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Trip Report July 7-21, 2012

Tennessee
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936 posts
4 reviews
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Trip Report July 7-21, 2012

We left our home near Jackson TN on Friday about 2, after both working a half day. We drove to Meridian MS and spent the night at the Microtel Suites there. Clean ,but the tiniest room I have ever encountered. Glad I only paid $49. Went next door to McAllisters to eat. Left the next AM about 9 or so after a decent complimentary breakfast. We took hwy 45 S straight down from Jackson TN until Mobile. That is where we started to hit traffic. In Mobile just going into the tunnel. It was also very heavy after getting out of the tunnel on I 10. It did thin out before we got off to get on the toll road that goes to Gulf Breeze. OMG 98 was the most congested we have ever seen it. It seemed to take forever to finally get off 98 onto Santa Rosa Blvd. We stay at Beach Bums Hideaway, a studio at ground level at the Cloisters Townhomes. Only 5 TH. They sit between South Beach and Emerald Towers West. We have stayed here MANY times. We usually spend 2-3 weeks a year at BBH. Our usual sign greeted us at the entrance "Welcome Home Rodney and Vicki". We love this little quirky place. It is so comfy, clean and familiar to us. We proceeded to unpack. You need to pack little since Dave and Ginny provide most everything for you. I have a special beach chair and umbrella I always bring, but Dave also has those as well as beach toys, skim board, floats, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, blow dryer. There is also a wonderful private warm shower on the back deck. The deck also has a bar and table and chairs. It is fenced in with a bench and a tiny spot of grass. You can best understand the BBH is you check out their website. It is hard to describe. I brought my campstove and a stockpot as we wanted to have a shrimp boil on the deck. No cooking of seafood is allowed inside. The owners live upstairs and the fishy odors drift up into their home. I had made a grocery list before leaving home, so after unpacking, to Publix we went! BBH has no stove, but there is a toaster over, microwave, crockpot and electric skillet. I cook several times while we are there, but most mornings we had the usual cereal and fruit and sandwiches for lunch. We are divers since 1977. BBH is perfect for us. We keep our equipment on the back deck the entire time we are there and it is an excellent spot to clean our equipment post dives and hang to dry with no fear of anyone taking it.. There were 3-4 days while we were there that the water was that beautiful clear blue green that I so love. There was a small amount of June Grass the weekend we arrived, but it went away followed by the beautiful blue green. It did come some stormy weather while we were there, which brought in Sargassum Weed. This is the scratchy type seaweed from the Sea of Sargassum. It tends to be a nursery for many types of sea critters. My brother and his family were in Navarre for the first week we were there.My niece and nephew found 2 baby trigger fish and a puffer fish on some of it. The Sargassum piled up on ht beach about 6-8 inches and was a bit stinky for a day or so. High tide washed most of it out in a couple of days. I spent many hours under my umbrella on the beach reading, puncuated by several dives into the water to make my way out the the first sandbar and get on my float and float back in. Since there are only 5 units at the Cloisters the beach behind it is not crowded. Not sure what is going on, but I understood you could leave nothing on the beach overnight, but 2 frames for canopies were left on the beach behind the Cloisters for two days/nights. Nothing was ever done about them. The people were staying at Emerald Towers West. Most days, the yellow flags were flying. Only a red flag briefly one day. Several thunderstorms came through. The loud horn sounded to warm beach goers of the danger. GOLFING . My husband golfed one day at the Baytowne in Sandestin. He also played one day at the public course at Ft. Walton as well as hitting balls there and at Golf Garden in Destin. The traffic in Destin was horrible. From the time you got on 98 off Santa Rosa you were in heavy traffic. We found this to be so unless we were heading in to Destin early for a dive. DIVING We love diving on the Sea Cobra with Scubatech in Destin. We made a total of 10 dives in the two weeks we were there. They were wonderful. We saw our first seahorse, in the wild, on this trip. About 4 inches long and bright yellow and I got excellent pictures. We dove one day in very rough seas. It reminded me of " The Deadliest Catch" The boat was really bucking and it was pouring down rain. but we all made it back up the ladder with no problems and no one was seasick, which was unusual in the sea conditions. The thunderstorms kept rolling through and we dove between them. For those divers looking for a top notch operation, Scubatech is top notch and Capt. Nancy can really manage that boat!! DINING Dewey Destin on the bay x2, once at lunch and once at dinner and also on the harbor x2 at lunch. They have 24 dishes under $10 at lunch!! The view of the harbor is very nice from their covered deck. We got the same size steamed shrimp basket there for $4 less than on the Bay at lunch. We got steamed shrimp, grilled shrimp, seafood combo platter, grouper basket and bronzed scallop basket and all were yummy. We also ate at a new place in Ft. Walton, Stewbys Seafood Shanty on Racetrack. It was most excellent!!! Great prices too. We ate at What a Burger one day after a dive. All of our eating out was at lunch after a dive, except Stewbys and Dewey Destin Bayside, which were both for dinner. The wonderful thing at Dewey Destin, was we were able to put on coverups over our suits, put on a cap or visor and go in to eat. No need to dress up, etc. Our hair was windblown and wet from diving, but who cares! We had been diving and were starving. When we got up our last day there, it looked like it was going to rain all day long, so we took a trip down memory lane out 30A. For many years we went to Seagrove and also Inlet Beach before discovering Destin and finally Ft. Walton/Okaloosa 7 years ago. I was mortified by all the growth out 30A. One building on top of the other, crowded streets, people everywhere. My least favorite was Rosemary Beach. Way too developed and crowded for my taste. Inlet Beach was the least changed. We found the condo we used to stay in. We drove back to Commodores Retreat at Seagrove, where we stayed MANY times only to find it abandoned since 2008. It was very sad. We made so many happy memories there when our kids were young. Hidden Beach Villas, the very first place we stayed on the Panhandle and also at Seagrove Beach looked much unchanged as Did Leeward I. Even in the rain we hit lots of traffic both on the way to 30A as well as on the way back. Our very last night on Okaloosa, it is a tradition we eat at McGuires. We noticed they were open for lunch with no waiting. So we ate there. Hubby had his usual yummy steak and me a shrimp/oyster poboy. Mine was only okay but their freshly brewed rootbeer was to die for. We got eat in pizza from Papa Johns one night. We ate 3 whole key lime pies from Publix!! Well 1/2 of one my brother and his family helped on! By the time we got back to BBH after our trip down memory lane, it had cleared up and I hit the beach. I took the time to get a massage at Pure Spa on Perry, the street beside Pullix. $75/hr. Rachel did the massage and it was quite relaxing!!! I also hit Goodwill in Destin. I found several things there. It was a wonderful trip and I did not want to leave, HOWEVER, we will be returning on August 27 for another week at BBH!!! More diving, golfing and seafood. Just can't get enough, especially of the diving. We have been to the keys, the 3 islands on Puerto Rico and some of the Hawaiian Islands and still Destin diving is wonderful! ! Hope this has not been too lengthy. I have already booked our 3 weeks at BBH next summer!! We were going to Curaco but decided instead we liked Okaloosa too much!!

