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Cruising the South Carolina Coast

Don Silsbe

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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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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 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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