CHARTERS INSHORE OFFSHORE SPORTFISHING. Come onboard this 27-foot power catamaran: “The Stray Cat.” We’re hot and fast! Spend less time riding and more time fishing. Captain Jim Clark has been named to George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing A-Team. 843-683-5427 or straycatcharter.com.
May River Excursions is based in Old Town Bluffton. We offer a variety of boating experiences ranging from cruises to fishing and shrimping excursions. May River Excursions offers competitive rates and knowledgeable, local born and raised captains. May River Excursions operates Carolina Skiff boats and can accommodate as many as 12 passengers per boat.
Captain Joe has been fishing the waters of Hilton Head Island, SC for 20 years and uses his hard-earned knowledge to put anglers on fish. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a newcomer who wants to experience the waters of the lowcountry, Captain Joe offers a fishing experience to meet your specific needs.
Extraordinary. Spectacular. Remarkable. Two grand clubhouses anchor Colleton River, the premiere private residential golf community in coastal South Carolina, located just minutes from Savannah and the world-class beaches of Hilton Head Island. The Pete Dye clubhouse is blessed with a magnificent sunrise, while the Jack Nicklaus Clubhouse enjoys stunning sunsets.
Bluffton ATA Martial Arts is a school that focuses on physical fitness, character development and self-defense, rather than fighting. Their overarching goal is to build a student’s self-esteem. For children, the emphases are on character development and physical fitness. With adults, the goal is to deliver all the benefits of martial arts, including improved muscle… Read More…
Bear Foot Sports promotes Adult Soccer Tournaments in the South East with our Soccer Six Tournament Series we also manage many Road Races in South Carolina including the Hilton Head Half Marathon, Bluffton Polar Bear Run and the Run Bike Run of the Lowcountry.
Great Shots from the Three Toughest Lies in GolfTest
Hitting a golf ball straight is difficult enough from a flat lie. When you and the ball are suddenly on different levels, it becomes even harder.
Facing an uphill lie, downhill lie or sidehill lie is daunting, but like many situations in golf, it can be handled well with an appraisal of the physical situation and proper compensation for it.
When faced with an uphill, downhill or sidehill lie, it is most important to focus not on the slope of the ground, but on the angle of your clubface against it and in relation to the ball. Many amateurs make the mistake of thinking they need to change their swing in these situations.
In fact, the adjustments necessary in these scenarios have to do with the position of the clubface relative to the ball against the ground, not the fundamental action of the swing itself. Let’s look at each of these shots and the adjustments they demand for successful results:
Golfers are sometimes faced with an uphill lie, where the ball is higher than the plane of the feet. Often in this situation, the club’s toe will sit slightly higher than the heel, requiring you to make subtle adjustments to prevent a poor strike.
With the toe and heel misaligned in this manner, you will unavoidably impart sidespin to the ball, causing a hook. Keeping this in mind, the first thing you must do is adjust your stance so that you are aligned not directly toward the target, but to the right of it.
When golfers are faced with a downhill lie, they find the ball below the plane of their feet. The club’s toe is often lower than the heel. A player must aim left of the target to account for the natural fade spin that will be imparted to the ball.
On a downhill lie, your weight falls forward toward your toes. Keeping this in mind, take your practice swings with the goal of centering your balance again through your thighs and over the arches of your feet. A good way to remember this is to focus your weight under your shoestrings.
Another tricky situation that differs from uphill and downhill lies is the sidehill lie. When standing sidehill, with the front foot or back foot higher than the other, you must compensate for altered loft. The change in loft can reduce shot distances by up to three clubs in some circumstances.
As when dealing with an uphill or downhill lie, you must be conscious of good balance and of taking a full backswing and completing your follow-through when faced with a sidehill lie, rather than allowing anxiety to cause an incomplete golf swing.
When facing uphill, downhill or sidehill lies, remember that success comes not from altering your swing but from making proper adjustments before you even get into the address position. Practice these types of shots as often
as you can and eventually they’ll become just another part of your ever-expanding arsenal.
A former PGA Touring pro, Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy and conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free golf clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or palmettodunes.com.
