"If you haven't seen Fort Lauderdale, which is called 'The Venice of America,' from the waterway, then you haven't seen Fort Lauderdale," says Jim Batchelor, owner of Club Nautico boat rentals. "We have great fishing, diving, and outdoor watersports, and renting a boat is a good, fun, easy, inexpensive way to enjoy all that."
Well inexpensiveis a relative term. If you're not a member of the company's boat rental club, then borrowing one of its 13 powerboats will run ya $219 for a half-day, $329 for a full. But if you join (annual fee: $659), then the boat is yours for just $99 for a half-day, $129 for a full. Plus, Batchelor's staff will hop aboard with you and help you practice driving, docking, and anchoring.
Club Nautico has boats ranging from 21 to 25 feet. That's good for cruising, waterskiing, or fishing for dolphin, kingfish, and sailfish. If your killer instinct is switched to off and you just want to have a look-see at parrotfish, octopus, and a living coral reef, hop onto the Sea Experience's glass-bottom snorkel boat, which heads outward bound every day at 10:15 a.m. and 2:25 p.m. It costs $30 to snorkel, $23 to stay on the boat. The docks are at Bahia Mar Marina (801 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) and Pier 66 (2301 SE 17th St. Cswy., Fort Lauderdale). Call 954-779-3866. -- Deirdra Funcheon
Heat burns all comers
In the first round of the playoffs, the Miami Heat left the New Jersey Nets in a steaming pile of I-Want-My-Mommy. Yes, Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade sent N.J. crying "wah, wah, wah" all the way home, while the Heaters took a week off to sit by the pool at the National and wait for the next bunch o' fools -- I mean, challengers -- to come their way. Turns out the Washington Wizards are the next recipients of a hurtin'. At press time, Shaq and company had just spanked the northerners 105-86. If necessary, the foes will meet again Monday American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami), and you can get playoff tickets for this year by buying season tickets for next year. Check www.miamiheat.com for details. -- Deirdra Funcheon