Bull Island, SC made for some sweet lemonade

We have been planning since the first of this year to do a paddling camping trip back out to the Cape at Cape Romain. We plan for optimal tides to do these trips at the coast. However, due to high winds, rain, and in some cases high winds against the tide we have canceled twice.

The tides and the forecasts seemed to be coming together this last week. It was not a perfect match with high winds and at least a full day of rain, but the forecast had been improving and at least the wind directions outward bound and returning would not be against the tides. So, Tuesday we camped at Buck Hall on the ICW with plans of departing Thursday on the ebb tide with the wind behind us. Rusty would join us Wednesday evening for the paddle to the Cape.

Lisa and I did a short paddle up a marsh creek on Wednesday. We saw a Racoon swim across one of the branches in the creek we were exploring. I was so focused on trying to ID the mammal while it was swimming that I didn’t think to get a photo.

Well Wednesday evening when Rusty pulled into camp the rain and winds predicted for the next four days had taken a “tern for the worst”. Yes, I know it should be spelled turn, but we have this tradition of coming up with corny Tern Jokes as we paddle. A couple of examples “Where does a family of terns eat?” Why a tern table of course. “What do you call a tern when it fledges?” It becomes a Tern Coat." I know, I know, but I did say corny. Well, as we sat around the evenings fire, we decided to see what the morning forecast had in store for us.

The next morning the forecast hadn’t improved, and even seemed to be worse. The clincher was a forecast of heavy rain, chance of thunderstorms, and high winds on Saturday while we would be camping on the island. Sunday would have been a daunting paddle back with rain and head winds of 12 and gusts in the 30s. The wind would also be against the tide standing the waves up. If you haven’t experience this, let’s say it would be a tiring wild ride with a good chance of a capsize.

Hopes dashed, we went with making a lemonade from the lemon the trip was turning into. We decide a trip out to Bull Island would be a great choice. It is about 5.5 miles out to the north point of Bull Island with about half of the trip through the marsh, and about half doing an open water crossing of Bull’s Bay. What a good choice it turned out to be. We had the Island to ourselves. The wind was on our starboard quarter, and the ebb tide was with us. We made good time on the way out. The shell line was worth walking with all kinds of shells. We discovered a sailboat wreck partly buried on the beach which provided mystery and a reminder that the sea and weather demand respect. They are uncompromising.

I am posting photos of the trip.

Paddling a small marsh creek on Wednesday,

Glassy water as we cross the ICW from Garris Landing

Entering the Marsh from the ICW,

Approaching the Island.

A walk on the beach.


The return trip against the last 2 hours of ebb tide and a quartering wind on our port bow.

Entering the mouth of Anderson Creek with an audience of crested cormorants.

This creek is a wide one.

Dolphin passing by Karl.

We may have had to abandon our original plans and depart earlier than we hoped, but we did return with smiles on our faces.


I was hoping for more photos. Living vicariously you know.

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I posted by accident before I was done uploading them. There are more there now.

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A couple more photos from the trip.
Moon Rise over the ICW at Buck Hall.

This one Lisa found of the shipwreck with its mast still up not too long ago.
mast up

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Karl did a check of the Thursday winds at the Mt. Pleasant Airport. Thankfully they weren’t against the tide going out or returning. There was one period of gusting while in Bulls Bay while paddling back that would have been challenging if it had been sustained. When we launched from Garris landing the wind was all but nonexistence as seen in the photo of us crossing the ICW,


For our paddle on Thursday (launched 10:50 am; Bull Island 12:12 pm; Lv Island 2:25; Garrison Landing 4:24):
Measurements made at Mt. Pleasant Regional Airfield:
10:55 - Winds 8 mph S
11:15 - Winds 12 mph S
11:55 - Winds 14 mph S
12:15 - Winds 12 mph S, Gusts 20 mph
2:15 - Winds 14 mph S, Gusts 21 mph
3:35 - Winds 17 mph S, Gusts 24 mph - approximate time we entered Anderson Creek
4:15 - Winds 15 mph S, Gusts 22 mph

The NOAA point forecast for Today and our Sunday return. It doesn’t have the forecast wind speeds for the wind gusts.


Showers. Patchy fog after 1pm. High near 57. Breezy, with a northeast wind 15 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 36 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.


Showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 8pm. Patchy fog after 8pm. Low around 53. Breezy, with a northeast wind 20 to 25 mph decreasing to 14 to 19 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 38 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.


Showers likely, mainly before 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 60. West wind around 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

here is the screen shot of the forecast just offshore of where we camp.

I don’t understand the reference to lemonade in the title.

In reference to the idiom “Turning a lemon into lemonade”. The Cape trip was canceled. Hench the trip was a lemon. The Bull Island trip was the lemonade.

I suspected something obtuse along those lines, but it’s winter .

What kind of crab was that?

Need ability/willingness to be adaptable. Without which you would be sucking on a sour lemon.

Seemed like a pleasant first outing of the year.


The Ghost Crab is a common surf zone or intertidal, semi terrestrial crab on our southern beaches. Mostly active at night. They borrow up to four feet deep. The holes to their borrows are seen above the high tide. They have 360 vision and can run up to nine miles an hour. They scavenge and hunt and will even eat sea turtle eggs. They will run into the water or up into the dunes to escape. They are sand colored, but when young are a bit more camouflaged as seen in the second photo. These photos were taken on a night walk on Edisto Island about a year ago.

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