Taking the Back Country in the Blazing Mako

February 16, 2016 at 10:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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BlackBy Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer


Even though the Guy Harvey Outpost Blazing Mako Festival and Fishing Tournament is still four months away, it’s not too early to sign up your team or start plotting a strategy for claiming $10,000 in prize money– particularly if you enter the inshore division.

The tournament date of June 18 falls squarely during the peak of the inshore fishing season in and around the Florida Keys and two days before the full moon. Catching, measuring, photographing and releasing the eligible back country species of permit, bonefish, tarpon, snook, redfish and the funfish category of shark, ladyfish, jack and trout for points, cash, and bragging rights won’t be as challenging as during other seasons of the year.

Anglers will be allowed to enter a maximum of five fish in each category using live bait, artificial lures, or fly tackle. More points will be awarded for lures and fly rod.

“This is a great time of year to catch all these species,” said seven-year veteran Keys light-tackle guide captain Richard Black, who fishes from a 17-foot, 8-inch Hells Bay Professional skiff.

Black said his strategy would be to locate small tarpon first thing in the morning in Florida Bay– likely near Snake Bight– and fish with fly rod (if the angler were capable), or with small Mir-O-Lure plugs or light jigs. Snook and redfish tend to inhabit the same territory at that time of year and likely would bite the same offerings.

Once you’ve racked up enough points for those three species, Black says step two would be to blind-cast a jig or plug for ladyfish.  You could enter the larger ones in the funfish category and keep a few to hang off the skiff while anchored to attract lemon sharks to within fly-casting range.

“In a good spot with good current, you could catch five sharks on fly pretty quick,” Black said.

Then if you are lucky enough to have sufficient sunlight in mid- to late afternoon, the guide said, you could look for bonefish in Florida Bay or on the ocean side of the Upper Keys.  Bonefish almost never turn down fresh shrimp, and they also are likely to bite small jigs and shrimp-patterned flies.

“I know some anglers I’d lead off with fly and switch to bait,” Black added.  “You have to fish the conditions.  If conditions are crappy and you have to cover more water, you would use a spinning rod.”

Black  believes it will take 1,500 to 2,000 points to score a top-three finish.

Even if you don’t accumulate nearly that score, it will be more than fun to try and then you get to celebrate at the awards party at the Islander– a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort in Islamorada.


  Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/.  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit. 


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Celebrating Seafood Month at Guy’s Beachside Bar and Grill in Islamorada

October 27, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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By Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer


You could say that every month is “Seafood Month” at Guy’s Beachside Bar and Grill at the Islander, a Guy Harvey Outpost in Islamorada.  Sure, you can still get a burger, or steak or chicken anytime.  But the fresh local fruits from the sea prepared in every imaginable, delectable way generally rule the table — especially with October’s opening of stone crab harvest season.

Executive chef Andy Niedenthal favors Mediterranean/Floribean cuisine and loves to mix and match flavors and textures, surprising and delighting guests with an ever-changing menu that includes fruits and vegetables from Homestead and fish from the Keys.

“Nothing is set,” the veteran five-star chef said.  “Whatever piques our interest and we try to do something unique with it.  I’ll go in and say, ‘today, we’re going to play with this hogfish, tripletail, whatever’s fresh that day.’  When it’s gone, we do something else.”

Take stone crabs:  most people eat them fresh, cracked and chilled with a side of mustard dipping sauce.  And you can get them that way at Guy’s.  But in Niedenthal’s creative cuisine, the crab’s knuckle meat is used as a stuffing in fish; or in a pot pie; or to top a salad.   And lobster and shrimp aren’t just for scampi or po’ boys.  For lunch, the chef may prepare a bratwurst, mixing the shellfish with spices and stuffing it into a sausage casing served on a bun with a side of fennel slaw.

One of Niedenthal’s signature dishes is snapper ceviche  (see recipe below).  Fresh and light, it tastes as good as it looks and has appeared on many a patron’s Facebook wall.

The purveyor of all this fine cuisine has been at it a long time all around Florida and the Caribbean.

A 1988 graduate of the International Culinary Arts Institute in Baltimore, Niedenthal spent his career cooking for, or running fine restaurants in Islamorada, Miami Beach, Savannah, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.  He’s been executive chef at the Islander since 2012 and oversaw the re-launch of the resort’s restaurant as Guy’s Beachside Bar and Grill.  He also supervises the Bonefish Flats breakfast restaurant and the catering operation at the conference center — scene of many weddings and corporate meetings.

