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Story and photos by Diana Hunt   February 1, 2010


Eagle Island eagles


Five of us had just been dropped off on Eagle Island, a privately owned, 10-acre back barrier island with one luxury lodge. It was only a 10 minute boat ride from the sleepy fishing port of Darien, Georgia, but it was a world away. The Spanish moss draping over ancient Live Oak trees filtered the soft afternoon sunlight, creating deep, dark shadows. It was creepy.

As the boat sped away from the dock, I felt like I was part of “Survivor” plus “Big Brother,” all taking place in an extremely noisy aviary. The nesting pair of eagles (for which the island is named) peered down their beaks at us from their high perch.

Eagle Island eagles

I felt the panic start to rise in my throat. I like to know I always have a way out of a situation, and now we were left alone, with no way out off the island.  I was cut off from the world as I know it. Obviously, my challenge was to deal with nothing to do and nowhere to go for three days.

It turns out the challenge was deciding which chair, lounge or hammock to sink into to read. Is it most pleasant inside by the fireplace or on the sunny end of the wrap around deck? Is the light right for a walk to take some photos?


By the next morning, I realized I was starting to re-connect with nature. There were the massive number of birds on our island, there was the ongoing, complex life of the tidal marshes, the ever-present tidal currents, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, crisp nights and warm days. Breezes bent the high tree branches and the long-ago forgotten endless starry night sky stirred childhood memories. When the air was still, it was blissfully silent.

I felt my entire body relax and I was happy as a cat soaking in the warm sunshine, reading my book. The most difficult thing about Eagle Island can be letting yourself just “be.”

  Eagle Island path  
Eagle Island path
  Sea kayakers off Eagle Isloand  

Eagle is one of eight back barrier islands owned by Capt. Andy Hill, all under the designation “Private Islands of Georgia.” Forty-something Hill is a true entrepreneur whose first love is boating in and around the coastal tidal marshes, and he enjoys sharing his enthusiasm.

Looking at a map of the Georgia coast, it is a maze of inlets, estuaries, rivers and a gazillion little islands. Actually, there are 1600 back barrier islands and eight barrier islands. Of the eight barrier islands, only two are developed with private property, St. Simons and Tybee. Others are either federally or state owned. Georgia has been proactive in conserving and protecting these invaluable island assets.

Sea Kayakers off Eagle Island

Barrier islands and the tidal marshes protect the mainland from storms. Back barrier islands form one more line of defense, situated between the barrier islands and the coastline. Barrier islands are separated from each other by tidal inlets, with tides measuring six to eight a half feet.

Of course, the selling point of Andy Hill’s Private Island getaways is there is nothing to do! That is why they are so perfect for family vacations, reunions or romantic hideaways. For the Double A types out there deep in the urban rat race, this is the total de-stress program you’ve been looking for.


  Sea Island path  
Sea Island path
  Unlike Florida, only a few miles to the south, winter is low season for rates and crowds, yet the sub tropical climate is the same. This makes south Georgia the best place for winter vacation bargains. And you’ll be surprised how much you can find to do when there is nothing to do.  
  For more information:  

Call Capt. Hill, 912-638-0306 or check for availability. All rates include round-trip boat transportation from Darien to Eagle Island. There is a two night minimum for all winter packages. Hill customizes each getaway to clients’ needs and requests. Sleeping arrangements include four king beds plus two sets of bunk beds.

Hill has kayaks available for use, you just need to watch the tidal charts. The best bet is to have your own power boat so you can explore the coast at will. Hill checks out everyone in their boats before letting them loose in unknown waters.

  Diana Hunt can be reached at:  

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