The carvings, by artist Keith Jennings, are a memorial to the sailors who lost their lives at sea. As time goes by, the trees are swallowing the carvings - growing knotty wood around the memorials.
Stop by the visitors center on the island for help in locating them, or check out the link to the google map below.
Below are pictures I took in 2005 - the last was all but gone, and took quite a bit of searching for to locate.
This one is near the farmers market and the airport. It's maybe ten feet off the ground. The tree is starting to close around the face, which I guess can be looked at as the seas taking the lives of sailors.
This fella was about fifteen feet off the ground, but able to be spotted from a car. It looks like in a few years, this spirit will too be consumed by the tree. You can find it in Redfern Village on the right, before the road makes a loop.
It looks like an old sailor closing its eyes for the last time. The tree here has not encroached the carving too much, leaving it highly visible. You can find it in front of 3305 Frederica Road. Once you find the address you can't miss the carving.
This is probably the spirit that has been consumed the least by the tree. It looks like a body being swallowed by the ocean. You can find it on Mallory Street next to Murphy's Tavern (assuming it's still there - it was in 2005). It only sits 3 or 4 feet off the ground, so it should be easy to spot on foot.
This spirit has almost disappeared. It took 3 trips to the site and 2 talks with the helpful ladies at the visitors center to find it. Its located at Demere Road and Skylane Drive. Its on the opposite side of the road as Skylane drive, but good luck finding it.
Learn more about the St Simons Island Tree Spirits: