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Phenomenal Purple Martin sunset watch!


This is a magnificent spectacle: 100,000 Purple Martins converge on Doolittle Island in the middle of Lake Murray in the 30+ minutes before Sunset.  Phenomenal gathering  of thousands of birds roosting in their summer grounds on historic "bomb island".   We will learn more about this place while on sail to the island on this beautiful, clear, cool water lake.

We will start with a leisurely sail to the island from a sailing club near the dam aboard the "Poco Loco", 24 foot sailboat.  (Creature comforts are minimal since the boat is primarily used for racing.  A Porta Potti behind a curtain in the cabin is available.)  Parking space is plentiful.  Allow at least 80 minutes to drive from Aiken to a meeting point in Irmo, SC.  We will leave the meeting point at 5:30 PM.  Birds will not wait for us so we cannot wait for late arrivals.  We will be brown bagging supper while sailing.  No large coolers please.  Swimsuits welcome, but bring a sweatshirt or windbreaker for the cool return trip after dark.  Don't forget a towel.  Mosquitos will not be a problem with thousands of Martins around.  Be prepared for long afternoon and evening. We will get back to the dock between 10 - 11 PM.   

The first 7 people to sign up will get to enjoy this magnificent spectacle thanks to the generous hospitality of one of our members! 

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  • Jim B.

    Thanks to the person(s) who left a yummy bottle of wine on Poco Loco for me to find today as I was tidying up the boat. I enjoyed having all of you onboard ! Sandra Elder sent some good pictures. Anybody else have some to share ?
    A kayak trip on Lake Monticello to see the martens in their new roost seems like a good idea.

    1 · July 20, 2014

    • sandra e.

      WoW! Sound good to me. Are there kayaks to rent? I don't have one .

      July 20, 2014

  • Jim B.

    According to an article I just read the birds have moved.
    http://www.thestate.com/2014/07/11/3560110/purple-martins-flock-to-lake-monticello.html
    That explains why we saw only a few dozen Saturday evening.

    1 · July 20, 2014

    • Julieta

      Thanks for the info, Jim. amazing, just amazing.

      July 20, 2014

  • Julieta

    Thank you all who were able to attend. It was an exciting adventure even though we did not see many roosting birds. The hosts, the lake, the sailing, the company was a great afternoon and evening. Even though it was raining hard in the Augusta area, the event took place 60 miles away and the weather was very pleasant for an afternoon at the lake: overcast and rather fresh, not too muggy and not to glaring. Two sailboats took our group into the water from the very posh Columbia Sailing Club! We saw many boats enjoying the lake and a huge party at one island. We were completely under sail, quite an experience for those who were new to this most ancient art. We experience tacking and heeling and moving along at about 6, 7, 8, 9 knots and checking the depth of Lake Murray, in some spots over 100 ft.! No wonder it's such a cool, clear body of water.

    Thank you Jim and your friend Bob for allowing us this truly magnificent experience.

    July 20, 2014

  • Christina

    Never got the notification that I was approved. Last notice I got I was still on the waiting list. I do apologize but I will not be able to attend.

    July 19, 2014

    • Julieta

      The list automatically move you in when somebody cancel. You were next on line on waiting list so it was assumed you were ready and able to attend. There were a couple of last minute cancelations and that's why we didn't have a chance to send you a message. Hope to meet you at the next one.

      July 20, 2014

  • sandra e.

    Enroute to see the Purple Martans ! Weather is perfect. I'm so glad for this opportunity !! Looking forward to meeting everyone.

    July 19, 2014

    • Julieta

      Good to meet you and your lovely daughter.

      July 20, 2014

  • sandra e.

    I'd go! Just tell me when where and who to meet and I would love to go to see the Purple Martans at there new root.

    July 20, 2014

  • sandra e.

    Outstanding !! I now LOVE sailboats! Best time. Everyone was good company! Thank You Art and Juiletta and a special thanks to Jim, our Skipper!! I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I'm so glad I went.

