Monday, June 30, 2014

Beautiful Charleston Harbor--See It From Land, See It From The Water

Like the ocean tides, history has flowed in and out of Charleston Harbor since its inception. An inlet formed by the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, it was the perfect location to start a colony and establish what has become the charming and hospitable city of Charleston. From Oyster Point on the peninsula to Fort Sumter at the entrance and back, its coastline offers roughly 10 miles of scenic beauty and rich history.

Boasting the deepest water in the southeast region, huge ocean going container vessels enter the harbor on a daily basis--one of the busiest ports on the east coast. You will also on occasion see the cruise ship Carnival Fantasy arriving and departing year-round bound for the Bahamas and back. Tour boats from Charleston Harbor Tours and Spirit Line Cruises criss-cross the waters every day carrying locals and visitors on narrative tours around the harbor past 75 different landmarks and points of interests. Two of the points of interest connected to Charleston Harbor are my favorite places to hang out--Patriots Point and Shem Creek.

On the edge of the harbor, Patriots Point is the place for spectacular views. The Charleston Harbor Resort hosts a beach party every Friday from April to July. You can kick off whatever foot wear you are wearing and sink your toes into its soft, cool sand while listening to the tunes of local bands--one of the top ten on my list of things to do. Connected to the beach, a long walking pier provides you with a great view of the whole harbor while its balmy breezes wash over you with a splash of salt water scent. Nearby, the Fish House Restaurant overlooks the marina where the Yorktown is permanently moored and the Ravenel Bridge towers over the Cooper River. Spiritline Cruises dock on the Point as well.


Shem Creek is a restaurant/bar mecca with a gallimaufry of warm weather activity. Historically a safe haven for a fleet of shrimp trawlers to unload their catch and mend their nets, it is also a docking and launch point for pleasure craft of all sizes from cabin cruisers to kayaks. The waterfront bars at Water's Edge, Red's Ice House, Vickery's and RB's are popular gathering places for watersport enthusiasts to meet and greet. Also great for picture taking and for viewing the Charleston sunset. For me, the lazy waters of the creek is the perfect place to dangle my feet and launch a paddleboard. With dolphin frequenting these waters along with an occasional manatee, you just may have a once in lifetime experience similar to mine.

I had just paddled past RB's and was in the area near Vickery's. Straight ahead from my position, I saw two dolphins seemingly moving in my direction. At a point of twenty feet from me, they submerged. I ceased paddling with hopes they would continue on their course. I waited and watched, watched and waited. Looking toward the water on the right side of my paddleboard, I saw the outline of the grey mammals just below the water's surface swimming to the edge of my board. The board rocked gently from the shifting waters. It was that precise moment I experienced an epiphany. We stared into each other's eyes, locked in a mutual gaze. Even though the exchange was brief and words were not spoken, I felt a connection was made in that rarest of moments--unfortunately, to quick for a picture. It was surreal. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Shem Creek is also where the Palmetto Breeze docks. Built in Charleston, it is the largest capacity sailing catamaran north of Ft. Lauderdale with room for more than 100 crew and passengers. It features a spacious wooden deck with covered seating by the "barefoot" bar. You will find two bathrooms below, and speakers throughout. Dolphin Sails, Pirate Adventures, Historic Charleston Harbor Cruises, Sunset Sails are on its itinerary. All charters, public and private, include complimentary bottled water and soft drinks. Cash bar is open for scheduled public sails and some include free adult beverage.

Here are some ways to enjoy the beauty of historical Charleston Harbor:

FIREFLY Friday Charleston Harbor Dolphin Sunset Sail
July 11, 7:00pm-9:00pm
100 Church Street
Mt. Pleasant, SC
General admission $35.00 Children $20.00

Charleston Harbor Tours Presents a Murder Mystery Cruise
City Marina
17 Lockwood Dr, Charleston, SC 29401

Craft Brews Cruise
The Carolina Queen at the City Marina
17 Lockwood Dr.
Charleston, SC 29403

PALMETTO BREEZE Margarita Monday!
July 7, 2014 7:00 PM
100 Church Street
Mt. Pleasant, SC
General admission $35.00 Ladies $25.00

PALMETTO BREEZE "2 for Tuesday" Sunset Sail
July 8, 7:00 PM
100 Church Street
Mt. Pleasant, SC
General admission $35.00

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