The trip begins at 9am in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. A welcome presentation is followed by a trip orientation covering expedition style kayaking. A gear introduction and introductory skills development in the kayaks is followed by lunch. Next we shuttle to our launch point and begin our paddle through a salt marsh estuary on our way to the barrier island chain. Discussions will focus on bio-diversity and the fragile marine ecosystems; this is one of the most super bio-diversified ecosystems on the planet. Although we cannot guarantee seeing dolphins, they are certainly not shy and we've spotted them on all departures to date. We expect to see 25+ avian species en route to our oceanfront camp sites on Capers Island. The beaches of these barrier islands are completely undeveloped and truly feel otherworldly. The group will set up base camp for the next three nights and enjoy hors d'oeuvres with the sunset over the beach landscape. Dinner will be followed by a guided group discussion and itinerary review for the following day. We will enjoy the bright starry sky, far from light pollution, and listen to the crashing waves of the Atlantic while tucking into our sleeping bags for the night. Lunch and dinner included.
Kayaking: 5-7 miles
Begin the day with optional morning yoga, followed by a fresh, organic breakfast. We'll explore the pristine Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge this morning. Our destination is Boneyard Beach on Bulls Island. The Bulls Island experience includes both paddling and maritime forest hiking as we explore the vast stretches of beach and inland hiking trails and ponds – alligator spotting guaranteed. The birding should be excellent as we move through the dynamic edges between ecosystems separating the forest from the sea. Human history and its integral connection to natural history will be our focus today as we experience the original landing spot of the ships that first landed here and were greeted by the SeeWee Native American tribe in the year 1670. We return to our campsite on Capers Island for a locally-sourced dinner, followed by a guided group discussion and itinerary review for Day 3. All meals included.
Kayaking: 8–10 miles; Hiking: 5.5–8 miles
We again begin our morning with optional sunrise yoga, followed by a hearty breakfast. Barrier island geology will be our focus today, as we experience the transgressional migration of the land mass itself in its slow migration towards the main land. While we are paddling around the islands, we'll explore the intimate relationship between island, estuary and ocean. Surrounded by a diverse array of birdlife, playful dolphins, and untouched shoreline, it is easy to picture what early life was like in this warm subtropical waterway. Throughout our trip, our guides will be harvesting and teaching about the local edibles (blue crabs, oysters, plants) and we'll spend part of today gathering our dinner supplies (participation is optional). We'll learn and discuss how the native population made a living off the estuary environment for hundreds of years. We return to our beachfront base camp for a late lunch with time to enjoy and further explore our home-base island's dynamic beach and wildlife viewing opportunities. After dinner, we may walk the empty beach under the stars, or relax by a campfire and listen to the waves. All meals included.
Kayaking: 3–6 miles
Yoga, breakfast and paddling! We'll be immersed in a salt marsh estuary as we navigate the winding creeks between the barrier islands and the mainland. Today's emphasis is on rising water levels and current human impact on coastal ecosystems. We'll begin to develop a more rounded concept of the connections we have with the inner working of the coastal environment. Arriving at the mainland, we'll shuttle back to our starting point and bid a fond farewell to our fellow adventurers. The trip will conclude by 2pm. Breakfast and lunch included.
Kayaking: 5-7 miles.