We spent the day on Dafuskie Island today. It's a small island, with roughly 400 inhabitants, which you can only get to by boat. No grocery stores, no high school, no bridges to the mainland. On a private taxi, it takes 25 minutes to get to from Bluffton or 60 minutes on the public ferry. Regardless of the form of transportation, you are almost guaranteed to see several dolphins along the way! When we arrived we were greeted by the golf cart rental company representative- a 17-year-old young man who was raised on the island. My family was immediately mesmerized by the idea of growing up on such an isolated island only 8 square miles small. Driving around in a golf cart is the chosen method of transportation and five hours was enough to see the entire island, stop for lunch, and swim in the sea for an hour.
We started off by exploring the island. Most of the houses we passed were either abandoned or needed major upgrading. However, there were many private communities we could not enter that looked really well maintained and boasted large homes on the water. After an hour of driving through lush, tropical landscapes and pretty desolate "neighborhoods" we stopped for lunch at Lucy Belle's, one of the island's three restaurants. We snatched an outdoor table under a gigantic oak tree dripping in Spanish moss. Lovely. This was our first time eating at a restaurant since the pandemic. I was well prepared with alcohol wipes and wiped everything down meticulously. Lucy Belle's is unpretentious, offers outdoor seating only, and serves its' meals on paper plates with plastic utensils. The food though... oh was the food delicious! I had the Caribbean grouper, perfectly blackened and grilled. We left satisfied, energized, and ready to hit the gravel road again. This time we stopped at Iron Fish Gallery, an outdoor welding studio opened by a man who moved to the island at the age of 24 when he had an epiphany to become a welder. This gallery is a real treat filled with quirky art, mainly of sea life. We also stopped at a farm and met the owner who moved to Dafuskie twenty years ago. She said she visited the island, fell in love with it, and purchased the property the very same day. I love meeting people who not only have callings but actually follow them. Next, we stopped at the Bloody Point Lighthouse, which isn't an actual lighthouse, and were surprised to find a vineyard there. We quickly hopped off our cart to buy a bottle of Daufuskie wine but were quickly disappointed to learn they were all sold out. Next, we went to the cemetery and left as quickly as we arrived. I actually like cemeteries but this one gave me intense goosebumps and a fleeting feeling. Finally, we went to the beach. The water glistened like glitter calling us in and embraced us with the most ideal water temperature we could have hoped for on a hot, summer day. There were barely any people on the shore with us, maybe 30 at most. We stayed immersed in the water for almost an hour as fish swam by bumping into us. The day ended with a ubiquitous tropical shower as we headed back to the dock to return to the mainland.
Our take away from the island was WOW. How do people manage on an island with no hospital, no grocery store (Instacart delivers!), three restaurants, and really nothing to do. Dafuskie is a great day trip and maybe even a great place of residency for those who want complete isolation and a life "off the grid". I always love finding the spots few hear of and exploring them. The only way to learn about our beautiful world is to seek those places that are so different from our own lives. It is the only way to learn about the many, many possibilities that are available to us. If we don't explore, how will we find our true calling?