sunrise dog island

Each year in May, I meet up with a group of friends and set sail to Dog Island. The island is only 6.8 miles in length. It is located in the Gulf of Mexico just off the panhandle of Florida and is accessible only by boat, ferry or airplane. It is mostly owned by the Nature Conservancy, while the remainder is privately owned residential properties.


Our friend’s house is built on stilts with a wrap around deck overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. While it has all the conveniences of home, there is no TV, Wi-Fi or cable internet. Even cell phone coverage is spotty.


The first thing we do upon arriving is set up “base camp” on the beach with chairs and umbrellas where we spend most of the days. My favorite time of day is early mornings with a cup of coffee. It is so peaceful watching the sunrise and the schools of dolphin as they playfully swim by and come up for air every so often.


Captain Chet, who is part of our group, is an experienced charter boat captain from Carrabelle and takes us out on fishing expeditions. On our last visit, we got the chance to witness a fish feeding frenzy. It looked like boiling water right in the middle of the ocean! The big fish were eating the little fish, and the sharks circled around and ate the bigger fish, and the birds flying above picked up whatever scraps floated to the top.


When I fish, I mostly catch small sharks which are thrown back, but here and there I get lucky. beach at dog island resized 600Occasionally, I hook a Spanish Mackerel. With everyone’s catches of the day, we assemble a buffet of a variety of fish for dinner – Grouper, Snapper, Cobia and my Spanish Mackerel.


In the living room on the wall hangs a frame with a poem by Rachel Lyman Field:


“If once you have slept on an island

You’ll never be quite the same……”


That is how everyone feels when it is time to head back home. We all feel like we have been totally disconnected from modern day technology – even if it is just for a little while.