Clients come from all over!
It’s always interesting to meet my clients because they come from all over the country and world. Many are from the mid-western part of the United States. Most recently they’ve been from Kansas, Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Wisconsin. They left the cold and came down here to Clearwater/Tampa to enjoy the warmth. Other recent clients were from France, China, Morroco, Egypt, Canada, and The Cayman Islands. Sometimes there is a language barrier, but I use gestures and other body language to help them understand what I am trying to communicate. Always interesting!
One similarity between all my clients is that most of them have have been to Florida before, but they never made the decision to rent or charter a boat to go out and see what’s out there. So when they arrive at the marina and get on the boat, they are usually apprehensive and not quite sure what to expect. This is when I really work hard to get them to trust me, and trust that I will do my best to give them a great experience. After I show them around the boat and talk about what the cruise will entail, they relax and start enjoying the experience.
Then the fun begins. We typically start with a slow cruise through the “no wake zones” (areas where there are marinas and “idle speed manatee zones”). We see other boats, beautiful houses along the waterways, birds and occasionally manatees and/or dolphins. After about 15 minutes, we arrive at the Gulf of Mexico and can pick up speed. We’ll see the hotels and resorts along the way, and all the tourists on the beaches. From here, we are always on the lookout for dolphin and any other interesting wildlife. Many times, we will see a group of dolphin along the way, and they are usually playing and frolicking in the water. Sometimes they will follow us and jump through our boat wake. This is always a favorite experience (especially for kids!) and you’ll see many pictures and videos of this on the website and on our Facebook page.
After some time we will usually decide as a group that they want to go walk on the beach, or lounge in the water. So I try to find the best location I can given the tides and winds of the day. We pull up to about 3 feet of water and I anchor and put down the ladder. We can turn on some music or just listen to the sounds of the ocean and gentle waves breaking on the shore. Some people will eat lunch or snacks and usually everyone likes to get off the boat and go explore, and many times they will find beautiful shells, sand dollars and see lots of birds, crabs and other wildlife. A half-hour, hour or two hours may go by, and then we load up and head to another spot if the group wants. And if everyone wants to go to a local waterfront restaurant, I can take them to that as well.
When the day nears an end, we get everybody back on board, where they can shower off with fresh water, and dry off. It’s always a fun ride back to the docks because you never know what we will see. Usually we have some flexibility with time, so if we run across some more dolphin, we can stop and watch them some more. So much fun!
If I’ve done my job right (which I always try to do), my guests will tell me “This is the best thing they did while on their trip to Florida!” I truly strive for this outcome every time people step on my boat. I hope you’ll think about taking a chance and get out there with me to see the beauty of our barrier islands and the amazing wildlife we have!