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.
A Snappy Event brings Charleston residents together for fun and food-centric events held throughout the year. The party-planning machinations started with the Mac Off, a no-holds-barred mac 'n' cheese cook off, and have spread to other cuisine-themed bashes such as sushi festivals, oyster roasts, and ground-beef food fights. The annual food truck hoedown beats back the February chill with satisfying food and a raging bonfire, while the Top Gun '80s party is held from the flight deck of the USS Yorktown.
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.
The ninth generation to cultivate the 300-acre farm, Helen Legare Floyd, Linda Legare Berry, and Thomas S. Legare continue the agricultural legacy started by their ancestor Solomon Legare in 1725. The kin raise hormone- and antibiotic-free Black Angus and hereford cattle, hormone-free chickens, and fine-heritage pigs such as yorkshire and hampshire. Concerning the plant kingdom, their fields yield chemical- and pesticide-free vegetables. They round out their output with homemade jams, jellies, pickles, and salsas, making their food available through a co-op program, whose proceeds help fund seed, fertilizer, and water for the next season. Beef, pork, and eggs are also offered for sale.
Food aside, the family shares its farm's resources by inviting visitors onto the grounds for numerous events throughout the year. A fall festival in October includes a 10-acre hedge maze, horse rides, and a scarecrow factory where guests can create a scarecrow. The farm hosts historical reenactments of the Battle of Charleston in March, three-hour hayride and bonfire excursions in November through March, and educational programs for youngsters including chick rentals for the classroom. Other agritourism offerings include summer camp, bonfires, birthday parties, and field trips.
Jesse Nelson looks forward to summer weather—it means the sharks are coming to town. The Coast Guard–certified captain relishes the charters he takes with clients to hook and wrestle the oceanic predators that flock to the coast as the climate warms. Having navigated the Lowcountry's angling spots for his entire life, Jesse knows how to hunt down the toothy specimens as well as most other native fish. He pursues barracuda and king mackerel on nearshore reefs, and steers through salt marshes to land flounder, sheepshead, and red drum, always abiding by catch-and-release rules.
Guests needn't be fishers to board his 23-foot Polar Bay boat, however. Jesse also plans recreational river retreats that include ecological tours, shelling expeditions, and dolphin-watching voyages. He customizes each trip based on the crew's desired sights, whether they hope to snap wildlife photos or simply make fun of waterbirds for walking so goofily.