If you live in Charleston, and have never been to Capers island, shame on you. This place is amazing, and it is the only barrier island I know of you are legally allowed to camp on. I led my old friends from Charleston on an overnight trip at the beginning of December, while I was back for the art exhibit I took part in.
We set off from the landing around 11, in time to catch a falling tide out to the island. The sun was out, the wind was light and variable, and we had plenty of beer to drink - it was a fantastic start. Since it was so nice, we decided to take the long way - that led us into a maze of muddy creeks and dead ends. After about an hour of twisting an turning, we found our way out of the maze, crossed the intracoastal and headed for Capers inlet.
We landed around three in the afternoon, on the front of Capers island. We headed for my favorite spot on the island to set up camp, but soon realized we wouldn't be staying there. The tide was extremely high this weekend, due to a full moon, and it wasn't hard to tell that at high tide we wouldn't have much real estate. We ate some grub, grabbed some fresh beers, and set about finding a new spot. We decided to head for higher ground, and ended up in a spot in the trees - not ideal but better than getting our gear washed away while we slept.
We set up camp, got a fire burning, and walked down to the end of the island to meet our late arriving friend. He had his pup with him and didn't want to attempt a surf landing, so we helped carry his gear over to the campsite. With everyone at camp, we relaxed and drank while Brad prepared a famous dutch oven dinner. This guy can make a mean dutch oven meal.
When camping on Capers, don't underestimate the local wildlife. The raccoons are incredibly bold, and they live up to the stories of them being thieves. I was reminded of this first hand on this particular evening. When I was finished setting up my hammock, I carelessly tossed a dry bag underneath of it until I would need it later that night. This dry bag had my glasses and toiletries, along with an apple and granola bars for breakfast, that I had forgotten about. When it was time to turn in, I began a search for said dry bag - it was not where I had thought I left it. After numerous trips back and forth from kayak to camp site, I saw the eyes of a raccoon glowing in the distance when my headlamp scanned the horizon. I hurried over to where I had seen it, and there was a granola wrapper. Further into the swampy woods, I saw another set of eyes - so I set out towards them - another granola wrapper. These jerks had stolen my bag and the contents and dragged it into the woods for safe eating. As I stomped through the dwarf palmettos and swampy surroundings, following the trail of trash and raccoon eyes, it became clear I wasn't going to locate my items tonight. I retreated back to the hammock, and to my surprise stumbled upon my torn up dry bag on the way back, toiletries in tact (but no breakfast)! I sat down by the fire to remove my contacts and put my glasses on, and I discovered three ticks crawling on my pants. In my carless chasing of raccoons, I had dislodged a large number of ticks from the dwarf palmettos, eager to have a free meal. With everyone asleep by now, I decided I couldn't sleep until I thoroughly checked my self for the little buggers. I stripped down to my underoos, checking every piece of clothing meticulously - I found about 30 of these little bastards on me. I retired to the hammock for a good nights sleep, but I had a strange feeling of ticks crawling on me all night......
My fight with the raccoons was not over. I awoke a few hours into my sleep to the sound of rattling beer cans. We had forgotten to put the trash bag in one of the kayaks - rookie mistake. I pointed my light in the direction of the noise, and there they were. Two raccoons, one on the others back, reaching up and removing delicious garbage from our hung trash bag. I got out of my hammock, chased them away and gathered what I could of the mess they made. I stowed it securely in a dry hatch went back to the hammock. I swear these raccoons were taunting me, running underneath of my hammock as I tried to fall back asleep. It was a rough night.
We were up early the next day, everyone saying the same thing - the raccoons had kept them from sleeping very well. We packed it up, and were ready to paddle by 830. Brad, Beth Anthony and his dog carried their boats and gear to the inlet, to avoid the surf launch. Forrest and I decided it would be fun, as long as we didn't roll, to launch into the surf. We both made it safely past the break and headed for the inlet. The tide was rushing out, and it was a brutal paddle back to the intracoastal. Once we crossed into the small creeks, the current wasn't nearly as strong and we made quick time back to the landing. With every one tired and ready for some real breakfast, we packed it all into the vehicles quickly and said farewell, another successful and memorable outing to Capers island was over. Thanks for reading, and Merry Christmas!