The air always seems to be a little fresher when there is a saltiness that can be smelled coming from old Davey Jones’ locker. Having visited (and fished) in multiple oceans and seas, across several countries, I had the opportunity to experience the South Carolina coast for the very first time, and it was unlike any other experience that I’ve had.
For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in South Texas, fishing along the gulf coast and making regular trips to the famous South Padre Island. Of course, I was always pretending I was Captain Jack Sparrow, just a few miles to the east, sailing the Caribbean. While my childhood fantasies were far from reality, I did develop a love for the sea and a passion for conservation and the desire for adventure into the great unknown. But as time passed, and I grew older and so called wiser, that one quote from my childhood rung in my ears, “ The world’s still the same. There’s just less in it.” -Captain Jack Sparrow. And knowing that truth I made it my vendetta to protect the ocean and to experience it in all of its glory. And that leads us to today, where I had the opportunity to experience the South Carolina coast.
It is not Cancun, Saint Croix, Cabo, or even my memories of South Padre Island. It was an experience unlike any that I’ve ever had. The coast of the old south, the coastline that the original settlers of the Americas would have looked upon, is not the lavish and exquisite coastline of an “all inclusive resort” nor is it that of a fisherman’s town held together by passer throughs on the weekend. It is a true community that has been built and raised by the understanding that this place they call home is in fact their home. Parking isn’t found in some garage or “$10 per hour” parking lot. It is found right in front of the local residence’s house. For free. With a warm and welcome smile and the invitation to treat this land as if it were your own. The entire day spent out on the water was enjoyed without seeing a single plastic bottle floating on the water, and the beaches were full of local people, not tourists, who took care of their beach and had a kindness and respect for one another. There was no towering hotels, or trash cleanup crews. It was neighbors coming together to enjoy what they had, and inviting visitors with welcome arms. The hospitality and cleanliness was unlike any place I’ve ever experienced and I am truly grateful for having had the chance to share in their culture (and to take some of their fish home for my family).