A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Poking around Little Tybee Marshes

November 1, 2016
Emilie Phillips

Tuesday we rode the ebb out Tybee Creek and spent a whole day playing in the same area as Monday. This time we also explored the tidal marshes.

Bottle nose dolphins passing by the kayak.

Bottle nose dolphins passing by the kayak.

There was more wind than Monday and partly cloudy. We brought the kite since the winds looked favorable. Tyson, Isaac and my Dad found some large crabs on the beach where we put in. One of them was dead. We quickly rode the ebb out to the sand bars. The wind on our face hardly slowed us, but it did push the ebbing water into sharp peaks. A pod of dolphins passed right by our boats. Isaac saw one smile as it jumped out of the water next to him.

We took the far southern channel to reach Little Tybee rather than the myriad sand bars in the middle. Tyson and Isaac caught a nice wave and surfed into shore. I stayed behind to watch for my parents. They worked their way in, practicing bracing and several combat rolls. My dad lost his hat on the second roll. After waiting patiently for them to reach calmer water, I took my turn to surf in … except the wind had blown me so far in that I was past all the good waves, so I just paddled in.

Isaac drawing in the sand.

Isaac drawing in the sand.

Onshore, we found sea shells and bird tracks. We also found lots of dead blue crabs. Isaac and Tyson pulled out the kite and flew it quite successfully. So successfully in fact that Isaac grew bored and Tyson tied the string to his boat. Then they went off and drew smiley faces in the sand.

Back in our boats, we paddled up Buck Hammock Creek. Our plan was to explore up the stream until it was too shallow and then flush back out with the tide. Isaac directed us to the first left turn off the main channel. We explored it until it grew thick with marsh grass. My dad’s GPS said that branch should have kept going and should have been the main channel. Clearly that was no longer the case. In the evening, we did some sleuthing on satellite imagery to figure out what happened. It was an oxbow that had recently cut off. When my parents paddled it a few years ago, the straight through route was only passable at high tide. At low tide, the oxbow was still the main channel.


Not far above the oxbow, we hauled out on solid land at the end of Buck Hammock for lunch. The rest of the stream could wait, we were hungry. We had seen egrets and herons flying over the marsh.

After lunch we continued up the stream until it ended in a marshy lagoon. Then we floated back down. I found a zippy side stream that shortcut the main channel. We spotted six egrets in the trees above our lunch island. They all flew off before we could take a good picture.

We flushed back out to the beach, two feet lower than we had left it. There, we swam in the water for a while, but with the sun hiding behind the clouds, the wind and water drew the heat out of us. We bundled up, ate some snacks, and headed home.

Too shallow to paddle

Too shallow to paddle

We slogged upstream and upwind back to the put in. The wind blew Tyson’s sit on top around so much he found it easiest to walk on the submerged sand bars, dragging the boat behind him.

See also more information about Tybee.

All Photos

GPS Track


2 comments already.

Let us know what you think

See the Comment Policy for appropriate content.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments (2)

  • It is quite unusual to find any mention of Buck Hammock – anywhere!

    Growing up in Savannah, my father and I used to often camp on Buck Hammock when I was young. That would have been in the late 60’s early 70’s. In those days, the hammock had a small, sandy beach on Buck Hammock creek, and Little Tybee Island had far more trees.

    My father showed me how to explore, appreciate, and preserve nature. In the ensuing years, I have climbed, paddled, hiked, and camped in places most people have never set foot. Those forays into the wild have been the most valuable experiences of my life.

    I have enjoyed perusing your blog. It is nice to see others harvesting the real gold in this life. Sometimes when I look back on my experiences, I feel like the king of the world. Isn’t it nice to be rich?

    Thank you for the blog.

    • That area around Tybee Island has so many fun places to paddle. That must have been nice when Buck Hammock had a sandy beach. Now it’s a steep embankment.

      This year it’s being harder to find places to kayak, but more than ever we need time to get out and enjoy nature.

      I’m glad you are enjoying the blog.