Windmills in Hilton Head?

Today we had an easy 25 mile trip through South Carolina Low Country from Savannah to Hilton Head Island. We passed fields of sea grass and beautiful waterfront homes.

The marked ICW channel follows a series of rivers and large creeks, and a few times the deep ICW channel crossed a large but shallow river. Currents make these waterway intersections silt up, so the Army Corps of Engineers regularly dredges the ICW to keep water depth at the required level.

As we approached one of those waterway intersections, tugboat Captain Brennan was towing dredging gear directly across our path. When we hit neutral and hailed the captain on bridge-to-bridge channel 13, he turned to port and radioed us to “come on across my bow”, so we did (with some trepidation)!

Hilton Head is very busy with a golf tournament, so popular marinas Shelter Cove and Harbour Town were full. We found a spot at smaller Windmill Harbour Marina. One might expect canals, locks and windmills in the Netherlands, but on a South Carolina island?

The 15 acre Windmill Harbor is at the center of a beautiful Charleston-inspired community of condominiums and homes. To enter the harbor, boaters pass through a small private lock that keeps harbor water levels at about the level at ICW high tide.

As boats lock through during the day, the harbor water drops a few inches, but at ICW high tide the lock gates are opened to replenish the harbor water.

Lock entry channel
We used transmissions and thrusters to keep R&R in the center of the Windmill Harbor lock.

Inside the lock in the Windmill Harbor basin, the water is glassy smooth, calm and unaffected by 7-8 foot tides in Skull Creek outside the lock.

Another safe harbor.
Colorful homes surround the harbor.

We took an evening dinghy ride around the community. Beautiful!

We like the area so much that we decided to stay a couple of nights. We hope to tour Hilton Head Island on rented e-bikes tomorrow.

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