Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Destin, Florida

We anchored in Destin Harbor after our experience with big waves on the Gulf. It wore us out!!
It was delightful to get anchored and be STILL! Did I mention how high those waves were ALL day on Friday out in the Gulf? (6-8 feet with a couple of major heels to the side) Did I mention how our boat looked inside? Just think of your boat or house being turned upside down and you've got the picture. What a disaster!! And to think, our bodies were doing that, too.  I have to say, Paul and I could be fast becoming seasoned sickness aboard yet. Thanks to our Bonine (and many thanks to our friend, Jen Sheehy, for that tip!!!) and our wrist bands. We use both and it seems to keep us steady the whole time. We're almost out of our Bonine though!! EEK! Gotta get some more of that life-saver.

Destin seems to have turned into a veritable hot spot of restaurants, bars, marinas, bait shops, etc. Quite a moving city. We talked with a young man, probably in his 40's, who lived there for 10 years. He said when he arrived, it was a small town community, with only a couple of restaurants and his shop (a bait, gas, ice stop). In a few years time, it has grown up to be a thriving and busy place. Of course, whether that's for the better or worse depends on one's view.

Our arrival at night into Destin Harbor

Better shot

The Harbor is pretty, and seemed fairly large to us. When we anchored on Friday night, the lights of Destin were reflecting off the harbor, surrounding us with multi-colored water patterns. So pretty! We found our spot to anchor and dug in well. I emailed our friends who were also there, Janet Lee and Michael, to let them know we had arrived. They have been anchored here since Dec. 6th, and seem to have made themselves at home. During our Gulf  journey, Janet and I were texting back and forth. Since they had had a crazy ride over from Kemah, they really understood what we were experiencing.

The following day, a neighbor came up to our boat in his dinghy and introduced himself as Kevin. Nice younger guy, said he lived on his boat, a smaller Catalina, and his parents lived next door on their Motor Yacht Trawler. The whole fan-dam-ly! :) Love it! Very nice folks.
Kevin's Mom and Dad's boat

Kevin's little Catalina in foreground

Later, Janet and Michael came by to say hi, and directed us to a docking site for our dinghy. Paul inflated our dinghy and we got the motor onto it, then went tooling around the shores, checking places out. Of course, I forgot my camera. Rats!! I wanted so much to take shots. We came back to the boat to make ourselves a bit more presentable, and went back over to have lunch at a shabby looking shack that was thriving with people. Had to have good food. And they did. I had a Mahi Mahi sandwich that had a huge slab of fish in it! Delicious!!! Paul had his ubiquitous chicken sandwich. :) The man just won't eat fish!
Janet, Michael, and Diane at Destin West Marine Store

Paul at Destin West Marine

Me, sopping wet from the rain, West Marine, Destin

Janet and Michael at West Marine, Destin

On a more serious note, there was a "May Day" call on channel 16 that was very heart-wrenching. A man was in a dangerous situation outside of Destin harbor. The waves get pretty bad outside the entrance to the harbor, and we had a bad encounter with a breaking wave going in, as well. So we knew how scary this situation was for him. He had his wife and daughter with him, and apparently the waves kept hitting the side of their boat, swamping it, and pushing it into the rock jetties. His voice was desperate, and it scared both Paul and I for them. We had to leave to join some folks, but really wanted to stick with the announcement so we'd hear if they came out ok. We never heard.  However, on our way out of the harbor when we left, we experienced a similar occurrence. It was low tide, and the water was going out, so there was an undercurrent of water in the breakers as we came out of the harbor. We were radioed by a family whom we had met in the harbor while anchored next to them. They were heading out about an hour earlier, and they warned us that the breakers were treacherous and to be very careful.
Our harbor neighbors on their boat: S/V YaRika. For people in Waterford Marina, you may recognize this boat as "Rika",
who sat in Little Yacht Sales for quite awhile. These are Steve and Milissa and their two teens. That is one big boat!! These are the folks who radioed us about the treacherous breakers outside the Harbor. 

 So we were ultra-vigilante. Didn't matter! We went over two good sized breakers and when we came up from the second one, there was a huge monster wave that had just curled over and was facing our Dodger. (for those who don't know what a Dodger is, it's like your car windshield, but most are made of plastic). I was looking up at this wave and as it barreled down on us, it broke through our Dodger, then smashed our dinghy breaking the transom, it broke our starboard port window letting water rush into the V-berth, and my phone, our SPOT tracker, and Paul's computer all bit the dust. It was an expensive and scary encounter! Our cockpit had almost 2 feet of water in it, and our downstairs had water all over the floors and furnishings. Paul and I have talked about it since then, wondering if there was any way to have avoided that breaker. It came so quickly on the heels of the second wave, we don't think there was time to do anything. Needless to say, almost everything on our boat was wet...including us. All day.

Also, while we were anchored out in Destin Harbor, there was a very windy night, which apparently I slept right through. In the morning Paul took pictures of a boat anchored off our starboard bow whose mast had been broken by the wind. You can see how gray it is from the rain and clouds.
The boat with the broken mast.

Needless to say, Destin is not a destin-ation we plan on re-visiting any time soon. There were several other mishaps while we were there...and I think the waters are not very safe in that area. I would advise sailors to either pick Pensacola, or Panama City, but bypass Destin. Just not a safe entrance. We heard that from several other sailors in Panama City, too. They said that lots of fishermen who are in the Destin area, have a hard time with that entrance/exit. Too bad, though, It really is a lovely city.

We stopped for diesel fuel and water, and I took some shots as we were leaving, before we got hit by the breaker. Nice place, but doubt we'll ever go there again.

Part of the Destin shoreline

Where we were anchored

Apartment complexes on the bay

Boats docked around the harbor

docked boats

Zip line or Slide for life in Destin

Other side of the zip line behind boats docked. Condos on left.

The Buccaneer


Where we got our diesel fuel

Another shot of the end of the zip line
behind the boats docked next to Margaritaville

Leaving Destin Harbor


The sandy beaches on the point going out of Destin

Last looks back at Destin...It is our Destin-y never to go there again. (Unless by
car, train, truck, bus, etc.)


  1. Ahhh!! Just realized you had posts from 2016 too.. That breaker wave sounds awful.. What a scary experience..

  2. I have used an Iphone for the last four years, but i dont really liked cuz there aren't a lot of useful applications that I prefare to use. For example this tracking app But anyway thanks for this article, it was very interesting to read.