This three-seat, 155-horsepower personal watercraft comes with a "learning key" that reduces top speed and acceleration, giving novice riders a chance to get the feel for the boat without getting the feel for face-plants. The standard key gives it full power for more-experienced riders. Also available in a 130-horsepower model and at a bargain price, we found it has plenty of storage for hauling fins and masks.
The Wake's engine's horsepower is beefed up with a supercharger, giving it 215 horsepower, for yanking wake-board and wake-skate riders out of the water. It's ideal for touring, but when equipped with an optional ballast tank, it makes an impressive wake for riders. The tow pylon is standard and provides a towpoint at the correct level for fun riding.
Our chase boat was Bluewater's center-console offshore boat powered by twin 200-horsepower Evinrude outboards made by the same company that makes Sea-Doos. Few combinations make for more fun on the water than a boat and a pair of personal watercraft. With Lowrance electronics, our 2550 also gave us the power to find fish and to chart a course anywhere we wanted to take the watercraft.
Snorkels and Stuff
Keeping kids interested in the underwater events isn't hard if they're comfortable and if they get a quick look at something happening.
1. If you can, buy each snorkeler his/her own mask and snorkel. We found some U.S. Diver kits inexpensively priced at Wal-Mart.
2. Start out in shallow water to ease them into the project. It's much less intimidating to check out the minnows in two feet of water and work your way deeper.
3. Teach your crew about nature. Each shell or object is (or was) an individual's home. If the shell is still occupied, put it back.
4. Keep an eye on all snorkelers nearby and from above. It's hard to keep track of everyone if you're face down in the water as well.
5. After snorkeling, recruit the swimmers to wash-up detail using fresh water to eliminate salt on the gear.
Finding Our Way
* We found our summer rental -- a four-bedroom, two-bathroom with a screened-in pool, dock and all the kitchen and living furnishings we needed for the week -- for $2,400 at vrbo.com.
* Best launch: Anclote River Park, fun-florida-getaways.com/anclote-park-snapshot.cfm
* For more information about boating in the Tarpon Springs area, call the Chamber of Commerce at 727-937-6109 or go to tarponsprings.com