Going on a dolphin cruise - Orlando / Florida Guide
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Whenever we visit our beautiful villa in Orlando we try to make time to visit the Gulf Coast beaches. These wonderful golden sandy beaches are just an hour and a half from our home, so after an energetic time at the parks we love to chill out and splash in the warm waters of the Gulf.
Whilst there, we also take the opportunity to visit our favourite place, St Johns Pass at Madeira Beach. We normally take a visit to this little gem where we can not only find a great meal of fresh seafood, but we can take a boat cruise from the marina there. The boardwalk itself is full of quaint little shops, brimming with souvenirs, shells, clothes and antiques, and we have spent many an hour exploring them. As you walk round Hubbard’s Marina you will see that there is a wide range of short cruises to take. You can sail on a pirate ship, or take a sunset cruise, but our favourite is the dolphin cruise.
We arrived at St Johns’ Boardwalk at around 11. 00am after a pleasant drive, via Tampa, and went straight to Hubbard’s Marina to book our Dolphin Cruise. It is a very reasonable $16. 82 for adults, and just $8. 41 for children aged 11 and under, whilst under 2’s are free. We had hoped to take the 1. 00 pm cruise but it was fully booked, so we opted for the 3 pm cruise. We could have chosen the 5pm sailing but we wanted to spend some time on the beach after the cruise, before we ate dinner.
Having been cruising we know how fierce the sun can be when combined with the water, so we made sure we took plenty of sunscreen with us, and we were careful to cover ourselves with it before we got on the boat. If you do this cruise, don’t forget ears, too, as they can get quite burned, so a hat might be a good idea. We made sure we were wearing sensible shoes as we knew that we would want to move around the boat to take photos – of course we took both our camera and our video camera, but I have to say at times we wished we had brought binoculars, too.
We arrived back at the marina around 2. 30 pm so that we had plenty of time to board the big blue Catamaran, the Sea Adventure. We took our seats – which were quite comfortable – and watched as the other passengers boarded. There are restrooms on board, and you can also buy cold beer, soft drinks and snacks. Bang on time our catamaran set sail. It was a lovely cloudless sunny day and the sunshine glinting on the water was really beautiful. I was soon snapping away with my camera as we left the shore behind and sailed into more open water. On our way we sailed through the fishing village, passing some magnificent homes built right on the waterfront.
The catamaran can hold 80 passengers, but today it was not quite full, which gave us more room. Of course we were hoping to see dolphin, but we were lucky enough so see plenty of bird life pretty soon. My favourite had to be the pelicans – they swooped down into the sea, scooping up both fish and sea water in their huge beaks. They look so inelegant on land, but in the sky they are graceful and wonderful fishermen. Although we did not see them this time we were told that often heron, egrets, osprey and even bald eagles can be seen. We were all peering out in the hope that we would see dolphins, and we were soon rewarded for our patience, as there to the left of the boat we could see dolphins leaping out of the water. As we got closer, we could see several dolphin, who came nearer and nearer, apparently fearless. It was well worth the wait!
All too soon we were turning for home, but we were all pleased to have seen so many dolphins.
If you decide to do this cruise then get there early to avoid disappointment – and don’t forget your camera!
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