The paddle was a planned 15 mile out and back paddle to islands where there are some remaining signs of the former town of Ferguson, South Carolina. Ferguson was a lumber town in the early 1900s. The Santee Cyprus Lumber Company ceased operations in 1915 and the town faded away. In the early 40�s Lake Marion was flooded and took over most of the town.
We launched at Rocks Pond marina and paddled the 2.5 miles to Speirs Landing the designated put in for the paddle. Wind was NE around 10. Waves were significant considering there was a 9 mile fetch between islands. So much one of the locals warned me a tone like �you�re gonna die� look out for the wind. We paddled to the put in and met the other two paddlers. The list earlier was up to 10 but the weather report looked iffy. We launched around 10:30 and paddled out in the lee of Church Island. Then we crossed the open stretch to Sixteen island. By then the wind had calmed to around 3 mph. The waves calmed considerably. Nice �flatwater� paddling for sea kayakers.
We paddled the lee of Sixteen Island to Ferguson Island under the watchful eye of a gator and some turtles. It was an easy paddle through Cyprus trees. We stopped to explore the ruins of the lumber mill and kiln building. That structure has been standing up to the waves for 70 years. It was showing wear. About 30% had already fallen. My construction eye looked for more to fall ���but I don�t have to fix it.
We returned along the windward side of the islands. The weather cleared and it turned hot and sunny. This time we were watched by the eagle. On Church Island we toured the old church foundations and cemetery. The grass was tall but you could tell it was still tended flags placed on some of the graves.
We returned to Rocks pond and the others returned to Speirs Landing. We did 16.5 miles with an average speed of 3.5 mph. If you go a good map and compass is necessary. We had some haze that made it easier to tell where one island stopped and another started. You could get lost easy. GPS coordinates and track plots are also helpful.
The resevior is wide and waves can build rapidly. Keep a weather eye. Conditions can rapidly be too much for the begineer. There are also "mines" in the water. Old trees that have broken off just below the water. Riding up on a wave then slamming down on a "mine" in the trough can hole your boat.
We stayed at Rocks Pond Camp Ground at the end of Rocks Pond Road. It is a large camp ground, RV, and concert venue.
If you�re not camping boat launch fee is $2.
If you launch at Spiers Landing Park it is free.
Take I-95 to the Highway 6 exit to Eutawville. Go south to Rocks Pond Road turn left to the end of the road.
Atlantic Mapping Inc produces a fishing map of the lake showing the old river bed, submerged roads, GPS coordinates and marinas. Most fishing areas have similar maps.