Down the Anclote River and out into the Gulf of Mexico, Odyssey Cruises' knowledgeable guides spout off information about the local ecosystem and picturesque surroundings. Sightseers climb aboard the giant covered pontoon, setting out into waters populated by friendly dolphins, colorful fish, and cranky old turtles. Visitors also have the option to disembark at Anclote Key Lighthouse. There, they can explore the beach, search for shells, or light fires that spell, "I don't know what you did today, but I was on a boat."
Atlantis V Charters donates all of its proceeds to the Never Say Never Foundation, which leads free sailing lessons for children. Similarly, the company's captains and crew volunteer their time and refuse payment. Instead, the expert sailors profit from fostering awareness of the ocean's beauty, wildlife, and resources. They welcome passengers aboard a 50-foot classic world-cruising sailing yacht; half- or all-day charters and short sunset tours are available. During these journeys, the captains answer questions and teach passengers about the dolphins that frequently swim alongside the boat. Using a dinghy, the crew also takes passengers around Anclote Island. If weather permits, they view an 1887 lighthouse and discover underwater habitats using snorkeling gear.
To reap nature’s bounty, the company also leads fishing trips aboard a 20-foot Proline fishing boat. With all the necessary bait and tackle, a wildlife instructor teaches beginners the basics of baiting and casting, while helping more experienced fishermen reel in their catches and enjoy the water.
Whether by deck, pontoon, or center console boat, Belle Harbour Boat Rentals gets people enjoying the water without the hassle of watercraft ownership. From the Belle Harbour Marina, travelers make their way along the Anclote River and inter-coastal waterways in search of sights, sun, and fish. Along the way, they find miniature islands and sandbars, perfect for picnics or building sand sculptures of feet for taunting merpeople. Fishing excursions yield bounties of seatrout, redfish, and snook or a chance to view early-morning glimpses of Anclote Key Lighthouse. Along the way, waterside eateries beckon groups for a quick bite with their burgers, seafood, and drinks before customers journey back out to share dining critiques with the manatees, dolphins, bald eagles, and osprey that inhabit the area.
Narcosis Scuba prepares divers of all skill levels for open sea exploration by giving them the education and equipment they need to safely explore the ocean's criminal underworld. An open water certification course outfits submerged swimmers with a designation from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, the world's top training organization for scuba diving. Depending on whether you choose an evening, daytime, or weekend class, the curriculum spans one to two weeks and consists of two to four classroom sessions, two dives in an enclosed pool, and a weekend on the open water. Narcosis provides the heavy-duty equipment for each class, so students can leave their harpoon guns at home. However, students must supply their own mask, snorkel, fins, booties, gloves, and weight belt—all of which can be rented from Narcosis for an extra charge. Once they've completed the course, aquatic adventurers can freely probe the briny deep on their own and play the fishbone xylophone during its many undersea musical numbers.
A warm mug of fragrant coffee is comforting. So is the touch of a soft, hand-knitted scarf on your skin—albeit in a different way. These two comforts come together at Mamma Lane's Coffee House & Yarn Studio, where baristas serve café drinks and baked goods, pairing Mudslide frappuccinos with cookies and scones, while skilled artisans stock yarn and teach knitting classes nearby. Visitors learn to craft yarn into scarves, pompoms, and other cozy creations.
When Brian McInerney reflects on the humble beginnings of Wheel Fun Rentals, Inc., he points to his childhood passion for bikes. "As far back as I can remember, I had a real love affair with bicycles," he recalls. During a trip to Italy in 1987, Brian's affinity for cycling blossomed into a full-fledged obsession when he spotted locals' transporter of choice, the surrey. Inspired, he began importing the Italian four-wheelers to a rental business in the U.S. that eventually expanded into Wheel Fun Rentals, now a nationwide web of shops that also loans out bikes, electric cars and mopeds, and man-powered watercraft. Adventuresome athletes can also compete in activities such as surrey scavenger hunts and blindfold obstacle courses navigated via shouted instructions from a seeing teammate or exceptionally long rounds of trial and error.