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Hilton Head Island Eco Vibe

Exploring Sea Pines’ Hauntingly Awesome Stoney-Baynard Ruins

The Spanish moss hangs like tattered clothes from the lanky old oak limbs. The tabby remnants of the once stately plantation home jut out of the ground like giant jagged shark teeth. And an eeriness encapsulates the six-acre property, as Stoney-Baynard’s rich history and abundant wildlife whisper secrets all around you.

“It’s spooky cool,” said Andrew Bradley, who is a master naturalist and leads the

Andrew Bradley

Andrew Bradley

Lowcountry Plantation Exploration tour Mondays from 10-11 a.m.

Bradley admitted, “Though the park is open to the public and people may feel they can enjoy it as a self-guided experience, I really encourage people to book a tour.” “Why?” you might ask. “Because, I really like to educate people and make the place come alive for visitors,” said Bradley. “I get so much satisfaction from giving people an impressionable experience—whether they are a history buff or nature enthusiast.”

To reserve the tour, call The Sea Pines Resort Recreation Department at (843) 842-1979. The cost is $10 per adult and $7 per child (ages 12 and younger). Once there, Bradley says you can expect to see “common and elusive species—from squirrels and raccoons to downy and palliated woodpeckers.”

Bradley then paused and added, “And of course the cannon ball palmetto. Do you know where it gets its name?” “No,” I answer. Smiling Bradley goes into storyteller mode explaining, “During the Revolutionary War, when the British were invading forts like Fort Sumter in Charleston, American soldiers first used live oaks as barricades but they would split when attacked by cannon balls. So they discovered that the cannon ball palmetto was more fibrous and would cushion the cannon balls so that’s how it got its name and why it is on our state flag.”

When Bradley finished his explanation, he beamed knowing he had taught me something

Stoney-Baynard Ruins

Stoney-Baynard Ruins

new. I smiled back. I grew up in Hilton Head. I’ve been here off and on for 25 years. And I’ve toured Stoney-Baynard Ruins several times, but I realized then I too needed to book a tour because I still had so much more to learn and appreciate about this mysterious and historical landmark.

Stoney-Baynard Ruins Timeline:

  • Captain Jack Stoney built the house around 1793.
  • The house remained in the Stoney family for several decades until, it is believed, the plantation was lost by a Stoney heir in a late-night poker game.
  • William Edings Baynard, a highly successful cotton planter, acquired the property from the bank and occupied the home from 1840 until his death in 1849.
  • The original house was 1885 square feet and built of timber and tabby, which is a mixture of oyster shells, lime and sand.
  • The home was raided during the Civil War and Union forces made it their headquarters.
  • The home burned down shortly after the Civil War and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Bluffton Farmer Invites Everyone to Return to a Simpler, Cleaner Way of Living

Wade "Farmer" Fox

Wade “Farmer” Fox

Wade “Farmer” Fox, who signs his emails with “Semper in agris” (Latin for “always in the fields”) will tell you upfront, he doesn’t do what he does for the money. “I’m not in it for the Maserati. I’m here because I like to eat well, help other people eat well, and I like getting my hands dirty,” said Fox.

Fox is the new manager of Bear Island Farms in Colleton River Plantation in Bluffton and days for him are strenuous to the point of exhausting, and yet rewarding to the point of bountiful. Fox says his job entails not only regular hours of tilling, weeding, irrigating, growing and experimenting with horticulture, but also random sightings of rare to highly visible Lowcountry wildlife and the type of introspective solitude that amasses to change—a change Hilton Head and Bluffton residents are ready for and a change for Fox that has been life-inspiring.

Nearly ten years ago, Fox knew very little about local, organic and sustainable food until he started working at a consciously-minded restaurant in Knoxville, TN. “I didn’t go to farmers markets then,” admitted Fox. “I had a college pallet. If someone had handed me a purple potato I would not have eaten it or known what to do with it. Yet, right now I am sitting next to fava beans, purple sprouted broccoli, and other produce you may not or will not see in the store.”

