Not content to make only customers happy, the staff of luxury yacht service The Advantaged have been lauded by a flurry of publications and honored for their contributions to the community by The Miami-Dade County Office of the Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners. Aside from chartering lushly appointed yachts, the pals of Poseidon also launch watersports expeditions via wakeboard or kayak, loft voyagers on air-and-sea excursions, and throw yacht parties for travelers who want a taste of luxury or barge parties for multimillionaires thirsting for the stowaway experience.
The Floridian sun sparkles off rolling waves, reflecting dancing patterns of light onto the white-and-red hull of Aquaworld Miami’s excursion vessel, the Caribbean Spirit . The double-masted catamaran catches the gulf’s gusty winds in its twin sails to journey to a shallow sandbar for a day of watersports, offloading jet skis, banana boats, and a parasailing-equipped speed boat into the knee-deep water. On Atlantic Ocean excursions, the 78-foot vessel parks over a shallow water shipwreck for guests equipped with snorkels to explore. The rhythmic thump of the waves combines with Calypso music that constantly drifts from the boat’s speakers, offering the only method of sonar capable of identifying an undersea dance party.
TriJungle suits athletes up with an extensive stock of cycling gear, running clothes, swimsuits, and performance-enhancing nutritional supplements. Staffer Magui boasts experience as a triathlete, marathon runner, and spin instructor, an impressive resumé that she taps to help customers select the right gear. She can also guide shoppers through the store's aisles of nutritional supplements, athlete-strength sunscreen, and ear-drying aids to use in the event they're squirted with the water gun that traditionally announces the start of a race.
From morning through evening, passengers motor to nine sightseeing hotspots on Water Taxi Miami’s aquatic coaches. Watercrafts ferry riders to and from ports such as Miami Beach Marina—from which they can access South of Fifth shopping and dining—and Finnegan’s River, a sports bar where patrons can stop in for an evening drink or gaze at views of the Miami skyline. Kids ages 3 and younger ride the environmentally friendly taxis for free, and discounted tickets and saying "please" in song facilitate passage for youngsters 12 and younger.
The Florida Running Company, a store completely staffed by runners, finds people the fittingest shoes using a process similar to the one speed daters use to find future mates—taking measurements, assessing stance, and playing back video of them running on a treadmill. The shop carries top running-shoe brands such as Asics Gel Kayano ($140) and Nike Air Pegasus ($85). Runners can complement their kicks with Nike Tempo track shorts ($28) or swaddle their feet in a pair of Balega socks ($10), as soft and comforting as group hug from every grandmother on the block.
There's a whole other city off Miami's coast, lurking just beneath the Atlantic. Eels, stingrays, and tarpon swim across terrains as unpredictable as the sonnets formed by a pot of alphabet soup—terrains made of sunken yachts, oil platforms, army tanks, and even a 727 airliner. To date, Miami Beach holds more than 75 wrecks and manmade objects, many of which were sunk as part of an artificial reef program. Only two things stand between adventurers and these submerged wonders: equipment and training.
Enter South Beach Divers, a PADI five-star facility and equipment retailer that has certified more than 4,500 divers since 1995. Its aquatic alumni continues to grow thanks to versatile instructors who, combined, speak seven languages. These experts teach the full PADI curriculum, starting with Discover Scuba and Open Water Certification and working into specialized areas such as night diving, wreck diving, and rescue diving. Once students acquire the basics, South Beach Divers takes them on daily trips to Miami Beach and Key Largo's John Pennekamp Marine Sanctuary, where more traditional, coral reefs lay.