The Charleston Bucket List

J in boat

In the past few weeks we have been working on our Charleston Bucket List, that is, the things we want to do before we leave for our RTW. Generally the list has been restaurants, museums, and historic houses that we haven’t yet managed to visit.

Another fun thing that was on the list that we managed to do a few days ago … rent a power boat for a river cruise. Now to all you regular boaters out there this may sound like small beans, but to a couple of novices like us it was fun, and at the same time, more than a little scary. And just so you know, our only previous experience with water craft is paddling kayaks around a calm Florida marsh.

What we expected was a calm putt-putt up and down the Ashley and Cooper Rivers looking at the fancy boats and big houses. What we got was an 18’ Key West power boat with a big honkin’ 115 hp engine. Again, this may sound like fun, but then we got the 45 minute orientation from Captain Allie. Basically the training was designed to scare the bejesus out of us and boy did it work. We covered navigating in tidal rivers, oyster beds, proper etiquette in the ship channel, how to deal with container ships (avoid them at all costs), docking the boat and pumping your own gas without ramming the dock. And last but not least, we were totally responsible for any and all damage to the boat. The good Captain was kind enough to keep our credit card just in case.

However, it wasn’t a total disaster. Once we got over the shock, and got out on the water we had a good time. The high points were dolphins playing 10’ from the boat, cruising under the beautiful Ravenel Bridge, and having to hightail it out of the shipping channel to let a 800’ container ship pass.

I mentioned to Terri that renting this boat probably saved us thousands of dollars. Now I know, no way do I want to buy a boat!!

Happy Trails,


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

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