Pirates cheer as cannons fire smoke across the sea. Yet while the pirates are actors and the cannons are just miniaturized toys, the ship they sail upon is anything but pretend—it's a 65-foot steel-hulled vessel designed by a naval architect to look like a Spanish galleon.
Named for the prized Spanish currency of yore, Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruise evokes the golden age of buccaneering as it sets sail from Salty Sam’s Marina. The ship is helmed by a merry band of pirates—such as Pick Pocket Pete, Peg Leg Meg, and Fancy Face Phil—that bookends lessons on pirate history with sing-along chanteys and skits. The 90-minute family-friendly cruise also includes map-reading trivia, face painting, yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum. During the ride, passengers are welcome to explore the upper and lower decks or step inside the grand salon for ice cream, pretzels, and other treats.
In addition to its all-ages cruises, Pieces of Eight hosts an adults-only cruise on Friday nights, which includes cocktails and its own revue. It also charters private cruises to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions.
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.
Shielded from the elements, customers at Glowgolf traverse the course’s 18 holes of indoor miniature golf amid an extraterrestrial neon glow. Vivid murals of jungle and underwater scenes adorn the course’s walls, with giraffes, zebras, and otherworldly creatures serenely coexisting. The course itself brims with potted plants and decorative treasure chests along with traditional mini-golf obstacles such as loop-the-loop ramps and water traps filled with live sharks.
Mark Toomey once helmed his own recruitment firm in Nottingham, England, on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest, but a disdain for damp winters led him to the sun-drenched beaches of Siesta Key. Since opening Robin Hood Rentals in 2009, Mark has persevered through what he calls "Florida's harshest winter in 30 years," during which temperatures teetered near the freezing mark. He equips visitors with rental land-based and aquatic craft that let them explore the area without having to saddle a horse or propose to a dolphin.
From its perch near the Jim Neville Marine Preserve, the company fits cyclists with a range of beach, mountain, and tandem bicycles; matches riders to a fleet of two-seat 49cc automatic scooters; and trains visitors to venture off on newer-model i2 LeanSteer Segways. They also let kayakers explore the local waterways from sunrise into the nighttime.
Waves is a local, friendly, helpful boat club providing its members a variety of nice boats for their unlimited use. We provide any needed training, insurance, we also clean & maintain the fleet. Members simply reserve a boat, show up & enjoy the day. When they are done they can simply leave and we take care of the rest
With backgrounds as military and international-law-enforcement personnel, the instructors at Aegis Tactical know from experience that intense situations can challenge even the most experienced marksmen. That's why they teach a suite of classes and private lessons tailored to shooters of every experience level. NRA-sanctioned courses such as the FIRST Steps Pistol course, acquaint beginners with the basics of operating handguns. Alternatively, advanced training caters to law-enforcement and security personnel. Most courses take place at Aegis Tactical's outdoor training center, where instructors demonstrate proper attitude and firearms operations so students feel comfortable defending themselves, should aliens ever arrive.