Special Issues » Summer Guide 2011

The Thriller will give you a high-velocity view of the Holy City

The Fastest History Lesson Around

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Anyone who has visited Charleston in the middle of summer has been there — walking around the Battery and watching the locals out on their yachts and sailboats in the harbor, you think, "That's definitely the way to appreciate Charleston's hot and sticky beauty."

Luckily, Barbara and Mark Fox recognize the pain of being stuck on the peninsula. A few years ago, Mark obtained his master mariner captain's license and the couple purchased the Thriller. Perhaps you've seen it: It's a 55-foot yellow power catamaran that cruises Charleston's waterways, blasting rock music. It looks a bit intimidating — after all, this baby can fly. But Barbara says there's no reason to worry. They follow all Coast Guard-imposed speed limits, and guests as young as three are encouraged to come out.

She says, "I'm trying to give a good, fun, educational tour to people who are coming down to Charleston to learn things."

As the boat passes major landmarks, including Fort Sumter, the Morris Island Light House, the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, and the Battery, the Foxes regale riders with historic tales of the city.

"I'm the tour guide typically," Barbara says. "But no one really wants to listen to me for an hour, so when I'm not talking, we're listening to rock music, Metallica, AC/DC, the Doobie Brothers — it's all good."

The boat goes out four times a day during the peak of the summer season, beginning at 1 p.m., with the last departure set for 7 p.m. Fox says that while the afternoon is popular for sun bathers, the evening trip is one of the most attractive. "It is cooler, and when you're coming back from the ocean, you're watching the sun set over Charleston, so it's a very pretty time to be going out on the boat."

Barbara encourages her riders to bring water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and little else. The Thriller has plenty of dry storage and Ziplock baggies on hand for cell phones and keys. "I tell my guests to just sit back, relax, enjoy the sun, the spray, some good tunes, we'll go over some waves and see 30 miles of South Carolina shoreline," Fox says.

The Thriller,
$30/adults, $20/children 3-12,
(843) 276-4203,
thrillercharleston.com

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