New Year 2010 www. marcoreview. com Page 87 ON THE WATER Landing a big game fi sh has to be one of the most exciting things that most people will ever do, but if you've ever taken someone fi shing for the fi rst time and watched the delight on their face when they succeed in landing a six inch snapper, then you realize that the old saying is true... size doesn't always matter! Captain Jim Ponder of Anglers Charters specializes in fun family fi shing. If it's trophy fi sh you want, then he'll be happy to oblige, but he says the major-ity of his customers just want to enjoy being out on the water and experience the thrill of catching a fi sh, whatever its size. And don't worry that a whole day of fi shing might be too much for all the family, Capt. Jim can always mix things up and fi nd a desserted beach for some shelling, follow a group of dolphin for a while or maybe stop off at a waterside restaurant for some lunch. His spacious and stable deck boat is perfect for navigating the shallow back-waters around Marco and is also comfortable in the near shore gulf waters. It' s ideal for those who are less mobile, and can even accommodate a wheelchair.
Based at JT's Island Café and Gallery just outside of Everglades City and a half hour drive from Marco Island, Everglades Area Tours. com offers a host of different ways to experience the unique environment of Everglades National Park, " Florida's Last Frontier" . power boats, bikes, hikes, and even kayaks. Their most popular eco- adventure is superb for families and guests of all ages. The Boat Assisted Kayak Eco Tour combines the best of a boat tour, a kayak tour and a walking tour into a single incredible eco- experience. Leaving twice daily, their " mother- boat", complete with comfortable, captain- style seating and state- of- the- art kayaks, safely transports guests to the far reaches of the Park. You can visit areas which literally would take others days of paddling just to reach; yet you are back in time for lunch or dinner! Groups are limited to six, so you can expect up- close, unparalleled encounters with manatees, dolphins, roseate spoonbills, sea turtles, bald eagles, ospreys, herons, egrets, pelicans, alligators and many species of shore birds, depending on the season. Imagine the thrill of paddling right alongside a manatee or dolphin as they swim through these quiet waterways. All Everglades Area Tours. com guides are full- time, certifi ed Florida Master Naturalists and environmental educators eager to share their knowledge and experience. Passionate about of-fering guests a ' real' and intimate experience in the Park, they provide a wealth of information on the colorful local history of the area as well as its wonderful wildlife and fl ora. Your tour begins on a transport boat that takes you deep into Everglades National Park. Then, you will switch over to a comfortable one- or two- person kayak to get as close as possible to the fl ora and fauna of the Everglades. Because the kayaks are so stable and easy to use, no experience is needed. Continue your interpretive experience with a walking tour of a pristine barrier island beach seldom visited by humans. Expect some excellent shelling, too! Bring your camera for a " Complete Everglades Experience" that the whole family will never forget. Tours depart @ 9: 00 & 1: 30 daily and are limited to six guests, so reservations are suggested. Visit www.. EvergladesAreaTours. com or call 239- 695- 3633 for more details and directions. If kayaking is not for you, Everglades Area Tours. com also offers daily Power Boat Eco Tours into the Everglades' 10,000 Islands. These tours departure at 9: 00, 11: 00, 1: 00 and 3: 00 from the Calusa Island Marina in Marco/ Goodland. This is a great introduction to the area and is appropriate for all ages. Do not forget to ask them about the sunset tour. This tour is very intimate and is limited to just six guests as well, so be sure to make a reservation. New in 2010, is their Manatee Experience. Using unique, extremely stable, catamaran style paddle- craft they bring you very close to these gentle giants. However, not too close to disturb their natural activity. You will learn about these wonder-ful creatures from their naturalist guides. This tour is part of Collier County Parks and Recreation eco- educational program. The Park is the best winter fi shery in North America and with a fl eet of six boats and seasoned captains, Everglades Area Tours. com not only offers traditional charter boat trips, they are also the industry leader in the fast- growing sport of kayak fi shing. So, however you prefer to experience the everglades, Everglades Area Tours. com seems to have every angle covered in their effort to get you as close to the wonderful environment of the Florida Everglades as possible. Visit their informative website at www. EvergladesAreaTours. com for more details or call 239- 695- 3633 to learn more about what could be an experience of a lifetime.