Louisiana
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68 posts
17 reviews
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1. Re: Trip Report July 7-21, 2012

Thanks for the great report, Scuba! Lots of good info. I was thinking about trying out the 30A area for our Sept trip, but now I'm very glad I booked our favorite place on Okaloosa again.

Decatur, Alabama
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1,820 posts
3 reviews
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2. Re: Trip Report July 7-21, 2012

Really REALLY enjoyed your trip report!

Sounds like you both had a great time.

oklahoma
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190 posts
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3. Re: Trip Report July 7-21, 2012

Loved your TR...we will be there Aug 27 also!

Little Rock...
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914 posts
5 reviews
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4. Re: Trip Report July 7-21, 2012

I enjoyed your report! This has been our 1st Summer not to stay @ Okaloosa Island. We stayed there every June for the last twelve years. I will always have wonderful memories of our family vacations spent there.

My husband & I also stayed out on 30-A when we were 1st married & have not returned to stay there since 1987.

Have fun on your next trip in Aug.!

Pittsburgh
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508 posts
35 reviews
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5. Re: Trip Report July 7-21, 2012

Really enjoyed your trip report.

No offense intended, but it would be great if you left an extra space between lines occasionally. It was very hard to read.

miss
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89 posts
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6. Re: Trip Report July 7-21, 2012

wow you guys really know how to make the most out of a trip.

i have always wanted to dive never have tried it

7. Re: Trip Report July 7-21, 2012

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