The Gulf of Mexico is home to 10,000 bottlenose dolphins seen often from shore by those in the right place at the right time. The Walton County Snowbirds, wishing to eliminate the possibility of not being in the "right place at the right time," will sail aboard Captain Jason McGregory’s Southern Star, an 80-foot glass-bottom vessel that can accommodate nearly 150 passengers, at 3 p.m. Jan. 31. The good captain knows where to find the dolphins and does so 98 percent of the time.

If the seas are too rough for landlubber tummies, he will guide his sturdy craft into the calmer Choctawhatchee Bay, another gathering place for dolphin pods, sharing all the while his expansive knowledge of the dolphins, sea birds and other inhabitants of the emerald waters. Normally, the two-hour cruise bears a price tag of $29, but club members who enlist for the sponsored event will go aboard for $20 including appetizers, beer, wine, soda and water, live entertainment by JB Dyess and door prizes. For more information, contact Pat Whitledge at

Among January highlights is a dinner social scheduled for Friday, Jan. 18, and again on Friday, Feb. 8, at Fudpucker’s Beachside Bar and Grill, 20001 Emerald Coast Parkway (U.S. Highway 98) in Destin. The fun kicks off with a guided tour of what Fudpucker’s unabashedly refers to as the world’s greatest gator park. For additional details, contact event organizers Sharon and Gary Pinylo at

Adding luster to Walton County Snowbird cultural stature is four-time Pulitzer Prize in Music nominee David Ott, who conducts the club’s music series weekly beginning Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. Mondays at Christ the King Episcopal Church, 480 County Highway 393 in Santa Rosa Beach. Ott explains music and music history in a folksy easy listening style then follows up with faultless renditions of both classical and pop tunes.

Those seeking membership in the Walton County Snowbirds may register on Monday, Jan. 14, at Faith Assembly Hall, 306 South Geronimo Street in Miramar Beach between 8:30 and 10 a.m.

The next general meeting will take place on Jan. 23 at Destin Life Center of the Destin United Methodist Church, 200 Beach Drive in Destin. In addition to vendor exhibits, a raffle, door prizes and chuckles, a special treat awaits the crowd in the person of master entertainer and crowd pleaser Chuck Lawson. He will combine guitar, voice, and steel drums to create a tropical welcome for the snowbirds with a variety of Caribbean, calypso, reggae, rock, country, classic rock, oldies, pop, and dance music.

Tom Mahar writes for the Walton County Snowbirds. Reach him at