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ALABAMA COAST OBSERVER JULY 2013
Newspapers | Business Products & Services / Business / Arts / Arts / Biographies / Culture / Festivals & Events / Films, Movies & Cinema / Music / Community / Lifestyle / News / Newspaper / Advertisement / Advertiser / Shopping / Style / Bikes / Food & Gourmet / Holidays/Vacations / Hospitality & Entertainment / Hotel & Restaurants / Outdoors / Seasonal / Tourism & Travel / Travel 2013-07-03 17:18:53
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    STRUMILA PUBLISHING Mailing Address PO BOX 1334 Gulf Shores, AL 36547 (251) 504.1001 OFFICE www.coastobserver.com Coast Observer Virtual www.myvirtualpaper.com/doc/ GulfCoastObserver/current/ Search: Alabama Coast Observer OBSERVER STAFF Cheli Strumila Editor/ Owner / Graphic Design cheli@coastobserver.com Ben Fant Graphic Design Robert Baudier Photographer WRITERS Kelly Lott Restaurant Reviewer kelly@coastobserver.com Kelli Parris Attractions & Bar/Nightclub Writer kelli@coastobserver.com Christine Cramer Lifestyle/Historian Writer christine@coastobserver.com Bryan Bennett Fishing/Outdoor Writer bryan@coastobserver.com ADVERTISING SALES Alan Taylor Advertising Rep 334.332.9800 alan@coastobserver.com Kelli Parris Advertising Rep kelli@coastobserver.com Coast Observer strives to provide a very accurate informative publication. At times entertainment listings change and mistakes are made by Human Error...or they are put there for those of you looking for error...if this happens we apologize but are not responsible for any typographical errors that occur or changes in listings. The contents of Coast Observer may not be reproduced in any form without written permission by the Publisher and Owner, Cheli Strumila. All rights reserved. If you have anything you would like listed in Coast Observer, any stories or poems that uplift the spirit, or if you have any ideas you think would interest the rest of our readers, we are always open to new ideas!! This is your paper too!! This Month’s Features w LuLu’s w Sinking of the LuLu w Acme Oyster House & Waterway Village w Tacky Jacks Summer Series Adventures & Watersports Page 6 w Beach Services w Boat Rentals w Fishing & Charter Boats w Kayak & Canoe Rentals Attractions Page 8 w Amusement Parks w Bazooka Ball & Laser Tag w BiPlanes w Dolphin Cruises Dining Heeelllloooo Gulf Shores Orange Beach & Foley!! Summertime, And the livin' is easy... Whew...it’s Hot out there!! All the more reason for us to be sitting at our favorite hangouts sipping on something cold and refreshing while the gulf breeze blows to cool us off, or to be out enjoying all the watersports available ‘cause when your wet you don’t even notice the heat!! This month we decided to revisit our very first dining experience when we first launched AL Coast Observer in May of 2011, LuLu’s. There is no doubt that LuLu’s is one of the favorite hot spots in Gulf Shores, but with this visit we learned there’s a whole lot going on that you need to know about!! From new menu items, the new restaurant, Lucy B. Goode, that is opening mid July right next door to LuLu’s, to LuLu’s own signature ale, Crazy Sista Honey Ale‐ Brown Ale Beer, that is brewed with Alabama Wildflower Honey and available on tap in the restaurant and mid July will be available in bottles to have at the restaurant and 6 packs will be available in the gift shop. There’s so much going on we barely were able to fit it all in in this months restaurant feature! Memorial Weekend brought a huge event to the Alabama Gulf Coast, the Sinking of the LuLu!! At the time of the sinking we had already gone to press for our June issue, so we wanted to make sure to share the story and update you on what is growing to be a great addition to not only the marine life but also the diving industry. Another big announcement that happened as we were going to press is the developement phase of the Waterway Village that will grace the intercoastal waterways down around LuLu’s and Tacky Jacks. Just looking at the w Check out our Review on Desoto’s Seafood Kitchen w Pink Pony Pub w Island Time Daiquiri’s w Reachin’ Inside to Touch Your Soul w Paddleboard Rentals w Parasailing w Sailing w Waverunner & Jet Ski Rentals w Go Carts w Hot