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Tybee Island beach ecology outing with Dr. Joe a really fun experience for all ages

My grandson Colby couldn’t stop smiling when he got to hold the needlefish Thursday. (Larry Vaught Photo)


If I get a chance to do something different on a vacation trip, that’s what I usually try to do just like my family did tonight at Tybee Island, Ga.

We went on a beach ecology trip with Dr. Joe Richardson. He limits his one daily outing to no more than 20 participants and our group had families from four states and I would say adults enjoyed the 2 1/2 hours as much as the kids.

Dr. Joe is a marine biologist who answered every question and shared info on animals at the beach and why they do what they do.

I loved the dress code — bathing suit, T-shirt and water shoes. He had shovels and nets for everyone and you could do as much or little digging as you wanted.
I liked finding the three small clams I did and having Dr. Joe explain all about them. But that was nothing compared to the ghost shrimp and sea worms others found.

Later we got our individual nets and managed to pull out a few blue crabs along with some other creatures (and Dr. Joe made sure all animals were placed in water until they were released before the tour ended).

Perhaps the best part — okay, forget perhaps because it was easily the best — was my youngest grandson and son getting to help Dr. Joe not once, but twice, put a 50-foot beach seine net into the ocean and catching a wide variety of fish, including a few shrimp and a really neat needlefish that I had never seen before.
Dr. Joe patiently and thoroughly explained all the different kinds of fish we caught and which ones would mature into fish big enough for us to eat.

What might have been more amazing was that Dr. Joe didn’t take the net very far into the ocean and yet filled it with fish that I had no idea were obviously swimming around me every time I go into the ocean. Not that they bother me but it was still surprising.

Bottom line, it’s a way different experience at the bench good for both kids and adults. And pricing is very affordable. Six of us went for $90 and it was worth every dollar.

If you have plans to be in Tybee Island, you can reach Dr. Joe at (912) 596-5362 or via email at because reservations are needed.

You can also get more information at

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