By I.J. Schecter with Doug Weaver
Photography by Rob Tipton/Boomkin Productions
22 Callawassie Club Dr. | Yds 6,944 • Rating 74.1 | (843) 987-2161
Armed & Dangerous: A Humorous Look at a Lowcountry Oyster RoastTest
You never forget your first love…or your first oyster roast.
A high school seafood monger, I spent much of my formative years serving endless pounds of raw and steamed shrimp, scallops, clams, oysters, fish, crabs and lobsters to voracious hordes at Hadfield’s Seafood Market in Wilmington, Delaware. It was a traumatic experience—I still bear a physical scar from falling on a bag of live crabs while navigating an icy walkway between coolers.
Although I preferred my tuna from a can and despised most other forms of seafood, I thought I knew almost everything about the “fruit of the sea.” Yet, I was woefully unprepared for the social rules, pageantry and collective insanity of a Lowcountry oyster roast.
On my way to Atlanta after college graduation with dreams of finding a “real job,” I stopped to visit my grandmother at her retirement community on Hilton Head Island. I was allowed to stay in her apartment for six weeks and, 25 years later, I still haven’t left the Lowcountry.
Dinner at The Seabrook was a grand affair. Men were expected to wear jacket and tie, delicious entrees were ordered from a printed menu, a dessert buffet showcased a selection of high-calorie treats and a social pecking order determined where and with whom you were seated. A young adult in their midst was a novelty and my grandmother’s innate coolness soared to new heights as other residents vied to sit at our table.
Thanks to the dessert buffet, I gained 10 pounds over those six weeks, but became good friends with one of the dining room waitresses. A few weeks into our friendship, she invited me to her family’s holiday oyster roast. My grandmother was uncharacteristically giddy about the invitation, as if I was going to a grand gala.
“You’ll need to bring an oyster knife,” she declared while rifling through her kitchen drawers in search of said utensil.
“I’m supposed to arm myself for a party?” I innocently asked. “I don’t even eat oysters!”
She drew herself up to her full height of 4-feet, 11-inches, slapped the knife in my hand and gave me a pointed look. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she said. “It’s proper etiquette.”
Now, my mother was a Rock Hill debutante who instilled manners in my sister and I from a young age and I don’t ever recall being given a weapon before heading out to a social event. However, Grandma possessed an unerring sense of propriety, so I slid the short knife with its bulbous handle into my purse and set off across the bridge to Buckingham Landing.
My grandparents moved to Hilton Head Island in the 1970s, but we had rarely explored Bluffton and its environs. Buckingham Landing, where the ferry from Hilton Head used to dock before the bridge was built, was like entering a different world.
Traveling along a dirt road in pitch-black darkness, I only found the house because of a fire burning in the backyard and a dozen adults milling around holding beer in one hand and knives in the other. Country music blared and children stood around the fire holding red-hot spears topped with flaming marshmallows or smoking hot dogs.
Seamlessly blending in with my Philly accent and noticeable lack of shucking skills, I learned a lot at my at my first Lowcountry Oyster Roast. First, common courtesy dictates a host demonstrate opening an oyster or two for the uninitiated, otherwise a guest may starve or suffer serious injury from a self-inflicted stab wound. Second, if your beverage of choice is beer or something stronger, bring your own koozie, thermos or red Solo cup, so as not to offend non-drinking Baptist friends and family. Most importantly, an oyster roast is not necessarily about the food, but rather the camaraderie built standing around a fire or oyster table on a cold night sharing a meal and tales which grow taller with each retelling.
Fast forward 15 years and I’m married to a Lowcountry man who owns exactly two butter knives—the others were destroyed shucking oysters. We now host our own oyster roasts on a dirt road on the outskirts of Hardeeville complete with a blazing fire and white dishtowels purchased for the sole purpose of holding steaming hot oysters taken off the custom-designed metal roasting tray.
Our son mastered the art of shucking at a young age and will gladly teach you the technique. Just don’t forget your oyster knife.
The preceding article was written by Bluffton Breeze writer and editor, Allyson Jones.12
18 Chechesse Creek Dr. | Yds 6,694 • Rating 72.6 | (843) 987-7000
Staying Cool on the CourseTest
Staying cool is vital to a successful golf outing. Golf In Bluffton is fun because of the game—it is social and it is outdoors. However, the outdoor part can mean hot temperatures and ruin your game, as well as your fun. Here are 18 tips to help you keepyour cool during 18 holes and maybe lower your score, as well.
