At the helm of Mangrove Masters is Florida native and USCG-certified Captain Jack Boutchyard, who loves to introduce visitors to the waters he calls home—specifically those surrounding Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Captain Jack brings along all gear, including fishing licenses, rods, and bait for flats fishing charters that chase trout near the grass flats and redfish when the tide goes out. For a hands-off outing, the sunset cruise charts course toward a horizon bathed in soft pinks and purples, presenting a colorful backdrop for dolphins and manatees at play. Treasure hunters can also opt to meet Captain Jack on the dock for a short jaunt to the white, sandy shores of North Captiva Island, which is only accessible by boat and teems with riches such as conch shells, sand dollars, and buried chests filled with pirate baseball-card collections.
Engines start to roar, propellers spin, and a large parachute expands into the sky, carrying a light aircraft and its passengers toward the clouds. Silver Lining Aviation's certified instructors create adventures like this every day as they teach visitors to soar behind the controls of sport aircrafts such as powered parachutes, weight-shift trikes, and gyroplanes. Led by licensed FAA flight instructor Craig Ewing, Silver Lining's team takes prospective pilots on introductory flights that allow them to experience aircrafts such as the Airwolf 912 and nibble on different flavors of clouds. The aviation experts also sell sport aircrafts, which patiently wait onsite as customers work through custom ground- and flight-training programs. In most cases, the flight instructors prepare their pupils for aerial navigation in as little as two weeks. They also assist new pilots with replacement parts, provide 24/7 support, and cook oil soup to feed hungry aircraft.
For Pat Glaunert, tennis rackets have been like a pair of butterfly wings. They’ve carried him across the US—from Louisville, Kentucky, where he oversaw all operations as director at Top Gun Academy, to Indianapolis, where he owned and operated his own adult and junior tennis academy.
Now the director of Three Oaks Tennis Center, Pat puts to work certification with the United States Professional Tennis Registry to teach children and adults. His intro courses teach basics to beginners from forehands and backhands to volleys, overheads, and serves. His cardio-tennis sessions build upon basics by pairing swinging and footwork exercises with energetic music and muscle-building activities, which do not include bench-pressing ball machines.
Oasis Yacht Club and Boat Rentals employs friendly staffers who contribute to their community by getting friends, neighbors, and tourists to explore the local waterways via pontoons, kayaks, and fishing charters. The staff can accommodate almost any request, such as customizing cruises to stop along the beach for some shelling. All their charter vessels boast stereos with CD players, and upon request, the crew can load up the boat with refreshments, sunblock, and whale repellent. Oasis Yacht Club also replaces their boats once every year and a half to ensure their equipment is in top shape. On fishing trips, they rent out rods and reels and teach guests basic fishing and boating skills while dishing out information on secluded fishing spots. At the onsite ship store, boaters can stock up on hats, tackle, and gear to prepare for any tours or voyages.
Co-organizers and instructors David Maki and Paul Rodino provide an extensive curriculum to help fledgling shutterbugs capture visual transcendence. Students can learn to adjust the aperture, shutter settings, lens toupee, and program modes on a digital SLR camera in the Photo 102 class, designed for novice shot snappers wielding their first single-lens-reflex devices. Photo 103 picks up where its predecessor leaves off, stirring in the finer points of image composition and properly lighting subjects to make them appear translucent. Classes vary from week to week, so keep checking the calendar; past courses have covered table-top studio lighting and communicating with lenses via conversational Latin.
Sprawling alongside the historic Caloosahatchee River, Riverbend Golf and River Club's 18-hole executive course pairs picture-perfect drives with equally impeccable surroundings. Winding waterways, native woodlands, and crisp river breezes follow players across the course's 212 acres, and overhead, eagles soar gracefully while muttering swing critiques under their breath. After rounds, groups can celebrate new low scores at the club's 19th hole, Marker 34, which caps off pleasant days on the links with quaint waterfront views and eats from an onsite restaurant.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.