Marco Island Water Sports Review – Waverunner Tour

Hands down, the highlight of my entire Marco Island weekend. The 10,000 Islands Guided Waverunner Tour operated by Marco Island Water Sports simply blew my mind! I honestly don’t think there’s a better way to see the island and its wildlife. Where do I even begin?!

MARCO ISLAND WATER SPORTS REVIEW

Marco Island Water Sports is located on the beach of the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort (they also have three other locations on the island!) – you’ll find them at the straw hut pictured below! It was super convenient to wake up in the morning, put our swim gear on and just head downstairs onto the beach.

Marco Island Water Sports - Marriott Beach Resort

They offer several different types of water sports adventures and activities, but we chose to give the 10,000 Islands Guided Waverunner Tour a shot.

10,000 ISLANDS GUIDED WAVERUNNER TOUR

I was slightly nervous about this tour. I’d only ever handled a jet ski solo once before, and it was only for a couple of minutes. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was definitely up for the challenge!

Feel the sun on your shoulders and the wind in your hair as you explore the pristine backwaters of the Ten Thousand Islands on one of our unique 90 minute tours.

As you skim near the mysterious mangrove forests, be thrilled by eco-sensitive encounters with dolphins, manatees, native birds and other diverse wildlife residing in the mangroves. Your expert tour guide will highlight interesting facts about nature and the geography of the region.

After signing our lives away we were handed life jackets and joined the rest of our group to watch a safety briefing. Once the video had played through, Brian, our tour guide, repeats all safety instructions again to ensure we understand how to navigate our Waverunner and the rules we must follow while out on the water.

Marco Island Water Sports Waverunner review

We’re riding brand new 2014 Yamaha Waverunners. They are bopping up and down in the water, about four metres out from the sand, just calling our names! I swim out to mine, jump up on it and wait for someone to come and release my anchor… but first, let me take a selfie!

Marco Island Water Sports Waverunner Tour

I’m not going to lie, it was bumpy to begin with. The lady in front of me had her own Waverunner at home, so she was riding like a pro and zipped way ahead of me. Unfortunately this meant I had no one in front of me to break the waves and leave a smooth trail of water for me to ride along in. I started to become semi-worried that I was going to fly off… until our fearless tour leader, Brian, rode back over to me and came to the rescue!

Brian asked me if I drive my car with two hands or one; I tell him one. He goes on to tell me that he teaches hundreds of people to ride these so he needs me to trust him and steer my Waverunner with only one hand. Given how choppy the water is, I think Brian may have been just a tad crazy, but he tells me if I steer with only one hand, it will prevent over-steering. This makes sense so I give it a shot. He also suggested catching up to the lady riding ahead of me so I can stay riding in the smooth wave-breaks that she’ll be creating for me.

Turns out Brian is some sort of Waverunner genius, because within minutes, I was feeling completely safe, confident and in control. Yay, thanks Brian!

Marco Island Water Sports Waverunner Tour

Marco Island Water Sports Waverunner Tour

We weren’t riding for long before Brian spots some manatees and gathers us in to grab a closer look.  I’ve never seen a manatee before and am taken aback as to how large these guys are! There are two swimming right by us and even under our Waverunners. Another swims right up to a guy and his daughter and pops its head up out of the water to say hi – so awesome! If it weren’t illegal, I’d have jumped in and given them a big hug, haha.

Marco Island Water Sports Waverunner Tour

Marco Island Water Sports Waverunner Tour

Brian is fantastic at pointing everything out and sharing his vast knowledge of everything we come across. He genuinely loves what he does and despite running this tour two times a day, seven days a week, he is still insanely enthused about everything we are seeing.

Next up, we’re zipping through the mangrove channels. Some of them are quite narrow but it only adds to the fun. I revert back to my 12 year old gamer-self and think I’m in a racing car video game. The sensation of the wind blowing through my hair and bouncing off my face makes me feel so invincible and free. I am loving every second of this wonderful experience and I don’t want it to end. It’s surprising to see from some of my photos that I was only going 10 miles per hour, because it felt so much faster than that.

Marco Island Water Sports Review

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Marco Island Water Sports Review

We slow down and gather around one of the mangrove areas. Brian tells us that there is one week out of the entire year that Nurse Shark come out to these mangroves, and this week just so happens to be it… but, will they make an appearance for us? The sun dims behind the clouds making it harder for Brian to spot any swimming around the low-bearing trees. After patiently waiting around for a few minutes hoping to grab a glimpse, Brian begs for some golden rays of sun. Someone up there must have been listening, because just like that, the clouds part ways and a heavenly beam of sun shines down right in our direction… and then… dun dun, dun dun, dun dun dun dun dun dun…

SHARKS!!!

Marco Island Water Sports Review

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Seriously, manatees and nurse shark, pretty awesome… but Brian is hungry to score the trifecta so off we go to find us some dolphins!

It would just be my luck that my camera battery decides to die on me right as we approach a pod of dolphins. They’re swimming around and directly under our Waverunners and jumping out of the water right in front of us. I’ve never seen wild dolphins up this close before and I can’t believe my eyes! Brian is so excited that he starts screaming out “We’ve scored the trifecta!!!” haha, got to love his enthusiasm and zest for life.

This really was the cherry on the pie. It definitely ranks up there as one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever encountered throughout my travels!

Seriously, if you find yourself on Marco Island, this is definitely something you do not want to miss!

TIPS FOR THIS TOUR

1. If you have a water proof camera or a GoPro, I highly recommend bringing it along for the ride. There’s plenty of time to grab photos and you’ll definitely regret not taking any.

2. If you have a pair of polarized sunglasses, take them with you and wear them. I didn’t know this prior to the tour, but polarized lenses allow you to avoid the waters glare and help to see through the water a lot deeper and clearer.

3. If you’re keen to participate in this tour, be sure to make a reservation, especially during peak season! It’s the best way to avoid disappointment!

Marco Island Water Sports Review
Marco Island Water Sports Review

Marco Island Water Sports Review
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*Marco Island Water Sports kindly provided us with  complimentary Waverunner tours, but all opinions are my own.

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