“We serve very upscale food in a very casual atmosphere,” Niedenthal said.  “You can get a five-star meal while dining out at the beach or at the pool.”

Now here’s how you can try this at home:

Chef Andy’s Snapper Ceviche:


1.25-pound cleaned fillet

juice of six sour oranges

one red onion; one red pepper; one green pepper; one yellow pepper; one tomato all diced very finely

4 cloves blanched garlic

1 bunch of cilantro with leaves picked

1 bunch of scallions, bias cut

1 bunch of chives, finely chopped

drizzle of chili oil

drizzle of Key lime oil

four fried tortilla strips, julienned

salt and pepper to taste

four small scoops of orange sorbet


Thinly slice the fish into two pieces against the grain on the bias and place on four plates in a five-point star.  Season with salt and pepper.  Divide sour orange juice over all four plates and cover the fish completely. Cover each plate with plastic wrap and press out the air so the fish is covered completely by the juice.  Refrigerate for about an hour.

To blanch the garlic, thinly slice the cloves on a mandolin, or v-slicer and place in a cup of very hot water.  Let stand for five minutes, then drain and refrigerate.

Remove the plastic from the plates of fish and pour off half of the juice.  Wipe the rim of each plate.  Distribute the vegetables, garlic and cilantro equally on the four plates, making a confetti-like appearance. Drizzle with Key lime and chili oils.

Place a scoop of sorbet in the center of each plate and garnish with tortilla crisps.


Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/.  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit.

Guy Harvey Outpost’s Islander Resort Profiled in “Southern Boating” Magazine

September 17, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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IslanderBeachThe following article appears courtesy of Southern Boating magazine.

“If it swims, I’ve caught it! How’s that for a one liner?” he chuckles. His white mustache is Tom Selleck-esque, and the sparkle in his blue eyes intimates wisdom, adventure… and a bit of trouble. Sitting in his office at the Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, Florida—the walls covered with pictures of himself, friends, family, celebrities, and the fish he’s caught—Richard Stanczyk captivates me with countless tales of the sea in his 50-plus years as an angler, captain, guide, and owner of the marina. Stanczyk is a bit of a celebrity himself. He’s often credited for reinventing swordfishing and once caught seven of these gladiators in a single day.

I’ve come to visit to talk about Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts & Lodges (GHO) and their expeditions—organized trips for adventure-oriented travelers. The expeditions are a new product for the brand, created “given the time poverty prevalent in everyone’s life,” says Mark Ellert, president of GHO. There’s “Mako Mexico” to follow and tag a shark off Isla Mujeres; “Panama Trifecta Safari” for a chance to tailor your experience on three fishing machines; and “Fish Daze Islamorada,” a three-day adventure with Stanczyk to battle swordfish and tarpon. (More expeditions are available and some are in the making in Central America and the Galapagos Islands.) “I’ve had the pleasure of taking Guy Harvey fishing,” Stanczyk says. “We had a stellar day. We ended up catching four of these giant swordfish.”

Guy Harvey—marine biologist, artist, diver, and conservationist—has come to embody the ocean lifestyle. Ellert saw the opportunity to create a lodging brand that would resonate with families and the salt life, and the Guy Harvey Outpost was born. Current destinations include The Bahamas; Isla Mujeres, Mexico; Dominica and Little Cayman Island in the Caribbean; and Isabela in the Galapagos—a project on the easternmost side of the island is also underway. In the U.S., GHO locations are only in Florida so far. The first was the TradeWinds Beach Resort in St. Petersburg Beach on the Gulf of Mexico. A new spot is set to open in this fall in St. Augustine on the Atlantic Ocean. A freshwater resort with RV campground and marina on Lake Okeechobee is also planned for 2017. Then there’s the Islander Resort in Islamorada—it joined the GHO brand in 2014—with unique access to the bay and the ocean.

The Islander Resort offers two locations: on MM 82 (Oceanside) and MM 81 (Bayside). With 114 guestrooms that spread across 25 acres, the Oceanside exudes the island resort feel that one expects in the Florida Keys. Past the reception area, pristine white sand paves the way—with scattered palm trees from which hammocks hang—to rooms with a screened front porch and full kitchen. Chirping birds and conservation quotations from famous characters accompany you while the salty sea tang lures you closer to the beach. The typical Jimmy buffet melodies hint of the two pools’ proximity and Guy’s Beachside Bar & Grill—Fish Daze participants get to dine with Stanczyk right here, a “truly memorable opportunity to hear Richard some incredible fishing tales,” says Ellert. (I second that.) the restaurant will cook your catch of the day—Harvey’s words on the menu remind you of ocean preservation just like in the rooms.

