Friday, April 19, 2019

A Perfect Day...

How do you describe a perfect day? For me,  it involves family, freedom from worry, no thought of yesterday or tomorrow, and of course - beautiful surroundings help.

We experienced such a day yesterday, as we took a Freedom boat to the sandbar lying at the coast between Tybee and Little Tybee islands.

This huge sandbar gets reshaped by the tides and storms which assault Tybee each year. The sandbar you see this summer will look different next year.

The sandbar is large enough to allow for a nice walk - after making sure your boat is securely anchored of course.
My son and his family are specks in the distance at the edge of the earth. 
A weekday visit to the sandbar - when yours may be the only group there - can be a spiritual experience. You are one with earth, sea, and sky. The conch-shell roar of the ocean and the cry of the gulls drive worry from your breast. Life gets a fresh perspective. The smell of saltwater and sun-drenched sand mixes and soothes your soul. Piles of cumulous clouds drift by and large and rain may find you. If it does, play in it!

The deck boat we took yesterday was perfect for our group of four adults, three kids, and one dog. Although the ride was not so smooth in the wind and tide-driven chop on the way out, slowing down to the bottom edge of planing-speed helps make the ride less bone-jarring and is easier on the hull. Once we arrived, having all the room was a bonus. The ride home, with wind and tide hand in hand behind us, was perfect...

Boaters at the sandbar usually anchor either bow-in with one anchor off the bow - the easy and quick method, but watch that a falling tide doesn't strand you - or they drop the bow anchor in the channel and back into shore - raising the motor clear of the water at the last. A stern anchor up on the beach then secures the boat in position. That method is more work, but the boat is more stable. If you are going to walk away
from your boat to explore the sandbar, two anchors are best. 
One of the customs that locals observe on the sandbar is that dogs are free to roam. Because the sandbar is covered with water at high tides, it is not regulated as Tybee and Little Tybee are. If you go on a summer weekend, expect dozens of dogs to run across the expansive vistas - they do this with pure and obvious joy - and they will wander up to see what you are about. Common sense dictates that if your dog doesn't play well with strangers, you should keep him or her under positive control. And poop should be picked up, just like at home.

The water is plenty deep all the way from the Bull River through Tybee Creek (referred to by locals as the "Back River") to the sandbar, but look out for a shallow spot directly across from AJ's DockSide (green structure on Tybee's back side). I found that one the hard way. At high tide, you can go anywhere. At low tide, you can see and avoid the bars. At middle tide is when you find them the hard way. GPS or paper charts help with this.

Click here to view a chart online. You can zoom into the area with a click on the spot.

You may well find dolphins in the river as you travel to and from Tybee's sandbar. They add to any trip and children of all ages love them. Please don't feed them, don't harass them, and don't make sudden changes with your throttle or helm if you encounter them. Don't bang on the boat to draw them to you. I have seen the after-effects of a dolphin and prop encounter and it is pretty horrific. They are beautiful intelligent creatures, and wild. Let's leave them that way as we enjoy our rivers and beaches.

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