A seafood market stocked with fresh fish. A marina with direct access to the Weedon Island Preserve. Boat rentals. At I.C. Sharks, staff members sate clients? hungers for both seafood and coastal exploration, specializing in these and other seashore exploits. The scent of steamed blue crabs lures visitors into the facility?s crab shanty, C.R. Crabs, or into the fish market, where I.C.'s crew works closely with local fishermen to source daily catches of fish, including grouper, tuna, and snapper. At the docks, boating experts teach customers to man Boston Whalers before they launch for up to a day?s worth of boating recreation. Engines roar as these vessels follow charts through nearby islands, where fishermen plop lines into the water or sightseers marvel at dolphins as they sign autographs in their natural habitats. Guests can enjoy a variety of fresh seafood dishes at the waterfront cafe and tiki bar, including fresh grouper sandwiches, fresh Florida fish tacos, and smoked mahi mahi fish spread, washing it down with an adult beverage, including frozen drinks.
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 waterways of the Gulf Beaches 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.
The Morean Arts Center connects visitors with multiple forms of modern art, welcoming them to explore galleries, a glass studio, and a clay center, all of which host classes, exhibits, events, and retail opportunities. The center was founded in 1917 and has served as the community's art center ever since. The Chihuly Collection showcases a permanent exhibition of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly's installations. His magnificent bright forms, many of which are inspired by nature, spiral toward the ceiling, housed in a 10,000-square-foot structure designed by award-winning architect Alberto Alfonso. A visit to the Glass Studio and Hot Shop immerses guests in the creation of glass works, as artists manipulate molten glass into vibrant orbs and vases. At the Morean Center for Clay visitors can view amazing works of art in the gallery and watch artists work during classes and open-studio time. The center also operates as a retail venue, where customers can purchase local and regional art.
When she dances, Sarah Murray doesn't just use a pole?she incorporates more than 15 years of ballet and modern dance training. And as the owner of Impulse Pole Dance & Exotic Fitness, she doesn't just dance. She and all her instructors have gone through pole safety and training certification, which they use to teach sultry, graceful routines in the studio's pole dance sequence. It starts with basic spins and transitions in the mandatory Intro to Pole Dance class, then progresses to more complex inversions and tricks such as The Phoenix, in which the dancer burns down her pole and builds a new one. In business more than five years, Impulse Pole Dance & Exotic Fitness was voted Best of the Bay 2011-Pole Fitness, and caters to women of all dance and fitness levels.
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.
Speed Boat Adventures combines the excitement of piloting a speedboat with the ease of a guided tour. Slipping up to 10 guests into the cushioned seats of 13-foot F-13 mini speedboats, guides lead them on tours and communicate via two-way radio and fire beacons atop buoys. For those aged 18 and older, the business requires no experience or boating license to pilot the vessels, which can seat up to three and are equipped with a simple throttle-and-steer system. Swaddling each participant in US Coast Guard?approved life jackets, guides whisk them along 13 miles of the Big Bay while pointing out sites such as aircraft carriers, historic ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and Seaport Village, with the San Diego city skyline as their backdrop.