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private sailing instruction

Private Sailing Instruction now available aboard Take Me There

Take Me There Sailing continues to add amazing new experiences for our clients to enjoy!  We are now proud to offer private sailing instruction as part of Take Me There’s unrivaled reputation for Enriching Lives through Exceptional Experiences! Our new private sailing instruction programs are as high-quality as our charter reputation.  As a sailing school that offers private sailing instruction, we provide the same special attention and high-quality engagement with our students as we do with our private charter clients.

Captain Steve Mitchell aboard Take Me There

 

There are 4 reasons why you would want private sailing instruction through Take Me There Sailing:

  1. Perhaps you’d like to charter a bareboat? Do you meet the 4 core requirements of licensing, sailing-resume, experience, and credentials? If not, private sailing instruction through Take Me There will help you achieve the International Sailing Licensing and Credentials (SLC) so you can book your bareboat charter and leave that expensive captain behind.
  2. Are you already a sailor but you need more practice in close or complicated sailing situations which you would like to be more comfortable with? Some of the following may hit home for you
  • Are you uncomfortable or fearful when you think about certain sailing conditions?
  • Do you wonder if you could effectively manage a man-overboard drill on a big boat?
  • Are you getting ready to cruise and you would like to apply navigation knowledge to cruising scenarios? These (and much more) would all be addressed in your private sailing instruction.
  1. Are you a busy professional? (Who isn’t!) With private sailing instruction, you can choose the schedule that works best for you to fit these valuable sailing skill opportunities into your challenging schedule.
  2. Have you shied away from private sailing instruction in the past because you feel like you have a unique learning style or just don’t feel as though traditional learning environments fit your needs? This is another great reason to choose Take Me There, and NauticEd, for your private sailing instruction. Everything we do is customized to ensure that you receive the optimal experience with the greatest results. We want you walking away saying, “WOW- that was incredible!”

Private Sailing Instruction aboard Take Me There

We want to ensure your satisfaction by combining our concierge-level approach with personal engagement and asking you what your needs are.  We’d like the opportunity to offer you many options to build your confidence and competence by completing your experience with us.

Are you ready to learn more about private sailing instruction aboard Take Me There? The members of your sailing instruction team are you, Take Me There Sailing, and NauticEd.  We partner with you to expand sailing awareness and help you achieve sailing competence.  We partner with NauticEd to provide high-quality, online sailing education resources and course materiel for your private sailing instruction.  As a sailing school, we are especially proud to work with NauticEd as they are the only government and US Coast Guard recognized sailing body in the US that certifies for The International Sailing License and Credentials (SLC). (Ask us how this differs from ASA courses you may know of!)

We invite you to partner with us for your private sailing instruction. Sign up here for your two free NauticEd classes and let’s get started! Just say, “Take Me There”

About the Author:  Captain Steve Mitchell is our Chief Instructor at Take Me There Sailing.  Captain Steve is a USCG 100 Ton Master with a Sailing and Towing endorsement.  He is a Ketch-Rigged expert and has over 20,000 miles piloting Take Me There in US and Caribbean waters. He loves sharing his knowledge and helping others to be successful.

 

Florida Sky

The Emotional Vibes of Florida Skies as experienced aboard Take Me There!

Good afternoon sailing friends! While last week’s blog described my amazing shrimp ceviche recipe and was created especially for my foodie friends, this week’s post is for my emo friends; the ones that I sit and have deep loving conversations with while we laugh and shed a few tears. Even if you are not one of those people, you will still appreciate the photos of Florida skies included in this post so hang in there with me for just a few minutes.

Like many of you, I’m one of those people that use my phone to take pictures, and more pictures, and more pictures and don’t even think about how many images are being accumulated until I get the dreaded message that I am out of storage space. UGH!! While I do not look forward to the technical process of clearing out my phone, I am inspired by the opportunity to revisit meaningful moments over the last few years. Like this one taken of Steve and me just a few months ago.

Steve and Kimberly excited for the Dry Tortugas

Steve and Kimberly aboard Take Me There

The chance to revisit photos provides the opportunity to look at them through a different lens. While I was recently reviewing my camera roll and deciding which pictures to move to my computer, I was drawn to the emotions that I was feeling as I looked at the Florida skies during various sailing charters. The emotional vibes that were stirred from these photos of Florida skies was a bit overwhelming. How is it that pictures containing various amounts of clouds, sun, and sky could arouse such incredible emotional vibes? While we all realize that a picture says a thousand words, pictures also tug at our heartstrings and have the possibility of stirring up powerful emotions. I feel that way when I look at this picture of Take Me There that was taken a few years ago.

Take Me There at sunset

We have all oohhed and ahhhed over beautiful sunsets, but have you ever dug deeper and considered the breadth and depth of the emotions that are being summoned up by these visual cues?

Entrance to Burnt Store Marina

Like with this picture… We were entering Burnt Store Marina for the first time aboard Take Me There and we took this picture looking back over our shoulders. We said goodbye to where we had come from and were saying hello to a whole new life. We were beginning a new chapter in our lives as the operators of a sailing charter business in Punta Gorda. When I look at this picture I feel EXHILARATED! The sun was setting on a previous chapter in our lives and the next morning we would rise to a new day!

Are you ready to see more photos of Florida skies? I hope you enjoy exploring the emotions that are created by these experiences of Florida skies aboard Take Me There.

 

We look forward to creating these kinds of memories with you soon! Just say, TAKE ME THERE!

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”  Helen Keller

amazing shrimp ceviche aboard take me there

Amazing Shrimp Ceviche Recipe Aboard Take Me There

Hi sailing and foodie friends! You guessed it- this post is going to be about one of my favorite appetizers aboard Take Me There.  Shrimp ceviche – Take Me There style has again gotten rave reviews this week and when the third person asked me for the recipe, I decided it was time to publish my recipe so you can make this amazing shrimp ceviche at home. After seeing how easy this is to make, you’ll want to make this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe for your next get-together. And with June just days away, this appetizer has cool summer snack written all over it.

