Naples Water Tours, Dolphins,
Jetski Tour & More
By: John McNamara
than a tour, it’s definitely an Adventure Tour Living
in Ft. Lauderdale on the east coast of Florida, I don’t
make much of an effort to travel to the west coast. This time,
though, I wanted to do something different, along with a friend
of mine. We decided to take the Naples Water Tour Company adventure
tour out of Naples, Florida. It turned out to be a carefree
day trip from Ft. Lauderdale. The leisurely 1-1/2 hour drive
took us across Alligator Alley along I-75, through the Florida
Everglades straight to Naples. The 75-cent toll covered the
ride there, and the first exit headed us towards Historic Naples,
and eventually to the docks where the tour began.
At the docks we
meet Rick Clouston (Rick C), the owner, and his partner Captain
Rick Traver (Rick T). The trip was more of an adventure than
I expected. It was an action packed 2-1/2 hour excursion full
of sightseeing, dolphin encounters, boating, jet skiing, swimming
and shelling on a secluded beach.
proved to be a classic example of how opposites attract. Rick
C. is the thrill seeker, who loves his jet skis. Rick T. is
the calm guy in charge of the boat, who is consistently helpful
and courteous. Before we began the tour, “the Rick”
gave a short briefing about the tour and important safety issues.
Then, the excited guests boarded the 22 ft, 12-passenger boat.
Rick T. drove the boat and played the role of the tour guide,
providing guests with background on and sights to see in the
area, while Rick C. acted as our personal scout, scanning the
landscape for wildlife while he maneuvered his powerful jet
The city of Naples
is an ironic combination of millionaire homes, standing proud
south of the docks, and an abundance of thriving foliage as
you exit the intercoastal waterway. Where the houses stop, nature
begins with mangrove trees, small islands, and plenty of sandy
As we made our
way to the depths of the ocean, we were blessed to encounter
our first bottlenose dolphin. We watched as this lone dolphin
played in the boat’s wake. It was amazing to see how fearless
this dolphin was, even in the abundant presence of boats driving
through the waterway. We stayed with this dolphin for a while
then headed off towards the inlet to the Gulf where the biggest
pods of dolphins play, the “dolphin playground”.
Here we watched 4– 8 dolphins taking time out to play.
We were fortunate enough to witness a mother and a calf swimming
together. We stayed here quite a while to watch these beautiful
mammals. I soon found out how difficult it is to photograph
these energetic animals!
From there we traveled
to an open area where the boat could anchor and rest, where
Rick C. gave everyone an opportunity to ride on his watercraft.
We had our choice, ride with Rick, or drive ourselves. I chose
to take the craft out on my own. Most of the guests chose to
have Rick take them on a thrill seeking ride, which proved to
be better then most attraction rides, with dynamic jumps, hard
circles, and full throttle speed. The guests loved the ride.
We spent about 40 minutes there before, suddenly, Rick C.’s
keen eye spotted another mother and calf swimming in one of
the canals. We followed and enjoyed the beautiful pair, before
heading back to the open water area where we continued the Jet
Ski interlude. From there, Rick and Rick took us to a special
beach for some lounging, shelling, swimming, and more jet skiing.
After a quick dip
in the Gulf, I had Rick C give me a ride around the mangrove
islands. Rick C. is an expert on the island and its characteristics.
I felt as if I was participating in an IMAX movie. I thought
for sure that I would either crash or hit my head, but nothing
happened. Rick had everything under control, and managed his
time well, providing everyone with ample time on the watercraft.
After about 40 minutes, we traveled, gingerly, back to the docks
There are several
different tours offered by Naples Water Tour. The Adventure
Tour, is 2-1/2 hours in length, and includes sightseeing, dolphin
encounters, jet skiing, shelling, and beach time. The Dolphin
Encounter is a 2-1/2 hour tour that includes everything that
the adventure tour includes without the jet skiing and, as you
can imagine, more time with the dolphins. For those with less
time on their hands, the Sunset Tour is a great choice. It is
only 1-1/2 hours and includes some sight seeing and watching
one the best sunsets in the U.S. Naples Water Tours is also
willing and able to create custom tours for you and your group.
The cost for the Adventure Tour and Dolphin Encounter is $50
per person and $25 for children 10 years old and under. The
Sunset Tour is $25 per person.
doesn’t have a great deal of lodging options near old
downtown and the docking area. You can stay at the Charter Club
Hotel and Timeshare, 239.261.5559. This is an all suite property
with double rooms, kitchens and other amenities.
For a fresh seafood
experience, eat at the Tiki Bar and Grill near the docks, offering
one of the best grouper sandwiches around, 239-261-0978. Tin
City, a 23,000 square foot complex, is a bustling hub of restaurants
and boutiques. The Pier 41 restaurant was also recommended to
us. If time allows be sure to walk along the pier.
to experience in Naples include Caribbean Gardens and Zoo, Billie
Swamp Safari, and Barefoot Nature Preserve. There are also many
clean and peaceful beaches to visit.
If you are staying in Naples, Ft. Lauderdale, or Ft. Meyers,
we recommend you give “the Ricks” of Naples Water
Tours a call at 239-793-play. You can also visit their web site
for more information. Once you’ve made your reservation,
you just need to grab your sunscreen, bathing suit and towel,
and drive to Naples for a day to remember. The trip is exciting
and worth every penny. Directions from Ft. Lauderdale: Traveling
on I-75, take Exit 101. Take a Left on 951. At first intersection,
take a Right onto Davis Blvd. Stay on Davis Blvd. (7 miles)
until it bears Right onto US 41. Follow to 10th St. South and
turn Left. Proceed 5 blocks straight to the resort.
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