By Lee Scott
We had the opportunity recently to go off for a day on the water with a group of people from a local boating club. Our 22-foot power boat is a great vehicle to tour the Lowcountry islands and to spend a day with new friends.
The six boat caravan rendezvoused in the Morgan River and headed toward the Atlantic Ocean. It was a beautiful, sunny day with calm water. We had our Garmin GPS chart plotter running so we could identify the marks and rivers along the way. We rounded Green Can 9 on the St. Helena Sound and headed for the swing bridge going into Harbor River. The 15 foot clearance was enough for us to go under but we had to wait as the bridge opened and a couple of the taller boats went through. Then it was on to Story River towards Trenchards Inlet. The scenery was captivating with large houses sitting out on small islands in the middle of green marshland and long docks leading out from hidden hunting cabins. The wildlife was everywhere and the dolphins played on our wake.
When we reached our destination near Bull Point, we anchored the boat and everyone broke out their chairs and food. After a while, we noticed black clouds slowly coming at us from Hilton Head Island. As the clouds approached, the two of us agreed that we should head home since this was our first time exploring the area. We did not want to get caught in a squall. The rest of the group stayed put and did not seem too concerned.
Once again we were fascinated by the scenery and failed to notice the depth sounder and the declining numbers until it was almost too late. My boat’s captain, Magellan, who has raced sailboats in the ocean and gone up and down the coast, suddenly slowed the boat to a crawl and said, “Oops, I’m not paying attention!” According to our electronic gadget we were deep into marshland and almost aground. Thank goodness for high tide.
Once we got back out into St. Helena Sound, we were in good shape but the storm was moving towards Beaufort. We timed it perfectly so that just as we were coming into our creek, the clouds opened up and we got soaked! On the other hand, the group we left behind had a pleasant day of sunshine and fellowship.
Next time, me and Magellan are going to trust the locals.