Experience dolphins and wildlife in their natural habitat on one of our family friendly covered vessels. Don’t miss this affordable opportunity to encounter these fascinating mammals of the sea along with other marine life.
There are five species of sea turtles found in the Gulf of Mexico, and three of these are known to nest on Pensacola Beach: the loggerhead, the green, the Kemp’s ridley and ocasionally the massive leatherback. The vast majority of these nesting turtles are loggerheads.
Sea turtles navigate back to the beaches where they were born in order to lay their eggs, many times traveling great distances. How they navigate across the oceans is a question marine biologists have tried to answer for years. It is believed that they imprint on the beach before they leave as hatchling so they can remember the spot when they return. Returning in the spring, the females crawl onto the beach under the cover of darkness, moving above the high tide line and many times all the way to the dune field so that he nest is not over washed by the waves. The mother turtle digs a nest cavity about three feet dreep and deposits about eggs, returning to the water and leaving them to their fate. Nesting season the length of summer and ends in October.
Stingrays, and skates all belong to the category of cartilaginous fish. These jawed fish are distinguished by their skeletons, which are made of cartilage rather than bone.
The Gulf of Mexico is home to more than a dozen different species of sharks. Many species are apex predators, at the very top of the food chain. You will also see them in the Intercoastal Waterway(Sound), where you will be boating.
Several species of rays also make their homes in the Gulf. Most rays have flat, disc-shaped bodies and broad, wing-like fins with gills underneath. Many possess unique adaptations, such as a venomous barb on their tail or the ability to produce an electric discharge. Rays and ray-like fishes the manta ray, southern stingray, small tooth sawfish, and Atlantic Guitarfish.
Jellyfish can be found both offshore and inshore. The Gulf Coast is home to the Portuguese man o’ war, the sea nettle jellyfish, and the box jellyfish. Jellyfish are some of the oldest creatures on the planet, having roamed the seas for at least 500 million years. Jellyfish have tiny stinging cells in their tentacles to stun or paralyze their prey before they eat them, so they are very dangerous.
Even though the temperature may be too cold for humans, there are plenty species of fish to be found. Look for and catch: flounder, redfish, sheepshead, black drum, and bonito.
In the Spring:
It’s a fantastic time of year to go fishing. Some fish you will come across are: bluefish, cobia, pompano, Spanish Mackerel, flounder, redfish, sheepshead, and bonito.
SPANISH MACKEREL and KING MACKEREL
Mackerels are members of the tuna family and typically have colorful stripes along their backs and deeply forked tails. Spanish Mackerels are smaller fish, usually with yellow spots. They are best caught with spoons, jigs, or live bait. King Mackerels are perhaps the biggest prize of the Pensacola Beach pier. The Florida state record for largest king is 90 pounds.
The most popular time to visit and fish. You may catch: Bluefish, pompano, redfish, Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel, Gulf Whiting (Kingfish), ladyfish, and bonito are all abundant. Other species such as flounder, cobia, and sheepshead are less abundant but can still be caught. You will see plenty of tarpon, but only in this season.
The temperature is pleasant and cool both air and water. Species such as tarpon, flounder, redfish, sheepshead, ladyfish, black drum, King Mackerel, Gulf Whiting (Kingfish), and bonito are biting.
Pull out your binoculars and have at it…you may often see the National bird of the United States of America since 1782, the majestic bald eagle. The Pensacola Bay Area is a birder’s paradise. Located between two major fly zones, Gulf Islands National Seashore, the longest stretch of protected seashore in the country, is the first stop for hundreds of migrating birds and monarch butterflies flying north in the spring. The Pensacola Bay area also features bays, bayous, beaches, rivers and woodlands, where more than 300 species of birds call home. Keep your eyes peeled for the birds below and many more:
Known as Florida’s fishing eagles, osprey have a distinct M wing shape and make their habitat near brackish estuaries where they can scan the surface for fish. Osprey mate for life – birds of a feather really do stay together.
A symbol of the Gulf Coast, the brown pelican is making a comeback. These water birds weigh 6-7 pounds and have a 7-foot wingspan. The pelicans can fly as fast as 30 miles per hour and can often be seen perched on a piling in the bay.
These graceful natives can be found along the shoreline hunting for fish. The birds have long legs and a long, S-shaped neck.
One of our most popular dolphin cruise, the Blue Angel Practice Tour! Catch this rare opportunity to search for dolphins and watch the famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels team practice their thrilling aerial maneuvers.