During the summer months, Stephen Fox and Eliza Gilford do their best to ensure that the verdant forests, rippling ponds, and white-sand beaches of Martha's Vineyard constantly echo with the laughter of children. As the owner and camp director, respectively, of Martha's Vineyard Adventure Camp, the duo engages children ages 7-15 in local exploration and education during adventure camps built on a wealth of wilderness activities.
Led by certified and experienced staff members, campers steer mountain bikes along winding trails in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, practice deep-sea fishing in the Vineyard Sound aboard a Coast-Guard-licensed boat, hike through wildlife sanctuaries, and hone kayaking skills in Sengekontacket Pond. Throughout the adventures, counselors keep kids focused on wilderness education, demonstrating ways to appreciate the outdoors without harming the ecosystem or asking the wrong raccoon for its autograph. Staff members also focus on safety; each counselor is CPR, first aid, and lifeguard certified, and is never in charge of more than six campers at a time.
A United States Coast Guard-certified captain, Captain Cullen Lundholm honed his sea legs at a young age. His father was a commercial rod and reel fisherman, and Cullen quickly developed a passion for the sea and a fisherman?s intuition, which he taps into during Cape Star Charters? watery excursions.
Captain Cullen has traveled the Eastern Seaboard and beyond, plucking fish from the waters of the Bahamas, the Gulf Stream, and Bermuda. But most days you can find him on his 26-foot Regulator Classic, steering his passengers through the Cape Cod waters intent on securing a memorable catch. Cullen equips his guests with Avet and Shimano reels and leads them to populated waters during half- or full-day excursions, where they can try their hand at catching Bluefin tuna, striped bass, fluke, and bonito. And since Cullen is on the water every fishable day from April through October, he has first-hand knowledge of where the fish are, what they are feeding on, and which fish are out visiting family at the aquarium.
In the depths of Cape Cod swim delicacies such as sea-bass and fluke. With backgrounds in both commercial and recreational fishing, the captains of Helen H Fleet lead anglers on trips for these catches, motoring to fishing grounds such as Nantucket Sound. The seven-boat fleet, which ranges from the 30-foot Sea Hawk to the 100-foot Helen H, lets the captains accommodate small charters of one to five anglers as well as party cruises. Crews rent out rods and reels, as well as sell refreshments in between anglers' bouts with feisty bass or boots stuck to the ocean floor. Targeted species change with the season, and Helen H Fleet's captains also charter whale- and seal-watching excursions whenever the creatures migrate along Cape Cod.
Such scenes, part of Cape Cod?s natural magic, are not lost on Bob Wilds. A retired whale watcher, Bob resides in the Cape year-round. He founded Great Marsh Kayak Tours in hopes of sharing the beauty that surrounds him daily. Bob leads family-friendly adventures, such as the Naturalist?s Dream tour, which immerses groups in the majestic salt marshes and explores how early Cape Cod settlers used this environment to survive. All tours employ the services of the Esperanto, a comfy, easy-to-paddle kayak with ample storage capacity for personal belongings and the native kettle chips found floating in the water.
Cape Cod Fishing Charters cast its first line in Provincetown more than 30 years ago. Back then, though, it was known as Top Rod Charters amongst a group of friends and fellow anglers. After a night of fishing, the group would meet at a local diner and compare their catches. The winner, of course, sat at the head of the table and ate for free.
But fishing in those days was a very different scene than the ones afforded by the current version of Cape Cod Charters. Today, the company features a fleet of safe, professionally operated boats. Aboard the vessels, groups receive as much or as little instruction as they want, all while using high-quality rods to reel in fish from the water or poke slumbering pirates that float by on inner tubes. Charters chase striped bass, tuna, cod, and more, and sometimes, appearances from seals and breaching whales make the experience all the more exciting.
When it comes to prototypical Cape Cod fishermen, Captain Bruce Peters is straight out of central casting. He’s a 16th-generation native with nearly 40 years of fishing experience, an affinity for old-school light tackle, and a 34’ boat named after his mom. At Capeshores Charters in Chatham, he welcomes groups of six aboard the Marilyn S. for seasonal expeditions in search of striped bass, bluefish, or bluefin tuna. Since he supplies all of the rods and reels, passengers can focus on the task at hand: catching some rays, scanning the water for fish, and reeling in the ocean’s bounty of sunken yachts. Captain Bruce takes part in the fun, as well, but as a US Coast Guard Master Captain, safety never strays too far from his thoughts.