So let’s jump right into the ingredients for this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe. Ready? The list is so short you may miss something if you read too fast. So slow it down and take it all in.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Campari tomatoes (They are little so that is why you need so many)
  • 1 red or yellow pepper
  • ¼ small red onion
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon garlic (depending on how much you like garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped cilantro (Buy a full bunch and then you’ll just need about 1/5 of the bunch)
  • 10-12 large cooked shrimp (you can buy raw and boil them yourself or buy them already cooked)
  • 2 limes
  • 1/8 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Before I jump right into the step-by-step part, let’s talk a little bit about the ingredients.

Short FAQ list for your amazing shrimp ceviche recipe

Why Campari tomatoes? Can’t I use any kind of tomatoes?
I’ve tried several different kinds of tomatoes in this recipe. And while large tomatoes are certainly easier to slice, remove seeds, and dice the meat of the tomato, there is something about the sweetness and richness of Campari tomatoes that I absolutely love. There is usually 8-10 in a small plastic tub. And remember that tomatoes NEVER get refrigerated. Store them in a cool, dark place and they ripen beautifully and provide the savory sweetness for this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe.

Why red or yellow and not green peppers?
Another great question. Red or yellow peppers have a sweetness to them that is missing in green peppers which tend to be a bit more on the tart side. Red peppers are the sweetest, but yellow peppers add more color to your amazing shrimp ceviche recipe against the red tomatoes. In these photos, you’ll notice that I used red pepper this time.

Does it have to be red onion?
Yup, red onions have a sweetness to them that you won’t find in raw white onions. The slight purple color also looks appealing.

I notice a jar of minced garlic in the picture, can I use fresh garlic?
Absolutely, you can use fresh garlic. I happen to like the punch that you get from minced garlic (And I really hate to use a garlic press). Another reason- I use a LOT of garlic in many recipes and being able to stock up and open a jar when I need it makes my life easy. And shouldn’t life be easy sometimes?

Can I use dried cilantro or already bottled lime juice for this recipe?
NOPE! What makes this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe is really not the shrimp, it’s the fresh cilantro, fresh limes, and the Campari tomatoes.

Can I cheat and use frozen shrimp?
YES! I have done that too and honestly; I do not notice a difference. Buy the already cooked frozen shrimp and you will be just fine! Lately, fresh shrimp has been too expensive, so I have been buying frozen raw shrimp. I defrost the shrimp (Defrost slowly in warm water) and then boil a pot of water. I put the shrimp into my metal colander and poach them in the boiling water for about 2-4 minutes until they are fully cooked. What I DO NOT do is use raw shrimp and allow the shrimp to “cook” in the lime juice, as many restaurants do. The shrimp must be fully cooked and then diced. But do not overcook the shrimp because then it gets rubbery.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
YES! Here’s the trick. Mix together the tomatoes, pepper, onion, garlic, diced shrimp, and cilantro and refrigerate. The morning that you are going to serve this amazing shrimp ceviche, juice your limes and make a dressing out of the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the other ingredients and let it marinate in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Stir it before you serve it and you are ready to go! You can make this up to 4 days ahead of time and it stays fresh in the refrigerator if you do not have the dressing on it.

I’ve seen other ceviche recipes mix the cilantro into the lime juice as part of the dressing. Can I do it that way?
You could do it that way, but I have found that part of what makes this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe is that you are not mottling the fresh cilantro into the lime juice and making the cilantro soggy. The cilantro stays crisp when you mix it with the other vegetables rather than using it as part of the dressing.

What if we don’t like shrimp?
WHAT??!! Just kidding! That’s ok. I have substituted conch, cooked halibut, roasted chicken, or mango in place of the shrimp. My second runner-up to this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe is made with fresh mangos.

So with those FAQs out of the way, you already have an idea of what the steps are to making this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe, but here it is anyway! 😊

raw ingredients with a bowl of amazing shrimp ceviche

DIRECTIONS TO MAKING YOUR AMAZING SHRIMP CEVICHE

Dice your onion and pepper and put them into a mixing bowl.

Cut your Campari tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and the core. Then you can dice the meat of the tomatoes and mix it with the onion and pepper.

Dice your cooked shrimp.

Chop your cilantro finely – about 1/5 of the bunch.

Mix onion, pepper, tomatoes, shrimp, garlic, and cilantro together and refrigerate.

DRESSING
Juice your limes. Mix the juice with a dash of extra virgin olive oil, a few grinds of salt and pepper and whisk together. At least a few hours before you are ready to serve, pour the dressing over the shrimp ceviche and refrigerate.

juicing limes for amazing shrimp ceviche

GRAND ENTRANCE TO THE TABLE

Serve your amazing shrimp ceviche recipe with Tostitos Lime flavored chips. DONE AND YUM!

amazing shrimp ceviche with lime chips

There you have it folks- your amazing shrimp ceviche recipe. But if you don’t feel like making it yourself, we hope you get some friends together and come enjoy it with us on your next sailing charter- where all food and drinks are just part of your sailing adventure. Just say, “TAKE ME THERE”!

amazing shrimp ceviche with take me there tumblers

 

Relax and enjoy the moment aboard Take Me There

5 Pros to Choosing a Sailing Charter Vacation

Is it time to start planning your next family vacation or maybe just a mini getaway for the two of you? Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of your options? Where do we go? How much money do we budget for this vacation? What is the best place to go to do the things we want to do? And are we going to get the most bang for our buck? Yikes- there’s a lot to think about when it comes to planning your next vacation. It almost makes you want to throw in the towel and decide to just stay home.

BUT WAIT! You deserve that vacation, and you need a break from all the hustle and bustle of work, kids’ activities, and keeping up with the cleaning and cooking around the house. You need this getaway, and we want to make it happen for you! Here are the 5 pros to choosing a sailing charter vacation.

Reason #1: It’s time to get out of the house!