Air Balloon Rides w Miniature Golf w Zoo w Dine at our Restaurant Advertisers Golf Courses Page 15 Museums & Historic Sites Page 15 renderings of what they have planned is stunning and we can’t wait for it to be completed!! What a great addition it will make to the community of Gulf Shores!! Since 1956 the Pink Pony Pub has been a legend and a staple of the Gulf Shores community!! Even before I was a part of the Alabama Gulf Coast community I had heard of the Pink Pony Pub!! You can’t be a tourist and not have visited the Pink Pony Pub..You can’t be a local and have not set up a meeting of friends at the Pink Pony Pub before you head out to the beach!! It is one of the perfect lil’ beach side bars to stop at before heading out to the beach and the perfect lil’ bar to cool off with a cold one when you leave the beach!! We are so excited to share Pink Pony Pub with you!! With summer comes our yearning for some frozen concoctions!! Island Time Daiguiri in The Wharf is sure to satisfy that craving!! From some of the Best Bushwackers and Pina Coladas on our coast to some really hi‐octane like their OBAttitude, you’re sure to find the perfect cocktail for you. And if you’re in the mood for some of the Best live music, they’ve scheduled in some great bands to entertain you either on their outdoor patio or in their newest addition, the Voodoo Room. And of course, they’ve got some hotties behind the bar with our very own bar/nightclub writer Kelli Parris and our girl Brittany!! So stop by and tell’em we sent ya!! So what are you waiting for...Get out & have some fun and enjoy everything that life and Gulf Shores / Orange Beach / Foley has to offer!! I know I’m going to, so I’ll see ya there!! Until Next Month ... Cheli PS...Don’t forget to join our facebook page www.facebook.com/alcoastobserver or download our smartphone app for more updates and to post your fun & exciting events!! And you can always check out our most current issue virtual on the web by going to our website coastobserver.com and clicking on “Alabama Coast Observer” cover. Alabama Coast Observer w July 2013 w 3

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    Gulf Shores, AL­­If you are looking for some afternoon fun this summer then look no further than Tacky Jacks in Gulf Shores. The Summer of Fun series will feature different events to include regional artists, local organizations, and musicians each Tuesday through Friday. A monthly schedule of events is online at www.tackyjacks.com. Tuesdays Hands on Habitat is a fun and educational hands on nature series presented by Ocean Camp, Gulf State Park Nature Center, Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, and Down Under Dive Shop. Kids & adults alike can learn about our ecosystem and interact with the animals that live here with us. The event is free for all ages from 11am­12pm (arrive 15 minutes early), no RSVP required. Wednesdays Art al Fresco “A hands on lunch & learn for starving artists of all ages” Create different works of art & crafts every Wednesday this summer. Painting with Larry Rackley, Clay with Steve Dark, and master the art of Ductigami (that’s duck tape origami for Presents a Summer Series of Art and Nature Events, Beach Games, and a Waterfront Oyster Bake those that don’t know), and enjoy a special live chainsaw art demonstration by Jeff Wheelock. All ages lunch & learn every Wednesday 11am­ 12pm (arrive 15 minutes early) RSVP required in advance, includes lunch, fee: child or adult pricing depends on project, free for spectators. Thursdays Coast 360 Beach Games is all about a little friendly competition. Kid’s ages 6­11yrs compete every Thursday this summer in relay races, challenges, and brain teasers! All participants get a free lunch from Tacky Jacks, plus prizes for the winners! Parents can compete in a friendly game of water balloon dodgeball for prizes! Event is free for ages 6­11yrs every Thursday from 11am­ 12pm (arrive early to ensure availability). Fridays Oyster Bake Fridays invite you to start your weekend early every Friday from 11am­4pm this summer. Enjoy a waterfront outdoor oyster bake with live music, corn hole, sand pile, fun and games for the whole gang! Create your own oysters grilled to perfection for $1 each, drink specials offered.

