The Jekyll Island Turtle Gram Blog

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Jun 21, 2017

Summer High!

Avast, Jekyll Island Pirates!

It be the summer solstice, that magical time when day length equals night length. Tomorrow, we'll be on the downhill slide towards winter, but there are plenty of sunny summer days still to enjoy on Jekyll Island and the Golden Isles of Georgia.

Make the most of it, kiddies, cause summer don't last forever! :(

So ban all thoughts of winter to the back of your mind, jump in the old rag top, turn up Jimmy Buffett, and head to Jekyll for some "sun filled" Adventure!

These are just some of the fun experiences you can enjoy on Georgia's jewel, Jekyll Island!

As for this old pirate, I'll see you in September, at the Shrimp and Grits Festival.

Until then - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - see you on Driftwood Beach, James. Time for a shrimp boil!

Jun 20, 2017

It's Party Time at Summer Waves!

Shiver me timbers, Jekyll Island Buccaneers!

It's PARTY TIME at Summer Waves Water Park! Come help them celebrate their 30th year birthday. Fireworks, movies and more!

Nough said - Rick

Continue reading "It's Party Time at Summer Waves!"

Jun 11, 2017

Beach Reads

Hello Jekyll Islanders!

Show of hands. Who likes to read on vacation? Me, for one. But I rarely read on the beach. Too hot, too much glare.

When I relax with a good book on Jekyll Island these days, it's usually in one of several places:

Truthfully, I can read just about anywhere. I take a book everywhere I go, especially where I know I'll have to wait for something, like a doctor's office, while I'm having my car serviced, or in line at the post office or to vote.

I mostly read fiction, but sometimes a good non-fiction book will catch my eye. My tastes turn to gardening, biographies, and science. And (since I write paranormal thrillers, the weird, and whatever I happen to be researching at the moment.

My fiction reading revolves around thrillers, horror, sci fi, fantasy - you can see how my wind blows! :)

I prefer reading real books, but have a Nook I keep loaded up with ebooks.

A few great books I've read recently:

  • The Troop (horror)
  • Southern Son - The Story of Doc Holiday (historical fiction trilogy)
  • Sustainable Gardening for the Southeast
  • American Gods (fantasy, I think. It kind of defies being pigeonholed into one genre).

Some of my favorite fiction authors:

  • Louis L'Amour (my author mentor)
  • John Sandford
  • Lee Child
  • C.J.Box
  • Randy Wayne White
  • F. Paul Wilson
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Robert McCammon
  • Jonathan Maberry
  • and too many more to mention.

How about you? What's your favorite beach reads, and how do you prefer your reading material, in electronic or dead tree format?

Whether you read to learn or for fun - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - I'll meet you on the shaded veranda at the JI Hotel, James - and bring a book!

Jun 10, 2017

Time to Get Crabby

Ahoy, Pirates!

If you're like me, buccaneering on Jekyll Island can work up an appetite (especially if you have a spouse and kids egging you on). There are lots of great restaurants on the island glad to fill your belly - for a price. But have you ever thought of catching your own supper?

I'm talking crabbing, a great Jekyll Island Family Adventure that kids will love. Catch a mess of crabs, and cook up a crab feast. All for pennies compared to what you'd pay in a sea food restaurant.

So grab a crab ring and catch - then eat - your limit. You can start with these recipes.

Till we sit down and shuck crabs together on the island, breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. Save some claws for me, James.

Jun 07, 2017

Have a Shell of a Good Time, Times 2!

Avast, Jekyll Island Maties!

It's a great time to visit Jekyll Island. Lots of kid-friendly scheduled events going on in June.

One don't miss activity: The Georgia Sea Turtle Center's 10th Birthday Party! Kids will love seeing the turtles, and "shell-abrating" with Scute and friends. And while your there, schedule a Turtle Walk.

But how about an unscheduled adventure, one that kids of all ages can enjoy? Sea shell hunting.

Doesn't cost a thing, and can serve as a learning experience as well as a fun family adventure.

Head over to the southern end of the island for some good hunting. The morning after off-shore storms are best, when wind and wave action has washed fine shell specimens onto the beach.

What can you find? Look for

  • Whelks
  • Olives
  • Coquinas
  • Sand Dollars
  • and many more!

