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Shem Creek’s natural tidal flow and marshlands have long provided a habitat for an array of marine plants, fish, shellfish, birds, and mammals. Only in recent decades has the relationship between creek and human morphed into one with injurious overtones.
“They say we’re a dying breed,” says fourth-generation shrimper Franklin Rector. “That’s nowhere near true. Every year there’s a new boat on the creek. What’s more, the boats aren’t run by a whole bunch of old people.
On the night of February 17, 1864, the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley slipped out of Breach Inlet and headed for the Federal blockading fleet offshore; her target was the sloop-of-war U.S.S. Housatonic.
Brought to the Carolina shores 400 years ago by Spanish explorers and traders, these sure-footed animals are esteemed for their hardiness as well as their gentle, easygoing nature. Once the standard farm horse for the Sea Island Gullah people, they were nearly extinct by the 1990s.
Time heals, or so they say. But is a year long enough to begin to close deep wounds exposed by the Mother Emanuel tragedy last summer?