Countless people have visited the Lowcountry in an effort to enjoy the marshes, coves, and beautiful beaches. Fortunately, there are great opportunities for fun both below and above these welcoming waters.
A good place to start is Carolina Dive Locker, the Lowcountry’s premier center for scuba diving, snorkeling, and spearfishing. Conveniently located where Coleman turns into Ben Sawyer Boulevard, Carolina Dive Locker is an SSI Diamond and PADI accredited dive training center, offering certification courses among many other services.
The Locker was founded by former US Navy diver Jeff Eidenberger. Originally from Michigan, his passion for underwater exploration was sparked by the many lakes in his home country. He mastered scuba diving while in the service before becoming a certified hard hat diver. Eidenberg spent many hours exploring subterranean shipwrecks, including the Civil War battleship USS Monitor. Now he is eager to share his love with those who want to learn.
The master diver quickly learned that “many people wanted to try diving here and, if they liked it, they obtained the certifications that would allow them to dive in the most exotic and difficult places in the world”.
Eidenberger emphasized that from a novice’s first dive to their highest certification, safety is the first rule. New divers are trained and tested in a controlled environment, currently a swimming pool. When a new diver “graduates”, he or she can then take a ride on the Locker’s dive boat to explore nearby reefs. Additionally, Carolina Dive Locker sponsors guided dive trips to more exotic locations such as Florida Springs, Bonaire, and the Cayman Islands.
For qualified divers who aspire to dive without an external air supply – a growing sport – the Locker offers training in the principles of free diving.
“It can be a very appealing option,” Eidenberger said, “for swimmers experienced in snorkeling, like I did growing up.”
While competitive free divers can dive to depths greater than 600 feet, free dives with Eidenberger guides are limited to 30-60 feet for safety reasons. When it comes to spearfishing, Carolina Dive Locker will be happy to dive alongside you, once you’ve proven you can handle the equipment safely and competently.
If you don’t think the underwater world is your thing, your focus may shift to the sky instead. If so, you’ll want to head to Shem Creek and Tidal Wave Water Sports. Better yet, ask if you can be picked up by their accommodating van to avoid the hassle of parking at the creek.
There, you’ll meet Michael Fiem, who founded Tidal Wave Water Sports in 1996. According to Fiem, Tidal Wave offers two distinct water experiences. One is the jet ski. Takers have fun flying over Charleston Harbor and the surrounding waters aboard the popular personal watercraft. For first-timers, he recommends the hour-long guided tour that includes Fort Sumter, the USS Yorktown, and the Morris Island Lighthouse. For riders who want more, Tidal Wave offers four-hour expeditions that include the Isle of Palms, Bulls Bay, Capers Bay, Goat Island and Breach Inlet backwaters.
“Flying a jet ski is actually pretty easy to do,” Fiem said. “We provide all the instructions and life jackets you will need.”
If you’re looking for adventure beyond jet skiing, how about the exciting opportunities offered by parasailing? You may have seen parasails soar through the sky under a specially designed parachute-shaped canopy pulled by a speedboat.
“It’s my favorite activity,” said Fiem. “We put everyone in climbing-style harnesses and it’s a complete dry experience. We can make anyone fly, including kids, who love it! We even flew a legless individual in a special harness we built…as well as a 96-year-old man.
Since its inception, Tidal Wave has never had a parasailing accident. Its equipment is tested regularly to meet all US Coast Guard specifications. They will not take “flyers” in sustained winds blowing over 20 miles per hour.
“It’s very smooth when you’re sailing up there,” Fiem said. “People always tell us of their amazement at the calm and peace up there, overlooking the world below.”
Tidal Wave is even happy to host group adventures. Piloted excursions and private charters are available for up to 15 people.
Between Carolina Dive Locker and Tidal Wave Watersports, adventures big or small are possible. Tourists and locals alike can experience the various waterscapes exactly as they dreamed.