A long weekend is a good time to get away and do some boating on the Santa Rosa Sound.
Located east of Pensacola, Florida, between Navarre and Destin, the Sound has a barrier island that protects the coast from rough surf. Santa Rosa Island, at the bottom of this map, has a large section owned by . . . the United States Government.
The beach property protects the air space leading up to Hurlburt Air Force Base, which is crucial, and serves as training ground for Special Operations Forces. It’s common to see military planes and helicopters flying over your fishing spot.
You can see in this photo, which is looking west, how the commercial area abruptly ends. The pristine white sand beyond, belongs to Uncle Sam.
Left to right is: Gulf of Mexico, Santa Rosa Island, Santa Rosa Sound, and a bit out of view is the mainland of Navarre, Mary Esther, and Fort Walton Beach areas.
It’s nice to have this portion of the land remain natural and unharmed by development, although civilians are not allowed to trespass on the property. But we can always admire it from the boat.
The barrier island keeps the water cleaner than the Gulf, as far as seaweed and such go, and prevents (most) of the larger sea life from entering. Porpoise commonly play in the Sound, but I don’t think many shark or jellyfish enter, which makes for much better swimming!
This is a tiny little island in the middle of the Sound. People anchor their boats here and spend time swimming and having picnics.
Santa Rosa Island also serves as a great buffer against fierce hurricanes.
A shrimp boat makes it’s way to begin work in the Gulf of Mexico.
This is looking north at the mainland while the boat is headed west.
Boats can exit the sound and enter the Gulf through the Pensacola Pass to the west, or the
Destin Pass to the east. There was once a pass dug midway through the island at Navarre, but a hurricane closed it after only a few days. There is always talk of reopening the Navarre Pass, which many think would be a good thing.
Headed back to shore.
Even though this is just over the state line into Florida, can you
spot the University of Alabama flag?
Smooth sailing to you!