I paid the $35 and boarded the long, sleek, yellow boat, followed by the captain and the narrator. The rear seats were already filled with ticket holders, so I sat about three seats back from the captain. Fair warning was given to those sitting in the back. "You will get wet," Captain Trip stated enthusiastically. He offered them an opportunity to move closer to the front. Nobody was bothered by the warning and stayed put.
I facetiously tested the resolve of the captain's warning, "If I don't get wet, can I get a refund?" He tested my resolve. "I am willing to make a wager with you, you will get wet." I remained silent concerning the wager.
The narrator proceeded with the necessary pre tour instructions. "If your are pregnant, have a bad back, neck or heart problems, or a serious medical condition..." and with a big smile she added, "...or a bad attitude, you must leave the boat at this time." She offered life jackets and concluded, "Let's have some fun," then took her seat. The captain started the engines, turned on the music and backed out of the covered dock on Shem Creek. As it turned out, I was happy I didn't take that wager. I did get wet, and that was part of the fun.
It was Labor day. It was hot, there was a strong, southwest wind, and the ocean was choppy, perfect weather conditions for a wet and wild ride on the Thriller Charleston, Charleston's high speed tour boat. Once we exited the no wake zone of Shem Creek, the captain boosted the throttle and the narration began. It was an informative mix of history and points of interest, beginning with the story of Charleston's beginnings.
The boat cruised up the Cooper River, passed under the Ravenel Bridge, took a high speed sharp turn and sped along the Charleston waterfront and E. Battery Street. We passed White Point Gardens and sped up the Ashley River along Murray Blvd.
On the Ashley, it made another high speed sharp turn, cruised the coastline of James Island and the fortress made famous by the Civil War, Fort Sumter. Leaving the harbor, we passed the jetties and entered the open ocean. Morris Island Lighthouse was now in our sights.
It was full throttle up the Morris Island coast. After we circled the lighthouse, the real fun began. As the speeding boat hit the rough waves of the Atlantic, the clash would send a salty spray into the air and the wind would carry it over the side, covering the occupants. We spent a considerable amount of time bouncing in the wind agitated waters of the ocean, sometimes becoming airborne, which solicited a fair amount of "ooohs" and "aaahs" from the water-soaked, happy occupants.
On the way back into Charleston Harbor, we were told the story of the Hunley, cruised passed Sullivan's Island and Fort Moultrie, viewed the shoreline of Mt. Pleasant and returned to Shem Creek. My shirt was soaking wet, my face was spattered with salty water and I was thoroughly pleased with my one hour, 30 mile adventure tour on the Thriller, which whisked us past 2 lighthouses, 5 forts, the panorama of Charleston Harbor and the Atlantic coastline around Morris Island.
Of course, some people may not like the idea of getting wet, or being bounced around at high speed, but that option depends on the weather. Pick a day with little to no wind and the ride will be smooth and dry. Otherwise, when the captain says, "You will get wet," just believe it. It was also suggested you wear sunglasses or goggles to keep the salty water out of your eyes, which I didn't have. I lost my sunglasses on my last SUP excursion, but that is another story.
The boat ride offers a different and unique venue from which to see Charleston at a quick glance and once again learn about its colorful history, a story that is told in detail many times over through the numerous popular tours Charleston is famous for on the dry peninsula.
The Thriller Charleston is owned by Barbara and Mark Fox. Mark hands out the tickets and Barbara does the narrations. The dock is located on beautiful Shem Creek, in front of Vickery's Bar and Grill. Just turn off of Coleman Blvd onto Shrimp Boat Lane.