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South Carolina—the Palmetto State, complete with Cypress Groves

South Carolina is called "The Palmetto State." Palmetto trees line both sides of the ICW, something tropical that we did not see in abundance or at all in North Carolina, Virginia or Maryland. Along the North Myrtle Beach area all the way to the main Myrtle Beach neighborhood, we found many stately homes and newly constructed homes offering private vistas of the ICW, as well as docks to envy., and sandy beaches along the Atlantic Coast.

Of course, some of the best homes have several palmetto trees on their property which easily increases the beauty of their landscapes. Myrtle Beach is a major S.C. resort area full of golf courses, gorgeous homes with private docks, huge condos and hotels and several local marinas. It is a heavily populated area with houses placed on land carved out of thick sandy ridges. Huge, gorgeous homes and condos—stucco, multi-wing, gabled, with turrets and pillars are everywhere along this natural waterway.

For both Allen and me, however, it is the natural beauty of the area that intrigues us. Prior to Myrtle Beach glamor, I counted 8 blue herons nestled on woody snags along the ICW. Despite the proliferation of new construction, it was fascinating to see evergreens next to palmetto trees, but I clearly noted that no more blue herons were to be seen nearby. Nevertheless, the stately dark green pines contrasted with oak and maple trees with faded fall colors—mostly dull orange and red leaves dispersed among the green. Snags are everywhere as the salty ICW waters seep into the tree roots, sometimes causing a traffic hazard for both sailing and motoring vessels.

I think to myself: Yes, it’s beautiful but it’s still a swamp here. The swamp grasses and snags in front of the homes’ barricades reveal the neighborhoods’ true nature.

Shortly after the Myrtle Beach area, the ICW along the Waccamaw River, one of the most interesting parts of the waterway, highlights cypress trees and Spanish moss. We were awed by the river’s many water-fed cypress groves and anchored in one. I sighted about 15 large snapping turtles on a log and encouraged Allen to use his good camera to get a shot of them. I really enjoyed using our binoculars to sight out the place. Next to seabirds and dolphins, the turtles were the first other critters we have seen on this trip. It was a real treat!

PS: We also saw a sunken sailboat and fishing boat along this area. As well as the below sign at a fish cleaning station:

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