Charleston Outdoor Adventures

Charleston Outdoor Adventures
Kayak Eco-Tours, SUP Tours, Charter Boat Tours, and Fishing

Charleston Outdoor Adventures

Charleston Outdoor Adventures
"Paddle an untamed estuary in the company of dolphins" - National Geographic

Friday, August 30, 2013

Labor Day Weekend.

Captain  Redfish Wild Bill commanding the waters off Morris Island
White Pelicans? Here? No Way!!
COA is open everyday all day this weekend! All sorts of tours and rentals going off, and the weather looks beautiful.  Twenty percent chance of rain means nothing out here behind Folly Beach, so don't be scared! Folly Creek is beautiful right now, and out of the typical holiday boat traffic. The sun is shining, so now is the best time to enjoy the rest of the summer rays before the fall rolls in.

Black-Crowed Night Heron
The fall breezes are beginning to blow in. After days with temperatures over 100 degree with a ‘feels like’ of 140 degrees, everyone is ready for the beautiful cool winds of September to come through. Along with the change in temperature will bring the migration of many birds. Already seen on the estuary are flocks of American Woodstorks and Monarch Butterflies getting ready to start heading to South America and Mexico respectively.

Multiple boats for Dolphin Research
Do you know how Dolphin research is conducted? We were able to watch first hand from the deck of Samson 1 as teams of NOAA researchers and volunteers with multiple vessels sat in Folly Creek with a male dolphin they had recently secured by way of net and gentle hands. They attached a black tag with an antenna on it so that they can track him throughout the estuary. For us this means we can differentiate this dolphin from others while on tour. Very interesting things happening with NOAA, and we are glad they are here to keep informing us of real world data of local ecosystems and estuaries. As we were driving back to our landing a massive Bald Eagle flew overhead almost guiding us back to COA. It was a very exciting late summer day for us. 

A great Blue Heron swooping down to steal fish from a strand feeding dolphin

mmmm Sheepshead

Another great thing about fall is the fishing. As the water cools down, the fish begin to swim in and they are hungry! After successful fishing charters and kayak fishing in August, Captain Joe can only imagine how excellent the fishing will be over the next few months. Here is a picture of two of the Sheepshead; the right was 15 inches and the left measured to be 18+ inches!

Come out and see us!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July Full Moon Tour 7/22/13 at 8pm

If you missed our once a year July 4th Fireworks Tour, then you should definitely jump on our next Full Moon Tour.

The next full moon is July 22nd, and our tour is scheduled from 8pm-10pm that evening.  This is an excellent tour for both beginner and experienced kayakers, designed as a relaxing evening under the full moon.

This will be our third Full Moon Tour of 2013. The June tour brought dolphins galore along with an exciting trip that was memorable for all members. Check out some of the stories here:  TripAdvisor Review

There is nothing quite like paddling along Folly Creek with only glow sticks lighting up adjacent boats and the moon guiding you on your journey.  This is an experience to be had by all, and we hope you will be able to make it out!

Friday, June 28, 2013

4th of July Fireworks Tour!!!

A Once A Year Independence Day Special! 

This Thursday night at 8pm join us for an amazing time on Folly Creek. We will be paddling just far enough so you have the very best and least crowded seat to watch the fireworks from Folly Beach.

The Fireworks tour is a two hour tour beginning at 8pm ending at 10pm. We are offering both a kayak tour and paddle board tour as two separate tours, both departing from our location on Bowens Island. If you haven't had a dolphin splash right up next to you at night, then this week is the time to do it! Call anytime to make a reservation and ask any questions you would like.  Hope to see you here!

Three of our favorite guides

Fishing with Captain Will!

The ever incredible Miss Cooper

Salty Brad

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Calming, yet Incredible Experience of a Lifetime

Did you realize its summer? The dolphins have certainly realized it. The young offspring are gliding up and down along the creek with their parents in pods of just 2 all the way up to pods of 8 or 9. I had the privileged of paddling next to a pod of 7 the other morning, which included 3 young pups and 4 adults. The mother seems to almost help push the young calf out of the water to take a deep breath. 

Looks like this guy is splurging on the mullet a bit!

 Watching the dolphins grow up so close to you is an extraordinary experience. We call this back estuary the "nursery" because it really is where life starts. Captain Joe has been following several of these dolphins for years including, but not limited to, Notch Fin, Snaggle Tooth, and Machete. You'll have to ask him where all these names stem from though! 

