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A couple of questions about dolphin cruises and shells.....

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Norway
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A couple of questions about dolphin cruises and shells.....

Thanks for all your help on the wild animals we can see while we are in Florida :-)

One more question though, regarding the dolphins. Which would you consider the best of Sanibel Thriller or the dolphin cruise with Captiva Cruises?

The assumptions I have made, is that the Thriller is the best/most exiting tour, but maybe the Captiva Cruise is better for the kids? They would be able to walk around on the boat on that one, right?

Can’t find any place where it says how long the Thriller takes. Anyone knows?

I would assume the chances of spotting dolphins would be the same on either one?

The Thriller is more expensive as well, so I am kind of leaning on Captiva, just wanted to check if you think the Thriller is SO much better it would be worth it :-)

And then, SHELLING.

I must admit the thought of shelling being an interesting part of a vacation has never really crossed my mind… but having read your trip reports and all, I am getting really excited about it, and I really think this will be a highlight for the whole family.

My 6 year old is really into sorting and organizing things by size and color etc. (you should see the sorting boxes for his plastic beads…)

I figured I should make him a laminated sheet with pictures and names of different shells to make the collecting even more fun for him.

Does anyone know where I can find maybe a list of what shells we are most likely to find? And pictures of them? Maybe they have Norwegian names as well, but I guess I’ll find that on google as long as I have the English ones!

Hope some Captiva people also read this as well. There really should be a common forum for both Islands :-)

Thanks everyone. 43 days :-)

England
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1. Re: A couple of questions about dolphin cruises and shells.....

This may help with your shell questtions and is a great place to visit.

http://shellmuseum.org/shells.cfm

Re your questions about the 'Thriller' v Captiva dolphin cruise I can only relate to my experience on the Thriller which, though expensive was worth every cent. Trip lasts around a couple of hours depending on how many pods of dolphins are around and how long they will play in the wake of the boat. Fantastic photo opportunities.

Saint Paul...
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2. Re: A couple of questions about dolphin cruises and shells.....

Norway- You should get a few different responses on this one. We have done both of the cruises several times, more on the Thriller in recent years. That being said, your kids' ages (6 and 3, right) are a consideration. On Captiva Cruises, which is an older "2-story" cruiser, one is able to walk around it's true but there is not really anything to see/do. I would be concerned about the younger one wanting to go up and down, up and down, etc. (mine would have!) And then you could possibly miss any dolphins which typically jump in the back wake of the boat. One problem we had with my son is he is very sensitive to smells and we were lined up at the back to watch for the dolphins and the fuel smell made him sick every time! SO we would move away and miss the dolphins which set up a tear fest.

The Thriller is an open air, newer "speed" cruiser. You can possibly find some video on You Tube to get an idea. Our experience has been there is way more dolphin activity on the Thriller. We have had 8 - 12 jumping at one time and because the Thriller sits lower in the water, they are right at eye level. It is fun to get out in the gulf where I suspect the dolphins are just waiting! The tour is supposed to run 1 1/2 hours and we have had trips that ran that long and a couple that have gone over. We have typically "played" with different pods of dolphins about 5 - 7 times throughout the trip. It really is "thrilling!"

I think your choice depends on your kids and only you can decide. The last time we were on the Thriller (last fall), one little boy about 4 ended up falling sound asleep after seeing his first batch of jumping dolphins. And maybe that was just fine. He had the thrill of seeing the dolphins and a good nap!

Shelling is so easy. Any time you are on the beach, you can find something of interest. Just make sure you have a pail along or a plastic bag and I assure you, the kids will fill them up! That's if you can get them away from the pool! Hahaha

Saint Paul...
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3. Re: A couple of questions about dolphin cruises and shells.....

Forgot to add this link. This is a great shelling blog to get you acquainted with the shells you might find. And there are laminated shell sheets available at grocery stores and souvenir shops. We usually pick ours up at Jerry's.

iloveshelling.com/blog/…

Captiva Island...
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4. Re: A couple of questions about dolphin cruises and shells.....