Fox chose to manage Bear Farm just as any ecologically and socially minded cook/gourmand chooses the best possible ingredients—because he knows that organically farmed, fresh cut food offers higher and healthier quality sustenance than canned or even store-bought ingredients. Plus—and here’s where Fox and Bear Island Farm plan to put Bluffton/Hilton Head on the map for a better way of living—he wants to go beyond the status quo. He literally and quite consciously wants to change the way people eat food. And here’s how he’s going to do it:

  1. Form a connection with you. “Ask me how to cook things, how to make things grow, because this is more than just selling for me. I care where my food goes,” said Fox.
  2. Invite you to try fresh cut food and compare it to store-bought. “Once someone tastes the difference, I can’t understand how they could go back.”
  3. Make it accessible. You can visit Bear Island Farm to get seasonal, organic produce or have it delivered. And, if cost is a factor, Fox will work with you because he wants you to also “feel strong, go from ground to plate within an hour and look forward to eating every meal”—each of which is rare in today’s heavily processed, fast food world.
Fresh greens from Bear Island Farms

Fresh greens from Bear Island Farms

Right now Bear Island is offering now:

  • Arugula—A super spicy, Italian heirloom variety known as sylvetta.
  • Persian Cress—Which has flavor similar to watercress, with a bit more of a bite.
  • Baby Asian Mix—A mixture of mizuna, tatsoi, red mustard, purple mizuna, choy sum.
  • Salad Mix—A mixture of myriad lettuce, arugula, cress, and kale.
  • Collards—So tender, both fresh and cooked.
  • Red Russian Kale—It has turned a purplish color due to the proper frost we got last week. Still tender, but much more flavorful.

Note: All greens are $5, in half-pound bags. To get your own produce, or learn more about Bear Island Farm, please contact Fox at farmerfox@gmail.com or call (931) 409-4814.

Palmetto Bluff: An Ecological Fête for All

PalmettoBluffWhenever my family needs a retreat—whether it is a romantic weekend getaway with just my husband or an afternoon of family bonding with all three kids—we head over to Palmetto Bluff. The air feels cleaner there. The sun seems brighter there. And the smiles beam bigger there.

“Why?” you might ask.

“Palmetto Bluff reveals the best parts of Lowcountry living rather than using artificial elements to create the experience. We are known for our beautiful live oaks, pristine waterways, miles of nature trails, exceptional Lowcountry cuisine, epicurean events and preservation of our history,” said Gerrit Albert, General Manager of Palmetto Bluff.

Simply said, Palmetto Bluff is an ecological fête. You can’t help but feel enveloped and inspired by nature there. And here’s the best part—you don’t have to come with what my girls call a “fun game plan.” You can take a boat ride over there, or go through funky downtown Bluffton (and maybe stop along the way at some of the local markets like Cahill’s). Once at Palmetto Bluff, see where the wind takes you. The folks there are always thinking of ways to get you outside and into nature.

Palmetto Bluff bikingAccording to Christine Wrobel, Marketing Manager of Palmetto Bluff, you can now rent bikes on the property—whether you are staying at the Inn or not. “Palmetto Bluff currently has over 13 miles of bike trails to explore the area. Bikes can be rented through our recreation department located next to the Inn. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It costs $15 for four hours, $20 for eight hours, and additional bike attachments, caboose or tagalongs for $10,” said Wrobel.

Other activities you might try:

  • Kayaking, canoeing and other boat excursions through Outside Palmetto Bluff.
  • Taking a nature walk. You can stroll or clock in some miles while getting your daily dose of vitamin D.
  • Dining at the River House or at Buffalo’s or picnicking at a scenic spot.
  • Enjoying the community tree house and swings located across from RT’s market just outside of the Village.
  • Getting pampered at Palmetto Bluff’s award-winning Auberge Spa.

For my family—and perhaps yours, as well—we so much more appreciate and cherish the times we check out of the daily grind and check in with the outdoors and ourselves. Wrobel agrees explaining, “We all get caught up in the technology around us. It’s important to get out and enjoy the real world and people around us. The activities and environment at Palmetto Bluff give people a way to connect with each other and to re-charge themselves.”

Palmetto Bluff runOther Re-charging Opportunities:

  • December 13th—Christmas in the Village. Guests are invited to bring a blanket or chairs, sit on the Village Green and watch “A Christmas Story.” Gates open up at 4:30 p.m. and Santa will be around meeting and greeting guests.
  • March 9th—the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon. Experience all that Palmetto Bluff has to offer while getting fit.

Wrobel admits, “There’s so much to enjoy about Palmetto Bluff, like sitting in our rocking chairs and looking out on the May River is so peaceful. Also, the drive in is amazing. It never gets old seeing the light filter through the trees like beams of gold—you can’t help but know you’re entering into something amazing,” said Wrobel.