The Islander Watersports (IW) by the pier has water toys galore—all the GHOs do. There, Donna Warwas and her friend, Joni Taylor, are looking for fun while their husbands are out fishing on a Bud N’ Mary’s charter boat. “What do you have for women like us in their fifties?” Warwas, a petite brunette asks Jaime sanders, a tan and toned IW attendant. They settle for kayaking from the bayside (“it’s calmer,” says sanders) and a snorkeling trip to Cheeca Rocks Reef, a shallow site less than five miles away. Wave runners, sailboats, aqua cycles, and three 18 to 29-foot powerboats are also available. Sanders says she sends boaters to the sandbar right off Whale Harbor bridge on mm 83. “It’s ankle deep, the kids can snorkel and the dogs can play,” she adds. “There’s also the Alligator [Reef] Lighthouse. It’s only six feet deep and it’s St. Thomas [U.S.V.I.]-beautiful.” She advises using Whale Harbor rather than Tea Table Channel bridge on mm 79.1 to go from the bay to the ocean because the latter is lower. Rent a mooring ball on the Oceanside for boats up to 30 feet, or dock on the bayside complete with 14 slips (for boats up to 24 feet), fish cleaning stations and shore power—guests must stay at one of the 25 bayside townhomes to use a slip. There’s no onsite ramp but plenty nearby, and trailers may be stored on the Oceanside property by the Florida Keys Conference Center.

The bayside has more of a private property feel. Colorful two-story townhouses are lined up leading to the docks, the small saltwater pool and beach area. Standing aboard his flats boat, Daniel Brotzky, a husky red-haired man in his early 30s with an infectious laugh, is getting ready for another relaxing outing to the sandbar. It’s his fi rst time at the Islander and he’s beyond ecstatic, most likely due to his recent engagement (wedding scheduled for January 9th). “You’ve got everything you need—you’ve got your home feel with the townhome, the bay, the ocean… the markers are all right there,” Brotsky says. “It’s a beautiful dock with easy access and [the slip rental] is dirt cheap!”

Back at Bud N’ Mary’s, Stanczyk ponders the Islander. “I have a lot of respect for the owner David [Curry]. They’ve maintained what I call the ‘character’ of the Florida Keys, and when you go to the Islander… you find their own feeling of the Keys.”

Help Guy Harvey Outpost Volunteers Clean Up the Keys

September 15, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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11990489_10154198595179027_1235612983481628913_n            By Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost Staff Writer

Some staff members of Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost in Islamorada plan to don work gloves, long pants and sun hats to join hundreds of others collecting trash along U.S. Highway 1 and ocean and bayside beaches on Sept. 19.

The Florida Keys Scenic Corridor Alliance has partnered with the Ocean Conservancy for the 30th anniversary of the International Coastal Cleanup– a one-day effort that last year attracted 560,000 volunteers in 91 countries who picked up more than 16 million pounds of trash.

For this year’s cleanup, teams will fan out along the entire 110-mile U.S. 1 corridor and adjacent beaches from Key Largo to Key West, clearing roadsides and waterfronts of trash and debris.  Some employees of the Islander are expected to join a team organized by the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce cleaning the area from Tavernier Creek Bridge to the Channel 5 Bridge including Sea Oats Beach, Anne’s Beach, and Indian Key Fills.  If you would like to help, call or email Judy Hull, executive director of the Islamorada chamber at 305-664-4503/director@islamoradachamber.com.

Discarded plastic items — flip-flops, water bottles, bags, and popped balloons–are a serious environmental and ecological problem worldwide, with more than seven million tons ending up in the world’s oceans.  Not just an eyesore, they sicken and kill sea birds and marine mammals.

For more information about the Coastal Cleanup, visit the Ocean Conservancy’s web site!

Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/.  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling, camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit.

“Underwater Realism” Art Course Offered at Islander Resort In Islamorada

September 14, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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RoysterBJ03tn-300x278Islamorada artist BJ Royster will unlock the creative process in you in a relaxed, informative and creative manner. This class is for designed for complete beginners, as well as those artists who want to enhance their knowledge and discipline within the creative process. You will take home a Keys reef scene on 11 x 14 stretched canvas.

