Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Park With A Beautiful Boardwalk And An Awesome Panaramic View Of What We Love About Charleston

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. In the near distance, the spires of the Ravenel Bridge rose
above the trees. The periodic ominous clouds and a rolling rumble of thunder reminded me there were storms in the area. No surprise, they were in the forecast.

Opportunistic sea gulls squawked overhead, patiently waiting to pounce on discarded bait. Pelicans cruised the surface of the waters below for any unsuspecting prey. Several dolphins playfully splashed close by.

On moored boats across the waters, shrimpers fussed with their nets while listening to music and a crane stood motionless in an opening of a weather worn structure on the tall docks. An endless succession of boats of all sizes had been parading past since my arrival. It is one of the busiest waterways flowing into Charleston Bay for recreational watercraft.

 
 
A family with young kids tended fishing rods and crab traps under the covered section at the end of the boardwalk nearby. My fishing rod was propped against the wooden rails of the long boardwalk, baited line trailing in the slow moving current. I kept one eye on the rod tip for the slightest hint of popping motion and the other eye on the groups of paddleboarders and kayakers floating past, sometimes too close to the fishing line. We were competing for the same water space.

Fellow anglers politely called out to the groups to warn them away from their line. An unsteady paddleboarder, obviously new to the experience, plunged into the water while trying to maneuver around one of the near invisible lines. I called out to him, "How's the water." A fellow paddleboader answered back, "You should jump in and find out." I was just being friendly but I believe by his response he felt inclined to defend his buddies damaged dignity.

I started a conversation with a woman on a paddleboard. I inquired, "Do you live here or are you visiting." She informed me she was from Erie, PA. "Where are you staying," I asked. "In downtown Charleston, with friends," she replied. She was joined by five other paddleboarders. She asked me to take a picture of them and send it to her email. Conversations come easy on the boardwalk. People are here to relax, have fun and enjoy the unequaled beauty of the creek's marsh scenery.

One of the angler's fishing line began to peel off his reel. It was something big. He grabbed his rod and pulled the tip back hard. The long tug of war began. Reeling it in would be a challenge with all the boats coming in and out of the creek. My guess was a stingray, which turned out to be correct when it momentarily surfaced and showed itself for verification. He battled the ray for over twenty minutes before it finally surrendered. Bringing it up onto the decking would be impossible, so he walked the fish down the boardwalk to the steel floating docks where he pulled it up, took pictures, and released it back into the rising waters.

 

These are the scenes you will see from the 2,200 foot long boardwalk that extends from its park entrance on Coleman Blvd to near the mouth of Shem Creek. It is called Shem Creek Park. The $2.5 million park and boardwalk were built and inaugurated in 2011. It includes a 250 foot floating dock where visitors can tie their boats. At the entrance of the boardwalk, you are greeted by Pete the Pelican, a 9-foot-tall sculpture covered with marine debris collected in waterways during the 2011 Beach Sweep. Pete the Pelican has been there since April of 2012.

The Charleston Water Taxis departs from the floating dock at Shem Creek Park. Visitors and locals staying or living in the Mt. Pleasant area can take the Water Taxi directly to downtown Charleston. Boats land at the Maritime Center next to Aquarium Wharf. Taxis run every hour so you can take one of their hourly boats back to your destination. Please call 843-330-2989 for pickup prices.

Shem Creek is known as "a seafood and water lover’s paradise". After a relaxing chill on the boardwalk, take the opportunity to visit one of the many restaurants and bars. The Palmetto Breeze also departs from Shem Creek.

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