 

Getting in Touch with Nature on Daufuskie Island

Want to get unplugged, relax, and reconnect with nature? Of course you do. We all do. So, let’s close our eyes and try this:

  1. Imagine the rhythmic sound of a boat’s bumper gently rapping against an old wooden dock or the squawk of a seafaring bird.
  2. Inhale South Carolina’s coastal air and let the briny scent of a low tide and exposed oyster beds overtake your olfactory.
  3. Feel the heat as your feet walk on mid-afternoon sand in the summer.
  4. Boil some local shrimp to a pretty pink and then taste a spectrum of flavors from sweet to salty.
  5. Envision the infusion of color as an electric sun melts down into the horizon.

Horseback riding on Daufuskie Beach

Chances are, you feel pretty chill right now after engaging all five of your senses. And, chances are if you have ever been to Daufuskie Island—a charming, historic and well-celebrated island only accessible by ferry or boat in South Carolina—you probably just returned there in your mind. Because, just like an island is completely surrounded by water, Daufuskie is completely surrounded by down-to-earth folk and its natural inhabitants—from the ever-busy fiddler crab, to the endangered and prehistoric-looking wood stork, to the lithe white-tailed deer.

To educate people more about the Lowcountry, and perhaps to immerse people in the relaxation exercise you attempted earlier in this blog, “The Daufuskie Island Conservancy and the Haig Point Naturalist Programs have partnered together to provide educational programs on the Lowcountry environment,” said Yvonne Clemons, coordinator for the Haig Point Naturalist Program.

Alligators on Daufuskie

According to Clemons, the programs are varied, educational and—as most things Daufuskie—sprinkled with some salty humor. “Our programs are really great. Recently, we learned how to live with alligators at ‘Gators, Golf Balls, and Golf Carts.’ We got to touch an armadillo, an opossum and a snake at ‘Animals Only Their Moms Would Love.’ We have also learned about ‘The Night Sky,’ native plants, rookeries, wading birds, butterflies, and dolphins. I have learned something new and interesting at every single program.”

When asked why Clemons dedicates her time to the Haig Point Naturalist Programs she explained, “Most of us are transplants to the Lowcountry. I think we need to learn about this unique environment. I do believe in naturalist Baba Dioum’s quote, ‘In the end, we will protect only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.’”

When asked why she lives on and lives by the Daufuskie way of life she answered, “Its beautiful and peaceful. I love the sense of community. We have a great mix of people from all over the world and all different types of lifestyles.”

To learn more about upcoming educational events on Daufuskie, click here.

Hilton Head Restaurant Brings Preservation to the Plate

When it comes to ordering oysters, the world is literally, well, your oyster. There’s the more well-known ones like Apalachicola, Bluepoint, Gulf Coast, Kumamoto, Malpeque and Shinnecock. And then there are the more exotic ones like Beausoleil, Forbidden, Hama Hama and Naked Cowboy. Each one of these scrumptious bivalves has its own flavor profile based on the water it was harvested in. Take our local oysters. Like our Lowcountry estuaries (and maybe our locals), our oysters are categorized as briny yet sweet.

And whether you like your oysters raw, steamed, fried, baked or in chowder, these tiny, tasty treats are packed with something that goes beyond culinary descriptives like “aromatic” and “succulent.”

Andrew Carmines with a fresh catch

“Oysters are a very personal thing. For me, when I take a bite of a local oyster I am taken back to memories of growing up jumping off a dock in Calibogue or Spanish Wells and getting a mouthful of water. Oysters are like bites of nostalgia,” said Andrew Carmines of Hudson’s Seafood.

Carmines has spent the past few years researching everything there is to know about oysters and he is as they say, “a character.” He takes pride in his family and his restaurant (which is nearly one in same given the fact that the restaurant is a family business that has been serving Hilton Head Islanders and visitors for over 40 years). He takes pride in his hometown—often volunteering in preservation efforts and local charities. And he takes pride in now harvesting oysters.

“It’s just an awesome project,” said Carmines. And it’s a labor intensive one. Carmines had to:

  • Connect with a hatchery approved by the state. (Carmines combed the east coast for just the right hatchery.)

    Oyster cages

  • Buy seeds.
  • Bring the seeds to a nursery for several weeks as they mature into “spat”. (Note: these little critters grow exponentially so there are multiple stages of transferring them.)
  • Pick just the right time and place and then transfer the oysters to Port Royal Sound.
  • Monitor them and wait 16 months.

