One of the things I love about St. Simon’s Island is walking on the beach. We live on the west side of the island – the marsh side and can walk along the river and marsh anytime. But, at least once a week, we ride our tandem bike or drive to the east side of the island to enjoy the beach.
When the pandemic hit this part of the world and Florida kept their beaches open, Glynn County closed their beaches. We didn’t want spring breakers coming up here and partying. When Governor Kemp issued the stay-at-home order for Georgia on April 3, he also ordered the beaches open.
The beaches, however, are only open for exercise. You aren’t allowed to take an umbrella or chair. You have to keep moving up and down the beach or in the water. This is fine with Tom and me because we aren’t big beach sitters anyway but it is hard on families with kids that want to play in the sand.
The beaches are heavily patrolled by Georgia Department of Natural Resources officers on four wheelers. They drive up and down the beach and talk to anyone who has dared to put out a towel or is sitting. Consequently walking on the beach is a new favorite activity for many.
St. Simon’s East Beach is huge, particularly at low tide. There is plenty of room for social distancing. No matter how many residents of the island are walking on the beach, there is lots of room between them.
When Tom and I are walking on the beach we don’t see a lot of sand castles. But there are plenty of other things to amuse us. We love watching the dogs and children run in and out of the water. There are paddleboarders and sailors. We love watching the waves and the patterns they make in the sand. Usually there are pods of dolphins playing just beyond the sandbars. Last week we saw about 14 of them chasing some fish up and down the beach.
I’m not sure how long the beach patrol will continue. With Governor Kemp lifting many restrictions in Georgia, the beaches may return to “normal” soon. But, for now, Tom and I are enjoying walking on the beach.