1. Golf carts have coolers on them. Items to put in the cart include:
• Drinks with energy, electrolytes and vitamins
• Small, damp towels that can be used to wipe your skin or place on your neck and face
• Lotions and bug spray
• A spray bottle with water for a quick refreshing spray
2. Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably light in color. Long-sleeved shirts are a good idea.
3. Sunscreen applied before and during the round will protect and cool your skin.
4. Take your shoes off occasionally and wipe your feet down with the cool towel in the same way you wipe your hands, arms and neck. The cooling effect goes through the skin into your arteries and veins cooling blood circulating to other areas.
5. Hit the ball into the shady areas. Oh, wait! Most of you already do that.
6. Wear a hat with a wide brim. Some hats can be soaked in cool water without losing their shape.
7. Avoid caffeine and alcohol while on the course, as these will promote dehydration.
8. Bring a fan. OK, I am joking. Consider the moving cart a fan with gentle breezes to keep you cool.
9. Eat a smart meal before the game.
10. During the round, enjoy small snacks of cold fruit or low-fat dairy products.
11. Play early. There are tee times available at 6:45 a.m. allowing you to finish 18 holes by 10:45 a.m.
12. Golf is much more fun as a family or with a group of friends. I suggest making lunch your big group meal. It is indoors, food digests better during the day and it allows for an early or late round of golf.
13. Play late. Tee off between 4-5 p.m. to finish between 8-9 p.m.
14. Less is more. Wear little to no makeup, accessories or jewelry and don’t forget to tie your hair up.
15. Wear golf shoes designed like sandals.
16. Wear sunglasses.
17. Play good golf! When playing well your emotions are calm which allows you to stay cool.
18. If your play makes you mad, then call a pro for golf lesson. You will play better and keep you cool.
Remember golf is a skill. Apply these tips and have more fun!
Written by former PGA Touring Pro, Doug Weaver, the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy. He conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free hands-on interactive clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. For more information, call (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or go to palmettodunes.com.
When school is out, camp is in! Get ready for the lazy, hazy days of summer with our handy guide to some of the best camps, clinics and classes taking place in Bluffton and beyond. From art and archaeology, dance and cooking, theater and sports, there’s something to entertain and enlighten every age and interest.
40 Island West Dr. | Yds 6,803 • Rating 73.2 | (843) 689-6660
Golf’s Feminine SideTest
Women are attracted to golf because the game fosters a sense of independence, creates a social, uplifting environment, encourages a sense of style and improves time management skills. Golfers are not dependent on others for their success, and getting outdoors on a beautiful course in three-hour increments creates a perfect atmosphere to enjoy conversation.
My grandfather taught six daughters how to play golf. He wanted them to feel comfortable and excited on the course, in spite of a 1940s golf culture that did not welcome women. My PaPa made sure his girls transcended that barrier, and I have the same passion for female golfers in 2017. The women my PaPa taught enjoyed the benefits of golf and passed it on to their children. Now I am passing it on to you.
DOES STRENGTH MATTER FORA WOMAN GOLFER?
Strength is secondary to technique. For example, any women can change the tire on a car with the correct tools. Golf is much the same—learn how to use the tools, practice the basics, and you will have fun. Golf-specific strength will develop as you get involved.
IS A WOMAN’S GOLF SWING THE SAME AS A MAN’S?
The swings may differ between men and women because of physiological differences. Women with wider hips can have a wider stance which creates more speed if they have the correct movement. Hand and arm strength can cause a shallower approach to the ball, limiting speed and therefore, distance. In my interview with a new student I always ask about their activities, sports and hobbies. Women that play tennis and softball rotate their hips well, and their hands and arms are strong. Runners and walkers have the advantage of being flexible and supple.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE INSTRUCTING WOMEN VS. MEN?
It is important to treat the student as an individual—both physically and mentally. Women tend to like the more social aspect of golf and have less focus on competition, so our female classes allow for team play, a casual pace and less emphasis on individual score.
HOW DO WOMEN STAY MOTIVATED?