Yet for Carmines it’s worth it. “These oysters are like my babies—I love watching them grow. Also, this is my way of trying to prevent what happened in the Chesapeake from happening here. (Harvests of native Chesapeake oysters are now 1% or less of historical levels.) Plus, I like being cutting edge and omitting the middle man so I can give my patrons the best possible food for the best possible price.”

Carmines said he came up with the idea of harvesting his own oysters while looking out of the window of his waterfront restaurant. “We have a really soft bottom made of pluff mud,” explained Carmines. “And we have really significant tide influence. This makes it very challenging for oysters to grow independently.”

So Carmines started making calls to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (which he says has been helpful and supportive), talking to oyster experts, enlisted the expertise of veteran crabber Rob Roe of Beaufort, SC, and will be showcasing his oysters this spring.

“I want people to be able to order single, local oysters that are big and plump like a Gulf oyster, but have our unique flavor profile.”

As for the name of Carmines’ signature oyster he first laughs, “I thought about naming it after my daughters, Alice and Milly, and then I thought why not let Hilton Head name it? After all, shouldn’t locals decide what to call the area’s best oyster?”

Click here to check out Hudson’s or any of Hilton Head’s other restaurants.

 

Hilton Head’s White-Tailed Deer

I grew up on the Island and I’ve always appreciated (and even reveled in) how immersed we are in nature. (To my husband’s chagrin maybe too immersed.) Living on the water in Pt. Comfort, we are regularly rehabbing furry friends.

To date, we’ve rescued:

  • 1 squirrel
  • 1 rabbit
  • 1 chipmunk
  • 1 red-eyed vireo (bird),
  • 1 marsh rat (yep, I said marsh rat)
  • 2 raccoons

Callie as a fawn

And just so you know, probably my favorite rescue is Callie, the white-tailed deer at Lawton Stables in Sea Pines Plantation. Though I did not personally rehab her, I met her when she literally first stumbled on to the property as a one-month old fawn. Now three years later, my three daughters and I visit her at least once a month, pet her, and tell her how beautiful she is and how big she’s become. Truth be told, Callie’s just plain awesome,

And she’s smart. She knows a good thing when she sees it. That’s why she and so many of her brethren frolic in Hilton Head. According to DNR wildlife biologist Charles Ruth this quasi-camouflaged, spry species “enjoys a healthy population on the Island” and Ruth applauds HHI for “doing a good job managing it.”

Charles Ruth

Ruth is known as the white-tailed deer (and wild turkey) guru in the area and listening to him talk about deer, you can sense how passionate he is. “The white-tailed deer has had a long and interesting story in South Carolina,” begins Ruth, who goes on to describe how natives used hides for trading and how the species has evolved over the years.

 

Ruth then provides these fun white-tailed deer facts:

  • They breed October-November
  • Their babies are born around mid-May
  • They have become a “prey species” and are most hunted by coyotes
  • They are crepuscular, meaning they emerge at dawn and dusk
  • And South Carolina hosts a population of 750 million

Of course you can visit Callie any time or spot her kin just about anywhere on the Island. DNR spokesperson Brett Witt joked, “Most homeowners need only look out their window.”

Yet, Witt advises people to be sensitive to the white-tailed deer by planting deterrent options, which include plant varietals that are not young, smooth, and/or flavorful, rather than harmful substances.

For example, deer flock to:

  • Azaleas
  • Balsam fir
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Daylilly
  • Dogwood
  • Fraser fir
  • Fruit trees
  • Roses
  • Tulips
  • Vegetables

 

Yarrow Plant

But are deterred from:

  • Yarrow
  • Lady’s Mantle
  • Columbine
  • Campanula
  • Foxglove
  • Echinacea
  • Gaillardia
  • Lavender
  • Marigolds
  • Morning Glories
  • Petunias
  • Poppies
  • Snapdragons

Witt also encourages you to visit one of the DNR’s well-maintained public lands like the Webb Wildlife Center or one of the many local areas like the Audubon Preserve, the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, or Pinckney Island.

Both Ruth and Witt say you can also contribute to the DNR by checking the wildlife rehabilitation box on your tax return, volunteering for one of their many programs or donating.

 

Eco-Adventures in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island

When Charles Fraser pioneered Sea Pines, he trail blazed a new approach to living—from forming a new community to family life to truly enjoying the outdoors. Over a half a century later, Sea Pines Resort continues his legacy in so many ways—especially with its eco-adventures.

Sea Pines Forest Preserve path through the old rice field

“Our excursions are not just for guests. We encourage locals to go out and explore Sea Pines, too,” said Steve Graham, Recreation Manager for Sea Pines. “And everyone, can go multiple times because you will see something different and inspiring every time.”

