With the humid air brimming with excited anticipation, the appointed time arrived. After being checked off the passenger list one by one, we boarded the green and white vessel and took our preferred seats. With everyone aboard, the ship was filled from stem to stern. The captain gave some final departing instructions and immediately after the command, "Let's shove off."
The mooring lines were loosened and we drifted away from the murky tidal waters of the docks. The captain fired-up the Schooner Pride's cruising engine and we entered the bluer, deeper waters of the harbor where the crew, with the help of volunteers, unfurled the canvas sails and secured the running rigging beginning with the jib.
You could feel the forward thrust as the sails scooped up the moist, salty harbor breeze, splitting the rolling surf and bowing to one side in submission. The experience was everything I expected and more as we basked in the aura of the Charleston Harbor waterfront to the consoling sounds of splashing water, creaking masts and bay breezes rushing by.
Each day, three different tours are offered: an Afternoon Dolphin Sail($37 for 2 hours), a Sunset Sail on Charleston Harbor($47 adult for 2 hours), and a Moonlight Sail on Charleston Harbor($40 adult for one and a half hours). There are three special event sails: a Sunset Wine Tasting Cruise($60 adult), Ghost Tour on the Schooner Pride($32), and Christmas Parade of Boats Evening Sail. For each cruise, there are rates for children ages 11 and under. Refreshments include wine, soft drinks and packaged goods such as chips and pretzels.
For an added pleasure, park your car at the Charleston Harbor Resort Marina and take the water taxi to the Aquarium Wharf for $10 a person round trip, all day. It makes four stops every 15 minutes. To view all the pictures, go to Schooner Pride Afternoon Dolphin Tour.