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Thirsty Whale Tours with Edisto’s Captain Moose

Going for a boat ride out of the marina at Edisto Beach is a little easier this summer, with the addition of two charter boats. The Thirsty Fish boat takes out fishing charters and the larger Thirsty Whale boat makes a variety of boating excursions looking for wildlife and making memories. Weekend sunset tours are always ready for booking, or plan ahead for alligator sighting trips or maybe take a longer Edisto river cruise to beat the summer heat.

The odds of sighting a whale in St. Helena Sound may be slim but customers riding along with Captain Moose can expect entertaining dialogue no matter what. A recent sunset boat ride out of the marina took us up Bailey Creek and eventually back down Big Bay Creek, with Capt. Jim Moose showing his wealth of local knowledge by sharing a different observation around every bend in the creek. The Thirsty Whale is a 28-foot Carolina Skiff equipped with a Yamaha 150-horsepower four-stroke engine, with comfortable seating for a dozen passengers. Twin Bimini tops provide shaded seating and safety rails run around the entire boat.

The Marina at Edisto Beach sells the spots on the sunset cruise each night until the boat ride is sold out. One never knows how many other vacationers might be aboard, but that is really a part of the entire Thirsty Whale experience. Captain Moose sees a diverse group of folks boarding every weekend, and his job is to blend his talks to accommodate everyone. Moose holds a history degree from USC, and after retiring from a concrete supply company he owned, he can tailor the history of the South and apply it to the surroundings at Edisto and the Lowcountry.

“I’ve had a boat charter license for 20 years, and I take a business approach to charters,” said Capt. Moose. “I like to start on time so that everyone begins on the same page, and after that I try and do the best job I can, like any other day at work. We expect visitors during the summer months, and I have had guests on board from California, New York and the Midwest. But we are also seeing our return customers growing year round, which is the lifeblood of a charter Captain.” The Thirsty Whale tours also feature Captain Cookie Boykin on certain trips, a retired game warden with a lifetime of experiences on the water.

Our recent trip included the Van Dort family visiting from Michigan, and they delighted in seeing the dolphins swim in the creek. While getting to know everyone on board Capt. Moose discovered that Andrew Van Dort is the now the manager at the BI-LO grocery store on Edisto. Captain Moose asked how he found his way to Edisto, and Van Dort replied that when ownership changed his phone rang and he moved his wife and kids to the island. His parents from Michigan were in town making an annual summer trip to visit, and Captain Moose welcomed them warmly.

“When it comes to wildlife sightings this summer I am seeing two bald eagles regularly in one area, and I know where an osprey nest is so we can swing by there and listen for their high-pitched calling,” said Capt. Moose. Shorebird and wading bird sightings vary with the level of the tide and our group was treated to the sight of a roseate spoonbill in flight near Mikell Plantation. Its graceful flight across Fishing Creek did not offer a photo opportunity, but it did create a high quality memory for us to enjoy both in the moment and afterward.

There is lots of lovely scenery in the Lowcountry like the spartina marsh with Palmetto trees in the background, creating the right ambiance for a sunset on the water. You are even allowed to bring a soft-sided cooler with your own food and beverages to enjoy. The vistas along on a Thirsty Whale tour make this money well spent, but Capt. Moose provides even more bang for your vacation bucks. If you enjoy your boat tour, then it is absolutely correct to tip your Captain upon returning to the dock.

Brian Bell is the manager at the Marina at Edisto beach and he keeps different Captains on deck for the Thirsty Fish Charters. The 23-foot Sea Pro boat has a 250-horsepower four-stroke Yamaha, a T-top for shade and a poling platform on the back. Fishing charters are for up to six people and this covers licenses, bait, tackle and ice. Fish for 3, 4 or even 6-hours depending on how long you have to chase trout, flounder and reds inshore. Add bottom fishing for triggerfish, black sea bass and don’t forget that Pressley’s at the Marina restaurant is happy to cook your catch of the day for dinner that night.

Bell reminds everyone that the Edisto Billfish tournament is coming up on July 19 – 21, and reports they already have 40 sportfishers registered to compete. Each night will offer live music and a meal for those wanting to participate in the summer’s biggest fishing tournament with daily weigh-ins. Thursday night features the Sound Dogs band and Friday night features the Moon Dogs band. Saturday night will balance food, music and the awards ceremony for the Edisto tourney winner and the Series Winner for the 2018 Governor’s Cup Billfishing tournaments.

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (360 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com