Yeah, what can I say, it’s a rough life.
As someone who’s spent practically my whole life in an eastern deciduous forest ecosystem, the thought that in just three weeks I’m going to be teaching beach ecology and salt marsh ecology is a little crazy. So much to learn! Take a second look at that photo and notice what you don’t see: big waves. Because the continental shelf extends out so far from the Atlantic coast, waves hit that and lose most of their energy long before they hit the actual beach. Unless the tide is coming in you can’t even really hear the surf.
But speaking of the tide! Jekyll Island is right at the middle of a formation called the South Atlantic Bight, a big inward curve of the East Coast – in fact it curves so far westward that we’re directly south of Pittsburgh.
This means that as the tide comes in, all that water essentially gets funneled toward this specific spot, giving us the most dramatic tides of anywhere along this section of the coast. A six to nine foot change in sea level between high and low tide is pretty typical.