One of the top reasons for choosing a sailing charter vacation is because it is time to get out of the house. Particularly since the outbreak of Covid, many of us are feeling cabin fever and dreading being cooped up inside. Do you just feel like running out the door shouting, “I’m free”? If so, then choosing a sailing charter vacation is the perfect release for you. There is nothing like laying on the deck, looking at the stars and the moon, and experiencing the wide-open expansiveness of the water and space. It’s time to break free and there is no better way to do that than choosing a sailing charter vacation.

reasons to choose a sailing charter vacation

Reason #2: You want to try something different!

The second reason for choosing a sailing charter vacation is because it is different and unique from the other trips you have planned. When you think of Florida or if you have taken a Florida vacation what do you think of or what did you do when you came to Florida for your vacation? You probably went to the beach, enjoyed a theme park or two (or three), and visited some great beachy restaurants for seafood. But did you book a sailing charter vacation? It may not have even occurred to you that you could do that easily and inexpensively.

How much did you spend for your family at one of those theme parks? Tickets are around $150 per person and that does not include food, drinks, or parking. What if I told you that you could choose a daysail aboard Take Me There for around the same price per person and that we include all your food, drinks, and activities? Now that’s a vacation- not worrying about how often you pull out the credit card to pay for just one more thing. So now it’s time to think of Florida as the place for choosing a sailing charter vacation.

Reason #3: You do not want to plan or arrange for anything – you’re on vacation!

The third reason for choosing a sailing charter vacation is that you deserve a break from planning, preparing, organizing, scheduling, and basically being the one to make everything happen. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up when you want to wake up, have coffee already brewing and ready for you whenever you decide it’s time for caffeine, and then breakfast arrives when you’re hungry and all the clean up is done for you and you just get to relax until the next plate of food arrives? Doesn’t that sound just heavenly? I can’t speak for other sailing charters, but that’s the way it works aboard Take Me There. You do YOU and let us do everything else.

Reason #4: There needs to be something to do for everyone!

The next reason for choosing a sailing charter vacation is because you are thinking of everyone else in your family and you want to make sure that no one is bored. Bored? On a sailing charter? Not aboard Take Me There. You can choose to lay on deck and grab some sun, hang out in the shade of the cockpit with a good book or just listen to music that’s piped in through the sound system. But wait- there’s more aboard Take Me There! You could also choose to strap on some snorkel gear and see what’s swimming around the boat or relax in the floats with your tumbler full of something cool to drink.

There’s still more- you may also decide to kayak over to an island and explore some of the sandy beaches or drop a line in the water and see what’s biting. Jumping off deck is always fun to cool off and hanging out in the hammock chairs is also a great way to relax. In the evenings we play cards or board games while snacking on sweet or salty snacks, and in the morning, we get up and do it all over again.

Reason #5: We do the sailing and you do the relaxing!

When you board Take Me There, we take care of everything for you. We do the navigating to find the best places to be, we do the sailing so you can enjoy your time on deck and in the water, we do the cooking so you can enjoy the tasty treats, and we do all the clean up so you can enjoy more down time. How many times have you returned home from vacation only to say that you need a vacation to recover from your vacation?

Well- not when you choose a sailing charter vacation aboard Take Me There. You will arrive home rested, rejuvenated, and restored back to life. So then all you have to think about is your next sailing charter vacation!  Book Now for your next sailing charter vacation! All you have to say is, “Take Me There”!

5 pros for choosing a sailing charter vacation

kayaking while sailing charlotte harbor

4 Awesome Days Sailing Charlotte Harbor

Hi there Take Me There sailing friends! We hope you are well and enjoying life. We just finished an amazing 4 days of sailing Charlotte Harbor, Florida and I’m excited to share some of the highlights of our trip. When I tell folks that we are on a four-day sail, they often ask how far we traveled. Did we go to Marco Island or the Keys? They are surprised when I tell them that we stayed in Charlotte Harbor for 4 days and thoroughly enjoyed sailing Charlotte Harbor.

Remember that just because you book a sailing trip, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to spend 8-10 hours each day sailing. It’s important to have destinations to enjoy and fun things to do that are close to home- that’s why we really enjoy sailing Charlotte Harbor. There is plenty to do in the area and beautiful things to see right here close to our home port of Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda.

So let’s take a look at the 4 awesome days we spent sailing Charlotte Harbor with a beautiful family of 6. It’s important to note that this family flew in from out of state and had not been to this area of SW Florida before. If you are from this area, you may take these sights for granted, but for those that are traveling from afar, these are some wonderful things to do while you are sailing Charlotte Harbor.

Day 1 of sailing Charlotte Harbor

After a very late flight the night before, the first thing on the agenda was sleeping in a bit in order to feel refreshed and ready to enjoy fun in the sun. It’s hard to enjoy a vacation when you’re tired, and the intensity of the Florida sun takes its toll on you, so it’s important to be well-rested and stay hydrated in order to enjoy sailing Charlotte Harbor. So after a good night’s rest and a breakfast of waffles with all the fixings, we arranged for a jet ski ride with our business partner Riptide Rentals. Riptide Rentals brought the jet skis to us, and after a thorough safety briefing, we jumped aboard Take Me There’s dinghy and escorted the teens out of the channel where they could enjoy some time letting loose in the harbor. Because Charlotte Harbor is 10 miles long and 10 miles wide, the open space is not only good for sailing Charlotte Harbor but also for jet skiing fishing, and just hanging out in the water by the islands.

After we said goodbye to Riptide Rentals, we readied the boat for sailing Charlotte Harbor. Our first destination was Fisherman’s Village. From Burnt Store Marina, this is about a 3.5-4 hour sail, making it the perfect amount of time to enjoy getting the sails up. With the music playing, and the food and drinks being served, everyone enjoyed a fun afternoon sailing Charlotte Harbor. We anchored just outside Fisherman’s Village and enjoyed a dinghy ride into the Village to enjoy the shops and the nightlife at the tiki bar.

Dinner onboard included fish tacos, citrus coleslaw and roasted corn salad. Since we were celebrating birthdays that weekend, each of the dinners was followed by a birthday cake. Take Me There enjoys our local businesses that help us provide exceptional service. All of our cakes and sweet treats come to us from the Publix bakery in Punta Gorda.

