The allure of the ocean calls to me in a similar way that the sky does, probably because I grew on the gulf coast of Florida. There are few places I’ve traveled to that are as beautiful as it is.
Not too long after I started flight training, before breast cancer, I took a flight out of Pensacola with another instructor in order to see it from the air. It was even more beautiful than I imagined it would be. Of course, I’ve longed to go back and do that again ever since the first time.
Not too long ago, I became friends on Instagram with a flight instructor named Rose out of Destin, Florida. She gives flights over the gulf coast waters and teaches seaplane flying. I’m constantly struck by how incredibly amazing the views are from her office. I knew I had to take the time to go fly with her when I went home to visit next.
A few short weeks ago, I went to visit my Dad in Navarre and booked a flight with Rose, @Iflybarefoot (her IG handle) at https://flythebeach.com/ in Destin while I was down there. It’s just a short drive south, and I was especially excited to get a chance to fly over the coastline again. It would also be the first time my dad would get to see me fly.
I took my son with me as well as the rest of the family. I figured they could enjoy the beach and paddle board while I enjoyed my flight.
I took my GoPro as well as the Canon to capture the flight. While I was very interested in giving seaplane flying a try, I was so mesmerized by the beauty of it all and documenting the whole experience that I spent about half of the flight taking pictures and videos, and the other half actually flying.
We took off from the inlet waters at Lulu’s in Destin, and crossed the island to the ocean. It was a busy summer day, and you could see boats everywhere. I was especially fascinated by the floating bars that the boats were pulling up to for refreshments. It looked like one big party below us. While that would be fun, seeing it all from the air was even better.
We circled above the Dolphin tour boats as they were making their way along the shoreline. The water is so clear that I was easily able to capture photos from the air of the dolphin’s swimming near the boats, as well as see several sharks just near the channel water between the inlet waterway and the ocean. It was a spectacular view! I could’ve stay up there all day and soaked it all in.
After getting a nice set of photographs, I took the controls and we did several water takeoff and landings. Landing on the water is different than landing on the ground. I actually think I got the hang of it a bit quicker than I did normal landings. It might also be a bit easier in the Searay since you land on the bottom of it and not on floats. I don’t know for sure, but I think I need to try float plane landings to see if that’s true. Another seaplane flight just might be in order soon.
As we traveled the coastline, there were several parasails being pulled by boats below that we had to navigate between. At first, it seemed like we would be awfully close; but as we passed, it was easy to see there was plenty of space and we wouldn’t be nearly as close as I thought we would be. You do have to stay alert this time of year; there’s a lot going on all around in the air and in the water.
This was some of the most fun I’ve had yet flying. The view is a plus over the coast, but the water takeoff and landings are just pure fun! You do have to be careful of all of the people and boats around, as they aren’t looking up for you. It’s imperative that you look out for them. On the water, you don’t have brakes. So, it made me a bit nervous coming in and making sure we avoided the people swimming near the shore.
It was an incredible day! My dad got to see me fly. I got to see the ocean from the air, and take the controls of a seaplane. I definitely think a seaplane rating is in my future.
If you’re near Destin anytime, please holler at my friends Ryan and Rose at flythebeach.com . You are sure to have an amazing adventure, even if you just want to sightsee. They’ll let you take the controls with them if you want to give seaplane flying a go as well. Not only is the destination amazing, you can enjoy a nice meal and cold drink at Lulu’s after your flight.
I’m thankful for the area I grew up in; I miss it and the people often. It’s always good to get back for a visit, but no trip will ever be complete any more without a flight over the ocean. It’s just good for the soul.
Here is the video from the flight for your enjoyment as well. https://youtu.be/9-A6wum8SP4