Monday, October 12, 2009

Scenes from the weekend

I thought that I'd start off this Monday with some photos from our voyage along the Intracoastal Waterway to Capers Island.

We had a nice easy trip. It takes about 3 hours to get there and we arrived about an hour after dark on Friday evening.

As we were transiting there were some interesting sites along the way. We passed under the Ben Sawyer Bridge which is an old swing bridge. And just beyond that is a place of intrigue, Goat Island, which is a tiny island located on the ICW behind the resort island Isle of Palms. There is an interesting story about Goat Island (The following is excerpted from an article by Maria Zone).

In the early ’30s, a man and his wife lived there without electricity or water. The man, Henry, was a local who decided to free himself from the stresses of modern society. The couple were repelled by development occurring so they retreated to seclusion on their own deserted island – an island whose only inhabitants were a herd of goats.

Even though the Goat Man and his wife only lived 200 yards from the shore of the Isle of Palms, they shunned the developers and life on the far side of the waterway. They learned to naturally accept what God provided them with, drinking rainwater and eating the native vegetation. The island provided them with shelter from the rain, shade in the summer and firewood to knock off the chilly winds of winter.

They lived au naturelle, collecting discarded debris that drifted onto the shores and into their lives as the tide changed. They were true purveyors of the floatsam and jetsam of society.

The Goat Man and his wife eventually accepted visitations from those curious people who transited the waterway in their yachts. They were gracious to those who offered sandwiches and leftovers from a day of picnicking on nearby Dewees Island.

During the Goat man’s 32 years of self-imposed exile, civilized people in nearby communities knew that the Goat People were out there, across the waterway. But people denied the possibility that their simple lifestyle was a choice and the couple was sane.

The legend continued over the years. Children were told that the island was haunted because of the voices and sounds that were heard across the water. Some children dared to cross the short distance from the Isle of Palms to Goat Island to see for themselves. They discovered that the alien sounds were the soulful singing of a content, solitary man.

In 1961, after 30 years of living in the natural elements, the Goat Man accepted a small hut as a Christmas gift from generous neighbors who were concerned that the couple was too old to live an unsheltered life. But soon after they moved in and took shelter from the same elements of nature that had provided for them in the past, tragedy struck. The Goat Man caught pneumonia and died. His wife, Blanche, was left to carry on the legend and tradition alone.

Blanche lived on without her husband in solitude on Goat Island for almost a year. But tragedy again struck. She died from burns received in a fire caused by the wood burning stove that was also a handout from her civilized neighbors. Their paradise was left deserted to be overrun by looters who destroyed the organization of uncivilized life, in search of hidden wealth and buried treasure.

The only investment that the Goat Man and his wife ever really treasured was their partnership with nature and the life it yielded them. Their paradise didn't include material things, prestige or social acceptance. There was nothing there that looters could steal either before or after they died. Instead, their wealth was their ability to live a quiet life in full harmony with their surroundings.

I think that I would like to live like the Goat Man at times. And for a few days I did. Here are a few more photos from the trip.

Photos from top:

Ben Sawyer Bridge on ICW

Goat Island on Waterway

Maritime Forest on Capers

Large alligator sunning

Bone yard on Capers

Bone yard at sunset


  1. Lovely, thank you...

    Blessings and aloha...

  2. Beautiful pictures. I was thinking to same thing as you while I was reading. I would like to live like Goat Man sometimes too.

  3. What a beautiful story and analogy of God providing what we need. How cool that you took the time to explore this island.

  4. Thanks Syd. I see the Goat Man and his Wife as staunch individuals who stuck to their belief and lived as they chose to live.

  5. Beautiful beautiful story!!! I hadn't heard that one at all since moving here!!!

    The Goat man and his wife sound like the most sane individuals I can think of... they depended on God fully.

    I love that!

  6. I would love to live like the Goat couple and escape people who talk too much, drive gas-guzzling SUVs, and use cell phones, but alas, I could not make it without flush toilets and hot showers. Also, my sleep number bed is nice.

  7. Surely hurricanes came through there. What did they do?

  8. I too love the pictures. The beauty of nature is breathtaking. I love the story of Goat Island, Goat Man, and his Blanche. Intriguing!

    You are such a lucky, blessed man.


  9. thanks for sharing such a beautiful weekend with us

  10. Beautiful and meaningful story. Thank you.

  11. Wow! I love the legend of the Goat it true? I hope so.

    Great pics, glad you had a nice weekend!

  12. Interesting story.

    Syd, on another tack, do you remember saying something in a post about the arrogance that can be in an apology. I was intrigued and grasped a little bit but wondered if you could say a little more about that. As it occurs to you.

  13. Hi, what a lovely lovely blog you have. Thank you for coming from Mary's blog to mine earlier today. I look forward to reading yours now!!!

  14. what a way to live... i'd like that too. temporarily only though, hee heee heee, i like my creature comforts too.

  15. Great story.

    I think that lack of alligators is another reason I love New England.

    I once knew a couple who lived on an island in Maine but their story not quite so romantic as your Goat Island people. They were both lovely and wonderful people, individually and for the most part when they were together. But the guy drank a great deal and there were times when he was drunk, enraged, out of control and perhaps dangerous -- I never felt threatened by him but I was only there for a few days in the summer for only a few years. I used to think of the 2 in the winter, isolated in a run down farm house on a rocky island off the coast of Maine and found my imaginings frightening. I admired them initially as people with high ideals who wanted to make the world better by dropping out of 'the establishment', 'going back to the land' and living simply. I see them now with different eyes than I did then and often think of them as 'classic' alcoholic and 'classic' co-dependent. I also hold them up in my mind as examples of the pain and dangers of Alienation & Isolation.

  16. Beautiful photos!!!!!!!!!
    Very interesting story!

  17. Love the picture of the swing bridge. Beautiful!

    Great story about the goat island people. I think if they tried that now they'd get in trouble with the Board of Health unfortunately. I'd love to live off the grid though.

  18. I really enjoyed this. Thanks Syd.

  19. I'm so behind reading blogs. Love your pictures and the goatman story.
    When I lived in Charlotte, we would always go to Isle of Palms with Annie and my nephew Stephen.That was our "go to the beach" place. I have great memories of there. jeNN

  20. sorry I have not been over as much, I am catching up.. love thses photos. your life is wonderfully shown here, great photos,. but the creatures I'd like to see and keep at a distance lol


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