Spring Break 2013

March 22, 2013

Spring Break 2013: It got wild, I drank bourbon gingers, ate lots of candy, and crash-landed a boat onto a trailer multiple times. Yup, I spent my spring break down on the coast in Georgia and South Carolina. These past two weeks have been incredibly busy- like all of a sudden grad school really kicked in. However stress has taken on a new meaning. Instead of being stressed and wanting to panic all the time about school I feel differently. It is stressful but I love school and I really want to do well because it’s not just about getting a good grade anymore but it’s actually about learning and bettering myself as a scientist. Needless to say I’ve done well on all my assignments so far and a presentation I gave in class went really well and I feel I earned some respect of my fellow students who did not know me well yet.  Needless to say that felt great. So after my week from madness I booked it down to Georgia a 5.5 hour drive. I have never driven so long by myself before and I was extremely tired so I stopped to buy a really sugary Starbucks mocha Frappuccino from Bi-Lo (the grocery here in SC). I didn’t even get through half of it on the drive down.

While driving, I really put the pipes to use. I don’t think I have sang that much since Carmina Burana. I arrived at the New Hope Plantation trailer park at approximately 930 pm. Pulling in I had no idea what to expect but the trailer was huge. There were two bathrooms, three bedrooms a big living room and kitchen. I was thinking mobile home trailer but this was classy stuff. I downed a mini wine, blew up my air mattress, and hoped that the baby cock roaches would leave me alone for the 4 nights I was there.

Our first day on the water, the boat did not start for 15 minutes. Eventually we got it started and I was on my journey to nautical wisdom. For those of you who do not know, I am captaining a ship (ok a 23-24 ft hydrasport with 130 horsepower evinrude engine) it’s a LARGE ship and I learned on a rinky-dink alumacraft with 50 horsepower. I am finishing up my boating course online and I never knew how many rules there were out on the open waters. It is seriously a whole other lifestyle. I learned how to drive a truck with the trailer attached, how to back the trailer into the water (turn the wheel right, trailer goes left- it kills me every time), how to park a boat onto the trailer- more like I crash landed it almost every time, how to dock a boat, how to read the signs in the water (returning, red, right) etc. There is still a ton I do not know and I fear for the life of myself and my future technician at times….Have no fear though (mom), I am a quick learner.

When we returned from our first day on the water, there were lots of boats loading into the water and about 5 dogs in each boat. Each dog was fashioned with 3 collars, one being a large radio collar. I asked the guys what they were up to and they replied “ were going hoggin” (hog hunting). Decked out in camouflage, confederate flag hats (only a couple) and smoking cigarettes I proceeded to inquire about these new friends I had made. When I asked what they used to kill the hogs the guy held up a large knife that he was holding onto. This may sound twisted to some, but I was so stoked and curious about this adventure. I talked to “tadpole” a young kid who was going on the trip and he said they needed 3 hogs and that the dogs had radio collars in case they got lost on the island going after the hogs. These hogs can be vicious and I think some of the dogs can be as well (the next day there were more hoggers and I pet one of their dogs and the girl in the boat said “be careful he can bite sometimes”). I am still intrigued and want very badly to make a trip out with these folks. This was a I love the south moment, everyone was keen to talk to us and learn about what we were doing and I was so interested in this hunting trip because it is so different than anything I have ever been around. For the next three days the hoggers came and went along the channels, I never got to see the actual catch. One guy told me if I ever needed anything to just ask a hogger because “were like family”, it was the first genuine southern hospitality experience and I definitely appreciated it.

At night we played card games and trivia and drank whiskey and beer. That’s pretty much the life of a field biologist: work early, drink late. On the first night we went to the local restaurant called Mudcats. When leaving the trailer park, the whole gang of trailer park kids had all congregated in this structure across from our house. While I was driving I was unaware of the ditch on both sides of the driveway and I smashed my prius into the ditch and blew out of there as quickly as I could; in the meantime I looked over and see the king of trailerville (this 9 maybe 10 year old boy who ruled the roost and cruised around the trailer park all day with his bike doing wheelies while all the other kids followed him) starts pointing and yelling “there’s a ditch there!!” yeah, no shit kid. However, my car survived the brutal attack and we made it to mudcats where I ordered crab soup and grits and cheese. I am really trying to get down to my southern roots y’all! (Side note: I incorporated y’all into the vocabulary the other day unknowingly, and I used it like a pro).

Little would I know how much I would come to enjoy this river and eventually jump off this bridge...

The Billie B shrimp boat

B&B seafood- the essentials

Ready to go hoggin

The hunting party

Grits, grits, grits.

Of course- bullet holes in the manatees

What a koozie if I've ever seen one….

Field supplies- check

Bourbon with a sour patch garnish- check

Kyle and I breaking the boat- check

Big boat, with a large motor that Nikki has no idea how to drive?- double check


Working on a beautiful plantation - check

The palmetto state!

Learning to trailer a boat

Love me some brown pelicans

Dunno if this video works but here goes…


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