The thrum of the speedboat's engine carries through the water like an ice-cream truck's jingle. A 4-foot-high wake trails behind, fanning out into a fork as the speed increases and the passengers ready their cameras. Soon, a glistening fin breaks the surface. The first bottlenose dolphin seems to levitate on top of the wave while it bodysurfs for the sheer fun of it, then disappears back into the sea. Its pod follows suit, leaping, splashing, and riding the swells, soaking up the attention of the human spectators.
Sights like this are typical on the Dolphin Racer Speed Boat. The sunny yellow craft skirts across the Gulf of Mexico on 60- to 75-minute trips while up to 125 people lounge on the open deck and the captain narrates the sights of the passing beaches. Ample viewing space ensures that cameras can capture split-second jumps and spins when the dolphins heed the call to play. Whether it's because of the thrill of breaching, the pride in their celebrity status, or an underwater bet to see who can communicate with humans first, the dolphins' presence is virtually guaranteed—the boat offers a complimentary future cruise in the case of no-shows.
Festivals of Speed has been parading a fleet of the world’s snazziest automobiles before crowds at several fancy Florida hotels and resorts for a full decade. The who’s who list of cars includes vintage and contemporary models from Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, and Aston Martin, some so frighteningly aerodynamic that the wind refuses to blow on them.
To complement the automotive elegance, the event planners have made arrangements for soft jazz, luxury lifestyle displays, and sumptuous snacks perfect for tossing to Bentleys as they hop up on their hind wheels. The festival also attracts speedy species of watercraft, aircraft, and custom motorcycles, as well as classic and restored cars submitted by local auto enthusiasts. Alongside its vehicle lineup, the festivals also showcase jewelry, fine art, real estate, and culinary gems to cater to all manner of luxury aficionado.
Certified as a 100 Ton Master Captain by the U.S. Coast Guard, Red Devil Fishing Adventures’ Captain John Gibson leads near-shore reef-fishing excursions in Gulf waters from Venice to Tarpon Springs. Captain John's 24-foot motorized vessel disengages its seaworthy hull from shore to chase after undersea denizens such as cobia, grouper, snapper, and mackerel, offering aspiring anglers high-quality gear and lines with which to angle. Besides fishing expeditions, the captain regularly wanders away from the mainland to engage in bird watching, shelling, nature tours, and languid afternoons of sunbathing on West Florida's isolated islands. Excursions run seven days a week and are subject to weather conditions, availability, and favorable predictions from the captain’s magic 8 ball.
Fun Unlimited rents high-octane outdoor equipment to adventurers interested in waverunners, boats, and their own brand of standup paddleboards, among other items, and also leads jet-ski and paddleboard tours. Rental periods can last from one day to one week, so clients have enough time to whittle a whole family of mannequins out of balsa wood and take them on a cross-country road trip before returning the equipment to the stores conveniently located beach adjacent storefront.
Offering flight training and tours seven days a week for avid air explorers, Alpha Helicopters serves earth-bound humans with a fleet of domesticated helicopters. While soaring 500 feet above ground at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour, riders can catch glimpses of sea dwellers such as manatees, dolphins, and sharks, as well as scenic POVs of landlubbing buildings and Everglades escapees. The whirlybird experience will be remembered for years, thanks in part to a photo taken from the ride high above landlocked bodies of water and land. There is no age limit, meaning children can levitate in safety seats to the same altitude as their parental counterparts.
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