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    A Orange Beach Sailing Adventure 4575 S Wilson Boulevard Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.981.SAIL (7245) www.sailob.com Gulf sailing adventures specializing in family day trips and romantic sunset getaways. Come experience true offshore sailing just 10 minutes from our dock! Located at Hudson Marina. ABC Parasail 26651 Perdido Beach Blvd. East Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.981.8877 www.abcparasail.com Float high above beautiful coastal Alabama waters. Visit our website for complete details. Action Charter Service 888­558­3889 www.FishEmeraldSpirit.com www.ActionCatCharters.com As local family owned boats, our personalized customer service and southern hospitality excel. Capt. George and his lifetime passion for fishing (and catching) is unsurpassed. We are consistently rated 5­star in every category by our customers. We provide year round fishing trips from 4 to 48 hours to meet your wants, needs and budget. Visit our Facebook page for specials or call toll free any time to book your Reel Fun! Alabama Kayak Adventures 251.379.5143 www.Alabamakayakadventures.com Kayak the Gulf Coast with Alabama Kayak Adventures Inc. Paddle inshore waters and discover native wildlife, or hook the big one on an inshore or gulf fishing trip. "get the paddling you deserve". Alabama PaddleSports 251.279.0703 www.alabamapaddlesports.com Alabama PaddleSports is a delivery only, kayak and stand up paddleboard rental company that offers the Gulf Coast area the best in paddlesports delivery. Bad Habit Charters 23650 Cotton Bayou Drive Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.981.6899 48' Newton, air conditioned, three bedroom, two bath enclosed salon on board cooking facility. BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals 18743 Keller Road ­ Foley, AL 36535 251.971.8359 beachnriverkayakrentals.com Offering single and double sit­on­top kayaks for self­guided still water floats from a shaded, onsite shallow launch at river's end of the cool, clear, spring­fed waters of the Bon Secour River located just 10 min from Gulf Shores beaches. Blue Reef Watersports­Parasail 27075 Marina Road Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.504.7411 www.bluereefwatersports.com Group discounts. Your premier watersports activity center. Offering Parasailing, Jet Ski rentals, 2­hour guided jet ski tours and Dolphin tours. Call for reservations. Serving Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Perdido Key. Chute em up Parasail 27212 Marina Rd Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.981.7673 Have a birds­eye view of the beautiful gulf coast aboard the largest most comfortable parasail boat. Longest flight time. Bring your cooler! Down Under Dive Shop 1129 Gulf Shores Parkway Gulf Shores, AL 36542 251.968.3483 www.downunderdiveshop.com Specializing in exciting scuba charters, guided snorkel trips, PADI and NAUI instruction, exotic group trips, equipment repair, and an excellent selection of quality scuba equipment. Gary's Gulf Divers 27844 Canal Rd. Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.747.6563 www.gulfdiver.net We are a full­service scuba diving center. We offer rental gear and charter boats for scuba trips, scuba training, spearfishing trips, snorkeling and much more. Located at Sportsman Marina. Gulf of Mexico Trips 1577 Hwy 180 Gulf Shores, AL 36542 251.540.2628 www.gulfofmexicotrips.com We offer a fleet of rental boats and watercraft including pontoon boats, jet skis, kayaks, surfboards and bicycles. In­shore and deep sea fishing charters and scuba diving charters are both available. Gulf Shores Beach Rentals 3873 Gulf Shores Pkwy Gulf Shores, AL 36542 251.609.4577 Toll Free: 888.896.9854 www.gulfshoresalbeachrentals.com For all your vacation needs! We Deliver: Beach Chairs/Umbrellas, Kayaks, Bicycles, Grills, Baby Equipment and much more! Call today to set up a reservation! Happy Harbor Water Sports at Sun Harbor 27212 Marina Road Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.981.6111 www.happyharbors.com Pontoons with slides, waverunners, craigcats, run­a­bouts, kayaks, bikes and more! Ships Store, Fuel