Captain Cliff Atwell is a native of the Destin area, and began working on fishing boats at the age of 9. He obtained his Captain’s License when he was 18, and began captaining fishing boats here in Destin during the summers, and working in Louisiana’s oil fields during the winters. As a fisherman, Captain Cliff became fascinated with the dolphins that inhabit the Choctawhatchee Bay area. He observed them offshore while fishing and became very interested in their habits and behaviors, and most importantly the dynamics of their pods, or families.
In 1996, Captain Steve Wilson presented Captain Cliff with the prospect of developing his interest in dolphins while utilizing both his experience as a captain and widespread knowledge of the area. Captain Cliff seized the opportunity, and began captaining Destin’s Original Dolphin Cruise part-time in the evenings. Now that he is able to closely observe dolphins in their natural habitat, Captain Cliff has a vast amount of familiarity with these amazing mammals that we witness aboard the Southern Star on a daily basis.
Due to his background and experience as a fisherman, Captain Cliff’s breadth of knowledge extends beyond dolphins to other sea life and wildlife of our Gulf Coast area. Most importantly, Captain Cliff has a passion for the Emerald Coast. Having grown up in the town, he has seen the changes that Destin has undergone throughout the years. He has an extensive understanding of Destin’s history and what comprises the heart of our beautiful city. Captain Cliff’s narration of Destin Harbor is one of a kind, and you are sure to gain a further insight into this incredible species as he shares with you his information about the dolphins.