By Erin Broomell | Copy Editor
If you visit Jekyll Island during the months of January or February, it might seem like something is missing. The peaceful beaches, the chill in the wind, the tourists, and the locals- they’re all present, but take a second look at the folks around and you’ll notice they’re all searching for something. They’re looking in bushes, behind benches, and peering into low hanging oak branches. They’re turning over fallen tuffs of moss and walking trail after trail with eyes probing the surrounding foliage. However, they aren’t looking for something that’s lost, but for something waiting to be found: They are on a hunt for treasure.
Jekyll Island Guest Information Center manager Jerod Myers says the annual Island Treasures glass float hunt revives a would-be forgotten tradition.
“In the early 1900s, fishermen used glass floats on their nets as markers,” Myers says “Occasionally, the floats would break loose and wash ashore for lucky beachcombers to find and keep. Collecting these rare, highly sought after glass floats became a hobby in the 1950s.”
Today, Jekyll Island hand-picks artists from across the country to create one-of-a-kind glass floats for its annual Island Treasures event. Each day during the event volunteers deemed “Beach Buddies” hide two to five glass floats around the island for lucky treasure-seekers to find and keep. Each float is marked with special tag and instructions for treasure finders to register their Island Treasures at the Jekyll Island Guest information Center where they will receive a certificate of authenticity and artist biography for their one-of-a-kind float.
New for the 2016 treasure hunt, the Beach Buddies have doubled the number of floats hidden on the weekends.
While Crow’s Nest team members were out treasure seeking, we caught up with freshmen Kellie McCaughtry and Sydney Lott, who were out treasure hunting and asked them about their strategy.
“We saw the clues online, so we’re looking anywhere something can be hidden,” said McCaughtry. “I’m trying to draw from my geocaching experience and look for something out of place.”
It’s also important for treasure seekers to know that Island Treasures are never hidden in dunes, off beaten paths, in locations that are dangerous to reach, or private citizens’ property. A map highlighting the best hunting areas on Jekyll has been created to help first-time treasure hunters can be found at http://www.jekyllisland.com/project/island-treasures/.com
Jekyll Island Skating Village:
Although skating season is over on Jekyll Island, those of us lucky enough to slide around at the Skating Village, found some winter-weather fun typically barren in Golden Isles. The Jekyll Island Skating Village offered the unique experience of outdoor ice skating with an ocean view and was made possible by a synthetic ice rink.
A $5 ticket included skate rentals and a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean during your 30-minute skating session. The Skating Village, which closed after successful first season and will reopen next winter, had viewing areas for spectators, as well as a chalet where guests can purchase special merchandise, snacks, drinks and, of course, hot cocoa.
For those of you wonder just what synthetic ice is, it’s a high-tech plastic that you can skate on. The skating surface is made of a special blend of plastic that allows a skate blade to glide as smoothly as on real ice. Synthetic rinks are gaining in popularity across the world and professional ice skaters and hockey teams have even begun using them.
Next season, bring your GoPro so you can remain hands-free and record your experience.