Capers Island; SC
If you head north from the mouth of Charleston's harbor, the fourth island you will encounter is Capers Island. This is a three mile long and one mile wide barrier island that has no development and is protected as a state nature preserve. Access is only by boat, but there is a ferry service that will take you out to the island for a few hours. It is owned by Brett Ziegler, who has operated the ferry service under the name Barrier Island Eco-tours for the last 16 years. I went along for the sunset dolphin watch tour aboard the Caretta, one of five boats that Ziegler operates out of the Isle of Palms Marina.
The boat was piloted by Robert Hopkins, who has been working with Shane for the last 15 years. Assisting Robert was Brett, who pointed out various wildlife and features of the landscape as we took the half-hour trip out to the island.
On the ride out, numerous dolphin were feeding but I was unable to get any good photos of the activity. Brett did pick up a crab trap though and displayed several crabs that were inside. Then it was time to disembark on the island. As with all of the barrier islands, Capers Island is eroding on one end and sand is depositing on the other. This makes for all manner of interesting sights as the water encroaches upon the land and kills the trees. Many interesting shapes form from the weathering sustained by both wind and water.
Looking back toward Charleston from Capers, you can clearly see the hotels that have been built in the Wild Dunes section of Isle of Palms.
Wildlife abounds, and an osprey flew by with a fish clutched in its talons. I found a little turtle on the beach - I have no clue as to the species but I liked his coloration and his determination to get away and live his life.
Camping is permitted if one has a permit. Permits are free and can be acquired by calling South Carolina at 843.953.9300. But there is no bridge to the island and no fresh water once you get there. You need to provide yourself with transportation there and the means to sustain yourself once you arrive.
But all too quickly the sun begins to set and it is time to head back to Isle of Palms.
Once back and having seen all of the passengers on their way, Robert cleans the boat in preparation for several more cruises tomorrow. Besides the regular tourist business, there are many trips taken as an educational tool by schools. In fact, for several months a year the boat takes an average of 1,000 children a week on educational tours out to the island.
The tour was named Capers Island Dolphin Sunset Tour, and it delivered on all three. If you get the chance, it is an excursion well worth taking. And if you do, be sure to say "Hi" to Robert and his faithful companion Bella for me.
Have a great Tuesday !!
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