— 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.|
"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.
TO GET THERE
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.