Bluffton Packet

Australia has its penguin parade, Bluffton has boats jockeying and beautiful sunset

Sunset on the banks of the May River at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park.
Sunset on the banks of the May River at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park. Packet file photo

The “penguin parade” takes place at sunset on Phillip Island, Australia. This parade is made up of thousands of the world’s tiniest penguins that waddle out of the ocean as if on cue. These little birds don’t grow more than 13 inches in height. They come out of the water then head along a path to their burrows. The parade has been a major tourist attraction since the 1920s.

The government realized what a terrific draw these little creatures were and built a $58 million visitor center with glass walls that overlook the penguin burrows. There are about 31,000 breeding penguins on the island that draw 740,000 visitors a year.

Here in Bluffton, we have a fun event on weekends at the Oyster Factory Park boat landing on the May River. Some of us take our golf carts down to the boat landing to watch the boats line up and get on the trailers waiting for them. It can be very exciting for those boaters jockeying for a position in line and those watching from the bluff.

We don’t have a $58 million center to watch from but we do have a beautiful setting in front of the Garvin-Garvey House, and it is free.

So if the weather is nice and the sun is ready to set, head to the boat landing for some fun and a spectacular sunset ... you might even want to bring a picnic. By the way, the town dock at the end of Calhoun Street is a perfect sunset-watching spot on any day.

Oyster farming

I was intrigued by a recent article about oyster farms in Alabama. Oyster farming is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of hard work involved.

There are 12 oyster farms in Alabama. One that caught my fancy is the Murder Point Oyster Farm, so named because of a fight two oystermen had over oyster-harvesting rights and one was killed. Their slogan is “oysters so good you would kill for them.” It is one of the largest in Alabama.

Hurricanes and fresh water intrusion in the Gulf of Mexico are reasons oyster farming has become more popular. Farming the oysters from spawn to harvest takes from nine to 12 months, less time than the traditional grown in the wild.

Hand-crafted oysters are free from mud and barnacles and make a beautiful presentation when served. This method of growing oysters has gained a loyal following among many top-tier restaurants in the country.

There are several oyster farms here in Beaufort County that might give tours, so we could all learn more about this new venture.

The Martin family

Wonderful news that the new town park on Boundary Street will be named after the Martin family. Ida and Jake Martin have and are helping build a better Bluffton by being strong role models for generations to come.

Trip insurance

I just found out that if you are going on a trip during hurricane season you must buy travel insurance before a storm is identified. Prices vary based on what they cover and how much will get refunded. Go to, a site that compares prices for information.