Shells are great to collect and display, or use in crafts. So on your upcoming Jekyll Island Family Adventure (and you ARE coming to the island soon, right?), hit the beaches, kids in tow, and hunt up that perfect seashell.

Until I see you shelling on the beach - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - See you on the sand, James.

May 30, 2017


Hi, there, JI Buccaneers!

We're settling into post-vacation life (blah!), and Martha asked me what my favorite time was on the island this trip.

Didn't really have a favorite experience. They were ALL good. Even the steel teeth didn't bother us much.

Sometimes I'll take a reflection break from work, lean back in my Captain's chair, close my eyes and let the memories flow.

  • Gators. Saw at least a dozen this year, by far the most we've ever seen in on trip. One might have gone 10'. And every size in between. Look for gators in the pond beside the trail from the Historic District to Flash Foods, and the pond behind the old amphitheater. Horton Pond is a great place to see them, and has an observation platform. And the golf course ponds, of course.
  • Revitalization. Still lots of building going on, with the new Cottages going up (check them out when you get there), and renovation on the JI Wharf.
  • Sunsets. Lots of photo ops from St. Andrews Point, or from the promenade walk beside the Intra-coastal Waterway, behind the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. For sunrises, hit Driftwood Beach.
  • Eats. Had a fantastic mahi sandwich at Zachry's River House. My mouth waters to think of it.
  • Vegging Out. Relaxing in our favorite wicker rockers on the JI Club Hotel veranda, reveling in sweet tea, shade and soft, cool breezes.
  • Wildlife. You can relish close encounters with our furry, scaly, or feathered friends just about anywhere and anytime. One of the best viewing spots is the Glory Boardwalk. Saw deer, song birds, and marsh hares here, just about every day.

If you have a trip Jekyll coming up, it's turtle nesting season. Book a turtle walk courtesy of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and visit with some scaly friends.

We'd be glad to hear about your adventures on our Facebook page.

Until we meet in the Marshes of Glenn, breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - Save a mahi sandwich for me, James.

May 18, 2017

Sometimes You Yearn...

Hi, JI folks!

One of my goals for our latest trip to the island was to pig out on steamed oysters and shrimp at the Rah Bar.

Best laid plans and all that...

It was closed for renovation. In fact, the whole Wharf was being renovated, including Latitude 31, a Jekyll restaurant icon.

I wandered forlornly along the Wharf, wondering if Latitude 31 would return, or if some other restaurant would be there when we came back.

And I felt a bite of melancholy, cause things change.

Revitalization has altered the face of the Jekyll Island we knew when our boys were hatchlings scampering over the beach. Some things needed to be improved, I guess. That was the official line, anyway. And that new Convention Center, coupled with the Westin, the Beach Village Shopping Center, and the other improvements, have brought an increase in tourism and improved JI's bottom line.

But, waxing nostalgic, here are a few "old friends" I miss:

  • the JP Morgan Historic Tennis Court - it was renovated into a temporary convention center while the new one was being built. We played many a game under that roof. It's now the Morgan Center, meeting space for the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.
  • The Amphitheater - almost completely gone now, in the process, it seems, of being torn down. Our boys grew up mesmerized by the plays put on there by Valdosta State college thespians. Don't know what will happen there.
  • Beachview Shopping Center - that old fashioned strip center holds a special place in our heart. Lift a toast to IGA, the JI Pharmacy, Zachry's, and other shops (some of which have a new life at the Beach Village).
  • Buccaneer, Comfort Inn, and other old hotels. Spent many a week at those places. Now guests can experience the new Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, Westin, and more coming - IF they can afford it.

We'll always love our island - but sometimes it's good to reminisce. After all, we grew roots here. And they're sandy!

Breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - see you on the sand, James 'ol pal.

May 16, 2017

Smart as a...Dolphin!

Avast, ye Jekyll Island Pirates!

I figure myself fairly (slightly?) intelligent, but there's another mammal out there that just might have me beat - the bottlenose dolphin.

Some people believe that these animals possess an intellect comparable to a humans. I wouldn't know, cause I've never had a conversation with one. But I did experience a dolphin encounter that was kind of cool.

