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Aug 21 2009

View from the water: sunsets

Sunset over the marsh. PHOTO BY: Chad Hayes

Sunset over the marsh. PHOTO BY: Chad Hayes

By Captain Chad Hayes

Nearly everyone who lives, or has the opportunity to visit the Lowcountry, experiences a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Many carry memories of the magical glow they witnessed on a crisp autumn morning, or the searing shine of a July afternoon. These memories can remind us of the best of times and warm our hearts with the recollection. In many countries, sunrise and sunset are worshipped and observed daily as everyone stops work to bask in the spiritual experience. Coffee is consumed and cocktails are enjoyed as we say hello or goodbye to another day.
During my time on the waters of the Lowcountry, my days often began before the sun rose and ended long after the sun set. The long hours take a toll on the body and mind, but I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to start and finish my days with such beauty. Over the years I have been able to capture many of these wonders on film.
I often wonder what it is about the ritual that intrigues and captivates us. Beauty and the adoration of Mother Nature are the obvious, but are there deeper meanings? Did our pre-historic relatives pass on a genetic affinity for the events? One would have to believe that, with all the dangers lurking in the pre-historic night, a sunrise would be cause for celebration, as it meant an end to the darkness and safety for another day.

What I do know is what it means to me: hot, hazy, orange July skies are a sure sign dolphins are strand feeding, the flounder are in and the sharks are hungry. The amber and violet tones of an October morning mean the trout are biting and the deer are about to rut; and a clear blue winter sunset means it’s cold and football is over, but it’s just the right time to go catch some blackfish. The reds are schooled up and the water is clear. The mosquitoes are gone (hopefully) and its time to clear the garden.

Take a few moments out of your busy day to watch Mother Nature fill her canvas with an amazing masterpiece of color. Reflect on what you have to be thankful for and the blessings you can create for others.
Until next time, take care, and we’ll see you on the water!

Captain Hayes, a South Carolina native, is a seasoned naturalist and fishing guide. A graduate of Presbyterian College with a degree in Biology, he is a former Fisheries biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and host of the “South Carolina Wildlife” television show. His knowledge of local history, ecology, dolphin behavior and fishing techniques will provide hours of enjoyment for you and your family or group. Captain Hayes is USCG licensed and insured. For more information, call the Kiawah Charter Company at 276-1832, visit their website at or email Captain Chad at

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