    July 20, 2014

  • Julieta

    The weather in Ballentine, SC is acceptable for this trip. Cloudy with a few scattered showers, diminishing after 5 PM. Jim, our host has started the countdown, so we'll see you soon.

    July 19, 2014

    • Sheila

      Down pouring right this moment, I just get on I-20, but I am turning back, just not look right to me!!
      You all have fun!!!

      July 19, 2014

  • Sheila

    At 12:45, the weather doesn't look too promising...., are we still going?

    July 19, 2014

    • Sunday T.

      Just had Emergency at last minute. Now I have gbaby to keep till all is resolved. Sorry

      July 19, 2014

  • Sheila

    Hi Julieta & Sandra,

    This is my first Meet up activity, am very exciting about tomorrow outing event!

    It looks like Sandra and I will carpooling with you. Just want to list our phone# in case to find each other..., please let me know yours if you don't mind...

    Sandra cell# is [masked]
    Sheila cell# is (954)[masked]

    See you two tomorrow 3:50pm for carpooling!
    And see all of you tomorrow!!

    July 18, 2014

    • sandra e.

      Hi Shella! My daughter, Christian Marie and I look forward to meeting Julieta and You tomorrow!

      1 · July 18, 2014

    • Julieta

      Sheila, my phone number is (803)[masked] See you tomorrow!

      1 · July 18, 2014

  • Julieta

    For those of you who are driving: The map is not working. My search for Columbia Sailing Club takes me to 292 Shuler Rd. (instead of 272) but neither address appears on the map link. So please map your route on your favorite app. and follow directions below on where to park.

    July 17, 2014

  • Julieta

    We still plan to leave McDonalds, exit 22, I-20 and Hwy 1 at 4 PM sharp.

    July 15, 2014

  • Jim B.

    We have a second sailboat but only two new spots per the skipper's choice. We need to change the meeting point to the Columbia Sailing Club at 272 Shuler Rd, Irmo, SC. (Driving on Shuler, bear left when in doubt.) Go thru the gate at the end of Shuler Road and then to the highest ground. We can gather in the parking area directly in front of the clubhouse. It has a bright blue roof which is easy to spot on the far shore as you drive across the dam. You can use the restrooms inside. Be there before 5:30 - We will not wait for late arrivals.

    July 15, 2014

    • Julieta

      OK, I took note of the new meeting place. We still plan to leave McDonalds, exit 22, I-20 and Hwy 1 at 4 PM sharp.

      July 15, 2014

  • Julieta

    Great, two more spots came open in another boat, so, Dan Cooper + 1, you're in!.
    If you can't attend please let us know so somebody else can take the place.

    July 15, 2014

  • Jim B.

    I am trying to arrange for an additional skipper and boat from the Columbia Sailing Club so more people can go on this sailing trip. Stay tuned for further developments.
    Jim Butler

    2 · July 14, 2014

  • Julieta

    More info on the meeting place: Meet in the parking lot between Hardee's restaurant and Food Lion. Leave
    promptly at 5:55 to drive a mile to 1032 Jones Road where Poco Loco is docked. Meeting location:
    N34 degrees 07 minutes 25.68 seconds
    W81 degrees 14 minutes 09.20 seconds

    For those who want to carpool, I have a Nissan Quest Van with seats for 4 tightly packed people but space enough for the lunch bags, towels, and that sort. It would be nice to have an alternate volunteer/car. We can meet at 3.50 PM at McDonalds Hwy 1 and I-20 and go from there.

    July 11, 2014

    • sandra e.

      my cell ph is [masked]

      July 11, 2014

    • sandra e.

      please text me your ph # . Sorry for so many post whenever I hit 'return' on my phone, it post what've typed... Often before I've proof read it... I'm an old dog still learning :0)

      July 11, 2014

  • Sheila

    Great Julieta, see you on 7/19 3:50 pm at McDonald packing lot, I-20 exit 22 and hwy 1

    July 11, 2014

  • Sheila

    Great Julieta

    July 11, 2014

  • Sheila

    I would like to join you for carpooling. Please confirm if that is okay with you, thank you!

