Ultimate Key West Adventure

By: Lauren Tjaden

ADD TO FAVORITES
If you're a fan of water sports, imagine this: six hours of aquatic adventures on the beautiful waters of Key West. Sebago Power Adventure lets you race WaveRunners, parasail, snorkel and more - all in one day!

Adventure at a Glance

Sebago Watersports’ Power Adventure is a six-hour long excursion in Key West that includes nearly every water sport you can think of.

You’ll start with motoring or sailing out to the coral barrier reef in a 60-foot catamaran. Upon arrival, you’ll snorkel with the exotic fish and marine life. Next, you’ll parasail over the ocean, snagging a bird’s eye view of Key West. You can jump on the water trampoline, race on WaveRunners, kayak, try to stay attached to the banana boat (pulled by a WaveRunner), and indulge in the lavish food and beverages provided (including wine and beer) before you head back to Key West to happily collapse in exhaustion.

All this adventure at a cost of about $150 per person (check for discounts online at www.keywestsebago.com).
 

The Rest (and Best) of the Story

When I squeezed the fingers of my right hand – ever so gently, with the caress I would give a kitten –  the machine roared, eager to jump across the light chop. I smiled and squeezed harder. In less time than it takes to eat a French fry, the WaveRunner had accelerated to a speed that had the wind pulling tears from my eyes. I had no idea these things were such little race horses – or so much fun to play with! I tore in circles, bouncing over my own wake. I tested the upper limits of the machine’s speed. I screamed out challenges to a couple riding their own WaveRunner (clearly, they were intimidated by my natural talent, as they ignored me and kept a safe distance). Sadly, before I was ready, I was called back to the catamaran.

“You can ride it more in a little while,” Rachel said. “It’s time to go parasailing now.” The pretty, blond, young member of the Sebago crew indicated a slick powerboat pulled alongside of our catamaran. Moments later, we were zooming across the water in it. Next, my husband Paul and I hooked into a tandem harness and were dragged into the sky under the bright, colorful canopy of a parasail. The turquoise ocean stretched beneath us, the boat became toy-sized, and we got a glimpse of Key West from an eagle’s view.

Dan (a crew member of the parasailing boat) yanked on the tow rope to let us know he was taking pictures of us, so we tried to pose like “America’s Top Models” in the air while the boat slowed and we lost altitude. Finally, we dipped so low the water tickled our feet, but more surprises were in store. The boat’s passengers began to cheer and we were given a hearty dunking in the waves. Dan told us that everyone on board voted to get us soaked, so of course, we returned the favor when they took their turns. Too bad Dan didn’t fly!

So many toys, so little time. 

Actually,we had plenty of time. The trip lasted six hours. It began on the large catamaran. We enjoyed elegant pastries, scrambled eggs and fresh fruit while we got acquainted with our fellow adventurers on our journey out to the coral barrier reef. The reef is the only living one in North America, and the third largest in the world. At 120 miles long, it stretches the length of the Keys. It bristles with life, with groups of Yellowtail that move as one, with tropical fish, with barracuda and brain coral and strange purple plants that sway with the surf. Snorkeling gave us a chance to peer into their world.

When we’d had our fill of the reef, we ventured into calmer waters, tying off to an anchored dock a mile north of Key West.  There, we jumped on the water trampoline, sometimes bouncing off into the water. The slide was yet another way to get wet with a big splash. On the banana boat, we learned the game was to try stay onboard while the WaveRunner towing us tried to knock us off with quick turns and fast starts. We parasailed, we kayaked, and we rode the WaveRunners.

The schedule was made a little tighter because of the all the drinking and eating we did. We indulged in the tasty meals that were provided, including fresh shrimp, homemade cookies, ham, salads and sweets. Beverages were provided as well, including wine and beer.

The crew was friendly and professional, going out of their way to make sure that each and every person had a good time. They asked me how I found them, saying with obvious pride that I lucked into the best crew and captain in Key West. I think they were right. If you’re like me – someone with the attention span of a gold fish—Sebago Watersports’ Power Adventure is the perfect ocean cruise.


