Nine months after Hurricane Matthew damaged Botany Bay, the beach is now open to the public.
The bridge that provided access to the beach has been rebuilt, which means visitors can now explore the north end of the beach. The south end remains closed until August 2 while a threatened species of bird continues to nest.
Although the beach is now open, the storm has caused numerous changes to the beach, which all visitors must be aware of in order to stay safe.
The biggest change is now there is no beach from three hours prior to high tide until two to three hours after high tide. All pathways through the woods are gone, so that means if anyone is on the beach during this time frame they will be stuck until the tide changes.
Prior to the storm, the beach was heavily eroded. The hurricane has further reduced the length of the beach by approximately 30-40 feet. That means the dead live oak trees that lined the beach and jutted out of the water are now under water in some instances.
It’s highly recommended that no one swim at this beach anymore as well due to the trees and stumps that are now underwater. These stumps can cause major bodily injuries if swimmers are caught on them while in the water. In addition, the oyster shells and beds along the tree stumps are sharp and can also injure swimmers.
Remember to check the tide tables before visiting the beach. Also remember there are no dogs allowed on the beach and all visitors are prohibited from taking anything from the beach including shells and driftwood.
While visiting the beach, remember to take in all of the Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area to view the historic plantation site. Learn the history of the old working plantation and explore the acres of land preserved for generations to experience.