Graham smiles as he talks about an American bald eagle sighting he recently had. “It was like seeing an old friend. I was in the [Sea Pines] Preserve and there he was. I hadn’t seen him in five years and there he was. It was just so cool.”

One of Grahams favorite activities is Lowcountry at Dark. Every Wednesday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. you can experience the Sea Pines Forest Preserve in a whole new light—in the dark. This after-hours, wagon ride tour is under the stars and immersed in nighttime dwellers like the night heron and the American alligator.

Seeing one of these Lowcountry creatures and planning that perfect family gathering, reunion or corporate retreat is as easy as 1-2-3.

3 Easy Steps to An Awesome, Nature-Enriched Evening in Sea Pines:

“We are all about creating memorable moments your kids will want to bring their kids back to,” said Graham. “This is what Charles Fraser was all about and this is what we at Sea Pines strive to maintain.”

To schedule Lowcountry at Dark, or any other eco-adventure, please call (843) 842-1979.

Exploring the Audubon Newhall Preserve

“We came here six years ago,” began Ula Li, “We liked it so much, we had to come back. It’s just as beautiful as we remembered it.” Li and her husband are sitting on a bench overlooking the Audubon Newhall Preservepond. They are admiring a sunning alligator. “Plus, in Delaware we don’t have alligators.”

Jack Greenshields in front of the Beany Newhall memorial

Jeff Greenshields, a master naturalist and caretaker of the Audubon Newhall Preserve, smiles. “We get that a lot,” said Greenshields.

Greenshields is leading me along the loop around the pond. I can’t help but think he is aptly named because he truly is a champion of Mother Nature. He can identify any species—plant or animal—and then provide an amusing anecdote about how it either contributed to the Lowcountry’s rich history or how it could become your new best friend.

“This is a wax myrtle,” explained Greenshields, stopping just before the lightly fragrant tree. “I point out this tree because the wax myrtle is such a historical plant. It has been used in the Lowcountry in signature dishes like gumbo and is an excellent insecticide. One pro golfer used it instead of Deet while playing in the Heritage.”

Part of the beauty of the Audubon Newhall Preserve is the fact that anyone, of any fitness level or knowledge of the area’s flora and fauna, can enjoy a scenic stroll.

“This trail is not very arduous,” said Greenshields. “It’s for nature lovers. That’s why the park is so well labeled—so people can easily identify things.”

According to the trail guide, “The Audubon Newhall Preserve was established in 1965 as the Island Wildlife Preserve, when Caroline “Beany” Newhall, recognizing the need to conserve woodlands, persuaded Charles Fraser of the Sea Pines Company to deed 50 acres of land for the preserve.”

The platform overlooking the pond

Good thing she did. This place is awesome. You can tour it independently, or join in on one of the free group tours every Thursdays at 10am September-November and March-May.

As we are leaving we see Li again. “Your paths are so nice, if we ever finally move here we want to volunteer!”

QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE AUDUBON NEWHALL PRESERVE

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Plants: A diverse variety of trees, plants and animals
  • Water: A rare pocosin (the Indian word for bog) and a scenic pond encircled by a path
  • Dogs: Allowed
  • Length: 2 miles
  • Fees: Free (but feel free to add to the donation box)
  • Directions: From the north end of Hilton Head Island on US 278, drive over the Cross Island Parkway onto Palmetto Bay Rd.—the Audubon Newhall Preserve is on the right after the traffic light past Pt. Comfort Rd. From the south end of Hilton Head Island, drive west to the traffic circle and turn right (north) onto Palmetto Bay Rd.—the Audubon Newhall Preserve sign is on the left before the last traffic light before the bridge.
  • Hours: Daylight hours
  • Camping: None
  • Restrooms: None
  • Information: Hilton Head Island Audubon Society, P.O. Box 6185, Hilton Head Island, S.C., 29938-6185, Telephone: (843) 842-9246.

 

Alligator Wine and Cheese Boat Tour

When my husband and I decided to be visitors in our town, we first looked to the Sea Pines Forest Preserve and discovered H2O Sports hosts an “Alligator Wine and Cheese Cruise” in the early evening (usually 4:30-6). This seemed like Lowcountry sophistication at its best so we invited a few couple friends.

