Archive for the ‘Travel Contest’ Category

At first, when I heard “casting contest,” I wondered if reality TV decided to come to the Florida Keys.  After so much time down here, I truly believe a show about life on the souther tip of Florida can top the nielsen ratings. But just steps away from Islamorada, the “Sports Fishing Capital of the World,” casting clearly means using a fishing rod.

Fat Buoyz

Based in the Upper Keys , I asked the “twitter-verse” for advice for sunset locations further south in Marathon. Christy Johnson (@MarathonFlaKeys) responded and told me to stop by Fat Buoyz Bar and Grill for happy hour and meet Captain Spider for his casting contest.  Sounded like a plan.

In the quaint marina located at the base of the 7 mile bridge (mm47), Fat Buoyz provides the grub, entertainment, and patrons you’d expect from the name. A biker bar, with “Biker Mondays” creates a vintage keys experience for any day of the week.

I first arrived when the fishing charters just returned from the day at sea. Captain and crew cleaned up the boats and also the day’s catch – Spanish Mackerel.  And as the Pelicans positioned for the filet scraps, I positioned myself at a table to order the first round.

the lure and the rings...

Nearly done with my first $3 draft,  I spotted a man dressed in a Spiderman sweatshirt. Must be Captain Spider. I introduced myself, learned the details of the casting contest, and signed up to compete.

Captain Spider hosts contests multiple times each month at different locations. Each Tuesday night the proceed benefit the Forgotten Soldiers Outreach with Thursday’s alternating between the marathon high school ‘7-mile marina scholarship fund,’ and other community projects.

The contest rules are simple; 3 practice casts; 5 casts for score. Each contestant attempts to land the lure in set of styrofoam targets floating in the water. With seven rings at sea, each accounts for  a different point total – 50 for the center ring, 40 for either of the outside rings, 20 for larger rings, 10 for the largest rings. The one with most points scored  after five casts- your winner. (Ties go to an intense one cast sudden death shoot out).

the view from above....

The champion takes home top honors and a prize (donated), but essentially all participants seem to receive a consolation for their effort.

I can blame the wind, right-handed rods, (yes I am a southpaw) or casting early at sunset (challenging light)  for my results. An endless list of excuses really, but the reality – I lost.

Yet, the good news is these charities do not. My donation ($5 entry fee) will help create a scholarship for someone who wants a career on the water. Not to mention the evening certainly put a smile on my face.  Hey, next time I’ll do better.

Stay Adventurous, Craig


Read Full Post »

Green; the color of money (in the US), the color of envy? the color of energy? Maybe all three? Maybe you have none?

But actually ‘green’ also seems to be becoming the color of travel. Words like “sustainability,” “organic” and “eco-tourism” are more and more prevalent each and every day.  We all read them on travel websites and guidebooks targeting the people conscious of their footprint. And now such choices are no longer just for those backpacking through remote jungles in Central America or South East Asia. These choices now exist when selecting a luxury vacation too. A choice tourists, not just travelers make today.

Just in the last year(ish), I stayed at three resorts considered ‘green.’ All three enjoyable. All three luxurious. All three in Mexico.

The coast of Riviera Maya

Last winter in the ancient Mayan sea post of Tulum I stayed at CabanasCopal. I selected an ocean front bungalow that did not include electricity. The time “without” allowed me to experience a deeper connection with nature. With light only from the moon and candles I savored the hours and the chance to pause and ponder a different world.

On a recent trip to the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, I stayed about 45 minutes north of Cabo San Lucas in Pescadero. After the exit, or really just left turn, off highway 1 I traveled a dirt road past countless organic farms on the way to Rancho Pescadero. Each of the three meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, prepared with the locally grown and organic ingredients, pleased the palette.

In the Riviera Maya I stayed at Hacienda TresRios, a pioneer in the green space.  The Hacienda earned numerous environmental construction and sustainable awards including the coveted Green Global Certification. Built on land that was once a national park altered by Hurricane, the recently opened luxury resort and spa did not forget its roots. Guest can swim, snorkel, kayak or just learn about the diverse ecosystem on the grounds. For me, it was all about the cenotes.

Yes green, the color of so much, including life, is also becoming the color of travel. And that is why I volunteered (well it’s a contest with a prize) to help promote traffic to one resort. I didn’t say “yes” solely because of the prize, but more importantly said yes to spread the word about choices resorts are making, and choices you have when taking a vacation.

...a suite color

Many resorts are doing more than asking you to reuse your towels. As consumers we can support them with our business. So do your research, ask questions, and make a conscious choice.

But since you must ask for what you want, I am asking my readership to cast a vote for Turquesa (or a ‘like’ since its on FaceBook page.) Thanks.

stay adventurous, Craig

Read Full Post »

Click. I hung up the phone with Delta. Thirty-five thousand sky miles all earned as a management consultant exchanged for a round trip ticket to San Jose, Costa Rica. This time – no assignment. My travel was personal and with purpose.

typical view of the coast...

Turning back no longer existed as an option. The travel sabbatical I talked about for years was set in motion. All I needed to do now – tell my boss, girl friend, friends, and family.  Easy. Yes, all simple after I told myself.

At the time, autumn 2004, the idea was not new. When people asked me what I wanted to do with my life? I told them, “Travel.” Even my laptop login password always referenced my next adventure.  And a full year off, well I dreamed of the trip for years.

I dreamed of touching the soil and sand of new countries and continents, dreamed of surfing distant oceans, and dreamed of all the new colorful cultures I was set to explore on the road.  I dreamed. But then just over five years ago, that dream became reality. A cool November morning with Bush celebrating a second term, I left the country.

For nearly seven weeks I traveled Costa Rica. I learned enough Spanish to secure a position in Mexico City years later; I surfed enough sessions to retire my long board and carve waves on a 6’8’’.  I witnessed lava flow down Mount Arenal, soaked in natural hot springs, zip-lined thru the jungle, understood (and enjoyed) eco-tourism, paddled a kayak to a remote waterfall, took on class 5 river rapids and toasted my Imperial (local beer) to amazing sunsets. I truly began to understand the ‘pura vida!’ mantra. Yes sir, I lived.

Costa Rica catapulted me into an extended sabbatical that covered three continents, fifteen countries and nearly a year of my life. Plus, I recently learned I am not alone with that origin. Nomadic Matt started his life changing journey with a trip to the same Central American country.  And when I read he started a contest to give away a trip to Costa Rica I thought; enter.

the sands of Manuel Antonio...

the sands of Manuel Antonio...

So why return to Costa Rica?

Did you just read how Costa Rica kicked off one of the best years of my life? Did you take note of the potential adventures that await a return visit? Don’t you think I’d want to return? Answer: Yes

Ok, why else?

I recently discovered Gap Adventures. Yes, we share ‘adventure’ in our brand, but as I learn more about the company’s mission, tours, and its employees (New York Office), I’d welcome the opportunity to travel with them.  And if you win, your tour is through Gap Adventures.

Any other reason?

Yes, many. But perhaps most importantly – I’d like to spread the word.  Many people, including many of my readers desire change in their life. And for those that seek adventure, this is a great contest to enter and a great country to visit. A trip such as this might just push you forward to making bigger changes in your life. It did for me and apparently it did for Matt too. Buen Suerte. (That’s good luck in Spanish – you’ll learn)

Stay Advenutrous,


Read Full Post »