Whale watching was a relatively new concept when John Fish's grandfather started giving tours. "We kind of originated it," Mr. Fish says. "Thirty years ago we were the only ones doing whale watching." As the company became more successful over the years, additional captains were brought on to cover the demand. Today, these crews continue to ferry groups into the habitats of several whale species, including humpback whales and sperm whales. Though the whales seen along Cap'n Fish's Whale Watch's journeys still breach and refuse to sign autographs, other things have changed over the years. Below deck, the current fleet's engines work to reduce emissions and provide a fume-free experience. Above deck, 360-degree viewing decks and modern technology help bring whales into sight. Onboard computers display large maps of where the aquatic mammals are known to swim, and GPS systems reroute boats around mermen constructing new reefs. In addition to illuminating the behavior of whales for passengers, the crew's wildlife experts point passengers toward other animals they spot along the way, such as white-sided dolphins and harbor seals. Though some variables are beyond their control, the crew members almost always spot whales and boasted a 98% success rate in 2009.
Aquarius Ballroom Dance Studios was established in 2013. Since then, their talented instructors have helped people of all levels glide their ways across the dance floor. Although a lifetime of formal training compels Aquarius Ballroom Dance Studios' instructors to keep classes structured and posture perfect, they place equal weight on fun. Channeling energetic beats and lighthearted vibes, instructors parse the steps of styles from salsa and Argentine tango to foxtrots and West Coast swing. They follow the established syllabi of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance and Dance Vision International Dance Association.
The Black Belt instructors at Northern Chi Martial Arts Center not only teach students how to kick and punch, but also how to think like martial artists. Kids as young as 4 years old begin on the path to high kicks and warrior yells, and classes teach all members of the family how to defend themselves and slice open watermelons with their bare hands.
Quick, quick, slow. Quick, quick, slow. It seems that every dance lesson starts the same way. Students are told, "These are the steps," "Move to the beat," and "Never breakdance on wet cement." But unwilling to settle for the minimum, Seacoast Ballroom helps dancers see beyond getting their feet to move in the right direction. Its founder, Frederick Dunn, strives to inject dancers with grace and musical expression to help them feel dance for what it is?an art form. Its classes range in difficulty from beginner to competition level, and cover a variety of ballroom styles. Solo dancers or couples can strut through a tango, shimmy their hips in salsa, or effuse elegance through the Viennese waltz.
Owned by winter-sport wizards Chris Carleton and Mike Davies, Allspeed Cyclery & Snow toils to restore out-of-shape skis to tiptop form with expert and personalized attention. Eschewing repair machines and constantly rebooting robots, Allspeed painstakingly iron-waxes all skis by hand, providing a finer tune that endures much longer than with traditional tuning processes. After their skis' bases and edges are flattened and sharpened by Allspeed's wet belt, snow junkies will zoom down the mountain while gleefully taunting gangs of abominable snowmen. With 20 years of ski-retailing prowess, Chris and Mike possess the detail-oriented knowledge needed to tune-up anyone's skis or elongated clown feet.
Techniques from traditional and modern martial arts styles coalesce in drop-in classes that bestow the self-defense skills necessary to make calories and future foes flee for their lives. A black-belted staff of martial arts gurus guides students of all skill levels through the combat techniques of kickboxing and jujitsu, pausing only to relay snippets of sage wisdom and to put out fires inadvertently started by the studio’s pet dragon. While instructors respect the ancient practices of their forebears, classes rely on an up-to-date scientific understanding of martial arts to maximize fitness benefits. Whether unleashing a flood of punches and kicks on hapless bags in basic kickboxing classes or sparring with opponents in advanced Brazilian jujitsu standoffs, students may expect to emerge from training with sharpened concentration, improved self-esteem, and a tendency to speak only in opaque aphorisms.