Dock and boat storage.. Hudson Marina 4575 S Wilson Boulevard Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.981.4127 Toll Free: 877.783.3474 www.hudsonmarina.net At Hudson Marina you can experience it all. Fishing, dolphin cruises, dinner cruises, jet ski and pontoon boat rentals. You will have fun here year round! Ike's Beach Service, Inc. 800 West Beach Blvd Gulf Shores, AL 36542 251.948.3757 www.ikesbeachservice.com Beach chairs, umbrellas, full size cribs and beach wheelchairs, kayaks, high chairs, roll away beds. Lucy L Charters 26350 Cotton Bayou Drive Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.454.6693 www.lucylcharters.com It's all about you! Fish, fun, family and friends. We take up to six people. The boat offers the luxuries of home. We offer fishing trips, sunset cruises or design your own trips.. Orange Beach Parasail 26619 Perdido Beach Blvd Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.981.8359 www.obparasail.com Up to 2 passangers can ride at the same time! Experience the thrill of a sky high ride over the beautiful Gulf Coast beaches of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach Our boat ­ Six Chute'R is docked @ Zeke's Marina Perdido Beach Services 25328 Canal Road Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.981.4807 www.perdidobeachservices.com Lounge chair and umbrella rentals. Delivery of beach equipment to private homes and condos. Water sports rentals: Kayaks, Sailing, Boogie Boards, and Sunscreen product sales. Perdido Key Parasail 401 East Beach Blvd. Gulf Shores, AL 36542 251.948.7433 www.perdidokeyparasail.net From 800 feet in the air, enjoy spectacular views of our emerald waters and stunning beaches. We offer Jet Ski and Banana Boat rides. No trip to the beach is complete without a stop at Perdido Key Parasail. Sea Rocket 27212 Marina Rd Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.923.9862 Cruise the scenic gulf coast and intracoastal waterways. Dolphin tours. We'll pick you up. Shoreline Pontoon Boat Rentals 251.989.2205 Toll Free: 877.637.9527 www.pontoonboatrentals.com Boats are delivered to the customer at a boat launch within a 20 mile radius of Foley. Very nice, clean and maintained boats. Must be 21 years or older to rent or operate. Sky High and Pleasure Island Parasail at SanRoc Cay 27267 Perdido Beach Blvd Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.946.9000 www.pleasureislandparasail.com Independently owned and operated, Pleasure Island Parasail is your one stop beach destination for Jet Ski rentals, beach chair rentals and world class parasailing adventures.Two Locations: Pink Pony Pub and San Roc Cay Marina. Wahoo Water Sports 29603 Perdido Blvd Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.979.0150 www.wahoowatersports.com Waverunners, pontoon boats, and dolphin cruises. Open 9 a.m.­ 6 p.m. Seven days a week. Located at Flora­Bama 6 w July 2013 w Alabama Coast Observer

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    Adventure Island 24559 Perdido Beach Boulevard Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.974.1500 www.adventure­island.com Rides and thrills for entire family! Mini­golf, bumper boats, gokarts, paddle boats, and lazer tag arena. Kiddie rides and 100+ arcade games. See the 5­story volcano erupt nightly! Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo 1204 Gulf Shores Parkway Gulf Shores, AL 36542 251.968.5731 www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.org Explore the natural habitats of more than 400 animals. Elevated viewing decks offer close­up viewing of everything from alligators to wallabies, plus Reptile House, Aviary, Petting Zoo, Gift Shop, Concessions, shaded picnic area. LIONS, TIGERS AND BEACH. OH MY! Alligator Alley 19950 County Road 71 Summerdale, AL 36580 251.946.BITE (2483) www.gatoralleyfarm.com See over 150 alligators in their natural environment with an opportunity to feed them! Meet Captain Crunch, the world record holder for bite strength­he's over 13 feet long! Enjoy bird watching and a Giant Snake Safari. Seasonal feeding times: 11:00 a.m.­ 1:00 p.m.