Ask friends to join you in a class. Most new women golfers are looking for health benefits and social interaction. Enlist in our five-week trial program, or take a private lesson to build confidence. Take advantage of our Ladies Only Class each Wednesday from 9-11 a.m., or join our free class on Mondays from 4-5 p.m. Call Coach Doug Weaver at (843) 338-9598 if you have questions or want to get connected to a compatible group and time.
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO BEGIN?
Bring a teachable, social attitude, wear good tennis or walking shoes, and don’t worry about equipment needs—this is included in the lesson. If you’re wondering what to wear, visit our Palmetto Dunes Pro Shop. Golf teaches us that with the proper tools, we can relax and enjoy the game—its exhilaration, grace and effortless power.
Written by Doug Weaver, a former PGA Touring Pro who was ranked the #2 Instructor in South Carolina by Golf Digest. He is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy and leads “Where Does the Power Come From?” a complimentary golf clinic and exhibition on Mondays at 4 p.m. For details and reservations for golf clinics, classes, lessons and on-course instruction, call (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or visit palmettodunes.com.
100 William Hilton Parkway | Hilton Head Island | (843) 689-6767
Art on the Outside: Michele Roldán-Shaw’s Dolphin Mural on Calhoun StreetTest
Mayfest is an amazing annual celebration of regional artists and artisans, but local painters, potters, sculptors, woodworkers, jewelry makers and craftsmen make Bluffton the “HeART of the Lowcountry” every day.
In addition to the colorful galleries, eclectic shops and tasteful eateries lining Calhoun Street and adjacent avenues, new public art occasionally pops up in Old Town. Recently, a painting of a mother and baby dolphin leaping out the water replaced D. Pierce Giltner’s weatherworn shrimp boat image on the corner of Bridge and Boundary Streets.
Giltner, an esteemed local artist who operated Gallery Without Walls next to The Store on Calhoun Street for several years, asked Michele Roldán-Shaw to create a new installment on the former Town bulletin board; prepping the wood, providing the paints and studio space and even installing the finished piece.
“It was his kind way of lending a hand to a fellow outsider artist—meaning we don’t have formal training or a lot of slick marketing behind us, so we have to be innovative and make our own way,” she explains. “I’m very grateful to Pierce for giving me this opportunity!”
Perhaps best known as a freelance journalist (and longtime Bluffton Breeze contributor), as well as the author of two true adventure tales called “Rambler’s Life,” Roldán-Shaw’s first love was art.
“I have been doing art for as long as I can remember,” explains the avid outdoorswoman. “However, I have no formal schooling—I just follow my own muse! When I moved to Bluffton 13 years ago, I started painting the local flora and fauna I saw in my explorations.”
For instance, her Lowcountry mural at the Coastal Discovery Museum includes a black snake slithering up a palmetto tree (a memory from a visit to Hunting Island), as well as a pod of dolphins with one tiny, black newborn fin in the center (as seen on Bull Creek). She also spent several years showing her art at various Calhoun Street galleries while painting more murals for businesses and private residences.
Today, Roldán-Shaw’s primary focus is on her writing, although she still does commissioned pieces and original artwork for family and friends. A table she had painted long ago with a mother and baby dolphin provided iconic inspiration for her most recent project.
“[Dolphins] are one thing NOBODY ever gets tired of seeing,” she says. “I am very pleased with how the painting has been received in the spirit of town beautification that everyone can enjoy.”
To view Roldán-Shaw’s gallery of artwork, inquire about painting commissions or learn more about her books, call (843) 304-3460 or visit ramblerslife.com.
Teeth, Tail Fins & TouristsTest
Captain Amber, are there sharks in these waters?
You know, there is a foolproof way to tell if there are sharks in the water, and it works anywhere on the globe. Put your finger in the water and touch it to your tongue. If you taste salt, there are sharks! Every body of saltwater has sharks in it. In South Carolina alone, there are 13 families and 38 species of sharks roaming our waters.
The first thing to know about sharks is that they have evolved over millions of years and are the oldest of fishes. Their common ancestor existed before the dinosaurs, approximately 400 million years ago, and sharks haven’t changed much in 200 million years, since the end of the Cretaceous period. They are perfectly built for their environment and purpose.
Secondly, one of the major differences between sharks and other fish is a skeleton made of cartilage, instead of bone. All species of shark are in the class Chondrichthyes—cartilaginous fishes. Cartilage is much softer than bone and this adaptation gives the shark an advantage as an apex predator, allowing it more flexibility and maneuverability.
