Pulling up to the water, the bay stretched out before us, blue as could be. With a combined effort, we pulled each kayak from the truck bed, lugging them to the water's edge. The sky was a brilliant blue, and the steamy summer temperature was hovering around 90 degrees. Perfect day to spend in and on the gorgeous Gulf water.
As we paddled out from the shore, we saw dozens of water-lovers enjoying the summer day just as much as we were. There were boats buzzing all around, from the Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise to some locals in small crafts enjoying the lure of Panama City Beach fishing. As boaters sailed alongside one another, they shared waves of hello. On the shores of the bay, there were several huge groups of people ... families playing in the sand, setting up umbrellas and beach chairs, showing their kids how to catch water critters.
We chose a quiet route, close to the shore for our outing. With snorkel masks in tow, we paddled along a little ways before coming to a stop near some rocks, knowing that would be the perfect place to spot marine life. Heading underwater, masks perched atop our heads, we found a whole variety of underwater creatures! I spotted a clam near a dock piling, opening and closing its "mouth", something I had never seen before. My boyfriend found scallops, live sand dollars and even a massive spider crab.
Seeing a live sand dollar was an unforgettable experience. Having only seen the dried out, dead versions of these unique creatures, watching them alive, seeing their dozens of tiny feet moving along, was fascinating. They're far more lovely in their natural, chestnut colored state, than the parched white you see in shell shops.
For several hours we splashed around, glimpsing mangrove snapper, pinfish and hermit crabs galore. I was ecstatic, right at home among our water-dwelling friends. The lyrics to "Under the Sea", from "The Little Mermaid" swam through my head, and I smiled to myself thinking how right Sebastian was.
When the sun started to sink in the sky and our fingers proved appropriately pruny, it was time to head home. But spending a day beneath the waves helped remind me why I love living here, and why I work to help promote Panama City Beach as a destination. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! The Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau is here to help. And we know plenty of great spots to bring a kayak. :)