Everyone knows that Destin is known as “The Luckiest Fishing Village in the World” and has been for over 100 years. After all, the largest private fishing charter fleet in the entire Gulf of Mexico is located here due to the close proximity to deep water and abundant fishing. It also helps that Destin is sandwiched in between the gorgeous gulf on the south side and the miles wide, clear Choctawhatchee Bay to the north. Local renowned known restaurants serve up superb, succulent fresh fish daily, most of which is off loaded from docks in the Destin Harbor. However, what a lot of our Ocean Reef visitors do not realize is that besides the fun of catching fish for sport and enjoying eating them in fine seafood restaurants you have another option. You can literally swim with the fish! One of the premier participants in making these adventures happen is the Destin Snorkel group. This locally owned operation provides friends and families with a wonderful, happily memorable time swimming among the colorful fish that congregate along the rocky reef at Jetty East as well as along the sea grass fields in the bay.
The company called Destin Snorkel (850.269.2329) provides boats, tours, snorkeling equipment and even something called Snuba diving which is a hybrid sport of simultaneous snorkeling and scuba diving. They are located right on the dock at Harborwalk Village next to the marina just a short distance from the Destin Bridge. Two big boats called Reef Runner and Kokomo accommodate up to forty nine people on each vessel. Experienced Captains as well as the friendly crew make sure that you have a safe, enjoyable experience that pleases people in all age groups and abilities. Captains are Coast Guard Certified and the crew is Life Guard Certified. This is where your sunny adventure begins since these boats take you and your group out into East Pass where the bay opens into the gulf waters.
The Kokomo was the first to offer snorkeling adventures in Destin and The Reef Runner was the first vessel to offer visitors all day snorkeling adventures. Sanitized equipment is provided to all the happy voyagers which includes the mask, snorkel and fins. They even provide cold complimentary bottles of water and soda for all the passengers throughout the day. However, you are welcome to bring your own cooler for snacks, a picnic lunch or other beverages as well. It is always recommended that you bring plenty of sun screen and perhaps a beach towel. Many guests like to bring their cameras along too for some great dolphin photo ops. In recent years, underwater cameras have become popular so that you can show everyone the multicolored fish you saw under the emerald green waters of Destin along the rocky reef.
The Kokomo provides a two stop snorkeling tour which lasts approximately three hours. After leaving the dock you sail underneath the Destin Bridge, past Crab Island and out into Choctawhatchee Bay. Often times you will see pods of dolphin frolicking near the boat which is a delight to all. The first fabulous stop is out in the sea grass fields where schools of fish, crab and sea urchins may be found in swimming pool clear waters that are between three to four feet deep. After spending about an hour at this location, anchor is pulled and you are taken back under the bridge searching for dolphin along the way and over to the Destin Jetties. Here you can snorkel along the rocky reef that juts out into the gulf and harbors colorful fish. There is even a beach available and guests may use kayaks while there.
The Reef Runner also provides similar three hour tours, (Not the Gilligan's Island variety!), in the “off season” but starts up all day snorkeling tours during the Summer. The “all day” excursions launch at 9:00 am and return at 3:30 pm. If you are unable to get your group together that early don't worry. A shuttle service leaves from the dock every half hour starting at 10:00 am and running back and forth until the Reef Runner returns. This way you can stay for the day or get out there and come back whenever you want to do so. This is the perfect remedy in case some of your group wants to rendezvous back at Harborwalk Village later on while the rest of you stay out snorkeling until later in the afternoon. The Reef Runner, like the other boat has access to the beach at Holiday Isle along with some free kayaks for use there on the premises.
Besides snorkeling you may also try your fins at Snuba Diving. Destin Snorkel was one of the first to provide access to this relatively new sport. As previously stated, it is a combination of snorkeling and deep sea diving. It is a unique, patented shallow water diving system that allows you to enjoy the benefits of each. You can breathe underwater but without a big air tank on your back. This allows you maneuverability of snorkeling but with the underwater benefit of Scuba diving. Snuba divers are connected by air hose to a tank that floats twenty feet above you on a raft that follows you as you explore the depths below. The air line allows you to explore depths up to twenty feet down near the bottom without the heavy equipment or certification required for regular Scuba diving. Each Snuba Dive is accompanied by a diving professional who will help familiarize you with the equipment and provide instruction. You can learn this sport easily if you are an average swimmer, even if you have never snorkeled before. In fact kids as young as eight years of age have been able to Snuba Dive. The Coast Guard approved “Snuba Runner” departs from the dock at set times throughout the day for tours that generally run from two to three hours. This includes time for instruction which begins in shallow waters before taking you to a good dive spot. Instruction includes a fifteen minute safety review of the equipment along with breathing methods, underwater hand signal communication, controlled ascent as well as descent moves, mask clearing and ear equalization techniques. The dive tours are all guided by a professional at all times who will also fit you with your own Snuba harness, mask, fins and weight belt.
A global travel review website gives Destin Snorkel a Four and one half Star Rating and it is listed on their site as one of the Top Ten Tours you can take while visiting Destin. Guests stated such accolades as: “Loved it!”, “the highlight of our vacation”, “fun and enjoyable cruise”, “Great time”, “staff was so friendly and made sure everyone had an enjoyable time” and “Best time ever!”
Here at Ocean Reef we are always pleased to let our guests know all the latest popular attractions and activities along The Emerald Coast. We have choice Destin Vacation Rentals to suit any family or friend reunion so be sure to check out our user friendly website. After all, there is really no place like this particular piece of paradise since we are blessed with clear pristine, emerald green hued waters and sugar white, quartz crystal sands. Now you and yours can swim with the fish that provide a colorful, underwater rainbow of motion in beauty on your very own Destin snorkel adventure!