When people think of Miami, the first things that usually comes to mind are glamorous shopping trips, ballin’ rap stars, and the infamous South Beach Club scene. The reality is that there’s a lot more to this beautiful city than fast cars and starving supermodels. Miami is actually a great spot if you love water sports like jet skiing, snorkeling, and kayaking. Interestingly, even though Lauren and I are both Miami natives, and love boating, neither of us have ever ridden on a jet ski. So when we caught wind of the Ski and Splash adventure tour from Tropical Sailing Miami, where we could actually accomplish all three activities in the same day, we knew we had to check it out!
It’s funny how you can live in a major tourist city for your whole life (Lauren moved to South Florida when she was 10) and never take advantage of some activities that tourists do every day. It’s like, at some point in your life activities are divided up into “locals only” and then everything else is labeled touristy and locals wouldn’t be caught dead admitting that they partook in them. Well I’ve always had that “touristy” opinion about all those harbor tours, cruises, and activity tours that are advertised all over the place. So the last time we were in Miami, visiting as “tourists”, we decided to try out one of these activity tours and get some “fun in the sun” under our belts. Turns out I was dead wrong about them. I’m actually pretty upset that we didn’t look into doing one of these tours years ago. For our “maiden voyage” we got in touch with Tropical Sailing Miami and took a half day Ski and Splash adventure. It. Was. Awesome!
Our day began early in the morning at the beautiful Bayside Market Place (well it was 10:00 AM that’s early for Miami) when we hopped on board our ironically named catamaran, the Tranquility. Loaded on top of the vessel were kayaks, trampolines, and a wide variety of other fun looking gear. Strangely though, there were no jet skis anywhere to be found. Immediately I was concerned, you see I’ve kayaked, snorkeled, swam, and done about everything else on this boat, but I’ve never ridden a jet ski. I was there for the jet skiing! When I looked over at our host for the day, Captain Adam, and not so subtly noted the apparent lack of said jet skis, he politely let me know that the jet skis would come to us when we arrived at “the island”. It was then that I realized I was in for much better day than I had bargained for. As we pulled out of the docks and set sail we were treated with a lovely view of the downtown Miami skyline.
We enjoyed a short cruise on our way out to one of Florida’s many man-made barrier islands. Along the way we were treated to complimentary beverages and snacks. There was beer available for purchase as well, but smartly, that was only available after the jet skis. We got to the island and the catamaran’s crewman, Joe, immediately started pulling all kinds of fun stuff off the top of the boat.
There were water noodles, a trampoline, kayaks, snorkels, and paddle boards. Yet there was something missing… no jet skis. By this point I was like an obnoxious 5-year old waiting for Santa to come, I was in need of a fun distraction. So, Lauren and I immediately hopped into a kayak and did our thing. We took a trip out to another nearby island and spent some time exploring.
Then off in the distance I heard the unmistakable sound of a jet ski. I looked over my shoulder and saw it heading in the direction of our catamaran. Yet, this jet ski was odd, it was towing what looked like a giant banana. We quickly made our way back to the catamaran and were informed that our first adventure was ready.
We were going to take a ride on the banana boat. Apparently Lauren and I, along with our fellow passengers, would climb on board this giant yellow raft and be towed around the bay. I’ve seen these things in action before, but riding one would be a first. We hopped on, sped off, and had a pretty awesome ride. It was like riding a “speed raft”.
It was all fun and games of course until the inevitable happened. We hit a pretty large swell, and the girl in front of Lauren lost her grip. She immediately crashed back into Lauren, who then slammed back into me, which then launched me off of the boat, into the air, and sprawling into the water. I think wiping out was the best part of the ride. I only wish I could have seen it from the shore. It was an epic wipe out, and I’m sure it was hilarious. We all took each other out like dominoes!
After that, it was time, it was the moment Lauren and I had been waiting for, it was time for the jet skis! We were offered the choice of riding on one jet ski together or taking our own and we of course elected to ride solo (how else would we race). So we hopped on, got a quick lesson, and scooted away from the shore. Once we were out in deep waters our instructor turned to us and said “go”. We were free to do whatever we want. So I of course, opened it up full throttle! The salt spray started kicking up, the wind was in my hair, and I was hauling ass. It was incredible! For a speed junkie like me, it was akin to opening it up on a crotch rocket without the fear of potholes and road rash. If you like going fast and you haven’t been on a jet ski, change that now. It’s sweet! Oh, how did Lauren like it? Well why don’t you just take a look at her face :-)
After the boat ride, trampoline, kayaking, and banana boat most people would probably call that a day right? Not if you’re the guys at Tropical Sailing! Once we wrapped up the power toys, it was time to take the boat out into the bay and do a little snorkeling. This is the good part about going out on a tour with a small group, they can be really flexible and easily meet the needs of the whole group. Conveniently on the day we went out, there was a sunken sailboat nearby so we headed over to check it out. Sadly, it was too murky for good pics, but the snorkeling was still fun.
After all this activity, Lauren and I (along with the other passengers) were getting pooped. We still had some time on our sailing so Capt. Adam offered to take us on a short sightseeing cruise. We couldn’t argue with that so we sat back, had a couple ice cold brews and enjoyed the sights all around the bay in Miami.
Our tour through the bay took us by some cool industrial parts of the port of Miami and gave us more great views of the skyline.
Then the tour got really neat, as we pulled along one of Miami’s most famous stalking spots, Star Island. It’s here where many of Miami’s most famous call home. You can tour star island by car, but all the houses have these huge privacy walls and gates. Interestingly though, if you do it by boat, you can see everything because they are not allowed to build waterside barriers. We enjoyed gawking at the Miami version of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” while knocking back some brews.
Some of the boats were more impressive than the houses they were docked in front of!
After our cruise around the bay, it was time to call our Ski and Splash tour a day. All told, we spent a little over 4 hours on the water, but honestly it felt like we were out on the water all day! When we first signed up for this tour we were only expecting to take part in one or two of the activities, but the way the crew had it all set up, they made sure it really was a non-stop adventure the whole time we were out with them. I truly couldn’t believe how much fun we had in such a short time, and really it was a tremendous value. I can certainly say the next time we (and you) are in Miami, looking up Capt. Adam and Tropical Sailing should be high on your list of things to do.
Hope you enjoyed our Ski & Splash Adventure with Tropical Sailing Miami as much as we did! For more information about this trip click here to visit their website or check them out at www.tropicalsailing.com
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