walking, but the age range of the group was very diverse and the guides did a great job getting everyone where they wanted to go at their own pace. We had two interns with us who split up and talked with small groups. BE AWARE that Alligator Alley was unable to be crossed to take the short cut to Bone Yard Beach, so everyone had to go the long way. Alligators were everywhere sunning themselves. The guides mentioned that as the season gets hotter, the bugs inland are terrible and the alligators stay more in the water, so it depends, but March was great for us! NO BUGS, and we only had a short drizzle of rain and afterward a beautiful rainbow spread across the island as we were leaving. It was the best day ever, and the Coastal team was SUPER. Fun, professional, and seemed to really enjoy what they do! Thank you for a great day and a super way to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary! (p.s. we were absolutely starving after all day, so be ready to eat afterward!) We can't wait to try another Coastal Expedition tour....maybe the kayaking ;)
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