We put in at Cannons Bridge in Bamberg, SC. Our destination was Zig Zag landing approximately 17 miles down river on the main stem. The river was low and fast, and there were several fallen trees but we did not have to portage. This black water river is very tight and technical and you have to keep a close watch for underwater obstacles, even after it comes together with the North Edisto and widens 10 miles down from Cannons Bridge. Everything was moving along nicely, we saw a lot of wildlife.(Deer, Turkeys, Wood Ducks, King Fishers, Great Blue Herons etc.)
With around 1/2 mile to go we caught a log sideways on a sharp bend and it had us square underneath the middle of my 16' Mohawk Blazer. There was my wife's Uncle and Her 12 year old nephew in the Canoe with me, the canoe flipped. The water temp is in the Fifties right now and the air temp was in the thirties. We all had life vest on (WEAR YOUR LIFE VEST!!!) and were swept into a log jam on the outside of the bend. The canoe was swept into the same area and I managed to grab my dry bag and throw it on the bank (KEEP A DRY BAG!!) All three of us were hypothermic and starting a fire was of the utmost importance. I could not find my waterproof matches, all I could find was an empty lighter. I was shivering so bad that I could not get the lighter to work at all. As the hypothermia increased I stopped shivering and by the grace of God got a tiny flame from the lighter and managed to start a fire. It was very dry so the fire got big in a hurry and we all got warm fairly quickly. I had my cell phone in my dry bag and called 911, two hours later we were rescued by a Volunteer from the Cope Fire Dept. Thank God for volunteers. He even saved my canoe, and by this time it was pretty dark. Be Prepared!!
There are a few small Hotels in Bamberg and several major chains in nearby Orangeburg SC.
Bamberg, SC is twenty miles below Orangeburg, SC on HWY 301.
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Advanced
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)