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March 15, 2013

I arrived in Hilton Head late on Thursday night. The town doesn’t seem to believe in street lights! I eventually made it to my hotel, The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa. I received a newly renovated room that still smelled like fresh carpet with a broken luggage rack…thought that was kind of funny. My balcony looked out on the pools that glowed dark blue in the black night and a sunrise view of the beach I got to enjoy before a quick breakfast.

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After a mid-morning stroll on the beach checking out a few shells and lots of washed up jellyfish, I set off for an afternoon fishing charter. We fished for sheepshead, a black and silver striped fish that live in shallow, grassy areas. We took the boat about thirty minutes off shore to an old wreck, where we dropped our weighted lines baited with little crabs in eighteen feet of water until we felt the weight hit the bottom. Every five or ten seconds we slowly pulled up and reeled if we felt like we had hooked a fish. Without feeling a strike, they are tricky fish to catch, and their incisor teeth crack right through the crab. I had quite a bit of bait stolen before I finally hooked one, but it ended up being the biggest one of the bunch…8 pounds or so. I fished with Bulldog Charters and a couple of guys from Memphis. We all got robbed of our bait multiple times, but we all reeled in some good eating fish too! A great three hour charter!!

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Friday’s dinner with lots of aunts and cousins I haven’t seen in ages was held at The Old Fort Pub. It was nice to catch up with them all! Roy and Szilvia were the honorees and came in from the Ukraine. Relatives traveled from all over…Michael, Michael-Anne, and Joshua from Annapolis; Diane from Arizona; Judy, Phil and Larry from Florida and Pittsburg; and the rest of the crew from South Carolina! It has been way too long.

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The Old Fort Pub was opened in 1973 and built next to Fort Mitchel, constructed in 1862 by Union forces after their successful invasion of the island. The 1,000 Confederates didn’t have much of a chance in defending the island against some 13,000 Federal troops and folded in a day to the largest amphibious landing prior to WWII at the mouth of Port Royal Sound. The fort was built to protect against invasion from the mainland, though never saw battle. The island was used to supply Union troops who were battling to block all southern ports, including Savannah and Charleston, as Hilton Head was centered between these two cities, and the troops never pressed inland to fight. Because slaves had heard they would be freed once they set foot on Union soil, Federal troops were faced with many homeless slaves. Now, the Fort and the restaurant are connected by walkways through lush gardens in the Hilton Head Plantation, so guests may visit the fort and enjoy a nice meal and gorgeous sunset! A great day in Hilton Head…ETB

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