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Sullivan's Island Sandbar Changes

I last documented the Sullivan's Island sandbars at dead low tide via drone video/photography back in April of this year. You can review that here.

How is this relevant to Charleston Ocean Athletes? As I mentioned last time, the waters off Sullivan's Island have been a watermen's/waterwomen's playground for a long time. And those who've paid attention over the years know the sandbars here (and any barrier island for that matter) are always changing, which in turn is always changing the experience when playing on the water out there.

I went back out on November 29th and documented it again at dead low tide. The changes after just seven months are remarkable. The following are comparison photos from April 2023 (top) and November 2023 (bottom).

This is obvious to say but I should point out that it will look different again in another 6-7 months. Can't wait to document it all again in the spring of 2024 and see those changes. Always so fascinating!

Looking directly at Station 28.5

You can see the water area in front of Station 28.5 transitioned from a hammerhead shape to a birdhead shape. Interestingly, I walked by Station 28.5 at high tide on a different day and couldn't walk by the path and those trees just to the south of the path without getting my feet wet.

South of Station 28.5, looking towards the lighthouse

Wow, big change here. That big sandbar got smaller and joined the beach (shorter walk to the water). The former canal/cut of water that's used to have some depth to it has thinned out and is now just dry to ankle deep at low tide.

Looking at Station 28.5 (at left) north just past Station 30 (that rock jetty line in the sand about 1/4 from the right is Station 30)

Another big change here. That massive sandbar in front of Station 29 is gone. Its still a big sandbar there, just smaller than it was. It's still pretty shallow just outside that sandbar as you can see from the shoaling whitewater and color.

A closer look at Station 30

Notice how more sand is covering the rock jetty at Station 30. Looks like the high water mark at Station 30 is lower now too.

Breach Inlet

Again, notice the sandbar to the left in front of Station 30 has gotten smaller (but still shallow water there). The sandbars' shapes on the right of the inlet, on the Isle of Palms side, have also changed...looking smaller too.

Breach Inlet sandbars on Isle of Palms side

There is some difference in the camera angle with this photo, but you can still see the differences in the sandbars shapes and smaller size.

Here are a few VIDEOS. This first one is a pan left to right of the Breach Inlet outer bars --> Station 30 --> Station 28.5 --> Lighthouse...

This video is a 360 degree view from outside the sandbars...

This video is a pan right to left of Breach Inlet...

Here are some MORE PHOTOS of the Sullivan's Island sandbars at dead low tide on November 29, 2023...

A wider view of the sandbars on the Isle of Palms side of Breach Inlet

Breach Inlet - notice its still shallow under that water just off the smaller Station 30 sandbar.

A slightly wider view & different angle of Breach Inlet

A bit wider view of Station 28.5 to Breach Inlet

An even wider view from a little further out

wider view of Station 29 (right), Station 28.5 and to the south

A tighter view of the area of water that opens up into the ocean from Station 28.5 (just out of view to the right)

same angle, wider view from further out

Looking towards the Lighthouse and southern end of Sullivan's Island

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