Located off a somewhat obscure and isolated roadway access in Gautier (pronounced "Go-Shay") is the Mary Walker Marina that was established in modest form in the 1940s.

Today, although the boat docking and launching facility may be less known on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it is a full-service marina.

A horse trader and gambling man by the name of Frank Wentzel founded the marina based on the quaint idea that he could sell cold drinks and bait to the fishermen who angled up and down the bayou, the river and the Gulf.

With $20 and two partners, a piece of land was bought on the bayou.

Using a couple of buckets, ice, cold drinks and bait was sold - and thus the Mary Walker Camp began.

Legends still circulate today on how the marina and bayou got the name Mary Walker. The best story is that a "lady" from New Orleans came to live in the camp where loggers piloted their timbers up and down the bayou and the Pascagoula River.

Apparently Ms. Walker was extradited back to Louisiana for alleged crimes. The lumbermen started calling the bayou Mary Walker after the Louisiana lady of ill repute. It stuck.

Today, the marina is a thriving oasis for Gulf anglers. It is the largest marina in Jackson County with 180 slips, a 150-foot fuel deck with four gas and two diesel pumps.

Available is a bait-and-tackle shop and repair service. The live-bait room contains three live-bait tanks.

Anglers will also find a 3,400-square-foot food deck with bar and food prep area.

A nice, covered fish-cleaning area is also provided.

Find out more at www.marywalkermarina.com.

To find the marina off Highway 90 in Gautier, turn onto Mary Walker Court and weave through the houses and fish camps. Make a left onto Mary Walker Drive, which ends at the marina.

Parking can be a little tight on busy weekends, so you might have to launch and park up the road.

However, the boat launch is well maintained, and boaters are only 15 minutes from the Gulf's open waters.