The stillness of the morning and the cool air meant a fog layer grew from the draining wetland marshes. This predawn hour is the most rewarding for my paddling experience and is akin to a morning meditation for me.
Conditions were perfect for my paddle past Charleston with low winds and a falling tide to carry me out. I passed the historic homes along the water and waved at the joggers and tourists milling about the park. Having visited this town a couple times before, I could only imagine the image of myself on the BMW GS touring down this same road and stopping for pictures of the same water separated by time.
Allowing a few commercial vessels to pass in the shipping channel, I venture out toward Pinckney Castle on Shutes Folly Island located in the middle of the harbor. A view out to Fort Sumter and the Ocean to my east and the ICW and route to my north gives me bearing for the remainder of my push. Once the tides turned, I had a heck of a fight getting back to the ICW but soon made my way to Sullivan’s Island.The ICW here is seperated from the ocean by miles of tidal marshes that glow golden in the afternoon sun. Camping at Buck Hall Recreation Area for the night beside a Boy Scout Troop, the view seems simple but to be above the grasses and not beneath them is a treat after a day of looking at blue and tan.
There aren’t many pictures of the next hundred miles or so as weather was cloudy, conditions nominal and sights mundane. Daily wildlife accompaniment of dolphins, pelicans and egrets made for an enjoyable excursion though. On a rainy day approaching Myrtle Beach on the Waccamaw River, a fishing boat was out working on a Marina Sign. I spoke with the Dockmaster of Osprey Creek Marina who invited me to camp there for the night. It was only 6 miles away but as a cold rain persisted into the afternoon, I found myself dreaming of coffee instead of miles. Hauling out on their grassy shoreline, I made friends with Miles and Ellie who offered me a covered and enclosed picnic pavilion to camp in. Using their facilities to shower and do laundry was a real treat since my last bath was down in Georgia a few weeks back! If you are ever passing through Myrtle Beach on the ICW, stop in to Osprey Creek Marina for fabulous hospitality.
After breakfast and coffee in the dark, I shoved off at first light into a foggy world again and had the ICW to myself. The din of traffic grew louder as I traveled through Myrtle Beaches burgeoning development. Bridges for rail and cars passed over the ICW, some swing bridges still in operation but not a concern for me.
As a humorous break from all the “SLOW – Watch Your Wake” signs…
This mansion is just an example of the abundant new construction along the ICW. Huge stands of timber were clear cut to make way for golf course subdivisions in the name of progress. It sure is good for taxes! Rant off, it’s just such a shock to be back in the land of oil sheen, plastic garbage and floatsom after weeks of natural respite.
I did take advantage of the proximity to stores last night by hauling out in North Myrtle Beach at a municipal ramp beside the waste transfer site. Dragging my boat past the decomposing carcass of an Opossum discarded on the ramp, I put my tent on the flat grassy landing and hope nobody bothers me. The nearby bridge traffic subsided after 11 and I slept soundly until the morning rain showers began. Although half the day was spent sipping coffee, avoiding rain and working on my blog at the library, it has been a much needed break.
A few more miles will find me in North Carolina, the second to last state on my journey back to Virginia. If things match up, I’m going to try to connect with my buddy Mike’s parents in Carolina Beach, NC for a night off the water and some conversational company. Here’s to making miles and a new state when the weather permits!