Captain John Ward Jr. presides over Affinity Charters’ trio of seaworthy vessels, which slice through Charleston Harbor’s surging whitecaps during boat tours, charters, and fishing trips. Ward Jr. holds a 100-ton Masters License from the U.S. Coast Guard, and his overarching goal is to provide guests with experiences that are safe, exciting, and productive.
During fishing trips, Captain Ward Jr. taps his more than 25 years of experience navigating Charleston's aquatic arteries to usher fisherpeople through the nutrient-rich ecosystem. Attendees cast their lines for numerous seasonal species, including sea bass, Spanish mackerel, and the increasingly rare leather boot.
Dolphin-encounters tours put seafarers face-to-bottlenose with an undulating army of slick-skinned mammals splashing through their natural habitat. Alternatively, information-hungry patrons can climb on board for an eco tour, where Captain Ward Jr. imparts facts about the harbor’s ecological ebb and flow, as well as its vibrant panoply of blacktip sharks, barracudas, and mer-senators. The harbor and sunset cruise allows drifting duos to observe the sun’s incandescent descent into a kaleidoscopic loch of rippling reds, oranges, and yellows, which glint off of downtown Charleston.
During the day, the Charleston Charter and Yacht fleet can be seen navigating the Atlantic ocean, racing to sites like Klawah Island, Fripp Island, Hilton Head Island, McClellanville, or Georgetown. But during the evening, the boats rock gently in the harbor, while inside their cabins, guests enjoy the amenities of staying in these unique, on-the-water suites. Beds, showers, living rooms, and entertainment centers can all be found in the galleys of the luxury boats, providing guests with an alternative to staying in land-bound hotels or learning how to sleep-float.
Charleston Sailing School provides sailing instruction helmed by experienced and certified captains and conducted within newly minted sea vessels. An Intro to Sailing class tours Charleston Harbor from within 25-foot Catalina sailing boats and teaches students the basics of sail rigging, steering, and waterway etiquette, imparting that words such as "luff" and "spinnaker" are more than just comic-book sound effects. Led by a salty crew of ASA-certified instructors, each with at least five years experience sailing the briny deep, Charleston’s classes are limited to four junior mariners apiece to allow for speedy headcounts after suspicious splashes and to ensure that everyone gets personalized instruction and enough time at the mast.
Aromas specializes in providing the best Asian, Thai, and American-inspired cuisine all in one comprehensive restaurant setting. Machete your way through the tough outer hull of its menu to reveal the delectable, savory fare within. Burgeoning grumbles can be quickly sated with an appetizer of larb, a dish of minced chicken or steak with ground rice, onions, and Thai spices served cold with a cabbage wedge ($6.95). Chow down on some Americana with Aromas' low- country fried shrimp, served with a house salad and ranch, bleu cheese, or balsamic vinaigrette dressing ($9.95), or combine both Southern and Eastern classics with a crispy fried basil catfish, with basil leaves, onions, and bell peppers in a brown Thai sauce ($13.95). The creamy fried ice-cream dessert ($4.95) is a much tastier end to a meal than devouring fried snow or frozen chicken. Aromas' downtown location is just one block from the historic Market Place and is stocked with a friendly, knowledgeable staff, making it a perfect place to launch an outing, cap off an evening, or open a rift in the fabric of time itself.
Sol Surfers employs a stable of experienced instructors to provide wave-riding guidance to students of all ages and skill levels. A two-hour private lesson can cover the basics of catching waves and balancing on the board, and more experienced riders can work on advanced cuts, develop their fine control, and learn how the pros hang all the way to a baker's dozen. Emphasizing safety first with ocean-going fun as a close second, Sol Surfer's watery sages introduce students to an exhilarating yet relaxing workout and a useful skill to have in tomorrow's dystopian water world. Pristinely maintained equipment is provided by Sol Surfers for all students, but students are also allowed to bring their own boards from home.