­4:00 p.m. Arena the Next Level 4720 Main Street Ste 205 Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.224.5297 www.arenaorangebeach.com The newest and prettiest family attraction on the Gulf Coast. Our Lazer Tag and Bazooka Ball are safe and fun for all ages. Bird of Paradise Biplane Rides 3190 Airport Drive Gulf Shores, AL 36542 251.609.2043 Toll Free: 866.687.8359 www.866mustfly.com The Bird of Paradise takes flying to a new level…providing adventurous passengers open cockpit flights and romance of yesterday. Ferris Wheel at The Wharf 4985 Wharf Parkway Orange Beach, AL 36561 251.224.1000 Toll Free: 877.942.7325 www.thewharfal.com The Southeast’s tallest Ferris Wheel at The Wharf. Open Monday through Saturday from 10am­10pm and Sunday from 1pm­8pm. Tickets are $4.00 each. Gulf Bowl 2881 South Juniper Foley, AL 36535 251.943.4575 www.gulfbowl.com Join a league, have a party, or just bowl for fun. Restaurant, snack bar, party rooms, mezzanine viewing area, pool table room, family arcade/redemption and much more. Jimmy's Casino Shuttles 8275 Hwy 59 South Foley, AL 36535 251.943.2744 Toll Free: 866.943.2744 www.casinoshuttles.com Biloxi Casino trips are available from Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Foley, and Loxley, Alabama. Visit the IP Casino and The Beau Rivage Casino. At either casino, you get $15.00 in FREE PLAY. Exciting daily trips to the fabulous Biloxi casinos. The best deal in town. Call for reservations. Lakewood Stables 15523 Lillie Lane Summerdale, AL 36580 251.945.6711 Trail rides, Group parties, Riding lessons. Landmark Tours 26 Hoffren Drive Fairhope, AL 36533 251.928.0207 www.landmarktours.com Day tours aboard luxury buses. Trips planned for your group of 20 or more. We'll visit historical mansions, Civil War relics, forts and museums, nature centers, hikes, zoos, boat sightings of dolphins and alligators. Mobile Bay Ferry 51 State Highway 180 West Gulf Shores, AL 36542 251.861.3000 www.mobilebayferry.com Vehicle/passenger ferry operating between Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan. Daily departures every 1 1/2 hours. Check our website for rates and schedule. Oak Hollow Farm 14210 Greeno Road Fairhope, AL 36532 251.928.4840 Toll Free: 877.OAKHOLLOW www.oakhollowfarm.net Open six days a week by appointment. One hour guided horseback rides on a 300 acre scenic farm. Nature trails, group hayrides, horseshoes, playground. Pirates Island Adventure Golf 3201 Gulf Shores Parkway Gulf Shores, AL 36542 251.968.4653 www.piratesislandgolf.com Two 18­hole courses among waterfalls, caves, tropical plants, a pirate ship and sea fog. Sea Horse Stables 14537 State Highway 59 Foley, AL 36535 251.971.RIDE (7433) Trail rides, Pony rides, Birthday parties, and Riding lessons. Shrimpy's Mini Golf & Arcade 204 East 2nd Avenue Gulf Shores, AL 36542 251.948.6464 18 hole mini­golf with arcade inside. Candy, chips, ice cream and sodas available. Fun for the whole family! Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Company 708 West Laurel Avenue Foley, AL 36535 251.970.3598 www.gulfviewballooning.com Gently lift off into an adventure where you'll experience the scenic vistas of the Alabama Gulf Coast from a whole new vantage point! Great for weddings or honeymoon! The Track Recreation Center 3200 Gulf Shores Parkway Gulf Shores, AL 36542 251.968.8111 www.gulfshorestrack.com Go­karts, bumper boats, Kids Kountry, arcade, mini­golf, skycoaster, and refreshment center. Wales West Light Railway & Family Fun Park 13670 Smiley Street ­ Silverhill, AL 36576 888.569.5337 www.waleswest.com Real train ride, 1 mile through rural setting. Train station, gift shop, tea room. Month­long event trains at Halloween, Christmas, & Easter. Day Out With Thomas in May. Parties. Waterville USA 906 Gulf Shores Parkway Gulf Shores, AL 36542 251.948.2106 www.watervilleusa.com The ultimate in family fun, is a 20 acre Water Park and Amusement Park located in the beach resort community. Amusement park opens March 5th. Waterpark opens May 14 on weekends only and every day after May 28th. 8 w June 2013 w Alabama Coast Observer

