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Thrillsbe

Cruising the South Carolina Coast

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Has anyone done any gunkholing or cruising along the South Carolina coast?  I'm much closer to Charleston than to Beaufort, NC (where the primo cruising is found).  I'm hoping that this area is also good for cruising.  Anybody?

SC Coastline.png

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As for the ICW, my favorite is the area from Charleston to Beaufort and also Waccamaw River area to Georgetown to McClellanville with side cruises on the east flowing rivers and estauraries all along the way if you like to get off the main path.  Georgetown is a very nice old town and worth a stop.  Don't be put off by the paper mill.  Some other sections of the ICW are heavily stocked with homes, docks and no wake signs.  You need to locate fuel and other necessary stops before taking off as they are sometimes not close to each other especially between Charleston and Beaufort.  Beaufort and St Helena Island area is full of interesting waterways and islands.  Tidal range gets more significant the further south you go and attention should be paid to the tables.

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I've land-camped at Edisto Island, and have seen the tidal currents.  It was a real eye opener for this Lake Erie muskrat.  Whose idea was it, to put salt in the water, anyway?  LOL. 

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I've not been there but it is on my short list.  Caper's Island, Bulls Bay, etc.

 

Check out this guys blog:

http://www.raynoronthecoast.com/

 

He is a local small boat sailor and wildlife enthusiast.  He also has a book about the Cape Romain area that I recommend.

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Chick-- I'm almost finished with Raynor's book. I'll bring it up in a few days, to help you get through March.  I learned a lot about the vagaries of salt water cruising, such as those pesky tides and tidal currents. They need to fix that.

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Last February I had plans to base out of Buck Hall Rec. area and day sail for a couple of days to try and get a winter sailing fix.   Unfortunately there was high winds and unusual cold forecasted  so I bailed. 

 

Don, I look forward to your trip report. Just remember that the new standard in trip documentation is real-time SPOT tracking and daily updates. 😄

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I'm very impressed with SPOT, all except for the cost.  ($100 for the basic equipment + $100/year minimum for the service.)  I'll have to run that one by the War Department.  Maybe I can sell it, based on the safety aspect...

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I have been rowing the creeks behind Capers and Bulls Island for years. I have always wanted to explore the area further up towards the actual cape of Cape Romain but have only barely scratched the surface going fast in a friend's motorboat. It's difficult to find overnight parking, but you can either park at the Isle of Palms marina for a small fee or probably work something out at Buck Hall. I have heard that parking overnight at Garris Landing gets you a ticket. 

 

Camping on Capers Island is a favorite. Call or email the state for a free permit. I forget who, but you can google it. There are two islands further north that allow camping Murphy and one other, but I forget the name. Of course, if you're sleeping on board any protected cove or creek bend would work. 

 

I haven't personally, but you could probably sail all the way across Bulls Bay at high tide. It gets extremely shallow all the way across, as do all of the bays. The creeks can be quite deep. 

 

Fishing is amazing in here. Oysters, trout, reds, shrimp, flounder. The occasional ray and small shark. I've heard stories of big shark sightings in Bulls Bay when the bait fish are running. 

 

As with most of the water inside of the barrier islands, it's almost all salt marsh with labyrinths of creeks. Be prepared for twists and turns and getting lost. I like to take screenshots of aerial photos for reference so I'm not draining my phone's GPS. Don't know what charts offer in here. You'll find poles marking the channels here and there but the creeks mostly find their way through. If you're not in a hurry, it won't matter. 

Edited by fatschoonerrat
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Thanks, fatschoonerrat!  Great advice, especially the part about Garris landing.  I'll have to check that out.  Raynor's book really has me geeked about the area.  The promise of quality fishing is also a plus.

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Hey Thrillsbe, I realize this is an old thread but I was wondering did you make it down to the SC coast? I am planning a trip down there with my brother at the end of October. 

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