Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
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Day 4, Thursday: June 16, 2016

Carole Carpenter; Upson-Lee North Elementary, Thomaston GA
Donna Morgan, Newnan High School, Newnan, GA
Amy Yule, Chattahoochee Elementary School, Cumming, GA

Carole Carpenter

Beginning marsh exploration.

Beginning marsh exploration.
(Photo: Michelle Riley, GRNMS)

Today was the big day! It was the day that I was the most anxious about...The Marsh Crawl! I was concerned that I would not be able to crawl out and back.

The day began with a Marsh Walk where we learned about the habitat of the Coastal Forest and observed periwinkle snails and fiddler crabs. A quick trip to Cabretta and Cathy introduced us to the marsh and explained to us how to effectively crawl through it. I walked on out and soon had to crawl which quickly led to sliding on my belly like an otter. It was wonderful. The black-grey sticky smelly ooze was cool and refreshing.

It was an experience to remember and to share with anybody that will sit and look at my pictures. I was covered almost completely in mud and my shoes felt like they weighed 5 pounds each. I felt like a kid again. I made it and felt such a surge of confidence. It was exciting to see marsh from an otter's perspective.

Donna Morgan

This morning we started the day on the Sapelo Nature Trail. It was a wonderful walk through the maritime forest. We learned about the flora and fauna of this ecosystem and how humans have influenced and used these resources for thousands of years.

Visiting Sapelo Lighthouse after today's marsh crawl

Visiting Sapelo Lighthouse after today's marsh crawl.
(Photo:Michelle Riley, GRNMS)

We also did the marsh crawl today which was an experience few will ever be able to say they have encountered. I was astonished to discover the thickness of the mud and the pronounced odor of sulfur as we scuttled through this wetland. I am proud to say I made it all the way through the marsh to the tidal creek! It was tough but I refused to give up.

Our group then decided to travel down the tidal creek instead of going back through the marsh. This was another once in a lifetime adventure. It began very pleasantly until the tide began to come into the channel. We fought the current and made it around the first two meanders, then the next two...and then the next two...and the next. When the bridge came into sight we were rejuvenated knowing that we would soon be on dry land.

This day will truly never be forgotten!

Amy Yule

What an amazing opportunity we had today, tasting, seeing and feeling the marsh. We tasted plants, saw crabs and shrimp, and felt the marsh.

We began walking through the marsh and quickly began sinking. We then began crawling and it wasn't long before I was sliding through the marsh. I was completely horizontal and pulling myself through the marsh. I kept thinking the whole time I can do this and I will get through the marsh.

Marsh crawl victory! All muddy.

Marsh crawl victory! All muddy.
(Photo: Michelle Riley, GRNMS)

We then saw the creek and I knew it was possible to keep sliding until I could splash in the water. The water felt cool to the touch but most of hitting the water felt like I had accomplished something amazing. I learned some about myself today. I learned that I have more stamina than I believed I did. As I was crawling and sliding I kept thinking I can do this and I did.

This is a lesson for my kids - you can do it even when you feel that you can't.


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