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    Gulf Shores, AL­­ We are so excited to be revisiting one of our favorite Alabama Gulf Coast hot spots, Lucy Buffett’s, Crazy Sista, LuLu’s!! LuLu’s was the very first restaurant we featured when we launched Alabama Coast Observer in May 2011, so what a treat it was for us to come back and enjoy some of our favorites, but also some of their new menu items that have become such a big hit as well!! And to learn of all the great new additions to the LuLu’s Crazy Sista franchise!! We are always completely taken aback by the growth of this self­contained, laid­back, kid­friendly, island­style­adventure complex! The original building ­ a massive open­hut styled bar and diner set at Homeport Marina was impressive and fun enough, but, now they’ve added a floating dinner barge, a pirate ship band stage and another huge tiki bar with limited menu next to the man­made white sand beach! With small children enjoying the beach toys and slightly older children enjoying a workout on the guide­wired survivorstyle jungle gym! And, the gift shop, loaded with Crazy Sista’s cooking helpfuls and sloganed T­shirts was hard for any shopping woman to pass­by!! There is also a fabulous outdoor kitchen where Lucy hosts cooking demonstration shows and another outdoor pavillion for private parties or maybe even overflow! And if this were not enough, opening in July right next to LuLu’s will be the Lucy B Goode, a new restaurant concept by Lucy Buffett, will feature a more intimate setting and upscale small plate options. The entire venue is amazingly fun and can you just imagine the staff­size!!?? Before the season has even kicked­off, the wait staff already employees over 80 who run a finetuned (Ship!!..LOL). We are always impressed with the service at LuLu’s!! As soon as your seated your server was SNAP­right there taking your drink orders! (Mudslides were delish after an afternoon of beach & beers!) Our waiter was very helpful in helping us order several of LuLu’s best appetizers, and SNAP ­ they were coming out by one runner after another! Now, if you can only imagine how excited Cheli and I already were, we were totally in awe of the efficiency with which this slam­packed place was run! (OK! Is that whatcha call an Alabama Slammer ­ Wham ­ Bam ­ Here’s your food Ma’am!!) Beginning with more food than two people can ever­even polish­off, just in appetizers, the staff was getting a kick­out of us as we impatiently waited for Cheli to get her many photographs of each and every delicacy!! Now, let me tell you, all of these are unique in the preparedness, and, not your average bar staples. We first dove into the fattest quesadillas I’ve ever seen ­ Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla ­ Buffalo chicken, sauteed peppers & onions, bleu cheese, jack­cheddar cheese and grilled pineapple, served with LuLu’s Fun Salsa & sour cream. OMG! I make quesadillas out of all my left overs, but these were way­fab! We then had the Smoked Tuna Dip ­ never from the can, and, oh yeah, chunky, smokey tuna with perfect seasonings! The Fried Green Tomatoes ­ a basket full of some of the best ever, and, here’s the kicker, only $6.95!! We’ve never seen them that affordable in our 14 years of doing reviews!! And the last appetizer ­ L.A. (Lower Alabama) Caviar ­ is a must­do!! Black­eyed peas in balsamic vinaigrette, definitly a LuLu’s original, was great by itself, but we ate it on the quesadillas, and on the fried green tomatoes as well!! Cheli also had to have her latest craze, the Greek Salad ­ Feta cheese, Kalamata olives, pepperoncini, cucumber, red onion, and tomato with a little love, served with their own house Greek dressing, this salad was a masterpiece and may be topped with grilled, blackened or fried chicken, shrimp, or fish..or you can choose grilled or blackened Mahi or Yellowfin Tuna. With so much food to choose from, we actually only ordered three entrees, although, my choice was a basket that serves two (ha! ha!) After eye­balling fried crab claws all around me, it was a Must­Plus!! The Big Fry Seafood Basket ­ fried shrimp, oysters, and crab claws, and we had the fish blackened! Big Fry is served with seasoned fries, cole slaw, and, jalapeno hushpuppies. All these sides were great as well! I’ve mentioned baskets a few times, so, at this point I will tell you that LuLu’s is totally green (eco­friendly), all