A deer on the Hilton Head Island beach put a little sizzle in the Fourth of July weekend Monday afternoon.
A healthy-looking doe swam ashore, only to dart between swimmers to get back in the deep end.
“I was pretty surprised,” said Steve Doudoukjian of Columbia, who snapped a photo of the scene. “I have never seen a deer in the ocean before.”
The deer had been swimming well offshore, and came in on South Forest Beach about halfway between Coligny Beach Park and Marriott’s Grande Ocean resort.
People saw something unusual in the water out beyond the swimmers in the surf, but couldn’t tell what it was.
“People were saying it might be an alligator or a turtle,” Doudoukjian said.
When she swam ashore, people ran toward her. So the spooked deer dashed between swimmers and headed back out to sea.
She was last seen well offshore, drifting south.
Soon it started raining, so maybe that cleared the shoreline for the deer to get out of the Atlantic.
Deer are prolific swimmers, and are often seen swimming in rivers and crossing sounds to go from island to island.
Doudoukjian, a chemical engineer who has been coming to his place at Forest Gardens Villas for a number of years, said he and his wife, Deb, are used to seeing deer around the villa. And they’re used to seeing dolphins in the ocean. But not deer.
“I asked the lifeguard if she’d ever seen a deer on the beach and she said no” he said.