by Lillian Lindler
Little Capers. It’s the one place that warms my heart and fills me with happiness. This diminutive island off the coast of Beaufort, South Carolina is where I vacation every summer with my family. It is my home away from home.
Since before I could walk, this has been my second home. The small island is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and stretches to the end of the horizon. From the statuesque mornings to the perfectly moonlit nights, we race around the sandy island and fish in the small, saltwater creeks. Hours are spent on the beachfront and in the salty ocean with friends and family. This breathtaking beach is where I grew up and I could not be the same person without it.
Our home on the island is not a modern beach house. On this marvelous island, we have constructed a generator powered house that we dwell in while we are there. Meaning, there is no refrigerator therefore food is packed in coolers, air conditioning can only be run during the nights, water bottles are used to brush your teeth, and it is a miracle if you can get any cell service. Straightforwardly, driving there is not the matter; a thirty-minute boat ride is also needed to get to the resplendent island. When on the boat, the warm sun shines down and the welcoming winds make your soul know that you are in spitting distance of the island; we also watch for dolphins. When dropping anchor at the island, the sand reaches in between the toes and makes an elated feeling. Finding ravishing seashells is the best part of the journey to the house.
Moreover, unpacking the impedimenta is the worst part of the stay. Plus, sloshing on sunscreen is a ponderous task to do before going on the beach; A day spent at Capers is always a day well spent. I wake up bright and early to watch the remarkable sunrise with my dad and enjoy the breakfast he has prepared. We search the beaches for seashells and have hopes of finding a sand dollar. The best conch shells are found on Conch Island, but only the older kids are allowed to swim across the creek to get there. We place the prettiest shells along the side of the house but take the others to be hand painted by us.
Sometimes we search for clams in the mud; one time, my cousin and I went searching for clams and came back covered in mud from head to toe with only five. We also enjoy fishing for flounder and black drum; if you are lucky you might snag a shark or a stingray. Sometimes we just enjoy lying out in the sun, listening to music on a speaker, and enjoying the extravagant beach. Boogie boarding and building sand castles have become a big competition at Capers; we race to see who can catch the biggest wave and discover who can make the most extravagant sand castle. I can remember my sister and I finding a canoe that had washed up on the shore. Although it was not in the best shape, we spent hours together in the ocean thinking we were professionals and dreaming of growing up to become pro canoers.
After a pleasant day down on the beach, we go up to the house and occupy ourselves with music like “Drift Away” by Dobie Gray and “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison and card games. As our parents prepare meals of fish caught from that day, we play War, Uno and several other enjoyable games. After dinner we all enjoy ghost crab hunting or running around on the beaches with flashlights trying to spot Ghost Crabs; we are careful not to step on a horseshoe crab or a jellyfish lying along the beach. If it is not too late when we return, we all enjoy singing karaoke, dancing, staying up late to talk, and appreciating our astonishing South Carolina beach. Sooner or later, we return and go to bed yearning for the day to come.
The trip back is quite a laborious task. Lifting luggage and making trips up and down stairs are only few of the tasks, and they are very tiring. Then the loading of the boat is a quite thoughtful task. You must get the boat on the trailer perfectly, then you have to strap it on with great force. On the way home we reminisce on the good times and gain back the sleep we lost.
Even though getting there and coming back is a hard task, I would not trade it for the world. I have made so many wonderful memories at the island and it is a place that will always live in my heart. As Mayor Hatley stated, “My message is that South Carolina’s beaches are a statewide treasure.”
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on South Carolina Wild are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect official policies, positions, or endorsements of activity or products by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.