Paddling with dolphins, without the congestion of boat traffic, is really an amazing experience. Folly Creek is one of the best places to paddle along side these brilliant creatures, you have to experience yourself!

Thank you Alloway family for enjoying this with us!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Full Moon Fireworks Eco Tours!

Is that ET?? Look close, its a Loggerhead Sea Turtles head!

COA June Newsletter
Full Moon Tours
Summer has finally arrived in Charleston and what a great last few weeks it’s been here at COA! The sun stayed with us daily for over two weeks and gave Charleston some perfect weather for Memorial Day and the beginning of June. Our Full Moon tour during May was a huge success, so Captain Joe has decided to make it even better. This month not only will you be paddling under the full moon, but there will also be a firework show! The June Full Moon Tour will be on June 22nd and 23rd from 8:30pm until 10:30pm.

Dolphins and the Morris Island Lighthouse

There are incredible amounts of dolphins swimming in the estuary. Captain Joe and Captain Will are amazed on every charter boat tour with the numbers of dolphins they are traveling with. On June 9th, Captain Joe saw a baby dolphin that was no more than 2 weeks old! It’s great to see new life blooming in this nursery of an Eco-system.

Have you ever seen a Loggerhead Sea Turtle up close? Their huge heads are popping up all over Folly Creek! As an endangered animal and South Carolina’s state reptile, Loggerheads are a majestic sight to see. You have to keep your eyes ready though, they are too quick for the average camera man. Captain Joe’s count is up to 13 for the year.

mmm Red Drum

COA wants to give a warm welcome to Ben Powers and Christopher Ellis. Completing our excellent team of naturalists, these strapping young men bring a vast knowledge and expertise of fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and the eco-systems.

Friday, May 17, 2013

COA May Newsletter

Jurassic Park? Nope, just an awesome Pelican

Welcome to Charleston Outdoor Adventures’ May Newsletter! There has been a lot of exciting things happening on Bowens Island lately. The water temperature is up to 70 degrees, while the air temperature is still not exceedingly hot, which makes it perfect for being out on the water. The fishing has been great. Tripp caught an enormous Red Drum the other day, which he happily had to release because it was over the legal limit of 23 inches.

Cannonball jellyfish have been seen moving back into the area for over a month now, and we finally had our first sightings of the Loggerhead Sea turtle. With a head the size of a softball, the turtle popped up right in front of Brad while on tour and looked him straight in the eye.  Our most recent sighting was yesterday on Captain Joe’s Fishing Charter. 

Photography by William McKenzie
Brad has had excellent tours lately. Three days ago Brad’s tour was followed downstream by a pod of five dolphins and they sighted every bird in the area. The American Wood Stork has moved back into the area also. With a neck elongated while they fly and a wing span of up to 7 feet, the wood stork is a wonderful sight to see. For some people this will be the only chance to see one in person as they are on the endangered species list for South Carolina.   

This month on May 24th and 25th COA is adding two specialty Full Moon tours. We will depart from Bowens Island at 8pm as the sun is starting to set and return back to dock at 10pm when the full moon is lighting the way from above the horizon. The beauty of this tour is from the peaceful ambiance of the salt marsh as you paddle past oyster beds, sunken boats, docks, and Spartina Grass that look quite different from the daytime hours. Your Naturalist will not only take you safely through the tidal flats, but will also explain about all wildlife encountered and histories of the area. Full Moon tours can be enjoyed from the seat of a kayak or while standing on a paddle board. If you would like to add yourself to one of these tours, you can do so by calling the COA office anytime at (843)795-0330.

Check out that barn!!
The most exciting part of May so far has been that COA is finally completely rebuilt and has a full fleet of kayaks and paddle boards. The COA kayak barn now has its final coats of paint with a great new sign centered on the top. The barn is fully stocked with kayaks, SUPs, and good times to be had. It looks great as the last building on Bowens Island with a fresh green finish. The new 12 passenger Carolina Skiff has also been busy running charters out to the Morris Island Lighthouse. Named “Sampson I” after Captain Joe’s loyal companion. You’re entire group can enjoy the ride from the boat while basking in the sun and taking in all the scenery and wildlife around Folly Creek and surrounding Eco-systems. 

