It only took two weeks on the picturesque shores of Tahiti and Moorea to send Craig Stewart into a tailspin. He and wife Evelyn fell in love with the South Pacific’s crystalline waters and beachy breezes, so much so that the prospect of remaining in their native Oklahoma turned gloomy. Six years after the Stewarts’ Pacific vacation, they stumbled upon Sanibel Island. With a love for the waters still coursing through their veins, they uprooted and moved there, making it home base for Adventures in Paradise. In 1986, they started out with one boat—Miss Paradise—and one tour, the sunset dolphin cruise. Today, the Stewart family maintains a much larger operation. Their tour topics range from fishing and shelling to dolphin watching to historical sightseeing on a trolley.
Mid Island Water Sports set up shop along the aqua shorelines of Ostego Bay to give everyone easy access to the Gulf, while also giving them enough room to ride free. From two locations, the crew hooks up aquatic adventurers with WaveRunners for freestyle rides along sandy beaches in one of the largest riding areas in the Gulf. Longtime locals lead tours via WaveRunner to spot dolphins breaking the sea's surface and manatees playing with sea kittens. To give locals and visitors an exhilarating new way to take in the Gulf's scenic vistas, the shop's US Coast Guard?certified captain sends them soaring behind him during parasail rides tethered to his high-tech, winch-style parasail boat for an adventuresome trip along the south end of Fort Myers Beach.
Father-and-son duo Captains Lance and Harry Julian founded Pure Naples in 2009 to introduce landlubbers to the pristine waterways that surround Naples. No strangers to the waters, the Julians draw on five generations of maritime business and 25 years of maritime-tourism experience to make their tours as fun and informative as possible. Together they introduce tourists to picturesque views of dolphins, bald eagles, and nature?s cutest cow, the manatee, with cruises, or they facilitate individual exploring with Jet Ski and boat rentals. They even take their boats out on regular deep-sea or bay fishing trips and private charters for the serious angler.
Like the Fort Myers Palms and the Miami Hustlers, Marlins, and Orioles before them, the Fort Myers Miracle continue a tradition of minor league baseball in South Florida that dates back to 1926. Under the stewardship of partial owners Jimmy Buffet and Bill Murray, the Miracle is now a Class A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins that faces off against rival Florida State League teams in front of crowds of up to 8,500 in Hammond Stadium. Though still pursuing their first FSL championship, the franchise has won six total first and second half division titles and produced a number of players who have gone on to play in the FSL all-star game, the major leagues, and community theater productions of The Sandlot.
The aroma of cigars hits you as you walk into the spacious humidor. Boxes line the walls, filled with everything from Ashtons to Gurkhas and Don Pepin Garcias. This humidor is the handy work of Rich Castiano, who grew up watching his father Sal enjoy a good smoke. To share his love of cigars with others, Rich established the World Famous Cigar Bar and stocked it with the finest stogies around. He even created his own special blend in honor of Sal—the 1929 Castiano, a box-pressed cigar featuring Nicaraguan filler, a Jalapa binder, and an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper.
To say that Captain Peter Williamson has been a scuba fanatic his whole life is somewhat untrue—he lived six whole years before even discovering what scuba diving was. A fan of the sport since the ripe old age of six and an avid diver since the age of 12, Captain Pete has attained three teaching certifications and a USCG 50-ton master’s license to captain a dive boat. When he’s not exploring coral or unpopular Atari game cartridges at the bottom of the ocean, he slings gear from all the major producers of scuba equipment in his dive shop.