Keith Wilson and I were surveying on Kiawah Island one muggy hot week, and came upon an old plantation style house that was slowly crumbling back into the loam. We kind of "accidentally" crossed (jumped?) a locked fence and wandered around the grounds. As my grandmother would have said if she'd seen us do it (just before pinching our ear off), "What are you two plundering around that old house for?"

Anyway. We made our way through the weeds to the back yard, which to our surprise wasn't very wide, because a tidal creek ran along the back.

We were standing on the bank talking when a commotion downstream caught our attention. Lo and behold, a mass of fish was boiling its way towards us. We were surprised to see two dolphins guiding the fish up the narrow waterway like a pair of border collies herding sheep. Just before they reached a sandbar opposite us, they sped up and forced about a dozen fish to beach themselves. Then the dolphins SLID UP ON THE SHORE, snarfing down fish like it was a Southern fish fry.

Since then I've heard of dolphins doing that and more, working in teams to catch their supper.

Next time you're on Jekyll Island, say hello to a friendly dolphin. He might just understand you - and invite you out to eat!

Until I see you chasing fish up on the beach at Jekyll Island, breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - Save a swim with the dolphins for me, James.

May 14, 2017

Most Recent Trip a Blast!

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

Our latest trip to Jekyll was a rollicking success. The weather, so finicky on our last sojourn, was perfect. And no rain!

This trip, with both Martha and I recovering from medical issues, we played no tennis. A bummer. But we did get to see our friend Pete Poole, retired tennis pro at the tennis center, and catch up. Pete's a Jekyll Island icon, and tennis without seeing his smiling face behind the counter is just not the same. :(

A rundown of what we did while pirating around the island:

This post is getting long, so enough for now. Lots going on with Jekyll Island Family Adventures that you'll hear about later. Come see us on our Facebook page at

Next trip: Shrimp and Grits in September!

Until I see you on the beach, breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - save a shady spot on the beach for me, James.

Apr 26, 2017

FINALLY! Jekyll Island Time!

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Pirates!

It seems like ages since I last posted. Martha's surgery recovery has dragged on, and she's experienced one setback after another. And I've been plagued by hip and knee problems that required physical therapy. But now, thank God, we've turned the corner and are on the mend (knock on drift wood). And, finally, our Jekyll Island time has come around. We'll be off to the islands in about a week.

And it couldn't have come sooner. I was experiencing surf and sand withdrawal symptoms.

Aging is not for daisies. On this trip, we'll probably limit our tennis to a few games of mini-tennis (thankfully on clay courts), IF the courts have recovered from the recent hurricane damage. Bike riding may be out, too. We may be limited to long, leisurely walks on the beach, snarfing down seafood, and swigging margaritas - but who's complaining?

So this trip may be more of a "therapy cruise" than past trips. We'll take it easy, visit friends, listen to Eddie Pickett and the Wharf Ratz. I plan on taking lots of pictures to add to the website. And generally relaxing and recharging our depleted batteries.

Hopefully, we'll see you there, too. Recharging your own batteries while enjoying the ambience of Jekyll Island.

Until then - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

'Nough said - Rick

PS - Save a beach chair for me, James.

Jan 01, 2017

Happy New Year!

Avast, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Shiver me timbers, it be a newly born year! Hope you upheld the pirate honor and handled your grog with no problems. If not, there's always next year to party down (or next weekend, if that's the way yer rudder steers ye!).

Now that the holidays are astern, what's on the horizon for Jekyll Island? Well, check out our Event Spotlight and find out, maties!

I'll give you one hint - Island Treasures! Jekyll Island's family fun treasure hunt returns for another year, from January 1 through February 28. Bring your parrot and sniff out an artist-rendered "antique" glass fishing net globe. If you don't know what that is, you can learn all about it here.

So set your sails on a beam reach and head to the islands!

Until I see you searching the sands for YOUR island treasure - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on the sand, James. Save a glass fishing globe for me.

Jan 01, 2017

Upcoming Events, Festivals, Celebrations on Jekyll Island

Upcoming events and celebrations for family fun on Jekyll Island

Continue reading "Upcoming Events, Festivals, Celebrations on Jekyll Island"

Nov 30, 2016

Join the Christmas Festivities in December

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Doff your eye patch and don your red cap and get thee over to Jekyll Island in December if you know what's good for you! There's more Christmas activities and events that month than you can shake a candy cane at!