Day 2 of sailing Charlotte Harbor

After a breakfast of egg bites, homemade onboard following the Starbuck’s recipe, we set sail for Cayo Costa State Park. We love this area and sailing Charlotte Harbor would not be complete without a visit to Pelican Bay. Cayo Costa State Park is one of Florida’s 175 state parks and it is one that is only reachable by boat. If you do not have your own boat, you can get here by the ferry, but we think the best way of seeing this natural beauty is aboard Take Me There.

While anchored in Pelican Bay, we enjoyed taking the dinghy to see the manatees, kayaking to the island, and floating in the temperate waters. Take Me There carries all the toys onboard to enjoy time off the boat as much as time aboard sailing Charlotte Harbor.

After a dinner of kabobs on the grill (and another birthday cake) it was again time to break out the games. In addition to the water toys, Take Me There stocks a variety of games to play in the evenings for continued family fun. The game of choice on this trip was Cards Against Humanity (the family version!).

Day 3 of sailing Charlotte Harbor

After a breakfast of pastries, eggs, and sausage rolls- it was time to enjoy more of Cayo Costa State Park. There is so much to see and do at this park, one afternoon is just not enough. And when you are sailing Charlotte Harbor, we feel it’s important to enjoy places you visit and not feel like you have to pack up and sail each day. So day 3 was not a “travel” day but was just a relaxing day.

When it is not a travel day of sailing Charlotte Harbor, our guests can sleep in, have breakfast when they want, and each person can do what brings them joy. Some folks got up early to watch the sunrise, some got up just after sunrise to enjoy coffee on the deck, and others slept in a bit later to enjoy the importance of relaxing while on vacation. We love sailing Charlotte Harbor, but we also enjoy taking time to enjoy the sites in the area. Sailing is not always about sailing, but it’s about relishing the moments of joy while sailing Charlotte Harbor!

It was a beach day at Cayo Costa, so coolers were packed with drinks and backpacks were stuffed with snacks. A short dinghy ride from our boat to the dock gave our guests an opportunity to explore the island. It is a one-mile walk from the Pelican Bay side of the island to the Gulf of Mexico side. Swimming, shelling, and walking the beach was enjoyed by all. And then of course more time having fun in the water off the boat!

As I mentioned, we celebrated birthdays while this beautiful family was onboard with us for the sailing of Charlotte Harbor. In addition to birthdays, we also celebrated Easter while they were aboard! And what would Easter be without streaming church services and dying Easter eggs? And Easter would not be complete without a ham dinner, with homemade potato salad, deviled eggs, sweet and saucy baked beans, followed by watermelon and of course another birthday cake! (Take Me There is well equipped to stream services and has enough refrigeration for all of this amazing food!)

   

Day 4 of sailing Charlotte Harbor

This was the final day of sailing Charlotte Harbor for this family. Pelican Bay has some shallow areas and it’s important to watch the tides when planning a trip into or out of this area of Charlotte Harbor. We needed to be pulling anchor by 9 am. It was then a beautiful 3-hour trip back to Burnt Store Marina as we enjoyed the final day of sailing Charlotte Harbor.

When you are booking your trip of sailing Charlotte Harbor, it’s important to remember to think about how much sailing you would like to do, and how much sightseeing and activities you would like. Take Me There customizes our itineraries, so we are here to meet your needs and do what makes you happy. We will always make sure we have enough food and drinks aboard, and all the fun toys for you to enjoy your vacation. We are all about having fun and creating exceptional experiences! Just say TAKE ME THERE!

“At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun.” – Sandy Gingras, Writer & Illustrator

Fun Sailing Trip

5 Ways to Have a Fun Sailing Trip

Hi there sailing friends! Are you looking for a fun sailing trip? Are you planning a special event like a birthday, anniversary, family vacation, or honeymoon? Being aboard a sailboat can be a great way to spend time together as a family and create amazing memories. But there is more to creating a fun sailing trip than just renting a boat or hiring a sailing charter company to take you out on the water.

When you think about a fun sailing trip what do you think about? Is the wind blowing lightly in your hair, are you lounging on the deck while you work on your tan, or are you exploring beautiful beaches? Ahhhh… that sounds like the ideal fun sailing trip!! But it doesn’t just magically happen that way. And the reality of being on the water on a sailboat does not always match that vision and so it may not end up being the fun sailing trip that you imagined. We work hard to create a fun sailing trip for you and want to share the top 5 ways that you can get the most out of your time on the water and have the greatest chances of the most fun sailing trip possible.

5 Ways to have a fun sailing trip

1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare for your fun sailing trip.

We are all about the experience! And the first ingredient to a fun sailing trip is planning, planning, and more planning to make sure that our guests have an exceptional experience. Let’s face it- being on the water is a fun adventure but when the winds are too great, the seas are too high, or the rains are too hard- it’s difficult to have a fun sailing trip. Captain Steve spends a lot of time looking at the weather in ways that many people may not think about. Most people look at the general forecast to see if it is going to be sunny with little chance of rain. But there is so much more than temperatures in order to analyze the weather for a fun sailing trip.

Steve looks at the radar to determine what kinds of weather activity is going on in the Gulf of Mexico or coming at us from land. 4-5 days before a charter begins, we are looking at how the temperatures are expected to rise or fall, what the barometric pressure is, what direction the winds are coming from, how the cloud systems, wind, and temperatures are working together to create the weather conditions in Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. Depending what the weather looks like, will impact what direction we sail, how much motoring versus sailing we will do, and how much fuel that will take. After Steve determines the routes, then Kimberly starts provisioning the boat for the charters that are occurring in the next three-four days.

As a licensed restaurant with a beer and wine license, we want to make sure that we are serving meals and small plates that are tasty and fresh. We are also concerned with maintaining our costs so we can keep our prices to our customers reasonable and affordable for the value that we are providing. We look for the fruits and vegetables that are in season and we look for the suppliers that have the freshest ingredients for the least expensive prices. Provisioning for our charters and then preparing the tasty treats is what Kimberly loves to do! And she loves finding new tasty combinations like watermelon and feta or goat cheese with pecans and honey. (And so much more!)

