Tybee Island, GA

Cruising - November 2002 - Tybee Island
Cruising — November 2002
By Capt. Ken Kreisler

Tybee Island, GA
Laid-back and brushed by gentle Southern climes, this island stop on the ICW beckons the visiting mariner to stay for awhile.

 More of this Feature

• Part 1: Tybee Island
• Part 2: Tybee Island continued

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• Cruising Index

"The river is wide, the water fresh, and from the key of the town you can see its whole course to the sea, with the island of Tybee which forms the mouth of the river...the landscape is very agreeable." So wrote James Oglethorpe, leader of a group of English settlers who put down roots on and around the island of Tybee, Georgia, in 1773. John Wesley, founder of the first Methodist Church, joined Oglethorpe three years later to help settle the colony.

Tybee Island--from the Native American word tybee, meaning salt--belonged to the Euchee tribe but in the 1500's became a Spanish settlement, part of Spain's La Florida. It later fell to the overwhelming power of the French. However, it would be the British who would eventually lay claim to the island.

To anchor the settlement and provide a beacon of safety for the ships of the realm making the crossing from England, Oglethorpe began constructing a lighthouse the same year he arrived and finished it in 1776. At 90 feet it was the tallest man-made structure in America, and while it was later wrecked by storms, attacked by Union soldiers, and even torn down, its rebuilt incarnation stands today, now some 154 feet high and welcoming mariners, visitors, and locals to this most genteel of Southern islands.

Tybee Island is located about 18 miles east of Savannah, Georgia, and is a must-stop on the north/south ICW trek between Savannah and Jacksonville, Florida. You will need the following NOAA charts: 11514-SC, 11513-11506, 11504-11502, and 11489.

• The only marina on the island is the Lazzaretto Creek Marina (912-786-5848). The facility is owned and operated by Capt. Mike Scarbrough and his wife Iris, who are legendary for going out of their way to make visitors feel like family.
• If you're like most of the water-bound visitors to Tybee Island, you'll likely try to find a berthing space in and around Savannah. Among the places to try are the Hyatt Regency Docks (912-238-1234), Bull River (800-311-4779), Tidewater Boatworks (912-352-1335), Palmer Johnson (912-356-3875), and Isle of Hope (912-354-8187).

Next page > Part 2: What to Do, Eateries > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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