WHAT: “Underwater Realism” art course

WHEN: Thurs, Oct 8, 22, Nov 5, 19; 1 – 4 pm

HOW MUCH: $165 REGISTRATION (Materials Included)

Born and raised in South Florida, BJ is recognized as a foremost artist specializing in reefs. After overcoming a fear of diving, she became a certified SCUBA diver and now translates the underwater beauty to her canvases. Her award winning work can be seen around the world, in several publications, and in her gallery, BJ Royster Ocean Gallery in Islamorada.


Rehabbed Turtle Released off Florida Keys to participate in Tour de Turtles’ Event

July 19, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Photo Courtesy of Andy Newman.

MARATHON, Florida Keys — A rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle that convalesced about four months at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital was fitted with a satellite-tracking transmitter and released Friday off the Florida Keys.

Named Aaron, the subadult reptile crawled into the Atlantic Ocean in front of several hundred cheering spectators at Marathon’s Sombrero Beach.

It is the only rehabilitated turtle of 12 that is part of the Tour de Turtles initiative created by the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

Beginning Aug. 2, the online education and awareness program will track the reptiles for three months. Turtles will be followed after releases in Panama, Costa Rica, Nevis, W.I. and Florida.

“It’s the sea turtle who goes the furthest distance in three months that wins the marathon and wins the Tour de Turtles,” said Dan Evans, research and technology specialist with the Sea Turtle Conservancy. “The takeaway from the whole program is to really raise awareness about sea turtles, to get people interested in sea turtles through technology and to also let people know what they can do to help protect sea turtles.”

Aaron was discovered floating in a Key Largo boat basin in March. It was treated at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon for an intestinal impaction and parasites in its digestive system with antibiotics, anti-parasitic medications, lactulose, vitamins and a diet of squid and fish

Learn more here:
Tour de Turtles: http://www.tourdeturtles.org
The Turtle Hospital: http://www.turtlehospital.org

Join Us for Sea Turtle Release Saturday at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost

May 1, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Posted in Conservation | Leave a comment
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The public is invited to join the Turtle Hospital for Miley’s release back to the wild on Saturday, May 2nd at 10:30 a.m. at The Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost M.M. 82.1 on the Oceanside.

The Turtle Hospital ambulance will arrive at  the Islander in Islamorada at 10:30 a.m. and Miley will be released off of the beach promptly at 11:00 a.m.  Miley was rescued off of Dove Key in early March where she was found floating and what rescuer’s described as “twerking”.  The rescuer’s named her Miley, after Miley Cyrus.

Loggerheads nest on beaches at or near most all Guy Harvey Outpost properties. It seems they know good fishing and diving spots.

Miley is a sub-adult Loggerhead sea turtle.  She arrived at the hospital on March 8th following a boat strike.  She weighs 117 pounds.  Loggerheads are the largest hard shell sea turtles and adults typically weigh between 180 and 440 pound.  They can grow to over 1000 pounds. Loggerheads are considered a “Threatened” species and are protected under the Endangered Species Act.  Following a treatment course at the Turtle Hospital that included broad spectrum antibiotics, lactulose, beano, vitamins, and a healthy diet of squid and fish, Miley is ready to hit the main stage.  Miley is swimming strong, healthy, and no longer “twerking”.  Bring your friends and help us to give Miley a proper send-off on Saturday!

GHO-Turtle-ReleaseMore Information on Guy Harvey Outpost & their great resorts:  http://www.guyharveyoutpost.com/

For Fishing with Guy Harvey Outpost: www.ghofish.com

For the Guy Harvey Outpost Blog www.guyharveyoutpostnews.com

For Guy Harvey Outpost on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GuyHarveyOutpost

For Guy Harvey Outpost on Twitter https://twitter.com/GHOutpost

For Guy Harvey Outpost on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/GuyHarveyOutpost

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Cousteau Dives the Keys!

June 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Cousteau Dives the Keys!

Fabien Cousteau on-board the FIU Aquarious Reef Base. Filmmaker, Fabien Cousteau, grandson of diving pioneer Jaques Cousteau attempts record setting dive in the Aquarius. Cousteau began his 31 day attempt to live aboard the underwater laboratory Aquarius June 1st. This would eclipse the 30 day record set by his grandfather in 1963.

Nemo Lands In Islamorada

January 9, 2014 at 10:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Nemo Lands In Islamorada

For Islander room reservations call 800 513-5257

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