2. It’s all about the journey AND the destination for your fun sailing trip.

Steve and Kimberly LOVE to be on the water. But we will both tell you that we have no desire to cross an ocean. We will be perfectly honest with you – sailing, and sailing, and sailing for long periods of time with no activities, or appealing sites to admire, or a destination to be excited about can be boring. One reason that we brought Take Me There to Charlotte Harbor from Tampa Bay is that there is so much to see in Charlotte Harbor and beautiful destinations are just a few hours sail away. On a day sail, we can enjoy Cayo Costa, or Fisherman’s Village, or Cabbage Key, or Boca Grande.  These are all beautiful and picturesque places with activities to do once you get there. When you think about your fun sailing trip, make sure that you have destinations in mind that will offer you activities that you enjoy.

3. Bring all the toys!

One of the things that we like about our 60-foot sailboat is that we have plenty of room to store all of the fun activities on board. Kayaks, hammock swings, an inflatable 10 ft tender, paddleboards, party floats, snorkel gear, and fishing gear are all stored aboard for your enjoyment. We feel that it’s important that once you get someplace, you have the toys you need to enjoy your fun sailing trip. And there is no better place to enjoy these toys than in Charlotte Harbor and its surrounding waters. The Charlotte Harbor watershed contains 13 named lakes/ponds, 21 rivers/streams/canals, and 2 bays/bayous making it perfect to explore the area in a kayak, small boat, or paddleboard. If you’re going to have a fun sailing trip, make sure you have all the toys to enjoy the area. And when you come aboard Take Me There, if we don’t have the toys, we will arrange for them to be brought to you. Are you looking to include a couple of hours of jet ski riding during your overnight sail? Just let us know and we will coordinate jet skis to be delivered to us by Riptide Rentals. Just say, “Take Me There” and we will get you there or bring them to us!

4. Sailing makes you hungry and thirsty!

We have already mentioned the importance of planning your provisions for your fun sailing trip, but you can never have too much food or drinks when you are out on the water and so this topic is worth mentioning twice. When you are planning for a fun sailing trip, food and drinks are essential and we want to do all of that preparation for you so you don’t have to worry about it. If you are entertaining out-of-town guests or want to have a small getaway with some friends, don’t worry about doing the shopping, preparation, or cleaning up- let us do that for you. A fun sailing trip means RELAXING and REJUVENATING, so let us do all of that for you and then you can sit back and enjoy your friends and family. This is what we love to do- so just come aboard and we’ll have the drinks cold and ready when you get here.

5. It takes power to keep everything in motion.

A fun sailing trip includes taking pictures and videos to capture your favorite moments. In order to keep your devices powered up, we have plenty of USB outlets to plug in your phones so you can take pictures and not worry about running out of juice before the day is over. You will also need to keep your devices charged up to you can connect your music to our Bluetooth system to enjoy your favorite music selections. And of course, we have plenty of battery and generator power for our overnight trips to enjoy movies and popcorn after taking in our gorgeous sunsets, hot showers at the end of a busy day in the water, and hot coffee or tea on deck in the morning as you enjoy the sunrise. And let’s not forget about plenty of power to provide you with cold drinks from the coolers and plenty of ice for your drinks as well as keeping your food at the proper temperatures in our commercial refrigerators.

We have thought of everything aboard Take Me There so that all you get to do is enjoy your trip!

When you are thinking about a fun sailing trip, be sure to consider the preparation, destination, water toys, food/drinks, and power that it will take to ensure that you have an EXCEPTIONAL sailing trip. As you can see, it takes a lot of time and energy to prepare for a sailing trip. Let us do all the work, so you don’t have to. Give us a call. We would love to start planning your trip for you. Just say Take Me There!

 

3 Reasons to Take a Great Family Sailing Vacation

Hi there sailing friends! We’ve been enjoying planning one after another great family sailing vacation, so this topic is top of mind for me. Since many folks are busy planning their family vacations, I thought this would be a good time to talk about the value of a great family sailing vcacation and how to go about planning one. A great family sailing vacation is one of Take Me There’s specialties. We love showing people the beauty and serenity of the waters of Southwest Florida and we really enjoy talking with people and finding out what would make their vacation exceed their expectations, and then making that happen. Family vacations are an important part of growing up and creating memories that are remembered for a lifetime.

When I was a child, my father worked tirelessly all year as a police officer and looked forward to taking his family on a memorable family vacation. Most of our vacations centered around visiting relatives in southern states. We enjoyed theme parks like Walt Disney World or Kings Dominion but we spent most of our time in the oceans of Virginia Beach or Clearwater Florida. During long weekends, when there wasn’t enough time to travel south from New Jersey, we found enough time to escape to Swartswood Lake for swimming, boating, and picnicking. The memories of these times are special and were important to my early development. Experts agree that family time raises children’s feelings of importance and value, and parents gain valuable insights into their children’s strengths.

Great family vacation

“At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun.” – Sandy Gingras, Writer & Illustrator

Steve and I have been so blessed to blend our family and to have enjoyed many great family vacations together. We were especially thrilled to have had our children and granddaughter onboard Take Me There for four days to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Our great family sailing vacation aboard Take Me There reminded us that having fun together, creating shared memories, and prioritizing the importance of our family time are essential reasons to bring our family together on a regular basis.

As we help other families plan their great family sailing vacation, we focus on the same 3 things that we found important for our own family; 1. Having fun together, 2. Creating shared memories, and 3. Prioritizing the importance of family

The first ingredient to a great family sailing vacation is having fun! And many times the key to having fun is doing something unique. When we continue to do the same thing over and over again we are limiting our creativity and restricting our minds from experiencing new challenges. And when we don’t engage in new things, our minds and spirits can become disinterested. But when we inject something new into our routines, we feel invigorated and enthusiastic. And with this enthusiasm comes more fun and excitement. Fun is what Take Me There is all about. We love turning up the music, dancing on the deck, and laughing together as a family as we sway with the waves, enjoy the Florida sunshine, and appreciate the fresh air. Research shows that having fun is also good for our relationships because it helps to build trust and enhance communication.

