EDISTO ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Nine months after Hurricane Matthew damaged Botany Bay, the beach is back open to the public. But if you haven't seen it since the hurricane... the scenery isn't quite the same.
The storm caused numerous changes to the beach, which all visitors should be aware of in order to stay safe.
The biggest change is there is no beach from three hours prior to high tide until two to three hours after high tide. Officials say all pathways through the woods are gone. That means if anyone is on the beach during this time, they will be stuck until the tide changes.
The hurricane also further reduced the length of the beach by approximately 30 to 40 feet. The dead live oak trees that lined the beach and jutted out of the water are now under water in some areas.
It is highly recommended that no one swims at this beach anymore as well because of 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.
It's important to remember to check the "tide tables" before visiting the beach.
The bridge that provided access to the beach has been rebuilt, which means visitors can now explore the north end of the beach. Officials with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said those repairs cost $35,900. Repairs to the dike, the embankment built to prevent flooding, is still pending. The south end remains closed until Aug. 2 while a threatened species of bird continues to nest.
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.
No dogs are allowed on the beach and all visitors are prohibited from taking anything from the beach including shells and driftwood.