Until mankind first stepped outside in 1934, nature was thought to be a fanciful myth, like yogurt or the clutch hitter. Spend a few hours frolicking through the fresh air of truth with today's Groupon: for $15, you get a half-day, single-kayak rental at Windsong Charters in New Port Richey (a $35 value).
Windsong Charters equips aquaphiles with paddling transportation so they can buff-up arms and exercise Boy Scout–navigation skills at Green Key Beach and Durney Key without a guide, tearing through the channels or floating in the waves at their own pace. Paddlers can meander through residential channels on a search for some lovely real estate or float over to a bay full of watery creatures and mangroves hoping to catch a glimpse of manatees, turtles, and dolphins. Windsong sets rowers up with a life jacket, paddles, a chart of the area, and a brief how-to for beginners. Then single-size vessels jet off to the watery depths of fun and recreation, teeming with breathtaking views, terrific catches, and native birds, including pelicans, herons, ospreys, and v-neck-sweater-wearing egrets.
Upgrades to a double-kayak or canoe can be purchased for an extra $10.
Windsong Charters & Boat Rentals
"We've got more canoes, kayaks and SUPs than fingers and toes to count them," Captain Wendy explains. "Also, two sailboats, eleven pontoons––all rentable. The funny thing is, this business came from a big accident." She's referring to the company’s inception in 2002, when a devastating hurricane led a friend to sign his company’s single sailboat over to Wendy and her husband, Bruce. "We were in marketing––then, suddenly, we were in boating." More than 12 years later, Windsong Charters & Boat Rentals has flourished under the duo’s stewardship. The company now performs 200 weddings each year and equips a wide range of patrons to revel in the breathless joy of cutting through playful zephyrs and out across the water. Wendy and Bruce encourage fishing and bringing pets on boating voyages, and the two share stories to delight guests or calm champagne bottles propped next to brand-new yachts. As propellers hum to life and paddles make a gentle kissing sound against the surf, visitors scan the horizon for the variety of wildlife that slips along just below the surf's surface or comes wheeling out of tufts of cumulonimbus. "I wish the animals would give us their schedules,” Wendy says, “but, on a given day, you could see manatees, dolphins, stingrays, and lots of birds."