Wildlife

  • HUGE Hammerhead Shark

    On July 13, Chip Michalove, owner of Outcast Sport Fishing, reeled in by far the biggest hammerhead shark recorded off the coast of South Carolina. And after taking a photo with the animal, he followed his standard operations for large sharks – he quickly tagged and released her, and watched her swim off into the ocean a few miles off the shore of HIlton Head. Chip estimates that the shark was 13 1/2 feet long and, based on length to weight tables, probably weighed over 1,000 pounds. He catches and releases a number of great white sharks, but they are much bulkier. A similar length great white would be closer…

  • 14 Years of Turtle Nests on Hilton Head Island

    If you have been lucky enough to be on the beach at Hilton Head Island during the summer, you have probably seen the flagged sea turtle nests. If you have been very lucky, you have even seen a turtle heading back into the ocean after a hard night of egg-laying. And if you have been extremely lucky, you have had the opportunity to see baby turtles scurrying toward the water. Each year, turtles make their way to Hilton Head Island to lay their eggs. We have been tracking the counts using data from the wonderful folks at www.seaturtle.org, and are very happy to say that it looks like the number…

  • Two baby Eagles on Hilton Head – Watch the webcam!

    Occasional visitors would be surprised to learn that Hilton Head Island is a wonderful place to see Bald Eagles in the wild. But if you look carefully at the power poles that run alongside the bridges as you cross onto the island, you are likely to see one or more eagles surveying the surrounding water. And now we have two more! On December 27, 2021, the two eggs in one of the nests hatched. Lucky for us, this is the one nest on HHI that has a 24-hour webcam, so anyone who wants can take a peek at the babies as they grow. And they grow fast. The parents will…

  • 2021 Turtles are Hatching

    Right on schedule, the 2021 baby turtles are making their way from Hilton Head beaches back into the surf. An estimated total of 79 new Loggerheads have hatched and made it to the ocean. That number will increase significantly over the next few months, probably ending up close to 20,000. Unfortunately, it appears that 2021 will be a slightly below average year for nests on HHI. Over the past ten years, an average of 309 Loggerhead turtles have made nests on our beaches each summer, producing an average of 21,000 Loggerhead babies. As of July 21 we have seen 244 new nests, and while already above the 2018 total of…

  • 12 foot Great White visits Hilton Head

    Each year, Great White sharks migrate from the cold waters of New England to warmer waters south. It wasn’t until 2014 that there was proof that these giant creatures passed by Hilton Head Island. That is when local Chip Michalove started catching, tagging, and releasing the sharks a few miles offshore. From December to February Great Whites can be found if you know where to look – and Chip certainly does. He has landed over 30 of them, and about as many have gotten away before he was able to reel them in. This particular 12 foot, 1,000 pound Great White was caught in early February 2021 and was fitted…