One of the best parts of being a kayak guide is you never know what might happen. This morning, Amanda and I both had Salt Marsh Tours. We were unloading the boats and trying to wipe several pounds of pollen out of the seats when Amanda looked up and said “Hey! There’s a raccoon swimming across the marsh!” We got out the binoculars and sure enough, a raccoon was slowly making his way down the main creek towards the landing.
Raccoons are very common on the edges of Murrells Inlet. They feed on fiddler crabs, shrimp, and fish caught at low tide. They actually will get a brownish red color to their fur because of all the carotene in the crab and shrimp shells they eat (very similar to why spoonbills and flamingos are pink). The unusual thing about today was it was a VERY high tide, so there were no crabs or shrimp for him to catch. I suspect the very high tide caught this raccoon out in the marsh and he found himself stuck in open water with no dry land nearby.
As we watched the little guy paddle his way towards land, he began to slow down a little and it looked like he was getting worn out, so I jumped into my kayak and paddled out to see how he was doing. It turns out he was getting tired, and he promptly swam up to my kayak and climbed onto the bow. Looking like a cold, drowned rat, he sat himself down and waited expectantly for me to paddle him back to dry land. We made it back to shore, and he promptly jumped off the bow and scurried off into the bushes.