Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ebb Tidal Delta Claims Another Life.

"The search began Monday afternoon after the boy was swept underwater while wading with friends off the southern tip of Tybee Island.
The youngster was on a sandbar near Little Tybee Island with at least three other teenagers shortly before 3 p.m. when he vanished as the incoming tide rolled ashore, said Tybee Island Fire Chief Skip Sasser. "

It's an all too familiar story.
And it's often local kids that are getting into trouble in a place they should know very well to be unstable, dangerous.
Yesterday, at 3pm was mid tide...maximum flood. The water is rising at nearly two feet per hour.

On the back deck of my kayak, on several occasions, I have assisted people 'off' the sand bars because they were unable to swim back to Tybee. In fact, about two years ago, during a private kayak lesson myself and my client shuttled a group of six teenagers between sand bars. Even the Lifeguards were unable to reach them due to the strength of the current. They were exhausted, freaked out and completely unable to swim across the strong tidal waters.
They were all from Savannah and kayaks saved their lives that day.

Let's face it, its a long way to Little Tybee across the delta which is basically the sea bed. At first the tide moves back in slowly and little change seems to take place. But after two hours the current speed really kicks in and the sea quickly reclaims the sand bars that literally dissolve under foot.

I grew up by the seaside in a place not too dissimilar to Savannah.
My father told me that if I walked around the headland at low tide I would not be able to get back and would need to be rescued or would drown.
He was serious. I was made aware of tides, currents and the constant cycle and change of the coastal environment.

SC&K sends condolences to the boys family at this tragic time.
Hopefully other families will learn from it.

Coming soon....Kayaker Lost off Tybee - boat and paddler poorly equipped for ocean environment....
or, possibly... Kayaker Saves Life.


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