See below for details!

Until we skate by the beach together on Jekyll Island...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - Okay, James, break out the skates...

Nov 02, 2016

Playing Hookie

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Ever play hookie when you were in school? I did that a couple of times, and was never caught. (Though, when grown, I kind of casually mentioned it to Mom and Dad. Dad took it in stride, Mom was all incensed, like "How could my innocent, angelic son do something like THAT!" If she'd only known about some of the OTHER things I got away with...:)

Anyway. If you never played hookie in school, who says you can't do it as an adult? It's the start of November and, incredibly, even for Georgia, the weather is fantastic. Why not take advantage of the few remaining warm and mellow days?

So let me play the devil on your shoulder, and lead you into mischief.

"Pssst. Hey, you. Yeah, you. You've been stuck in that cubicle for months, slaving for the man. With only these wilted plants to look at. Don't you ever water, man? Whatever. Not even a window to day dream out of.

"And WINTER is about to set in. Cold. Sleet. Bare trees. And, worst of all, no more football!

"But you know where you want to be. SURE you do. Somewhere warm. Somewhere you can relax, de-stress, recharge the batteries. Somewhere there's a beach. And shrimp. And margaritas.

"Where you can laugh and play. Walk the surf line with your loved one. Frolic on the sand. Away from the everyday world of work and worry.

"You know where you want to be.

"Time to play hookie. Take a Therapy Cruise, as singer-songwriter Kelly McGuire says, and cruise on down to the island. YOUR island.

"Jekyll Island."

Until we set our sails for a new horizon - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - you take the rudder, James, I'll man the sheets, and we'll sail to the islands together.

Oct 22, 2016

Ghoulies and Ghosties

Ahoy, Jekyll Islanders!

October has finally offered up some cool weather in North Georgia, and while I enjoy the changing of the seasons, winter is close behind - and I ain't no cold weather sailor.

Jekyll Island beckons, but I'll have to wait a bit, till Martha gets over her surgery and feels up to traveling.

Meanwhile, updating the website continues on. Hope to have some new content out soon, too, including a series of videos and a kid's section.

Are you planning on a fall excursion to the island? Why not check out the 37th annual Georgia Florida Golf Classic?

And to get you in the mood for Halloween scares, bone up on Jekyll Island's ghosts.

Have fun this Halloween, stay safe, and if it gets scary for you, just keep repeating this Scottish saying

"From ghoulies and ghosties and four-leggedly beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord, deliver us!"

Until we ply the waters off Jekyll Island's shore together - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - See you on the sand, James!

Sep 05, 2016

Shrimp, Grits, and More

Ahoy Jekyll Islanders!

Time to get your appetite on and book your trip to the Jekyll Island Shrimp and Grits Festival, Sept. 16 thru 18. If you like those tasty crustaceans, be sure to show up on Friday night for Sample Friday. You get to sample shrimp and grits fare from most of the restaurants on the island, as well as vendors from off-island. Yum!

Want a preview taste? Hit the Jekyll Island Club Hotel on the 14th for their Chef Demo, where they'll be teaching folks how to prepare their signature shrimp and grits dish. Double Yum!

For the first time in 5 years, Martha & I won't be able to make it to Shrimp and Grits (Martha is still recovering from heart surgery). But hopefully we'll get down in October, our favorite month to visit. Meanwhile, eat some shrimp and grits for us!

Until we see one another around a pot of low-country boil on Jekyll Island - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on the beach, James!

Aug 24, 2016

Chasing Those Fuzzy Yellow Balls

Ahoy, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Ever since we were married, my wife and I have been tennis fanatics, Martha probably more than me. Especially the boys, who both can hit us into heat stroke.

So lots of our vacation time has found us on the clay courts at Jekyll Island.