Sharks lack a swim bladder which gives other fish control over their buoyancy. Although cartilage is lighter than bone, sharks still sink, so they must move constantly to stay off the ocean floor. Some sharks, but not all, must swim their entire lives so water runs over their gills and oxygenates their blood.
An airplane mimics the shape of a shark with a fusiform body streamlined like a bullet, large pectoral fins on each side to help with lift (wings) and a tall caudal fin (tail) and dorsal fin for stability. In addition to cartilage, elastic connective tissue called collagen gives the shark ease of motion when thrusting its tail fin back and forth for propulsion. Like stretching a rubber band and letting go, this lateral motion releases equal amounts of energy in both directions, allowing sharks to move fast with minimal effort!
Little known fact: bony fish (Osteichthyes) and sharks emerged from a common ancestor before fish produced scales. Sharks have dermal denticles or “skin teeth,” which are made of dentin, the same material found inside teeth.
However, both classes of fish have teeth, which is probably the first attribute you think of when the word “shark” is mentioned. The roots of their teeth are embedded in gum tissue, instead of jaw bone like ours. Sharks shed their teeth at every meal and a large shark may lose 30,000 teeth over its lifetime.
There are approximately 500 species of sharks on earth, which sounds like a lot, but in comparison, there are 25,000 species of bony fish. Sharks live in all parts of the ocean marine environment. Some stay in the deep, others venture close to shore, some travel great distances, some visit the surface, and some can even tolerate fresh water (bull shark). The smallest shark (dwarf dogfish) tops out at six inches when fully grown while adult whale sharks can approach 40 feet in length!
Fish typically reproduce with external fertilization meaning that eggs are fertilized after they are laid. Sharks mate with internal fertilization, the type of sexual reproduction you have to explain to your kid at some point. It is obvious when a female has mated because of the bites and clasper barb marks inflicted by the male shark. Pleasurable? Probably not. Luckily, she can store sperm for at least a year, minimizing the encounters. The bonnethead, according to an article published in the August 22, 2007 issue of Biology Letters, is one of four shark species that is capable, in rare cases, of a virgin birth (parthenogenesis).
Although they all mate, sharks have various methods of reproductive development. Some are oviparous (lay eggs after mating), others are viviparous (give live birth) and some are ovoviviparous (carry eggs which hatch inside of the female). The sand tiger shark is ovoviviparous with a 9-12 month gestation and has two uteri, producing only one offspring from each uterus. These two shark pups consume all of their siblings in the womb and continue to feed on their mother’s unfertilized eggs for sustenance. The three-foot-long sand tiger shark pup is more developed at birth than other species of sharks.
The most common sharks in South Carolina’s estuaries are Atlantic sharpnose, sandbar, bonnethead, blacktip, finetooth, scalloped hammerhead, nurse, lemon, tiger, sand tiger and dusky. Spinner, bull and blacknose sharks are also observed to a lesser degree. Sharks are usually more plentiful near shore in the spring and summer and move off shore in fall and winter.
Captain Amber, is it true there aren’t many sharks around Hilton Head Island because the dolphins scare them away?
Ummmm…no. We have plenty of sharks, but larger sharks have a greater range and move even further off shore in lean months to find fish, since larger sharks require larger food. As nurseries of the ocean, estuaries are not the best place to find large prey items. Dolphins pretty much bogart food in the winter, and there is less to share. While sharks typically don’t prey on dolphins, they may attack vulnerable pod members. However, the entire pod will defend the weaker members of their family and the shark may get more than he bargained for. Examples of sharks that would attack a dolphin would be bull sharks, tiger sharks or great white sharks, in a pelagic (open seas) environment.
Sharks feed primarily in low light or at night. Death by shark attack is rare in our area and the last fatal shark attack in South Carolina took place in 1852. It is important to realize sharks don’t seek revenge and are simply following a path leading to the most food. By the way, sea turtles are on the shark menu and sea turtles swim to shore to nest—at night! However, there have been more shark bite reports lately in the Carolinas. My theory is more sea turtles plus more tourists equals more opportunity for interaction. I do not believe that after millions of years sharks are changing their behavior, unless they are running out of food in the big blue.