That leads us to the second ingredient of a great family sailing vacation which is creating shared memories. Being together bonds families and encourages close ties. Sharing space together on Take Me There creates the opportunity for enjoying experiences together. Enjoying a tandem kayak excursion through the mangroves, swimming around the boat, or just relaxing together on the deck while gazing at the stars creates family memories that will be talked about for years to come.

And as time goes on, and we reflect back on family vacations we realize that it was so much more than just spending time together; those family vacations remind us of the importance of our family. The third ingredient of a great family sailing vacation is the priority that we place on spending time together. We realize that scheduling, planning, and enjoying these family vacations show each other that we value our time together and prioritize our family time above other activities in our lives. We realize that time is short and our relationships with each other are what matter most.

These are the top 3 reasons to take a great family sailing vacation. So where do you start? How do go about planning this great family sailing vacation? Take Me There Sailing makes it easy for you. We love doing the planning for you. Give us a call! Tell us some of the activities you would like to do or sights you would like to see. Tell us how much time you are able to spend on this great family sailing vacation. With that information, we will be able to put together a suggested itinerary for you. And then we make the preparation easy for you. We provision the boat with all the food and drinks you love. We have all the necessary sundry items you would need like shampoo and sunscreen, and we make all the necessary reservations for any special events you would like to enjoy like golf, jet skis or shopping. And then all you have to do is come onboard, relax and enjoy. And it all starts by saying TAKE ME THERE!

We look forward to seeing you onboard Take Me There for your great family sailing vacation.

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain, American Writer

New Promotional Charter aboard Take Me There

Hello Sailing Friends! Take Me There Sailing is at it again- we’ve come up with a new promotional charter aboard Take Me There. Are you ready for this? A three-night sail for $695 per person. What?!! That’s right you read us right- 3 nights and 4 days aboard Take Me There for $695 person.  What’s the catch? There is no catch to this new promotional charter aboard Take Me There.

Why are we offering this discounted charter when normally our 3-night charter is $1625 per person? The answer is simple: we are now offering charters from Key West to the Dry Tortugas and we need to sail Take Me There from Punta Gorda to Key West. This is where you come in… Instead of taking the boat to Key West with no passengers, we decided to offer you a unique opportunity to enjoy a beautiful, all-inclusive sail at a deeply reduced rate. It’s a win-win situation! Now, let’s take a look at the details of this new promotional charter aboard Take Me There.

It’s actually really simple. We have specific dates that we will be leaving Punta Gorda with a destination of Key West. We are able to take 4 passengers (2 couples, or 4 individuals, or parents with children) in two double occupancy cabins. We will publish the dates that we are leaving Punta Gorda and if the dates fit your schedule, call or email us to reserve your spot. We’ll take a credit card over the phone for $740.18 ($695 + $45.18 sales tax), and we will see you onboard for this new promotional charter aboard Take Me There. We told you it was simple! (If you are a single person, you will be sharing a cabin with someone, or you can purchase the entire cabin for $1390).

Here is the itinerary for this new promotional charter aboard Take Me There

Day 1: Arrive and get settled into your cabin.

Days 2 and 3: Sail past Estero Island and Marco Island (Anchor for the evenings at appropriate spots)

Day 4: We get you to shore in Key West

This is where we say our good-byes and you have an opportunity to explore Key West. You can either plan to rent a car and drive home to the Punta Gorda area or you can arrange for someone to pick you up in Key West. We recommend that you book a ticket on the Key West Express Ferry that runs daily from Key West to Fort Myers for $118 one way for adults (current rates at the time of this publication). Are you ready for an adventure?

Who would be the right person for this new promotional charter aboard Take Me There?

There are two types of sailing experiences that you could have during this new promotional charter aboard Take Me There. 1. Steer and Sail, 2. Chilling Charter

  1. Steer and Sail. Whether you have a lot of sailing experience or none at all, if you want the opportunity to be at the helm with Captain Steve, you can enjoy examining the route, adjusting sails, and taking the helm of a 53-foot Gulfstar. If you are looking to cruise, Kimberly and Steve will provide you with plenty of first-hand knowledge of managing power, conserving water, following the rules of the water, and provisioning for long trips. While Captain Steve is not a licensed instructor, he is a 100-ton Captain and can provide you with a lot of knowledge and experience while you gain crewing hours in your log book. Come join us on this new promotional charter aboard Take Me There as you Steer and Sail alongside the captain.
  2. Chilling Charter. If you enjoy the water, are looking for a fun adventure, and want to hang out on a sailboat for a few days, you can join us on this new promotional charter aboard Take Me There and just chill out. Enjoy the drinks, savor the food, lounge in the sun, read a book, listen to tunes, or just relax on deck. You do not need to do anything except enjoy the journey!

New promotional charter aboard take me there

So again you may be asking, “What’s the catch- why is this so inexpensive?” There is no catch, but this is a bit different than our other sailing charters that you would book. So how is this new promotional charter aboard Take Me There different than other charters?

Here are the ways that this promotional charter is different from our other charters:

  1. You do not get to choose your dates. Our dates for these charters are set. So if our dates work for your schedule that is awesome. If these dates don’t work for you, then we’ll let you know the next time we are headed to Key West and we hope that works for your schedule. Email Captain Steve at steve@takemetheresailing.com and ask to be put on the Captain’s List to receive upcoming dates.
  2. You do not get to choose the itinerary. We are going from Punta Gorda to Key West in 4 days. If you love to sail and want to spend some leisure time on the water getting from Punta Gorda to Key West, this charter is for you!
  3. You do not get to choose the menu. Normally, you would tell us what you would like to eat. For this new promotional charter, we will still serve you LOTS of food, and it will be fresh and tantalizing, but we will already have the provision menu set for these charters. If you would like to choose your menu, then please select one of our other charter options for your trip.
  4. You do not get to select your desired drinks. Just like with the food, we will already have provisioned the beverages. We will still offer a beer, wine, and soft drink selection, but you will not get to choose which kind you’d like.
  5. You will need to book with us by calling or emailing. Normally, you would book your charter online, but for this new promotional charter aboard Take Me There, you will call or email us with your desire to book and we will take your payment over the phone.

plenty of food aboard take me there

THAT’S IT! Those are the only differences between this new promotional charter aboard Take Me There versus our other charters. We choose the dates, the itinerary, the menu, the drinks and take your booking over the phone and you get to experience this amazing charter for the low price of $695 plus tax per person/double occupancy.