Insider’s Tips

  • If you’re prone to motion sickness, take medicine beforehand. No matter how great the trip is, if you’re barfing, it ain’t fun. Bonine, an over-the-counter-medicine, might help (get your doctor’s advice before you take any medication).
  • Use alcohol-based ear drops after being in the ocean (again, only if your doctor agrees).

  • You should be able to swim, though you don’t need to be fit to enjoy this adventure. There’s no weight limit for any of the activities with the exception of parasailing; usually about 500 pounds is the maximum weight for a tandem, depending on the wind and conditions. Kids of any age can come along, but those old enough to swim and snorkel will get to join in lots more of the fun.

  • All you need to bring is sunscreen and towels. Wear a bathing suit and whatever you’d like to cover up with.

  • You’ll need to show a driver’s license and be 22 or older in order to ride the WaveRunners.Guests 16 – 21 must also show ID and will need to take a short safety course and pay $3 to drive the WaveRunners. Kids under 16 can ride along but cannot drive.

  • Tip the staff and crew. 15 to 20% is appropriate.

  • Best tip: GO! It’s amazing! Check them out online at www.keywestsebago.com.

Sebago is located in funky, eclectic Key West. Paul and I stayed at the Southernmost Hotel, right on Duval Street, which is Key West’s main hub of activity. It was beautiful, comfortable, gracious, and reasonably priced.

Key West is home to Hemingway’s cats, free roaming chickens, countless artists – and really, I can’t get started on Key West because I’ll never get stopped, but suffice to say this is truly one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been. You need to go at least once.

Other Things to do in Key West

  • Try the world class fishing. Bestonkeywest.com can hook you up with charter boats that will take you deep sea fishing, flat fishing, backcountry fishing, wreck fishing, reef, or shark fishing.

  • Go bar hopping on famous Duval Street. Beware, the natives are renowned party animals, and are likely to leave you with a vicious hangover as a memento.

  • Check out the art galleries. Key West is home to celebrated artists such as Mario Sanchez as well as many hopeful, undiscovered ones.

  • Shop. There’s lots of opportunity here, ranging from your T-shirt and trinket stores to those that offer unique treasures.

  • Eat. Whatever your taste, you can bet you’ll find it in Key West. Wandering Duval Street and simply strolling into whatever place looked tempting was my favorite way to dine – but if you’d prefer to be more organized, you can try Mallory Square’s El Maison de Pepe for fabulous Spanish fare. Or try Camille’s, a funky restaurant at Simonton and Catherine. It features inexpensive gourmet dining and was touted as having the best breakfast in the U.S. on AOL. Don’t forget to sample some Key Lime pie!

  • Tour the town in a moped or souped-up golf cart. Both Conch Electric Cars and Tropica, Inc. rent miniature, head-turning electric cars; you can find mopeds, Harley-Davidson motorcycles and bicycles at Adventure Rentals.

  • Discover the museums. I liked the entertaining Key West Shipwreck Museum, which uses actors and film as well as real artifacts to bring Key West’s history to life, and the Hemingway House with its 46 resident cats, but that’s just the beginning of the list. You can take your pick from Mel Fisher’s Maritime Museum, President Truman’s Little White House, or the Oldest House Museum – and more!

  • Enjoy the street entertainers. My favorite was Catman. His cats leap through burning hoops, walk tightropes, and climb his body. He performs with his fantastic felines most evenings at sunset in Mallory Square, right next to the ocean.

  • Attend a nightly sunset celebration, also at Mallory Square.

  • Indulge in every water sport known to womankind, including diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, kite boarding – and believe it or not, even surfing.

  • Visit Dry Tortugas National Park. A must do. Sixyt-eight miles west of Key West, the park is only accessible by seaplane or boat, so just getting to the island is an adventure! You can go scuba diving and or snorkeling there, as well as saltwater fishing and bird watching, but the centerpiece of the park is Fort Jefferson, an unfinished fortress that is the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere.

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