Sharks live long lives and are slow to reproduce. A consistent decline in the population will not recover quickly and they are at higher risk than other fish. An essential keystone species in the marine environment, sharks maintain the health of the ocean by taking out the weak, dead or dying. There is so much we do not know about the ocean and its inhabitants, but it is undeniable that if this awe-inspiring creature is not protected, we will see adverse changes in the marine environment.
Under current South Carolina Department of Natural Resources regulations, there are only two sharks likely to be encountered under normal fishing circumstances that recreational anglers can keep:
• Atlantic sharpnose shark
• Bonnethead shark
All other species must have a minimum fork length of 54 inches. Fork length is measured from the tip of the shark’s nose to the fork in the caudal fin (tail). A shark with a 54” fork length would have an approximate total length of 5 1/2 to 6 feet.
Shark fishing from the shore is illegal. For details on shark populations in South Carolina estuaries and fishing regulations, visit dnr.sc.gov/marine/mrri/shark.
Written by Amber Hester Kuehn, Marine Biologist / Owner, Spartina Marine Education Charters. Photos courtesy of Jeff Kuehn.
A Day at the SandbarTest
Surveying the horizon and tide table it became clear a river party should be organized. The tide was high and about to turn and, with nary a cloud in the sky, conditions were perfect for a long day on the water. The necessary preparations were made and by noon a lively crowd of neighbors and friends were gathered on the dock.
The crowd was a blend of youth and age, size and shape. The college guys stood tall and tanned in their aviator glasses while the younger teenage boys sulked in their shadows full of big teeth awkwardness and unsculpted baby fat. Girls of all ages milled about in their swimsuits or cover-ups. You could tell the generation gap by the amount of cotton covering their rear end. They all smelled of coconuts and island fruits and wore oversized sunglasses, each carrying the latest trash novel or fashion magazine in a large over-decorated shoulder bag. The men looked the most relaxed. Perhaps it was the Bloody Marys or the fact that none worried about how they looked in their suits. Either way, they stood at the edge of the dock inspecting some random object in the water. Most had bellies that flopped over the elastic band holding up their suit; most seemed not to care.
The group was a sight to behold. The men moored an old bateau to a small wooden barge, loaded it with coolers of beer, a small charcoal grill, crab lines and a picnic basket and headed across the river for a lazy afternoon. If lucky, they would catch a tan, a buzz and a bushel of crab. Cousin Shelby, acting as master of ceremonies, stood in the bow and christened the leaky contraption the “May River Queen” and with a plume of smoke from the motor, they were underway.
The sun burned white in the deep, cloudless sky as the May River Queen crept upriver. The day was hot, but not oppressively humid. The water was cool as people jumped to swim beside the slow-moving flotilla.
Everyone was in high spirits. River parties were both fluid and leisurely, an excuse to get out but not enough activity to warrant use of the mind. The small 35-horsepower motor struggled to push the heavy load against the opposing tide. The pace was slow and the strain of the engine’s hum hypnotic, perfect for catching rays on a hot summer day. A tattered, red and white striped umbrella flapped in the wind casting a shifting band of shade as it rocked in its rusted perch, offering the only protection for the smaller children as they huddled together out of the sun. The ladies lay on brightly colored towels, golden skin oiled and Ray Bans directed heavenward, their tongues wagging with the latest gossip. The slander dripped like honey from the hive.
“Oooh, have you heard what that Miller boy did last week; bless his heart. I bet he never saw her coming,” cooed one particularly knowledgeable matron from beneath her oversized hat and over-painted red lips.
A small radio tuned in the classic sound of 1960’s Motown, Philadelphia and Memphis, drowning out most of the conversation radiating from the girls’ side of the barge. The men gathered by the motor and smoked cigars and drank beer, talking of football and fishing.
“How them Jawga boo-dawgs gunna fair this season?” drawled cousin Shelby’s friend John.
“Aw, heck, Dooley will have them ready; ready to lose to Pat Dye’s Tigers that is,” mocked Doctor Norton, a physician from Atlanta who loved to razz Georgia football fans.
