Take a kayak or stand-up paddleboard tour, ride on a catamaran or sailboat or even drop into the water to view sharks from the safety of a cage -- whatever gives you a thrill. Here are four water adventures worth checking out in the Hamptons:
Depart from the dock at 7 a.m. for a full day with Capt. Chuck Wade of Sea Turtle Charters. You'll travel 20 miles south of Montauk for 90 minutes, then get submerged 7-10 feet down in the water inside a cage (air supply courtesy of a regulator coming off the boat, so no scuba diving certification is needed). Ground-up fish is put in the water at bait to attract sharks, giving participantsa chance to watch them feed up close. Dolphins, sea turtles and whales can be spotted as well. "We see pelagic sharks, like blue sharks or Mako sharks, which are always following ocean currents," Wade says. "The sharks are curious about the cage. They'll come up and see what's going on. They might stick their nose in, but it's not like they are bending bars."
LEAVES FROM Westlake Marina, 352 West Lake Drive, Montauk
COST $250 per person (holds up to six people), all trips by reservation
INFO 631-335-6323, seaturtlecharters.com
Capt. Toby Stull of Starlight Sailing Charters takes private charters to Gardiners Bay, Shelter Island Sound and Peconic Bay on his 52-foot sailboat, Starlight. He makes stops for a swim, lunch ashore or even wine tasting. His dog Bamboo, a friendly coconut retriever, greets visitors on board.
"Some guests like to hold the helm and get a thrilling sail in the whole time," Stull says. "Others want to sit back, relax and enjoy the sights. We do it all different kinds of ways."
He even conducts overnights to Block Island, Mystic, Connecticut or Montauk.
"When the sails go up and the engine goes off, relaxation sets in as the boat moves by the wind," says Stull. "People enjoy the peace of the experience."
LEAVES FROM Long Wharf Village Pier, Sag Harbor
COST $900 half-day, $1,200 full day (holds up to six people), overnight prices vary by distance and duration
INFO 917-399-0686, sailstarlight.com
KAYAK & STAND-UP PADDLEBOARD
Take a two-hour tour, via kayak or stand-up paddleboard, through estuaries in Sebonack, Southampton, Accabonac Harbor in East Hampton or Napeague Harbor in Amagansett, with guides who discuss the local history along the way. Themed tours are available, too, such as a scavenger hunt for kids that involves stopping at a beach and searching for buried treasure as well as a tour that includes a full clambake dinner ($150-$175 per person, usually three hours).
"These tours enable you to get away from the everyday grind -- no cellphones or honking horns," co-owner David Lys says. "It's a reprieve to recharge on the water in one of the most beautiful places in the world."
LEAVES FROM Various locations between Southampton to Montauk
COST $55-$90 per person (tours book up to 60 people)
INFO 631-725-5950, weekendwarriortours.com
Capt. David Ryan brings his 39 years of sailing experience aboard the catamaran, Mon Tiki, which he built himself out of wood. Take a two-hour cruise and experience a sunset at sea level. Passengers can feel free to bring beverages and snacks aboard to enjoy while cruising. The boat can legally hold 49 people, but Ryan keeps the occupancy to 16 to make the ride more comfortable.
"Once you are under sail power, there's the sound of the wind, the water and the creaking of the boat," Ryan says. "It's luxuriously plain -- simple and quiet. The passage of time gets eliminated."
LEAVES FROM Star Island Yacht Club, 59 Star Island Rd., Montauk
COST $60-$75 ($40-$55 ages 11 and younger)
INFO 631-668-2826, sailingmontauk.com