Any local info for Jekyll Island, Little Cumberland

I’ll be in the area in a couple of days and was thinking of launching from the southern tip of Jekyll and crossing to Little Cumberland and back. It’s the outflow of the Satilla River. I’m wondering if anyone has any experience in that area and if there are any issues with significant claptosis or currents at peak flow for an experienced sea kayaker.

I’m sure there are many others, but I’m only familiar with launching from the boat ramp, here: 31.041946, -81.422661.
Plenty of parking, easy launch (on ICW side, not ocean).
From there, it’s about a 2.5 mile paddle to the south end of the island.
The crossing (pt to pt) is about 2.4 miles (2 nmi) to Cumberland.

Number one, I would do it on a weather friendly day.
As the current can be fairly strong, I would cross to Cumberland near the end of an ebb, then come back just after the start of a flood - timing things to take a bit of a break on Cumberland.
So, just for an example, using Sat, Nov 5 as an example: (from
Max ebb (2.6mph)is at 10am.
slack after ebb around 1:30pm
Max flood (2.1mph) is at 5pm
Low tide at St Simons LH station: 1:06pm

So, if you started crossing at noon, there would be a diminishing ebb at about 1.6mph.
Then return at 2pm, with an strengthening flood at .4mph.

I’ve paddled around Jekyll Island several times (about 17miles). Other than currents, no real issues, though both sounds: St Simons Sound and St Andrews Sound get ‘bouncy’ in conditions. There is a sandbar that goes well out - about mid island on the ocean side of Jekyll that will create some bouncy waves.

I’ve also paddled around Cumberland (47m) many times. Again, it’s the current that is the major influencer of conditions - pair it with (or rather against) the wind - conditions can get bad.

Little Cumberland island is private (as opposed to Cumberland I - National Seashore)
So, while I think they will still let you land, you won’t be able to walk up to the lighthouse.


Thank You Raisins. That was exactly what I needed. Where do you get the tidal current info? FWIW, I plan Wednesday to put in at Blythe Island County Park boat ramp on the South Brunswick River, paddle past the AVP marine terminal and then up to the paper mill and back. I saw it a few days ago as I was driving down 95. I like that infrastructure stuff and the paper plant seems so big and somewhat foreboding. The day after, Thursday, I’ll do the Jekyll Cumberland trip. I might squeeze in an R&R beach day on Friday before I head home to Atlanta but will have to see on the preceding days if the air and water temp is such that I would enjoy laying on the beach.

I use deepzoom.
(there are others, but I like it because it gives you a good view of currents on a map with a moveable time)
First time you open it, it will open in the Seattle area (developer from there I think).
Zoom out then into area you want (or click ‘find location’)
Click onto a tide or current station interested in.
All currents in the area shown will indicate direction and strength for the selected time (on bar control at bottom)

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Trip report?
My brother and I took the ferry to Cumberland and hiked it.
On the way back there were a few college age kids on the ferry who had camped there a few days. A more bedraggled crew would be hard to find. Dirty, bug ate, and exhausted.
I’ve been all those things but learned how to prevent them.

I put in at Blythe County Park which was a very decent launch site. And free. Headed down the South Brunswick River. It was a nice paddle. Came across a manatee. Then I paddled along the docked freighters (car carriers) at the AVP marine terminal. I love infrastructure and working harbors as much as an isolated salt marsh. It was kind of cool paddling just a foot or so off the side of these behemoths. After the terminal, I headed up the East River towards my goal, the Georgia Pacific Pulp and Paper Mill. I had previously passed this at night driving south on 95 to another paddling destination, and it just looked really cool - set off in the salt marsh and all aglow as I guess they keep busy 24 hrs a day. It’s a pretty massive facility. As I paddled towards the mill, I came across a sea turtle which kind of hung out with me for a few minutes, which surprised me since the river was a few miles from the sea and sediment laden as rivers in the southeast tend to be. I finally got to the mill, where I paddled as close as I could while observing the posted signs saying to stay back a certain number of feet. Then back to the launch. Saw an armadillo on my way out of the park. I’m not an early bird but was able to do this trip before the sun set. I don’t remember the mileage (maybe 8-10). Brunswick itself has lots of sea and marsh front. A lot of looks pretty similar but it’s a nice paddling destination IMO. On another day, I launched from the 4H tidelands Nature Center on Jekyll Island, headed down what I guess was the intra-coastal waterway, and rounded the southern curve of the island which took me out towards the sea. Lots of porpoises that seemed curious about me. Time was limited so I didn’t really hang out but got a few miles in. It was pretty windy but an otherwise nice paddle. There are a slew of mediocre places to eat in the area but also a few nice ones. Georgia Sea Grill (on St. Simons) is a great after-paddle place. A bit upscale so you’ll need to change. I used to secure some affordable lodging (America’s Best Value Inn and Suites) at a perfectly decent place. On the final day, I spent a few hours at the beach (lots of public access spots). This was late October so not ideal beach weather, and I got some heavy rain at one point, but still swimmable and enjoyable. A lot of people had “Shibumi Shades” which I was unfamiliar with but looks like a clever, easy to set up idea. I spoke to one person who reviewed it quite highly. They aren’t inexpensive but I hope to get one before my next trip to the beach. All in all, an enjoyable outing.

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