When my husband and I decided to be visitors in our town, we first looked to the Sea Pines Forest Preserve and discovered H2O Sports hosts an “Alligator Wine and Cheese Cruise” in the early evening (usually 4:30-6). This seemed like Lowcountry sophistication at its best so we invited a few couple friends.
Their reactions were, well, amusing:
- “Wine—yes. Cheese—definitely yes! Alligators—let’s not tell my husband [Rick] about that part.” -Parker Harrington
- “Why does this remind me of Gilligan’s Island?” -Kelly Hughes
- “Cocktailing with nature, why not?!” -Jenn Wilkins
Friday, March 1 we all meet at Marker #23 with open minds and tightly wrapped scarves and zipped up jackets (it was super cold in Hilton Head that day). Capt. Nick greeted us with a smile and a jovial British accent as we boarded the canopied boat supplied with a cornucopia of yummy cheeses and a selection of white and red wines.
As we launched the boat, the wine was poured and the wildlife abounded. An anhinga spread her wings to dry like clothes on a line. A woodpecker jackhammered a Spanish-Moss-covered limb. And three osprey circled around, patrolling for prey and our attention.
Capt. Nick, a certified naturalist, narrated the evening. He spoke about the history of the area—like how the first inhabitants were native Indians who came 4,000 years ago and how the first trails followed the rice fields of antebellum times. He discussed the migration of various bird species and environmental issues. And, he detailed how alligators mate, nest, and feed and showed us alligator eggs.
As Capt. Nick finished telling us about an alligator that had been found with several dog collars in his stomach, we spotted one lurking in the water a few feet from our boat. Parker’s husband Rick, the one with the alligator aversion, sighed, poured another glass of pinot noir, and popped a piece of gouda. We all had to laugh.
Despite Kelly’s initial trepidation, our floating, nature-filled cocktail party fared far better than Gilligan’s 3-hour tour, and we each admitted it’s good every so often to be a visitor in your own town—especially when your town is Hilton Head. Truth be told, most of us on the boat have grown up on the Island and each couple has lived here at least a decade. But because we all have demanding careers and children with active schedules, we had forgotten to take advantage of all that the Island has to offer. It was refreshing to be literally immersed and reconnected with Hilton Head’s unique flora and fauna. We were each reminded why we moved here and call Hilton Head home.
When the boat pulled back up to the dock, we all toasted to a good time and vowed to do it again. Who knows, I might even get this crowd excited about trying another H2O activity like parasailing—I can only imagine how funny their reactions will be for that invite.
H2O Water Sports also offers:
- Kayak Tours
- A Nature Center
- A Banana Boat
- Surf Camps