It was the second Saturday of the month, which means it was time for another adventure with the guys from Lowcountry Unfiltered. For this trip we were headed to the Beaufort area, where we would be doing some fossil hunting on the north end of Lady Island, along the Intracoastal Waterway.
I headed down Friday evening, taking off a few minutes early from work so it wouldn’t be too dark when I got into town. I found a place to stay in Beaufort, had a so-so seafood dinner, then crashed after the long drive.
Early Saturday morning I drove over to Lady Island and to our meeting spot at Brickyard Creek Landing. While I was waiting for the rest of the guys, a man walked up and started chatting. He had lived on the island his entire life, and declared it to be the one remaining bit of paradise left on the Carolina coast. He was happy to see that I had a kayak, and not one of those noisy motor boats.
The rest of the guys soon arrived, and we got underway. However, it was a very short paddle – just barely 100 yards across to the nearest island so that they could start searching for fossils. As I watched the group sink into mud up to their knees, I decided to stay in my boat. I was just as happy floating in the water.
We crossed the Intracoastal Waterway to Jack Island, another phosphate island with fossils. This time I did get out and scramble through the mud. Ultimately, though, I was seeking the higher hammock ground, away from the mud. Even so, I was able to find a few sharks’ teeth and coral.
Getting the boats launched was a chore. The mud was thick, and in some places I sank up to my knees. I was not a happy camper/paddler. Back on the water my mood improved.
By this time the boat traffic had really picked up on the ICW. We had some fun surfing the boat wakes as we paddled to the next destination. I had brought my Old Town Dirigo for this trip, and was quite pleased with its performance.
The next stop was for lunch in addition to hunting more fossils. John Ring found a HUGE megalodon shark tooth, which turned out to be the prize of the day.
From there we hit one more little oyster bed island. I didn’t even bother getting out of the boat. Instead, I decided to explore Broomfield Creek along with a couple of the other guys.
By this time the wind had really picked up. We had the tide with us, but we had to contend with the strong headwinds and 1 to 2 foot seas, including whitecaps. The Dirigo sliced right through the waves, and at no time did I feel like I was in trouble. I think it would have been a different story had I been in my Pungo.
We got back to the landing around 3:00. Even with the mud, it was still a great trip. Next time, though, I think I’ll let the guys search while I do more paddling.
Here are all of my photos from the trip, along with the ones that Matt posted on our Lowcountry website…