baskets and take­out containers as well, are made of biodegradable paper! Yeah! With all the salads, sandwiches & poboys left to choose from, (not to mention Mahi tacos), we HAD to have the Jerk chicken Sandwich, (Cuz, that’s what Cheli and I Love!!) ­ marinated grilled breast of chicken with LuLu’s Fun Southern Jerk seasoning (a Little spicy, bow­chick­a­wow­wow!) topped with grilled pineapple, dressed with your choice of chips. I ate on this for days, because, yes, I am the Spice Queen!! But, of course, we did the Cheeseburger in Paradise, just for you, ­ a juicy hand­pattied burger made with a touch of bacon ­ all natural grass­fed (Continued on Page 14)

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    Alabama Gulf Coast­­ Coastal freighter, The LuLu, was sunk off Alabama’s coastline on Memorial Day weekend, creating the state’s first purpose­sunk whole ship artificial reef for recreational diving. On May 26, 2013, the Alabama Gulf Coast dove into a new niche market – scuba diving. Thanks to the Alabama Gulf Coast Reef and Restoration Foundation, The LuLu was successfully sunk approximately 17 nautical miles south of Perdido Pass in Orange Beach (29° 59.520' / 87° 33.037') putting Alabama on the map as a scuba diving destination. “The sinking of The LuLu has opened a new market for us, spotlighting the beauty and diversity of the nature­related activities that Alabama’s Gulf Coast has to offer,” said Herb Malone, president and CEO of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism (GSOBT). “We’re thrilled to embrace this opportunity and welcome diving enthusiasts to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.” Orange Beach­based Walter Marine owner David Walter brought coastal freighter M/V Yokamu to Alabama’s coast for recreational diving purposes in 2012. Mac McAleer, owner of Homeport Marina in Gulf Shores became the title sponsor of the reef, naming the freighter for the origin of the term “lulu” – an extraordinary person, place or thing. "The LuLu has been an exciting project for Walter Marine," said Walter. "I have sunk 13 ships as artificial reefs, and this ship is different than any other due to its size and structure. The LuLu is unique because it is cavernous with a lot to explore, including a cargo hole and flat deck area all the way to the superstructure. Experienced as well as novice divers are able to explore this reef, and marine growth will begin immediately with small fish attracting the larger fish. One factor that has made this artificial reef different than the rest is the fact that our community has come together to make this happen. The local chamber, CVB and area businesses have all contributed to the success of this sinking on the Alabama Gulf Coast." The sinking of The LuLu marked the first project of the Alabama Gulf Coast Reef and Restoration Foundation, a non­profit organization founded in July 2012 by the Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce. “What a great project this has been!” said Vince Lucido, president of the reef foundation. “The community came together to make this happen. The state, the county commission, the municipalities and local businesses have all stepped up to be sponsors. Community leaders have worked hard and shown support in so many ways. The entire community will reap the benefits from this and the continued work of the foundation. We owe a big debt to business people like Mac McAleer who’ve invested in the future of our dive market and our expanded fishing opportunities.” The artificial reef provides a sustainable, environmentally friendly structure for marine life to inhabit and scuba diving enthusiasts to explore. On Memorial Day (May 27), divers were able to investigate the reef for the first time. Chandra Wright, nature (Coninued on Page 14) The official LuLu t­shirts are now available at Down Under Dive Shop in Gulf Shores for $25 + tax (with proceeds graciously being donated to the Foundation). And for those of you not lucky enough to be in our area, you can order your official tshirt by visiting our website http://www.alabamagulfcoastreef.org/ 10 w July 2013 w Alabama Coast Observer

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