If you go:
What: Cap’n Rod’s Lowcountry Plantation Tours, Georgetown, S.C. 29440
When: Monday through Saturday; Sundays by appointment
Tour length: The Plantation River Tour is a three-hour excursion; The Lighthouse Shell Island Tour is a four-hour excursion. Each costs $32 for adults and $27 for children (age 3 and under)
Where: Passengers board on Front Street at the Harborwalk, behind the Rice Museum (the Town Clock); Reservations are recommended.
Information: Call 843-477-0287 or visit lowcountrytours.com
He gives folks intimate views of a world invisible to land dwellers during his exploration of rivers, swamps and whatever exists between them.
Passengers willing to carve out three or four hours of their day see history through Singleton’s eyes and quickly realize beauty is abundant, be it from the past or present.
“When you take people where things in history happen and tell them about the people involved, they will remember better than reading about that same history from a book,” said Singleton, who lives on a houseboat.
There are two, distinct tours Singleton gives: the Plantation River Tour and the Lighthouse Shell Island Tour, the former lasts three hours and the latter lasts 4 hours. Both are available Monday through Saturday. Each showcases two different perspectives of Georgetown County.
The Plantation River Tour gives passengers an assessment of the treasures found while coasting along tranquil rivers where plantation homes, former rice fields, stately oak trees and wildlife await. Undisturbed natural scenes, elevated in loveliness by time, define the landscape with stunning architecture no man could make.
“If you open your mind and close your eyes and follow every bend of the Waccamaw River, you step back in time,” Singleton said.
He journeys through history with stories about practices and people once firmly planted along the coast.
“There were more than 170 rice plantations within 30 miles of Georgetown [during colonial times],” he said. “It was the African slaves who taught the Europeans how to grow rice. A lot of folks around here won’t admit that because of their pride, but [archeologists] have found rice [straw] in the Egyptian pyramids.”
Singleton also shares colorful compendiums about distinguished Georgetown County residents of old as a part of the tours.
“Elizabeth Waties Allston Pringle, in the late 1800s or early 1900s, gave the slaves one acre of land for every acre she would crop,” Singleton said. “She married John Julius Pringle, but he died before they had any children. She raised two little black boys after their mama died of malaria or yellow fever – she promised their mama she would take them in and raise them…She nicknamed them Rab and Dab.”
His retelling of the past keeps passengers riveted.
Even if Singleton were silent, people would still be gripped by the dazzling presence of nature. On the Lighthouse Shell Island Tour, as well as the Plantation River Tour, wildlife boldly shows off its goods.
“We see new bald eagles’ nests each year,” Singleton said. “You can see more than 200 osprey nests, if it is low tide. We will actually stop the boat just to see all the baby alligators.”
Alligator Alley, about nine miles south of the Intracoastal Waterway in Georgetown, is a place he goes to for private family excursions on a smaller boat he has. The larger boat carries 50 passengers.
Various vegetation, turtles and snakes are some of the flora and fauna woven into the fabric of Cap’n Rod’s Lowcountry Plantation Tours.
“Just about every day, we see dolphins,” Singleton said.
On the Lighthouse Shell Island Tour, passengers travel to North Island, the unblemished barrier island accessible only by boat upon traversing Winyah Bay. It has 1,410 acres of uplands and 1,703 acres of marsh.
“People can pick up seashells and driftwood, but they can’t walk in the sand dunes and the woods,” Singleton said.
Singleton also offers evening tours around the harbor and tells supernatural tales under the moonlight.
“I will do anything my passengers want me to do, as long as it is legal,’’ he said.
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