The Captiva forum is separate because the Islands are two completely different Islands with two completely different experiences.

Just want to add to the information Zinn gave, it really does depend on your child. I have a child that could not go on the thriller because he suffers from motion sickness. Captiva Cruises and the Thriller are two completely different types of boat, one is old school, one is a speed boat.

Stop in at the Chamber of Commerce on Sanibel and pick up a shell chart for free. They have a large paper handout with the most common shells on it. You can also order a vacation packet before your trip.

Hell, Michigan
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5. Re: A couple of questions about dolphin cruises and shells.....

I would take the Captiva Cruise to Cayo Costa, for shelling and dolphins. You'll get to see the state park, which is beautiful, shell, and see dolphins. You also learn island history, as you cruise. The boat is a large pontoon, with shade and sun seating. We did that for years, my kids loved it.

Also, Adventures in Paradise has a few options - they are off island, but have a tram that picks up several places on island. There cruises are longer, which might be more difficult for the 3 year old.

You can buy laminated shelling cards everywhere. Buy the bird one as well, the bird life is incredible.

Saint Paul...
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6. Re: A couple of questions about dolphin cruises and shells.....

If you do the Cayo Costa trip, remember to pack snacks and drinks...and there are no facilities on the island. I could not have done that trip with my kids when they were 6 and 3. That's what I mean when I say it really depends on your own children.

Good idea about the bird chart, sunny. I need to get one of those!

Maryland
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7. Re: A couple of questions about dolphin cruises and shells.....

We did a dolphin cruise with our son when he was 6-7, a few years back. I think we did Adventures in Paradise (they give you coffee/donuts/ it's a covered boat to keep you out of the blazing sun.) It was a nice ride, but we didn't see many dolphins. Then our son decided to become moody and not snap out of it at all for the majority of the cruise. I think the problem was that when the dolphins did pop up, they would be anywhere but where he was .. i.e. behind the boat, other side of the boat etc. I took many pics of his stubborn, grumpy face to blackmail him with when he gets older. He said this past winter (he's 9 now) that he wants to go on a dolphin cruise. I literally just LOL and said No buddy, you blew it ... (after 1,000 attempts for him to redeem himself on said cruise.)

Just thought I'd share. ;D I wouldn't pay to do this again, knowing what I know now. lol

Captiva Island...
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8. Re: A couple of questions about dolphin cruises and shells.....

Both cruises are great!

If it is a hot day and the seas are calm, Sanibel Thriller- boat generated breeze and you get a little wet.

Cooler day with rough seas, Captiva Cruises. Captiva Cruises trips are on the leeward side of the islands so gentler waves. My kids always enjoyed the cruise to Cabbage Key. Fun restaurant for lunch where you can tape your signed Kroner to the ceiling and the kids can run around to burn off energy .

Another advantage of Captiva Cruises is that they depart from the South Seas Resort marina.

Norway
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9. Re: A couple of questions about dolphin cruises and shells.....

Lol Jess! That is exactly the scenario I am picturing :-) That is why I am analyzing it a bit too much maybe...

Thank you all for the responses! I totally agree that stuff like this depends on the child, but your inputs have given me a much better picture of what to expect. So I guess we will just give it a bit more thought before we deside.

Great linkes to shell pages. Never new there were so many different ones!

Thanks :-)

Saint Paul...
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10. Re: A couple of questions about dolphin cruises and shells.....

Your question about the dolphin cruises prompted me to check You Tube and I found a couple of videos that might give you an idea of what to expect. If you wonder why all the yelling, whooping and hollering is going on, it's because the dolphins respond to the noise and seem to jump all the more!

Sanibel Thriller:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKxU7Cxy2UE

Captiva Cruises:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yezmhdYZrcA

By the way, Norway, Not sure if English is your second language but you are quite proficient!

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