Last Thursday the entire crew was together including our four seasoned guides and two new additions.  At 6am we were out on the water in kayaks, taking in the rising sun for our “on water” safety protocol training. All naturalist went over all of our safety techniques, knot tying skills, towing, and vessel rescues. Stay tuned for Fireworks tour dates in the coming months ahead!
Joe, Will and Tripp
Betsy and Brad

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to catch up with someone from COA, I will gladly answer your call in the office or respond to your email! Thank you for reading our May news update, and hope to see you in the near future if possible!

Don't forget to pick up a new COA T-shirt!!!
That's me on the left after early morning training

Anna Sullivan
Dolphin Tamer, Naturalist, PR
Charleston Outdoor Adventures LLC
Office#  843.795.0330

Friday, April 26, 2013

Why the Twilight Paddle is so Amazing.

I was asked recently what my favorite tour was and the response was easy. The Twilight Paddle is not only a romantic activity, but also a perfect tour for any adventurer at heart.  The sunset on Bowens Island can be amazing. You are lead on a two hour paddle either on kayaks or paddle boards as the sun is going down, and get back about 15-20 minutes before it fully sets, that way we are not paddling in the dark.
Since the sun is going down it is a bit cooler outside and the stronger winds will have also started to die down. The ambiance of the back estuary is extremely peaceful and quiet. There are moments when silence fills the air and the only sounds are birds dipping into the water and the wind stirring through the grass.  The most amazing is when dolphins come right up next to your boat and leave only ripples in the water as they swim away. The beauty of the estuary that we paddle through is unmatchable.

Along with the Twilight Paddle, we also offer Sunset Charters. During an hour and a half trip of over 10 miles through the estuary, relax and enjoy the peace while dolphins play around you. This is an enjoyable and unforgettable ride for people of all ages including young children.

Hope to see you here soon!
Tripp leading his tour back to the landing with the sun slowly setting behind

Monday, April 15, 2013

Full Moon Tours - April 26th at 7:30pm

Last year we started doing full moon tours and they were a huge success.  It is time to start bringing them back again!  The first full moon tour will be this month on Friday, April 26th.  This is a two hour tour. We begin the tour at 7:30pm just before the brilliance of the sunset 7:57. You will be led out into the estuary by an excellent naturalist for a two hour adventure into the tidal flats behind Folly while being lit by the moon.  Both kayaking and paddle boarding will be an option.  Continue scrolling for pictures from last years May full moon tour.  I hope to hear from you soon!
Your choice of kayak or paddle board

Everyone can paddle board! Start out on your knees, and then stand up!

Sun setting over our sea kayaks

Full Moon from a tour last May
Your link for more information on our tours!

-Anna and Jackson

Friday, April 5, 2013

Location: such a Small but Powerful Detail

Dolphins gliding closely with us as we paddled
Charleston Outdoor Adventures is fortunate to have many wonderful attributes. Great staff, excellent equipment, over 50 years of combined experience and a wealth of knowledge about the estuary and wildlife that surrounds us just to name a few. Today I wanted to highlight one in particular; Location.
The office sits just over the spartina grass with great views of the estuary. As you keep walking, you go out on a dock that sits over Folly Creek and has some of the best views of the sunset that you can ask for, especially when it reflects off the water. Folly Creek, with its minimal boat traffic, provides easy access to multiple tidal creeks that give shelter and are home to many various birds, crabs, and fish. With the Maritime forest in the background, just standing on the dock you will see Pelican, Double Crested Cormorants, Terns, Black Skimmers, Egrets, Heron, Wood Stork, and even Dolphins passing by underneath you.

Now imagine being back in one of the smaller creeks in a kayak or on a paddle board, quietly paddling, and one of these magnificent animals is within feet of you. Now you are able to study this bird more closely, while listening to your guide keenly explain their history, way of life, or special characteristics.
Picture yourself tucked away among the oyster beds in Kings Flats Creek, as the sun is setting, and the tide is dropping. A group of pelicans are resting on the water, when without warning a pair of dolphins surface within feet of your boat. This was an experience I was able to share with Amy and Tony this past week. Choosing to come to Charleston for their 40th wedding anniversary, these two were an excellent couple to paddle with. While standing on the landing after our tour was over, Tony said, "That was magnificent. Thank you so much."
Tony and Amy sharing a tandem

Come have your own magnificent experience. I, and everyone at COA would love to be a part of creating wonderful memories for you and your family.