Their reactions were, well, amusing:

  • “Wine—yes. Cheese—definitely yes! Alligators—let’s not tell my husband [Rick] about that part.” -Parker Harrington
  • “Why does this remind me of Gilligan’s Island?” -Kelly Hughes
  • “Cocktailing with nature, why not?!” -Jenn Wilkins

Baker Wilkins, Rick Harrington, Becca Edwards, Lee Edwards, Jenn Wilkins and Kelly Hughes on the Alligator Wine and Cheese Cruise

Friday, March 1 we all meet at Marker #23 with open minds and tightly wrapped scarves and zipped up jackets (it was super cold in Hilton Head that day). Capt. Nick greeted us with a smile and a jovial British accent as we boarded the canopied boat supplied with a cornucopia of yummy cheeses and a selection of white and red wines.

As we launched the boat, the wine was poured and the wildlife abounded. An anhinga spread her wings to dry like clothes on a line. A woodpecker jackhammered a Spanish-Moss-covered limb. And three osprey circled around, patrolling for prey and our attention.

Capt. Nick, a certified naturalist, narrated the evening. He spoke about the history of the area—like how the first inhabitants were native Indians who came 4,000 years ago and how the first trails followed the rice fields of antebellum times. He discussed the migration of various bird species and environmental issues. And, he detailed how alligators mate, nest, and feed and showed us alligator eggs.

As Capt. Nick finished telling us about an alligator that had been found with several dog collars in his stomach, we spotted one lurking in the water a few feet from our boat. Parker’s husband Rick, the one with the alligator aversion, sighed, poured another glass of pinot noir, and popped a piece of gouda. We all had to laugh.

Despite Kelly’s initial trepidation, our floating, nature-filled cocktail party fared far better than Gilligan’s 3-hour tour, and we each admitted it’s good every so often to be a visitor in your own town—especially when your town is Hilton Head. Truth be told, most of us on the boat have grown up on the Island and each couple has lived here at least a decade. But because we all have demanding careers and children with active schedules, we had forgotten to take advantage of all that the Island has to offer. It was refreshing to be literally immersed and reconnected with Hilton Head’s unique flora and fauna. We were each reminded why we moved here and call Hilton Head home.

When the boat pulled back up to the dock, we all toasted to a good time and vowed to do it again. Who knows, I might even get this crowd excited about trying another H2O activity like parasailing—I can only imagine how funny their reactions will be for that invite.

H2O Water Sports also offers:

  • Parasailing
  • Paddleboarding
  • Powerboats
  • Sailing
  • Kayak Tours
  • A Nature Center
  • A Banana Boat
  • Surf Camps

An art as old as Hilton Head: Cast net throwing

Cast net fishing is one of the most basic techniques to catch shrimp or small bait fish as you prepare for day of fishing on Hilton Head Island. Cast nets have been used for thousands of years and certainly as long as people have lived on Hilton Head Island.

Cast nets are, well, nets, with weights at the edges, called a lead line. Cast nets make it easy to catch shrimp in pools as the tide goes out. Cast net fishing also is a quick, easy and cheap way to land a supply of live bait wherever they congregate.

Nets can be cast from shore, piers or boats, said Scott Moody, who teaches cast-net throwing at Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. He uses an old-school method in which you hold part of the lead line in your teeth as you get a pendulum going to cast the net.

Other methods, from Cuban, Long Island to old school, all arrive at the same end result, a fully open net.

“I grew up in Saudi Arabia and learned to cast net in the Persian Gulf,“ Scott said. “There, you’d see men in water up to their chests and throw 40-foot-wide nets. That takes a lot of strength.”

He moved with his parents to Hilton Head Island 30 years ago. The natural beauty of the island has kept him here since, where he puts his fishing and professional photography talents to good use.

Cast net lessons start on land to hone the technique.

For his lessons at Coastal Discovery, he invites children as young as age 5 to adults. He gives kids a smaller three-foot cast net and lets them loose on the lawn, netting nematodes. “You have to be tall enough to reach the center of the net,” Scott said. Pardon the pun, but once they catch a few nematodes, they’re hooked on the technique.

“I also teach adults on land because they don’t want to get all wet and dirty,” Scott said. “Kids LOVE getting all wet and dirty.”

On land or casting into the water, Scott offers the lessons from 2 to 3 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays, March through May. The cost is $10 per person and reservations are required. Call 843-689-6767, ext. 223. Check out Coastal Discovery’s website for all kinds of awesome outings.

“Cast net fishing is a great way to catch live bait or Hilton Head Island shrimp,” Scott said. “It’s also a great workout.”