So are you ready to book your next adventure?

CHECK YOUR CALENDAR- We are leaving Burnt Store Marina on Tuesday May 10 and will be arriving in Key West by Friday May 13. We can take up to 4 guests with us- so call your besties and let’s get your charter from Punta Gorda to Key West booked.  Bring your bathing suit, some shorts and t-shirts and let’s get ready to sail to Key West. The adventure awaits. Just say TAKE ME THERE!

5 reasons to honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas

5 Reasons to Honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas

5 Reasons to Honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas

Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. Getting married is an exciting event in your life. And planning your honeymoon is a big part of the wedding celebration. Did you know that the history of taking a honeymoon started in the early 19th century in Great Britain? The newlyweds would travel around the countryside visiting family and friends who were not able to attend the wedding ceremony. For many, this trip around Great Britain would last weeks or nearly a month and due to the high cost of the trip, a honeymoon was usually only afforded by the wealthy. The honeymoon has certainly evolved over the last few centuries!

Currently, nearly every couple enjoys some sort of respite following their wedding. After the stress of planning and preparing for the wedding, the honeymoon represents the opportunity to take some downtime, catch your breath, and focus on the two of you as a couple. But what does it cost for this opportunity to relax and enjoy each other? The average amount of money spent on a honeymoon is $4466, with trips to Mexico or the Caribbean averaging $5000-$7500. Couples wanting to venture to Europe will be shelling out $6000-$25,000 for a week in their desired European destination. Adding on excursions and additional amenities can escalate the costs. Yikes! Do these numbers cause you to pause and wonder if a honeymoon is possible and even within your price range? Not to worry. Take Me There has options for you.

One of the options that appeal to those looking for adventure, a taste of history, nature, and beautiful beaches is the Dry Tortugas. There are several other reasons why the Dry Tortugas appeals to honeymooners. We think there are 5 reasons to honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas.

1. If you are not sure where the Dry Tortugas are, don’t worry you are not alone. The Dry Tortugas is a collection of 7 islands in a Caribbean-like place located in the United States about 70 miles west of Key West. The best news about a honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas is that since it is part of Florida you do not need a passport to enjoy this amazing place. And this to us is the first of the 5 reasons to honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas – you can feel like you are visiting a Caribbean island like Antigua or the British Virgin Islands (which are in the top 10 destinations for honeymoons), but you never have to leave Florida. Travel requiring a passport has gotten more complicated over the years, and the last thing you want to deal with on your honeymoon is complications or a hassle. So why not skip the messiness of traveling abroad but feel like you have escaped to a tropical paradise and enjoy your Dry Tortugas honeymoon aboard Take Me There.

2. There are only about 80,000 visitors to the Dry Tortugas each year, so you are about to become one of the elite few to visit this stunningly beautiful place. As compared to the beaches of Hawaii that received over 6 million visitors in 2021, or the Bahamas (another popular beach destination) which welcomed over 160,000 visitors in 2021- only 80,000 people have the incredible opportunity of visiting the Dry Tortugas each year- making this the second of our 5 reasons to honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas; your honeymoon is a unique experience that not everyone will be able to say they took. When you pick your honeymoon destination- there is a feeling like you are the only ones who have chosen this special place to enjoy your honeymoon. When you start talking to people, and they say that have also been to your chosen destination; some of the magic quickly disappears. Don’t you want to be the unique trendsetter in your group? Don’t you want to be one of the distinctive few that can say that they honeymooned in the Dry Tortugas? Here is your chance!

3. The third of our 5 reasons to honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas relates to #2- you will be one of only a few people to honeymoon there because there are only day trip options or limited luggage options. Why are there so few people who visit each year? If it is such a great place to visit, why are there not more people going? There are two main reasons for the low number of visitors. The first is that even though it is part of Florida, there are no airports in the Dry Tortugas, and there are no bridges that connect these islands to the mainland of Florida. Traditionally there have only been three ways to get to these pristine islands- the ferry, the seaplane, or your own private boat.

The second reason why there is a limited number of visitors is that there are no provisions on the island. And when I say NO PROVISIONS, I mean nothing- no food, no water, no camp store, NOTHING. So what you bring with you is what you have. So while there is camping on the island, there are no hotels or restaurants. While I am a huge fan of the great outdoors, my idea of the perfect honeymoon is not cooking over an open fire every day. While I enjoy nature, and I really appreciate the unspoiled natural habitats; I also appreciate the comforts of home like a comfortable bed, a stocked fridge, and a nice cold drink at the end of the day.

So let’s talk about the ways of getting there first… The Yankee Freedom Ferry makes day trips from Key West to the Dry Tortugas for $190 per person. You can book tickets on the Yankee Freedom up to 6 months in advance of your trip, but the tickets sell out very quickly, so people are waiting in virtual lines and scrambling to find ways to get the golden ticket on the Yankee freedom Ferry. The other option of getting to the Dry Tortugas is to take the Key West Seaplane. This also is only a daytrip, and the current cost is $634 per adult for a 6.5-hour ride with a very short stopover on the main island to explore Fort Jefferson.

People who visit the Dry Tortugas say it is not only one of the most beautiful places they have been but that the biggest complaint is that they had such a short amount of time, they did not get to see and do everything they wanted to do. The third option of getting to the Dry Tortugas is by your own boat. This is not usually something that everyone has. And even if you have your own boat- there is a lot of planning, preparation, and knowledge that goes into a trip to the Dry Tortugas.

