Shelling Sapelo Island

If you come to Eagle Island with your own boat, Captain Andy Hill will spend a few hours with you, orienting you to the creeks and waterways so you can comfortably command your watercraft to all the places you might want to  go – or you can rent his boat and services and let him act as your guide.  Eagle Island would be the perfect place to arrive by boat, and you can stay the entire time without seeing a single other person. You can even order your groceries at the mainland’s local supermarket and Captain Andy will ensure that your kitchen is stocked and ready for your arrival.  You don’t have to leave the island, or the waterways, the entire time.

You’re snuggled in the back barrier islands – privately owned – interconnected by creeks and rivers and the intracoastal waterway and finally, the Atlantic. So  you can boat (or be taken!)  out to Sapelo Island, and enjoy a long, windswept beach all to yourself, and I mean all to yourself.  One could walk naked at the shoreline at high noon and not worry about being seen by another human being unless you brought one along.  William and Kate really ought to consider a trip to Eagle Island; they could live in anonymity and while I’m sure Captain Andy has hosted well-known individuals, he isn’t going to kiss and tell.

Sapelo Island is remote, pristine, and only accessible by a ferry if you’re coming to visit as part of the ‘general public’.

If you’re arriving via boat – either yours, or Captain Andy’s, you’ll have access to his truck so you can drive around Sapelo and out to its beach.  There’s a lot to see of the island, apart from the beach, but a as beachlifer, this is what made my day.

Eagle Island guests all know about Sapelo and its treasures: the natural marine forest, Hog Hammock and the 47 permanent residents of the Geechee culture, the white-sand, windswept beach with conch shell, sand dollars, and driftwood lying on the sand.  Show me a beach lover who isn’t enchanted by such treasures.

Andy gave us each a pail for shelling and some of us were more dogged in our pursuit of shell than others were.  It doesn’t take long to find a few, but for those of us who can’t stop with just one or two, you can walk a long, long way down the beach and back and fill that pail to overflowing with conchs and sand dollars that we just don’t have on my own neighborhood beach.  When I saw that Andy had returned with a pailful of beauties I set out again, determined to walk beyond where his footsteps ended in the sand, and that’s exactly what I did.  I kept walking and walking and for some reason I set the pail down, thinking, “I won’t go much farther, and I just carry back a few more in my hands.”

Well, a few more became a pile more and so I left those in a mound on the sand,  and kept walking.  I should have realized I could never carry so many shells without the pail, which by now was … a quarter mile behind me?

What did I do?  I couldn’t just leave those beautiful conch shells lying in the sand; my heart was racing for the excitement of finding them all.  I was wearing a tankini.  And, like I said…there weren’t any other human beings out there, except for my group who were so far beyond where I’d set the pail down… so… I removed that tankini top and made a carrying sack for my shells and still they were spilling out and I was holding that thing like a baby!  Crazy.   I made my way back to the mound I’d abandoned earlier and had to work those shells into my ‘tankini-sack’ and finally reached that half-full blue pail, where I gratefully deposited by bounty.  I tied my top back on and trod waaay back to where the others where gathering their stuff up to leave: perfect timing.  And no one was any the wiser.  Jeannie got her shells, and now they’re lining my deck and in my outside shower: so lovely.  And, a lovely memory – my solitary afternoon wandering a deserted beach dotted with magical shells.

Cleaning my shells before coming home from Eagle Island.

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