-Anna, chasing sunsets and taming dolphins daily.
Dolphin under the shining sun with Pelicans following from above

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easter and Paddle Boarding

This weekends weather
Woooo We are open on Easter Sunday!! The weather is looking beautiful for this Easter weekend. I love a sunny day that isn't super hot yet. Even more exciting is that my mom is coming down from NY.  She will just barely be escaping winter storm Virgil, and keeps telling me how 60 degrees is going to feel like a sauna to her. She's a master gardener and scientist extraordinaire so come on down to meet her! The schedule is still very open, so definitely call to book a tour or rental! Which leads me to paddle boarding.

Paddle boarding rules.  Simple as that.
You are on a super sturdy board, which are all the new 2013 models since COA only offers the best. This means that you start out very well balanced, and with a bit of core and keeping your weight in your toes you are cruising across Folly Creek! Don't worry though, you begin on your knees and get the hang of your paddle first. In fact, if you don't feel comfortable you can stay on your knees as long as you like! This past Sunday, on my day off, I ended up on Bowens Island anyway and took out a paddle board. In West Ashley it was beautiful, sunny, and warm.  On Bowens it was beautiful, sunny, warm, and windy.  Wind is something you want to be careful of when you decide to take out a paddle board. I went out anyway but stayed on my knees the whole time since paddling standing up with the wind was too hard.  Still super fun and a great work out.  I made my way into one of the back creeks where I was out of the wind and just laid out in the sun.  I highly suggest this for any deep thinking or relaxing on vacation.

I want to take YOU out on a paddle board tour.  Don't worry if you've never done it before, you'll get a lesson before we go out and then I'll go at your pace. Check out that weather again for this weekend.  Not too windy! Call me up!!

-Anna, Your active adventurous naturalist

Monday, March 11, 2013

Charleston Outdoor Adventures Days part 1

Folly Beach Sunrise
I woke up extra early this morning (which was easy because I somehow fell asleep at 7 last night) and made it all the way to the Folly Beach Pier to catch the sunrise.  It was a beauty. Cloudy enough so the pink really came through at dawn.   Luckily, the weather only went down to 50 last night, so it was nice sitting out with my travel mug of coffee. This was a great sign for the morning in front of me, as today was our annual Adventures Days.  I stopped at the Lost Dog Cafe for an awesome sausage, egg, and cheese croissant to go and some delicious coffee on my way to Bowens Island.

My favorite picture from the day

Casey from Tides
Monty looking excellent.
This year, our Adventures Days is really special because it was almost like a grand reopening for us.  "Bigger and Better" is a true statement after the fire last August.  We have more kayaks, more paddle boards, and a new 12 person charter boat to go with our current 6 passenger boat.  The Tides and Vendue Inn each sent a few of their front desk and concierge personnel to come on their own tours with us. COA likes to give back to the community, and especially those who help the visitors of Charleston find out about us and place reservations. By nine o'clock we had 6 people on our dolphin boat tour with Joe, 5 on our kayak tour with Tripp, and 2 on our stand up paddle board tour with Little Bill.

I was just kidding that your smile would break the camera...

I went out on the kayak tour with 4 guys from Vendue, and Brian from The Tides. We swung by the old shrimp boat, cruised past the dock, and landed ourselves in King Flats.  The tide was super high so we didn't have to worry about knocking into oysters and could see clear over the spartina grass. The weather continued to be great too. It was finally warm enough to work up a sweat, but still comfortable with the breeze.  The water was like glass and we just coasted on top.

All smiles here! This was just before you went dolphin chasing
On the way back in we were finally graced with the presence of dolphins.  Swimming right in front of us and then under us. We caught up with Will and the paddle boarders right before heading to the landing.  At the same time Joe was pulling in with his charter.  Apparently, "dolphins had been following us from the beginning", Joe said, they were "cruising right for us". Next time I better keep my ears open from the get go!

We all came back together just before the dock

Even with the early start, I thought today was fantastic. I'm excited for Part 2 tomorrow!!

Thanks for coming out Tides and Vendue Inn!

-Anna, your most bubbly naturalist