Destin History and Fishing Museum has a new exhibit that takes you down under

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

There’s a new exhibit at the Destin History and Fishing Museum, simply titled Dive Destin. 

“It’s wonderful when you have a vision in your head and you have great community support to make the vision come true,” said Kathy Marler Blue, executive director of the museum. “With that help, we’ve been able to bring it to the museum.” 

Bishop and Dianne Spencer of Pensacola dropped by the Destin History and Fishing Museum on Saturday. Museum Director Kathy Marler Blue chats with the couple about the new dive display. Bishop said diving is something he has always wanted to try.

Matt Ronk built the display. Many of the items, including the air tanks, goggles, belts, knives and more, were donated by Capt. Rick Derek as well as from the estate of “Flipper” Bruce Koch. 

The exhibit centers on the early history of diving in Destin. 

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At the center of the display is a flat screen with a 4-minute video that runs on a loop that talks about early diving in Destin. Junior Watts, who was one of the first three people to dive off Destin, is featured in the video as well as Donnie Brown, a Destin snorkel pioneer. 

The museum has exhibits that talk about the fishing industry as well as the sugar white  beach. 

“This exhibit has excerpts throughout of that part of nature. … I call it certain ingredients in nature that helped us to become the world-class resort we are today,” Blue said. “And being in, under and on the water is part of that. This exhibits really helps show that other dimension, than just the beach or being on a boat.”

The dive video at the Destin History and Fishing Museum shows some of the bounty the early divers brought in from the Gulf off Destin.

Shane Reynolds of Color Earth did the interviews and pulled the video together. 

More from the museum:A story for the ages: Westerfeld and Raim haul in 13 foot blue marlin on 23 foot Mako boat

“It’s incredible,” Blue said as she listened to the elderly Junior Watts talking about some of those first dives where they shot grouper and more. 

The display also has a booklet attached that explains the different kinds of diving, such as snorkeling, snuba, skin diving and scuba, which all can be done off Destin. 

Much of the equipment featured in the Destin History and Fishing Museum's dive display was donated by Capt. Rick Derek.

Blue said she encourages those who want to know more about diving after watching the video and looking at the display to contact one of the local dive shops that have classes for all levels. 

The Destin History and Fishing Museum is on Stahlman Avenue and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.