All of these options of visiting the Dry Tortugas are what we refer to as “limited luggage” options. The seaplane does not allow anything more than a carryon bag, and the ferry limits your luggage to a 60-pound bag. Neither of these transportation methods allow propane tanks. So remember when I mentioned camping on the island? Yes, you can camp- but you must cook using charcoal. And you have to allow room in your backpack to carry the charcoal and it counts towards your 60-pound weight limit. No wonder there are no honeymooners in the Dry Tortugas! This is not sounding like these are great 5 reasons to honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas.

BUT WAIT! Take Me There Sailing offers you all the comforts of home. A very comfortable bed, a stocked refrigerator, more than plenty of water, wine, and beer, and someone to prepare all of your meals for you. Plus Take Me There carries all the water toys like kayaks, paddleboards, snorkel gear and floats so you no longer have a “limited luggage” option when you travel aboard Take Me There. So #3 on our list of 5 reasons to honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas is because it is now as simple as saying TAKE ME THERE!

4. The 4th reason on our list of 5 reasons to honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas is because it is packed with history (Fort Jefferson is one of the oldest forts in the United States), preserved and unspoiled land (It is one of our national parks), and because most people visit for day trips only, it is uncrowded and you will have the beaches mostly to yourself. So, it has a wide variety of things to do in one small place. You can choose to explore the fort, visit the lighthouse, lay on the beach, snorkel, swim, or just enjoy being one with nature. And then at the end of each day, you can board Take Me There’s 60-foot vessel, take a relaxing shower and enjoy a cooked meal and a cold drink while enjoying the sunset on deck. Now that sounds like one of 5 great reasons to honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas!

5. The 5th of the 5 reasons to honeymoon in the Dry Tortugas is because Take Me There offers you all-inclusive pricing. When you book your honeymoon aboard Take Me There, it includes all of your food and drinks, your lodging aboard the boat, entrance fees to the park, and all the equipment necessary to enjoy multiple days of kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, paddle boarding, and exploring the islands. Now that sounds like a great honeymoon.

Take Me There offers a 5 night/6 day package from Key West to the Dry Tortugas for $8250 that includes all of your food, drinks, water toys, park entrance, and sundry items aboard the boat. Bring your bathing suit, some shorts, and t-shirts, and let’s start sailing to the Dry Tortugas. The adventure awaits. And who says you have to be planning a honeymoon to enjoy this trip. It doesn’t matter whether you are just getting married, have been married for a few years, or you are single and want to take a “friendlymoon” – this trip is for YOU! Just say TAKE ME THERE!

Dry Tortugas Fort Jefferson

Did you hear that Take Me There Sailing is now adding an excursion to the Dry Tortugas?

Have you heard the news? Take Me There is now adding a 5 day charter from Key West to the Dry Tortugas. Did we also tell you how excited we are? Now that we have shared our excitement with you, it’s time to give you all the details of the trip. Are you ready? Let’s take a look at a sample itinerary of what 5 nights aboard Take Me There to the Dry Tortugas would feel like:

First of all, are you flying into town for this bucket list trip? If you are flying to Florida, you will want to fly into Key West International Airport  (Airport code EYW). Be sure to pack light. Shorts, t-shirts, and bathing suits are all that is required for this amazing vacation.

You are welcome to stay aboard Take Me There the night before we leave the marina, for $349 instead of getting a hotel the night before we leave. Our goal is to make your trip easy and carefree, and finding a hotel in the Key West area can be expensive, time-consuming, and a hassle. Let us help you avoid that added detail by giving you the option of staying aboard. (exact marina to be determined based on your travel dates). You can also choose to arrive in the morning if you decide not to stay aboard the night before we depart Key West.

SAILING ITINERARY

DAY 1: After a hearty breakfast, we will depart Key West and spend the day sailing about 20 miles.

NIGHT 1: Anchor at the Marquesas Keys, about 20 miles west of Key West.

Day 2: Sail approximately 36 miles to the Dry Tortugas

Nights 2, 3, and 4 – Anchor in the Dry Tortugas while you explore Fort Jefferson, snorkel, paddle board, kayak, swim, fish, eat, drink and relax.

Day 5- Leave the Dry Tortugas, sail about 36 miles, and anchor at the Marquesas Keys.

Day 6- Sail 20 miles and arrive back at Key West.

Investment

For two people – $1650 per night for 5 nights totaling $8250 plus 6.5% tax and gratuity. Each additional guest is $1750 for the 5 nights. Two couples or a family of 6 would be most comfortable aboard Take Me There for this amazing vacation.

Remember that Kimberly can also officiate your wedding nuptials aboard so if you are looking for an amazing elopement and honeymoon- this is a fantastic option for you.

OR… if you have another couple that would like to travel with you, two couples could take this five-day trip for less than $3000 per person (plus tax and gratuity).

OR… If you are planning a girls trip or a guys trip we could create a fun excursion to meet your needs.

Whoever you are and whatever your plans, just say TAKE ME THERE.

What is Included:

  • All meals, snacks, and desserts
  • All drinks of beer, wine, soft drinks, water, and tea
  • Water toys – snorkel gear, paddleboards, kayaks, floats, fishing bait/tackle/gear/and license
  • Captain, crew, and operating costs of the vessel
  • Entrance fees to Fort Jefferson and commercial use authorization in the Dry Tortugas
  • Linens, towels, toiletries
  • Planning time and services
  • EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE!

This 5-night package is the minimum number of nights that we offer from Key West to the Dry Tortugas. You are welcome to add nights to this package. We always have options for you at Take Me There. We can add days to the front or back of the trip to explore the Keys or we can stay additional days in the Dry Tortugas. Let us know what meets your needs, and we will plan something amazing for you.

What’s Next?

Take a look at your calendar and see when you would like to take this vacation. Remember that the best months to be in the Dry Tortugas are April through June or October and November. After you have a few dates in mind, give us a call or contact us through our website so we can talk about your desired itinerary and offer you any suggestions. Then we will firm up your dates, book them on our calendar and email you an invoice for 50% of your charter. The remaining 50% is due upon the completion of your charter. It’s that easy!

See you in KeyWest or we are still running charters out of our home port in Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda, Fl. Just say TAKE ME THERE!