    1 · July 11, 2014

    • Julieta

      OK, Sheila, we will meet you at Exit 22 I-20 & Hwy 1 (McDonalds parking lot) on Sat. July 19 at 3.50 PM.

      July 11, 2014

  • Julieta

    More details on the meeting place in Ballentine is a parking lot between Hardee's and food Lion, on Dutch Fork Rd., 120 ft. from Intersection with Bickley Rd. Ballentine, SC.
    About attire: swimming suits are recommended to stay cool in a hot summer afternoon and a splash in the lake if desired, but consider a light sweater or windbreaker for the return trip, the water is cool and the breeze can be chilly.

    July 11, 2014

  • Jim B.

    If the website previously posted gives you "Page Not Found" then try this one:
    http://lakemurrayfun.com/martins.shtml

    July 3, 2014

  • Julieta

    www.lakemurray-sc.com/purplemartins.html
    Lake Murray is the site of North America's first officially designated Purple Martin sanctuary.

    July 3, 2014

  • Julieta

    For more information check this purple martin web site:

    www.lakemurray-sc.com/purplemartins.html

    Their number of birds is a bit higher than other estimates.

    July 3, 2014

  • sandra e.

    .... If the birds appear at 8pm, are we cutting it close to leave at 5:55pm for an hour and half drive ... then boarding and sailings to where the birds are? Doesn't that afford just a 20-40 min window? I know nothing about birds or sailing but I am concerned about the time frame.

    June 28, 2014

    • Jim B.

      5:55 PM is the estimated latest time we should leave the Hardee's / Food Lion parking lot. If everyone is there earlier (as early as 5:30) we will leave sooner. We can not leave later than (estimated) 5:55 if we sail (rather than motor) to Dolittle Island. Driving time from Aiken to Food Lion is 75 minutes, from the I-20 / US 1 intersection it is 50 minutes. If you allow 30 minutes for missteps and a pit stop at the Hardee's then you need to allow 1:45 from Aiken, That means leave at 5:30 PM minus 1:45 which works out to 3:45 PM as the earliest time to leave Aiken. If you are starting from somewhere else or are confident in your navigation you could start later.

      1 · June 28, 2014

    • Julieta

      I would like to leave Aiken (I-20 & hwy 1) at 4 pm. Arrive at Ballentine parking lot at 5 pm, drop cars and load our lunches, drinks, towels, etc into boat and depart from 5.30 to 5.50. There might be other boats so it's better to arrive early at the island.

      June 28, 2014

  • Julieta

    We have our crew! if something changes please notify ASAP so another can take a spot. We will finalize car-pool the week before the trip.

    1 · June 27, 2014

    • sandra e.

      Julieta , I posted a question that ended up in two parts... anyway.. Did I misread the departure time from Aiken SC? Is it at 5:55pm? I am concerned about getting to the dock with only 20-40mins to spare since I haven't ever made the drive there before..

      June 28, 2014

  • sandra e.

    I have a question. Google search showed sunset for 2014 July 19 to be at 8:30pm(8:31pm)

    June 28, 2014

  • Carla W.

    Something unexpected came up

    June 27, 2014

  • sandra e.

    I certainly want to car pool.

    1 · June 27, 2014

  • sandra e.

    I am with great anticipation. Thank you for this opportunity.

    June 27, 2014

  • Sheila

    how much cost for this trip?

    June 26, 2014

    • Jim B.

      Pay your share of car expenses to get to Ballentine and back home. Bring what you want to eat and drink. The rest is free.

      1 · June 26, 2014

    • Sheila

      thanks! Sheila

      June 26, 2014

  • Sheila

    Sorry, didn't finished...

    June 26, 2014

  • Sheila

    Hi Julieta,

    June 26, 2014

  • Julieta

    I hope everyone is enjoying a great summer. If you have never seen this summer marvel, this is your chance! some groups charge up to 50 bucks per person for a chance to witness this gathering. And if you have never been on a sailboat, well........ you might be hooked!

    2 · June 26, 2014

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