Capt. Tom's charter is geared (or was for us) to families. We have two kids... a 9yo boy and a 14yo girl. Both of our kids had a blast. Both times Capt. Tom and I talked on the phone prior to the trip he asked how I wanted to tailor our day and he made suggestions to make it better. This guy knows to how make your day full of fun.
We arrived at the marina a few minutes before our scheduled departure time and met Capt. Tom as he was going over the maintenance of his boat. It was good to know he wasn't the "put it in the water and let's go type". After the safety briefing, we took off. Heading out into the gulf, my wife and I looked at each other and thought about telling him to just cruise around for the next 8 hours... it was soooo relaxing just cruising on the open water. Then all of a sudden he cuts the engine and we come to a stop! Capt. Tom thought he saw a sea turtle in distress and was going to help it out. We couldn't find the turtle, so we continued to our first stop.
First stop... fishing. Capt. Tom warned me the day before we left and in the morning again that we probably would not catch anything big enough to keep, but I didn't care, I just wanted my kids to have the experience of catching a fish in the ocean. Sure enough, first cast out and my son caught a fish, then my daughter caught one, then my son caught a small grouper. My kids learned the value of catch and release and having a fun time.
Second stop... snorkeling. Capt. Tom took us to a wonderful sandbar for our first dive. It was shallow enough for my son to get used to the equipment and get some water time in.
Third stop... snorkeling again. This time in deep water over a reef. He guaranteed we would see stingrays on the bottom and we did!
Fourth stop... snorkeling on a ship wreck. Capt. Tom told us the history of the ship wreck and we were excited to see it. However, once I got in the water (keep in mind I am an advanced SCUBA diver) I noticed the fast current as we were in the Atlantic side. Capt. Tom noticed the current also and quickly called off the dive. I was impressed to know he put the safety of our family first over the experience of the dive.
Final stop... snorkeling over a shallower, older ship wreck. He told us a story of him and a 100 year old puffer fish that used to be at the dive site. Once in the water we swam over the wreck and to our thrill, we came across a huge puffer fish making the wreck its home. Who could've guessed?
All along the trip Capt. Tom entertained us with tales of old Key West (he moved here in 1975), history of the keys, a lot of educational information about the ecosystem, run-ins with local legends... He even gave us tips on local dining establishments... we tried them out and were not disappointing!
The best way to describe the day is that it was like a seafood sampler platter at your favorite restaurant. We got a lot of experience in in a relatively short time... although we were on the full day excursion.
Capt. Tom is a fun guy and is great for a family experience.
Next time we are in Key West, we will definitely book another trip!