At Kenwood Travel we like to keep our finger on the pulse, always looking out for new and exciting holiday experiences to recommend to our customers. When it comes to excursions and day trips, the best doesn’t always mean the biggest, so it pays to keep a keen eye on your options – dig a little deeper to find smaller tours that combine quality and affordability. Operated by erstwhile Aussie Todd Williams, Private Island Charters offer private boat tours in Florida that deliver the personal touch. Captain Todd’s passion for his job is as refreshing as a Gulf Coast breeze and we think our customers who choose a holiday in Florida will love the ocean-bound adventures he has in store.
How did you first get into the private charter boat business?
Well, I am originally from Australia and my dad was a boat captain there, so you could say boating and the ocean are in my blood. But how I came to start chartering here in Florida was quite unexpected. I was in the mortgage business, and my mother has a vacation rental home right on the Gulf of Mexico where I keep my boat. Anyway, I was showing some guests around while she was out of town and the man jokingly asked if my boat came with the property, to which I answered uh, no. Then he asked me if I would take them out and I said I okay. I soon decided to get my captain’s license and went from there. After the housing market decline, I traded my dress pants for board shorts and started chartering full time.
What can holidaymakers expect on a day trip with Private Island Charters?
They can expect a really fun and unique day with their friends/family, that’s for sure! Secluded, natural white-sand beaches that you can only get to by boat that have sand dollars (a type of flat round starfish – ed) and lots of different shells, beautiful warm turquoise water, and most likely some really close encounters with dolphins. Add to that our beautiful warm climate, a nice boat, some cool tunes, and it’s a relaxing and adventurous day all wrapped into one. Actually, it’s hard to do it justice in words which is why I always refer people to checkout my Facebook page for pics, videos and reviews etc. That way they can get a better visual idea.
The whole day is an adventure…
What are the benefits of going private as opposed to bigger boats / tours?
I hear a lot from guests that it’s like being on their own boat with a new friend, which is a nice compliment. Most tours have 50 -100 people on their boats and only last for an hour or so. I guess that pretty much sums it up; having your own private group together with your own captain for the day is definitely the way to go. It’s more intimate and less touristy.
What’s the most popular part of the trips for tourists?
Dolphins are definitely a crowd pleaser that’s for sure! For people who haven’t seen them up close before it’s a real thrill, but even I still love seeing them every time. The whole day is an adventure, and seeing the dolphins is just the icing on the cake.
Your trips can be customized depending on groups’ wishes. Have you received any particularly crazy requests?
Nothing that can be repeated! No, not really, but groups do sometimes ask if I can reschedule another trip later in the week so they can go back out again straight away.
… seeing the dolphins is just the icing on the cake.
What’s the most awesome thing you have seen from the boat?
We see so many awesome things daily. Dolphins jumping out of the water right alongside the boat, just like at Seaworld, is pretty awesome. One time I had a manatee swim right up to the back of the boat and stick his nose out of the water so I could almost pat him. That was really cool.
Private Island Charters is located in Palm Harbour, Florida. Palm Harbour is on the Gulf of Mexico near Clearwater.