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Hard night of wild camping

April 20, 2011

April 18, Hagley (mile 395)

I left the campsite at 11 and headed into the current towards Winyah Bay and Waccamaw River. The wind was on my back so I was moving along.

Before getting to the Bay, I ran into brush fires. Fortunately the wind blew the smoke away from the intracoastal. Otherwise it would have been quite a problem since the brush fires were spread over a mile.

I had been warned about the Waccamaw River, its three estuaries and its permanent seaward currents. When I turned into the Western canal of the river, I was surprised to see the color of the water. It was red. The current was fierce and with the back wind the standing waves were making my kayak pitch pretty badly. I was worried that I would stall entirely and get taken backward. This would have potentially broken my rudder pin since the rudder would have been trusted on one side or another with a lot of force as the boat bucked backward. Breaking a pin in this sort of river would have been pretty catastrophic but I would have made it to the side before heading out to sea.

The wind held the entire length of the river and I made it to the bridge without bailing too much water by sticking to the sides as much as possible. When I did cross the river to go under the bridge, the waves were big but manageable. I actually got to surf one pretty good right under the bridge.

The current continued to be bad until I stopped for lack of sun at mile 395 or Hagley. I found the municipal boat dock. There was no one in sight. The signs said that I could not leave my boat on the dock, so I tied it to a three on the side of the river. Next to the road leading to the dock there was a vacant lot. Everything else was very built up. I was hidden from view on all sides but it was not the best place to stop for wild camping. I did not have a choice so I pitched my tent I slept lightly until 4:30.

I took off in the night, against the current but with a back wind. I do not like to sail at night. I keep hitting floating debris and I worry about sailing into unlighted navigation aids or whatnot. I sailed against the current until I reached the nice Wacca Wache marina ( The people there let me use the shower, get coffee and use the internet. I am now waiting for the restaurant to open and the current to change direction.

  1. Gettin good at “wild camping”; Not bears you have to worry about, its deranged people. sheesh.

  2. Mike permalink

    be safe sir, sounding like one hell of an adventure

  3. Chekika permalink

    Quite an adventure, huh?

    Well done, Rene.

  4. Carolyn Pennell permalink

    Hey Rene,

    Very interesting stories! Hope you are doing well – sounds like yes and no. I get the impression some civilization will do you some good this summer. Other than that what an amazing experience!

    Take care and be safe,


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