The warm gulf waters of the Gulf of Mexico draw travelers and explorers from around the globe every year to Florida’s coastline. There is no shortage of activities and adventures to choose from while there but by far the most popular attraction is the resident population of bottlenose dolphin. These majestic animals capture and enchant the millions of tourist’s souls. There is some type of connection we as humans seem to have that is hard to explain but we all feel it when dolphin are near us.
The best way to learn about and meet these guardians of the water is by private charter with one of the areas great captains. These private charters differ from the big party boats in many ways and at the end of the day you will be glad you spent a little more money. Private charters like floridaadventurecruise offer the utmost in comfort and style as you spend the day cruising the coastline aboard their beautiful Sea Ray Sundancer cruisers. These vessels offer total luxury with their air conditioned galley and restroom, huge deck and bow for viewing the wild life. And most importantly peace and relaxation as you have your own ship for the day.
The pitfalls of the $40 per head tours are many but let me go through some of the most common issues. While it’s true they are the cheapest way to get on the water if you are like most Americans you only get a few chances a year to spend quality time with your family and making the most of It is very important. You can book a private cruise for just a fraction more and make the most of your time.
The biggest issue is the crowded nature of the head boats. They are usually big and not very comfortable pontoon style boats. These tours make it hard to truly enjoy the trip and even when dolphin do get close often you and crowded out of a good viewing spot and end up behind the crowd. This has happened many times to me and when I travel now I always book private cruises.
Perhaps even more potentially trip ruining is the kids and rude people you are sure to encounter on a party boat. You will certainly be stuck on a boat full of people with unruly kids and these are the issues that make you wish you didn’t even go in the first place. Pushy and load adults are always there to make sure their needs are met while you are dismissed.
During the charter we took with Florida Adventure Cruise we had the whole boat to ourselves and every time the dolphin came to the boat our view was perfect. The Captain was very skilled in maneuvering the boat into the perfect position and got us right next to the dolphin. The dolphin seem to know we are there to see them as they play and tease us circling the boat. Many times they would stop and raise their heads up to look right at us.
If you cruise the coast long enough a pod of them will almost certainly get in the boats wake for a free ride. They glide and jump just feet behind the boat is a sort of acrobatic display. These are the moments you and your family will remember forever. The pictures of the dolphin in the air are priceless and now decorate our home.
During our private charter we anchored at one of the barrier islands for a shelling and snorkeling adventure and to be certain the dolphin found us there as well. The kids we in about three feet of water looking for shells when a group of three dolphin cam right to them only feet away. The moment seemed to last forever but in reality it was only about 30 seconds long. The kids were exhilarated to get so close while being right in the water with them. Now that the trip is long over the children pull up the video at family outings to brag about their experience with the dolphins.
Here’s a little secret spot I can not forget to mention in this article. While in the Tampa area you need to stop at “John’s Pass village and Boardwalk” if you want to experience dolphin from shore. They have a beautiful boardwalk right on the water lined with great shops and eateries. The local dolphin are constantly moving up and down the row of shops so close you can almost touch them. Grab a table for some lunch or dinner and enjoy the free show they put on every day. And while the boardwalk is free to use it gives you the feel of a paid show and this will be a stop every time you are in the area.
So on your next trip to the Tampa area make sure to visit the dolphin, take a dolphin tour and relax. There are no better places on earth to experience the salt life than the gulf coast.