Ship Island Excursion
I had been meaning to do a Ship Island excursion for years. I had only been to Ship island one time as a teenager with my lifetime best friend, Dale Goff. It is a magnificent island teeming with bird life, abundant fish, beautiful white sand beaches, and tranquil sea oates. The trip there is also a big part of the fun, riding the ferry MS Ship Island from Gulfport, Mississippi.
I was accompanied by a friend from the local photographers meetup group, Dana King. On the return trip we were very fortunate to sit next to a world-class bird photographer, Dr. Olivia Graves. Olivia is a charming lady who has spent most of her life along the gulf coast and has logged record numbers of bird-sightings. Her photography is amazing as is the equipment she carries to capture these flying gems!
There are some related items from this Ship Island excursion in my modeling gallery as well: Nude self portraits, swimsuit/underwear self portraits, and nude & swimsuit/underwear portraits by D L King.
Ship Island is the collective name for two barrier islands off the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, part of Gulf Islands National Seashore: East Ship Island and West Ship Island. Hurricane Camille split the once single island into 2 separate islands in 1969. West Ship Island is the site of Fort Massachusetts (built 1859–66), as a Third System fortification.
Having the only deep-water harbor between Mobile Bay and the Mississippi River, the island served as a vital anchorage for ships bearing explorers, colonists, sailors, soldiers, defenders and invaders. The French, Spanish, British, Confederate and Union flags have all flown over Ship Island.
French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville charted Ship Island on 10 February 1699, which he used as a base of operations in discovering the mouth of the Mississippi River. The island served as a point of immigration to French colonies in the New World. Some immigrants died upon arrival at Ship Island, and their bodies were burned in a furnace.
In 1702, the island was named Ile aux Vaisseaux  (the French phrase for “Ship Island”) due to its protected deepwater anchorage. After New Orleans was founded (1718) to the west, the island served as the principal port of entry from Europe for French colonists from 1720 until 1724. The island was given to Great Britain by France at the end of the Seven Years’ Warin 1763. In 1783, at the end of the American Revolution, Great Britain transferred the island to Spain.
The United States, as part of the Louisiana Purchase, claimed the island in 1810.
In the War of 1812, Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane anchored between Ship Island and Cat Island with a fleet of fifty British warships and 7,500 soldiers in preparations for the Battle of New Orleans and the island was used as a launching point for British forces.
In 1849, the U.S. Navy anchored at Ship Island to discourage assembly of mercenaries on nearby islands for paramilitary invasion of Cuba.
In 1853, the island’s first lighthouse was built. It was made of brick and mortar.
In 1858, Mississippi passed legislation that gave jurisdiction over the island to the United States government. After the war, Congress approved an ambitious plan to construct state-of-the-art masonry fortifications at strategic locations along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, including Ship Island. Construction of a fort on the island began in 1859, and continued up to the Civil War, when the Confederates named the uncompleted structure Fort Twiggs after Confederate General David E. Twiggs. The island later became a prison for Confederate prisoners of war, and a base for the U.S. Second Regiment (Louisiana Native Guards led by Colonel Nathan W. Daniels), a unit composed of African-American soldiers. On July 9, 1861, a twenty-minute cannon exchange between Confederates in Fort Twiggs and the screw steamer USS Massachusetts occurred. Ship Island was abandoned by the Confederates because it could not be adequately garrisoned. The USS Massachusetts returned and took possession of Ship Island in September 1861. According to the historian John D. Winters, the island was “a valuable base from which to break up the traffic of the small Confederate vessels plying between Mobile and New Orleans through Mississippi Sound.”
In 1862, the fort was renamed Fort Massachusetts in honor of the Union warship which had seized the abandoned outpost. Construction on Fort Massachusetts was halted in 1866, although the fort was not fully completed.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Ship Island (Mississippi), which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0