We usually stay at Bluewater Resort & Marina when we visit Hilton Head Island. It is a timeshare resort with a private dock on the Intracoastal Waterway. They offer free kayaks and life jackets while you stay.
You have to do an orientation, which is just watching some videos and a short lecture. Then you sign a waiver, the Kayak Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims. It warns you of the presence of insects and the danger of sunburn among other things. Once you “acknowledge and accept the risks associated (directly and indirectly) with the Kayak activities to which I am about to engage…” you are ready to go!
They check you out make sure your life jacket is on properly and help you into the kayak if you need it.
The resort is right across from Pinckney Island. The body of water is actually Skull Creek. It connects Calibogue Sound and Port Royal Sound. We always paddle across toward the island and around the grass.
Pinckney Island is a wildlife refuge. There are all kinds of birds and they let you paddle very close.
Don’t go through the grass. You can. it’s deep enough. But, it is FULL of bugs! They will fall out of the grass and be all over you and the kayak.
It is REALLY hard to take pictures of dolphins. I have a lot of photos of where a dolphin used to be.
Dolphins seem to travel past when the currents change. They are very friendly. One time, three of them played a game sliding back and forth under the kayak, staying just out of reach. If they are around when we go out, they always come close. I am told Low Tide is the best time to see them, since lots of little fish that are otherwise in the grass have less space and get pushed into the water, served up for dolphins. Sometimes they slap their tails on the water. This is supposed to stun the fish so that they can eat them easier. It’s called Stun Feeding. This is also where you can see dolphins Strand Feeding, where dolphins push the fish up onto the mud flats, then lay on their sides to eat them. I’ve never seen it, but I would like to.
Some people paddle out to Calibogue Sound or Port Royal Sound. We don’t. We just paddle around pretty close and watch the wildlife. There are also tidal creeks and mud flats to explore.
There is a current, but not bad. Not too hard for even the puniest paddler. It gets a little choppy when a boat goes by, but the kayaks at Blue Water Resort are very stable.
Bring water. You really do get thirsty. Bring a shirt to keep the sun off and because sometimes it gets kinda breezy and chilly. Be careful with your phone. Find My Phone could tell my son-in-law’s phone was in the middle of Skull Creek. The case was waterproof, but it didn’t float.