Clay is loads of fun to play on, and here are a few reasons why:

  • Joint Relief - clay is way better on aching knee and hip joints than asphalt.
  • Weird Bounces - part of the fun of playing on clay is the unexpected ways the bounce. Sometimes a shot will just die, with little bounce at all. Other times it might fly over your head, or off to the side if it hits a line.
  • Slower Pace - clay plays slower than any other surface, which favors us older players. Of course that can work to our disadvantage if the points go long.
  • Cooler Surface - clay stays cooler than asphalt, so you may not die of heat stroke after all!
At Jekyll Island the Tennis Center pros can set you up for a match with someone of your approximate age and skill level. Whether you play singles or doubles, you can have fun on the courts on our favorite family friendly island!

So serve it up, and breathe in, breathe out, move on!

Nough said - Rick

PS - meet you on the beach, James

Aug 21, 2016

Dogs Are People, Too

Good morning, Jekyll Islanders!

Still a few hot days left in the year, time to load up the family and head to Jekyll Island. And while your throwing kids in the back seat, why not toss in the dog, too? After all, dogs are people, too! And family.

Traveling with pets can be a challenge, but better a dog than a cat any day. I've traveled with both and, believe me, in an automobile, an excitable canine is much more relaxed than the calmest cat.

If you do take your furry faced friend along to Jekyll Island with you, remember to provide plenty of clean water along the way, and let the pooch out (on a leash) to stretch his legs at every stop. Most of all, don't leave Fido locked in a hot car while the family goes in to McDonalds to eat lunch. Even if it's overcast, animals can over heat fast. Dogs may experience heat stress, and even die, if cooped up in a hot vehicle for too long.

So...luggage? Check. Kids? Check. Rover? Check. And, no worries. There are hotels on Jekyll Island that welcome furry guests!

Run with your best friend on the beach. Then - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - See you on the sand, James - and bring the dogs!

Aug 18, 2016

The Marsh Trail/Driftwood Beach Loop

Avast, ye Jekyll Island Pirates!

Hop off your ship, get your land lubber legs under you, and take a hike on the Marsh Trail/Driftwood Beach Loop. Not an official name, just what we call it.

Start at the Clam Creek Picnic Area parking lot. Walk (or bike) northeast a bit, and cross the pedestrian bridge over Clam Creek. Then just follow the asphalt paved trail. It will take you through the marsh lands. Keep an eye out for raccoon families (sometimes you can only see their tails, waving above the marsh grass). If you're into birds, this is paradise! Look for egrets, herons, wood storks, ibis, spoon bill cranes, and more - including many varieties of songbirds.

You'll cross several creeks, and may spot blue crabs or foraging fish, depending on where the tide is at the time. Some folks come here just to fish pockets of water from the edge of the trail at high tide.

When the Marsh Trail ends, turn left. After about 40 yds. you'll come out on Driftwood Beach. Turn left again and walk along the beach, enjoying the driftwood, sculpted into fantastical shapes by wind and wave. You might see dolphins seining off shore, maybe even a cruising shark. As you walk further, you can see the lighthouse on St. Simons, beckoning. (Note: be aware of the tides, Driftwood Beach can be dangerous at high tide!)

After a bit you'll gradually turn left until you're back at Clam Creek. Head over the the Jekyll Island Fishing Pier to catch the breeze and watch folks catching fish and crabs, or drop in on Capt. Larry Crews at the Jekyll Island Fishing Center. Sip a cold drink and listen to Capt. Larry spin his tall tales. He's fished the area all his life and knows his stuff!

Until we walk the trails and beaches of Jekyll Island together - breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

P.S. - See you on Driftwood Beach, James!

Aug 15, 2016

Partys are Where You Find Them

Yarrr, Jekyll Island Pirates!

Shiver me timbers, I'm hankering for some Shrimp and Grits. Only a month till Jekyll Island's finest festival, so batten down your hatches and mark your calendar for the 2016 Shrimp and Grits Festival.

Reminds me of something that happened to me today. I was at the supermarket and got in line to pay for my booty. In front of me was a couple loaded down with party food. Hamburger meat, hot dogs, ice - and several Key Lime pies. The lady had on a Shrimp Basket shirt, and her man had on a Margaritaville shirt.

I caught the lady's eye. "Hmmmm," I said. "Buffett shirt. Shrimp shirt. Key Lime pie...I want to go home with you guys!"

Earned a laugh with that one.

Until we pig out together at the Shrimp and Grits Festival...breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Nough said - Rick

PS - See you on the sand, James! Save some shrimp for me!