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Passport Gal

Danette Benton

Moments That Make Memories

My son and his gal B called yesterday and asked if I wanted to do an early paddle this morning. Our good friend Jen just bought a new Bote board and we have been wanting to get with her for a celebration paddle. Chase chose Western Lake to Grayton Beach. One of my favorites! Western Lake is one of 15 coastal dune lakes along the 26 mile stretch called 30a. These lakes are a unique geographical feature and are only found in Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand, Oregon, and here in Walton County.

I am a terrible morning person, but going to the beach or to paddle early is always great! It's not as crowded and you are likely to see more fish, birds, dolphins, etc...

We all meet up and Jen's new board is beautiful. She chose the traditional Bote board that is turquoise with the wood grain. LOVE!!!!!

Photo Courtesy-Brenda Burks

For this paddle, you enter at Grayton Beach State Park. Drive in and cross over the bridge, then wind around to the left to the boat ramp. Ignore the sign that says the alligators may eat you, and put in there. This is a great little paddle. You go left from the boat ramp. You wind around under the bridge and through some canals. You come to a "T" and hang a left and it leads to the big pool at Grayton Beach. This is one of the few areas you can drive a vehicle on our beaches. You have to apply for a permit and the Walton County residents display them on their vehicle with pride.

Once you get to the pool, you pick up your board and head over the dune. Put your board in the Gulf and paddle out there. Once you are in the Gulf, if you head East you will reach the Grayton Artificial Reef. It is marked on the beach by 2 tall PVC poles. About 200 yards out.

The reef is usually full of fish. We saw a school of 5 tarpon about 5-6 foot in length this morning. We also saw many schools of small bait fish.

The surf was not too rough this morning, but there was a rolling swell with a bit of a cross wind. When it is like that, you are constantly working to keep your balance. YES! Having fun while getting a great workout.

Photo Courtesy- Brenda Burks

After paddling to the reef and checking out the wildlife, we head back to the pool. I sit on the beach and just take the morning in. Jen, Chase, and B play in the surf.

Photo Courtesy-Brenda Burks

As I sit there, I feel so blessed. Blessed to live in an amazingly beautiful place. Blessed that my son, his gal B, and Jen let me hang out with them. Blessed to just sit and soak up an amazing morning.

We all sit on the beach for a bit and soak up some sun. We talk and laugh. These are the moments that become good memories. The little moments when nothing in particular is really happening and we are just enjoying time together as family, as friends.

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