Andres Kerllenevich began flying helicopters as a hobby while making a living as a lawyer. As time passed, he earned his license and left to fly tours over Alaska and New York City. He eventually settled in St. Augustine, the historical city where his wife fondly remembered vacationing as a child. Now, seven other FAA-certified pilots join him in leading tours over the coastal castles, historic lighthouses and colleges, and vibrant downtown areas of St. Augustine, Tampa, and the Florida Keys.
At the helm of Robinson R44 helicopters, the pilots soar at heights of up to 1,500 feet past Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Porpoise Point, and the towering red cross at the Mission of Nombre de Dios. They also guide tours above Tampa Bay, the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and the Florida Aquarium, while granting passengers glimpses of coastline populated by bottlenose dolphins. Pilots have also orchestrated aerial marriage proposals, during which the groom-to-be points out his question written on the beach or on a rooftop sign. The tours grant a bird's-eye view for photography and videography sessions.
After logging more than 1,000 hours of flying time, organizing six competitions, and gaining 34 years of experience, Scot Trueblood can safely be dubbed a hang-gliding devotee. His passion for flight is only matched by his enthusiasm to share the sky with others. That’s why he founded Paradise Hang Gliding Inc., which allows Scot to take novices for atmospheric tandem rides over the stunning waters of Florida Bay and the Straits of Florida.
As students soak up views of blue waters spread out beneath them, Scot teaches them the important aspects of operating a hang glider. He generally starts beginners off on the Wills Wing Condor 330, a glider with a lightweight frame and large wingspan. These attributes allow it to take off while moving at extremely slow speeds, ensuring a comfortable ride for hesitant newcomers or cowardly penguins.
Keys Skis and Adventures' fleet of wave runners speed across the water's surface, sending plumes of liquid into the air as riders uncover some of the area's most scenic destinations. On semiprivate tours, the personal watercraft coast along local canals, open waters, and mangroves. The Key Largo area sets the stage for these aquatic adventures, granting easy access to the Atlantic Ocean. Local wildlife such as manatees, dolphins, and aquatic birds make appearances in these areas, although they rarely sign autographs.
Islander Resort's resident purveyors of adventure, the seasoned brine slicers of Islander Watersports grant a glimpse of the sailor's life with solo kayak and sailboat rentals. Select a single-person kayak and cruise the Keys at your own pace, paddling in the shallows near the beach or tackling the open sea to search for manatees or mermaid tracks. Hobie catamarans come in many sizes, each pilotable by a single seaperson but some able to tote up to six crew members. Experienced sailors can set sail immediately, but first-timers might benefit from a one-hour lesson to learn the basics of tack and jibe ($50, not included in this deal).
Keys Adventures Watersports saddles aquatic thrill seekers into motor-powered and people-powered vessels designed to crest over the waves that lap against Key Largo's golden shores. Like oceanic versions of Lewis and Clark, exploring duos select from a fleet of Yamaha and Sea-Doo jet-skis and gear up with personal flotation devices. Pilot and navigator teams can alternate roles while throttling along the sun-drenched shores next to the carving topography of lush coves and inlets.