Our annual trip to Tybee was another successful trip full of paddling, surf, and adventures. This year we had a new guest, Nicole, that messed with our paddling plans but brought new adventures.
Monday - We launched from our usual Alley 3 location just up Tybee Creek and within sights of the Atlantic Ocean. Looking at the weather forecast we anticipated this to be the best day of the week to find conditions (waves, surf). The day was filled with rescue
practice and fundamental stroke review. Our group had a mixture of skill levels and some felt comfortable heading across the sand bar to find messy water to practice intermediate strokes and rescues in. Others stayed along the shore an practiced surf landings/launches, boat control, and a few real life shallow water rescues.
Tuesday - We were gathering rumors that a pretty big storm was going to be developing later in the week and it started to show today. The wind began in the morning and we had gusts up to 40 mph by the afternoon with sustained winds of 25mph+. We made a plan to paddle the back waters of Lazaretto Creek and get a glimpse of the conditions as we paddled out through Tybee Creek. Needless to say we did more steering than paddling the wind was so strong even in the marshes. We had fun working on navigating our kayaks and working with wind and current. Paddling ended after lunch. Although conditions and waves weren't bad, no one wanted to paddle against 25mph winds.
This evening was a Full Moon and we had intended to paddle and watch the moon rise over the ocean. Clouds and wind kept us shore bound and although we didn't get to see the moon rise we saw an absolutely gorgeous sunset over the water!
Wednesday - Friday
Tropical Storm (Hurricane) Nicole was announced and kept us shore bound for 3 days! Waves were 6-12' with winds over 50mph gusts. We used our time to learn more about navigation and practiced finding bearings on maps. We also did an in-depth review of "Body Boat Blade" and applied this to all our strokes and rescues. A few of us explored Skidaway Island and hiked a few miles of trail through the marshland. We also donned our raincoats and explored Tybee via bicycle. I'm sure people wondered what crazy people were out riding bikes dressed in paddling tops!
Thursday we decided that there might be one last chance to paddle on Saturday. Everyone called home to get out of work one more day and make sure all the dogs and cats could get fed. It's not every trip we get a bonus day!!
Out on the beach the wind was blowing dry sand across the surface of the beach.
Saturday - bonus day!
The storm and wind cleared late Friday night and Saturday turned out to be a calm and blue sky day! We paddled out front of Little Tybee and found some surf to play in for a while. We learned there was a creek that had a strong tidal current that we got to practice rescues in. There was plenty of beach to practice skills along and take a break to have group discussions about things we were experiencing.
We packed up and headed home. Thankfully we all had easy travels coming back to Iowa. Woke up Tuesday to snow and I think we all were wishing we were back in the warm sand on the beach.
Our week on Tybee was another successful trip. We learned a lot more about paddling in conditions and advancing our skill. We got to experience what a tropical storm looks like and it was interesting looking at weather reports online and then comparing to what we could see around the island. Although we were bummed we didn't get to paddle every day we played safe and look forward to coming back next year!