You know that phrase, “It’s not about where you are, but who you’re with?” I think everyone can agree a vacation experience can only be elevated when it includes good company. The opportunities for connection that come from sharing our travels with others lead to the kind of memories we reflect on forever and become our benchmark for any future trips.
I believe this phrase is just as true when it comes to tour experiences. No matter what kind of excursion you’re on, I would argue that if you have an experienced guide who genuinely loves sharing their passion with others, you’re bound to enjoy yourself and create the kind of moments vacation dreams are made of.
There are an endless number of experiences to be had across the Palmetto State, and with our legendary hospitality and charm, it stands to reason there also is an abundance of wonderful personalities to guide you through them all. This couldn’t have been truer for me when I headed back to Blacks Camp in Cross, South Carolina, for a day on the waters of Lake Moultrie.
If you remember, last season I visited Blacks Camp for my first-ever fishing experience in Santee Cooper Country—an outdoorsman’s paradise. The full-service fishing camp offers food, lodging and guide services on South Carolina’s famous Santee Cooper Lakes. While catching my first fish with Bobby Winters was one of my most memorable moments from Season 1, this time around, my mission was to backtrack a bit and get down to basics. I wanted to learn to captain a boat.
I feel like I’m a pretty good driver, but never having spent much time on the water growing up, the idea of driving a boat was pretty nerve-wracking. Insert my new friend, Kevin Davis. Kevin runs Blacks Camp and has been a professional fishing guide on South Carolina’s “Great Lakes” for more than 25 years. He’s one of those people that when you meet him, it’s like you’ve known him forever. It was so evident he loves being out on the water, and his contentment and ease instantly made me feel confident.
From the start of our “lesson,” he let me take the lead, instructing me on how to back the boat out from the dock. I was surprised he trusted me to take the wheel so quickly, but after I successfully maneuvered the craft in reverse and got going, every step after that felt easy. Even though driving a boat was totally new to me, and the waters were a bit choppy that day, I felt comfortable the entire time because of his steady presence and advice. He stepped in when I needed help but let me cut loose when I felt confident. And I did. I still remember the feel of the spray on my face as I flew across the water and how my cheeks actually hurt from smiling so hard.
As we got out on the main lake, we slowed down and chatted easily about the types of fish you can find in lakes Marion and Moultrie from season to season. He taught me the rules of navigating the waters of such a massive lake, and we talked a bit about the history of the area and its construction. It was so wonderful to simply have a conversation with someone who so clearly loves what he does and sharing his experience with others. Y’all, by the time we got back to the dock, I was ready to go out and buy a boat of my own. Learning how to captain a boat with Kevin’s help was one of the most fun mornings of my entire summer, and I’m certain I’ll be seeking out many more opportunities to get out on the waters of South Carolina!