The party barge cleared Bull Creek and continued to snake its way up the May River to within sight of Potato Island. There the anchor was tossed on an emerging sliver of sand and several ladies who preferred the tidal sandbar and Danielle Steel to crabbing on the crowded barge were offloaded. The children scattered about like fiddler crabs on a hot dock, yelping and screeching among the adult’s legs as lawn chairs and coolers were taken ashore.
With half the crew comfortably settled on the sandbar, the May River Queen continued its journey to the mouth of a narrow creek just out of sight of the river’s boat traffic. The children watched with reserved curiosity as stinking chicken necks and thighs were pulled from the reeking bait cooler, fastened to metal pins, then carefully dropped overboard. Each child scrunched up their nose and let out a collective “peee-eww” as the grease from the chicken collected on the water’s surface; not much beats the spectacle of hand-line crabbing.
So, with lines left to chum in the water, the women resumed tanning and the men cracked another cold beer waiting for the crabs to bite. Patience is essential for hand-crabbing, almost as much as watching the water boil when you cook them. You have to let the greedy crab come feast on the meat, and become gluttonous to the point it will risk its life to hang on to the rancid piece of chicken. With the bait taken, the prize was then retrieved by gently reeling in “the blue” until a net grabbed the enraged, but helpless, greedy crab. The blue crabs were then deposited in a tall peach basket and the process repeated until the basket was full.
This was the typical process until one of three things occurred—one, the tide changed and the run of crab stopped; two, the girls got too sunburned to remain; three, the beer ran out. Yes, life on the river can spoil a lazy man. However, this afternoon there happened to be a fourth element. When the visiting preacher’s youngest daughter found a way to sit in the bucket of angry crabs, it was time to call it a day and head back to the sandbar.
By the time tears were subdued, lines pulled in and the barge set back in motion, the tide had turned. Upon reaching the sandbar, we found the incoming waters had already split the exposed sand in half. The others in the party seemed to hardly notice as they sat in chairs waist deep, wallowing in the warm summer currents.
“What’s to eat?” called Kathy from her chair in the water. “We’re half-starved, fire up that grill!”
And so, with less than 25 minute’s worth of dry land remaining, the men set out to fire up the hibachi and grill burgers. Apparently, the sun and fun impaired their ability to master flame. It took a ring of women holding towels around the little hibachi to produce any hope for cooked food. The tide rushed in closer and closer to the small band and, just as the white foam spilled between their toes, the coals lit. There would be food after all. And so, as rays and skates cruised by in the now ankle-deep water, the burgers cooked. Chairs and baskets began floating away in the tide. Mothers scrambled after children, children scrambled after floats and fathers scrambled after coolers. The whole affair was quite a sight.
After some quick maneuvering, the last chair and child were loaded on the barge as the sun began to dip into the horizon. Shelby waded through the waist-deep water with a platter of burgers for the crew who now sat sunburned and happy, feet dangling in the water. The May River Queen began its methodical push back to the home dock after a glorious day on the May. New memories forged by the changing of the tide.
Let’s assume Lowcountry wildlife did not get the memo about the moon eclipsing the sun on August 21. History has shown that wildlife will automatically assume evening has come prematurely and their behavior will be dictated by the waning sunlight. Song birds will stop singing and owls will begin to hoot. Wading birds will head… Read More…
Pool-loving pooches, dock dogs and canines who prefer cooling off in sprinklers can rejoice—the dog days of summer are here. Vacations are planned, the beach is beckoning and your furry friends want to have just as much fun as you. Show them just how much you care during this season of sunshine. Protect Your Pooch… Read More…
The Great American Eclipse of 2017 is one for the history books. It’s been 38 years since the last total eclipse of the sun passed through the Continental United States. The last total solar eclipse to pass from one coast of the U.S. to the other occurred nearly a century ago in 1918. On August… Read More…
On July 30, the 146-year-old Heyward House Historic Center celebrated its recent “facelift” with a Ribbon Cutting Party. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the restorations at John James Cole’s former summer home, here are some of the reconstructed projects in process. Feel free to stop by and see the updates for yourself. Photos… Read More…
Whether entering preschool or heading off to an institute of higher education, the arrival of August signals back-to-school season in the Lowcountry! Gear up for a great new year with this handy guide to local schools, special events and sales to help ease the transition from the lazy, hazy days of summer to reading, writing… Read More…