The Charleston area boasts a number of perfect cruising destinations, whether you want to grab a bite to eat on Shem Creek, or head down to Bohicket and Kiawah Islands. Don’t have a boat? No Problem. Many of our members who cruise have space available and some of our cruising destinations are even suitable for “Land Yachts” (RVs).
A Sampling of ChYC Cruising Destinations
by Member Bob Kelley
Moise Island, located about 20 s.m.north from the ChYC via the ICW, was probably one of the club’s favorite cruising destinations for years. It consisted of a shelter on Clausen Creek just off the ICW. There was a long face dock on the creek with a wooden pathway over the marsh that led up to the shelter. Ben Moise, who permitted many boating groups in Charleston to use the shelter, had picnic tables and charcoal grills set up under the shelter and a large pit which was always used for bonfires after dark. The club used to raft up two lines of boats off the dock (up to 8 or 10 boats), and the rest would anchor in the creek or across the ICW in Price Creek. Some boats would go up there on Thursday or Friday and remain until Sunday. Everyone would bring something to grill and side dishes to share in addition to their drinks. When it got dark and the bonfire was roaring, there were many stories told, games, and sometimes even singing. The club would often cruise to Moise Island twice each year, usually in cooler weather. It was always an enjoyable time for everyone. Unfortunately, after Ben passed the dock on to his children, things changed, and boats were no longer permitted to raft up off the dock. Since then, the club has not continued cruising there.
Dataw Island Marina has been a cruise destination for the past few years. It is about 55 s.m. from the ChYC south on the ICW. The marina is located on the Morgan River and is reached by turning left off the ICW (and Coosaw River) at green day mark “1” into Parrot Creek (about a mile past green “87” on the ICW). It is part of the Dataw Island residential community and is a beautiful marina with floating concrete docks. The boats making the cruise have usually been put along the long face dock, simplifying docking and leaving. There is a restaurant and lounge located right on the marina grounds, as well as a screened shelter which the club has used for happy hour and breakfast cookouts (with Bloody Marys and Mimosas of course!). The marina has bicycles which can be used to ride around Dataw Island, and there is an indoor swimming pool next to the marina which many club members have used while visiting the marina. In addition, the boats making the trip have usually invited the Dataw Island Yacht Club to a happy hour in the shelter. (They often invite us to their happy hour on the dock when they cruise to Charleston.) This cruise also offers the opportunity to travel offshore from the Charleston jetties to St. Helena Sound and up the Morgan River to the marina Another option is to travel the ICW to the Ashepoo River and turn left down the river just after passing through Fenwick Cut at red day marker “164”. This option takes you about 3 s.m. down the river into the St. Helena Sound at red marker “2” and green marker “1”. From there you can travel about 3.5 s.m. down the sound and turn right up the Morgan River toward the marina . This approach is slightly longer than staying on the ICW at Fenwick Cut, but it does permit you to avoid the shallow point at the entrance to the Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff at red marker “184”. And it’s a really pretty run!
Beaufort Downtown Marina has also been a destination for some ChYC cruises. The route is the same as traveling the ICW to Dataw Marina, but of course you remain on the ICW and continue to Beaufort. The distance from ChYC is about 68 s.m. Beaufort Downtown Marina is located right on the waterfront at Beaufort just past the Ladies Island swing bridge. There are several nice restaurants located near the marina, and the old historic section of Beaufort is an easy walk from the marina. There is also an anchorage just south of the marina. Of course, it is possible to travel to Beaufort offshore, but it is an overnight trip for a sail boat. However, the entrance to the Port Royal Sound and Beaufort River is very good and well marked with large floating buoys. You pass right by the Paris Island Marine Base while running up the Beaufort River on the way to Beaufort.
Bucksport Marina on the Waccamaw River about 25 s.m. north of Georgetown on the ICW has been another cruise destination for the ChYC. The total distance is about 93 s.m. from Charleston along the ICW. There are several good anchorages along the way (described in the website section on anchorages). This location offers a marina and a camp ground. Therefore, the ChYC has had both boats and RVs make the trip at the same time. Bucksport has a restaurant on site, and usually the boaters and campers have gathered for happy hour together before dining at the restaurant. The Waccamaw River is reputed to be the prettiest stretch of the ICW on the east coast, and the trip up the river in a boat is wonderful. The river is pristine, and usually you can spot a variety of wildlife, including Bald Eagles and alligators. This destination also offers an opportunity to travel offshore for part of the trip, departing Charleston via the jetties and heading north to the entrance of Winyah Bay (about 45 nautical miles). It is about 8 n.m. up the bay to the point where the ICW enters it and the location of an anchorage. From there it is about 33 statute miles to Bucksport on the ICW.