Saturday, July 31, 2010

Folly Beach

After leaving Savannah we went directly to Charleston, South Carolina -or rather to Folly Beach at the seaside. We'd pre-booked an apartment that was back away from the beach just over the bridge to it. We were all very pleasantly surprised by the apartment which was really quite nice, although to avoid any strops Gemma and I plumped for the small twin room. This still had an en-suite, so wasn't too bad but was missing the hot tub and giant bed of the master room. The complex was called Marsh Winds which was appropriate as there was a bit of a funky smell coming from the mud-flats out the back. This was OK though - it was nice to have a bit of nature so close by and from the balcony we could hear snapping noises that I guessed were crabs.

Following Jo's pre-occupation with breakfast we went back up the road to a Piggly Wiggly supermarket for supplies before heading into Folly Beach on foot to look for Ste and Flude and Willow's place. We found them in a really smart house set back from the beach and spent the evening doing a bit of a meet and greet with their family and friends.

The following day we attempted Charleston, but I think all felt a little fatigued from stomping round Savannah, so couldn't cope with it. We lasted an hour or so before heading back into Folly Beach and out onto the beach for a swim. The ocean was pretty powerful. After swimming I got a little bored sitting on the beach but it was clear that Jen had been wanting just that -it wasn't even really sunny at this point with clouds welling up so I went for a walk with Gemma. When we met up with the guys later Andy had lost his ring which had been in my shoe. I felt pretty guilty since I'd picked the shoe up, but they managed to get back to the beach and found it. Tea that night was a giant pizza from Bert's market along with Pasta and weird garlic bread. It was quite nice just sitting in watching TV and cooking for a change.

On the morning of Flude & Willow's wedding Gemma & I decided we were going to get dropped off at the lighthouse by Andy and Jo who were heading back into Charleston to shop (urgh). Daz and Jen joined us and we had a leisurely stroll back along the beach towards the centre of Folly Beach, taking photos and marvelling at some of the houses. Along the way we saw fenced off areas for turtle nests and whilst taking a photo of a dead fish a couple informed Daz that there was a tiny turtle next to him. The couple took the turtle back out into the ocean and released it.

I had a swim in the apartment complexes pool with Daz while the girls started their pre-wedding preening. Jen convinced Gemma to wear a floaty dress that I had advised against because of the wind on the beach, Jen herself had managed to get sunburn and had to force swollen legs into silly strappy shoes. We picked up Ste (best man) and Flude (groom) a little late because of a snafu over where they were and Folly Beach's one way system. Getting into the car Ste informed Daz and I that we were the photographers for the day -luckily for gear carrying reasons we'd sorted out a mix of lenses between us earlier. Andy had left his camera at the apartment because he didn't think he'd need it!

The wedding was right on the beach up an aisle made of shells and was fairly disorganised but also really sweet and charming. Somehow I managed to shoot some fairly decent pictures, and I'm sure Daz's will be good although I haven't yet seen them. Apparently the vows were quite lovely although I couldn't catch them as I was stood right at the back with the 70-300mm lens and the click of the shutter constantly going. After the ceremony we had more photo opportunities and got Flude and Willo to ourselves after the rest of the guests drifted off - with Ste picking up his camera and doing what he does best. He really has an uncanny ability for people shots, I guess because he is a people person. I'm more focused on dead stuff, possibly because I am dead inside?

Adding Emily meant the car was full on the way to the reception which meant I had a lovely ride in the boot. No air-con in the boot and the car having been super-heated by the beating sun and slamming around every time Andy swung the wheel. Lovely. The reception was at Bowens Island, down a track and in this crazy wooden shack thing on a jetty over the river. The shack was covered in scrawlings and later Flude produced sharpies for the guests. The DJ was ace, possibly the best wedding DJ set I've ever seen. We all hung out on the jetty watching Dolphins skip in the river as the light faded.

Back in the shack it was time for food (a lovely spicy sausage and shrimp and potato combo) and the speeches. Ste was petrified, but did really well. Pretty much everyone at the top table did a speech, alternating between funny and moving and there were quite a few sobs during them. I took up photography duties again for the first dance, grabbing Ste's camera to start as I had the wrong lens on. That out of the way I started to relax and went into random snapping mode for the rest of the night. The beer flowed, people danced and at some point we ended up in a taxi home.

We were surprisingly un-hungover after the wedding. Gemma, Andy and Jo and I made for Folly Beach for lunch. For some reason my omellete and chips came with fruit on the plate. Just another example of the oddities of food in the US. We walked on the fishing pier, watching people pull tiny sharks out of the water. We ended up on the beach with Ste and the rest of the gang. The currents on that side of the beach were nuts and I decided to get out of the water after nearly being swept out to sea by the undertow of a massive wave breaking over my head.

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