Meet the People and catch their Passion when you next Vacation in this Coastal Paradise

CHARLOTTE HARBOR & THE GULF ISLANDS, Fla.(Feb. 22, 2013) – Too young to retire, but looking to relocate to a great Florida community offering some really interesting jobs found only in coastal areas? You may want to consider Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands, which has been cited by Money Magazine as one of the “Best Places to Live in the South.” Next vacation, make it a relocation scouting vacation to Charlotte Harbor to see if the lifestyle here is as fulfilling for you as it is for the 154,000 who call it home. Here are examples of five quirky careers residents are thriving on in Charlotte County’s little corner of aquatic paradise, situated halfway between Tampa and Naples on the Southwest Florida Gulf coast.

1) Chris Warren is the “marrying kayaker.” If a wedding or vow renewal on the water fits your personal style, Chris of Phoenix Rising Kayak will orchestrate a kayak wedding where couples paddle with him (a registered Florida civil servant) to a remote barrier island. He then engages the couple and their party in an intimate wedding ceremony. Depending on the kayak wedding or vow renewal package purchased, the nuptials can include the ceremony, a fruit and cheese plate, champagne toast and even a post nuptial fly-fishing lesson. Visit http://www.prkayak.comfor package details. Phone: 941-586-2836.

2) Got a love of scallops? Then you might envy Betty Staugler, because her job is with Florida Sea Grant, working to replenish the scallop population in the waters of Charlotte County. The Sea Grant marine extension program in Charlotte County is active in many areas relating to boating, fishing, and watershed/coastal living. In particular the outreach program for Florida Bay Scallops includes the Great Bay Scallop Search every August when locals and visitors are invited to come out and participate in this citizen based survey event. Scallop cage gardening – a volunteer based restoration and monitoring ongoing throughout the year. But there’s so much more to what Betty does in her love of the scallop and its proliferation.

3) Arrrgh, if the pirate life’s for you, then Palm Island Resort’s “Red Beard the Pirate” may be the position of your dreams. The singing pirate, along with his feathery sidekick (his parrot Bones) performs a complimentary Family Show in his pirate ship in front of the resort’s Coconut Café, instructs kids in crafts, tells tales and jokes and is a regular at community events. As locals and guests like to say: “he’s nothing less than Spectacularrrrgh!!!”Palm Island Resort, 7092 Placida Road Cape Haze, 33946. Ph: 1-800-824-5412 or visit
4) For those who like to take a walk on the wet and wild side, a job as a program coordinator at the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center is the job for you. Currently held by the ever passionate about ecology Monica Dorken at the Alligator Creek location, Bobbi Rodgers at Cedar Point Environmental Park and Chris Salmonsen at Ponce Park, one of the best duties includes conducting free Seagrass Adventure Estuary Wading Trips where after an introductory program on aquatic environments, participants walk a short distance with their guide to Lemon Bay, and using dip nets and hand viewers, wade into the shallow waters in search of the plants and animals that reside there. This exciting hands-on activity is both educational and fun for people of all ages, because Monica, Bobbi and Chris make it so. Alligator Creek Environmental Park, 10941 Burnt Store Road, Punta Gorda, 941-575-5435.
5) Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary provides a healthy living and recovery environment for abandoned and abused exotic wildlife – think lions and tigers and bears, oh my, plus panthers, bobcats, primates, reptiles and more! During self-guided tours at this not-for-profit sanctuary, visitors can meet those who love and care for these wild beasts, such as Lauri Caron, then have the opportunity to see animals that are not often viewed up close in person. Octagon Sanctuary, 41660 Horseshoe Rd.,Punta Gorda, FL Ph: (239) 543-1130

About Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands
Located halfway between Tampa and Naples on the Southwest Florida Gulf coast, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands is a charming collection of nine coastal communities surrounding the state’s second largest harbor. Florida’s premier year-round eco-tourism destination, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands offers a pristine unspoiled beauty that has served as the backdrop for seven major feature films as well as countless memorable vacations. A haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands has been named to SAIL magazine’s “10 Greatest Places to Sail in the United States,” ranked by Golf Digest as “Third Best Place to Live and Play Golf in America,” and rated by MONEY magazine as one of the “Best Places to Live in the South.” The city of Punta Gorda was named in one of “Top Ten Places to Retire Healthy” by U.S. News & World Report. Englewood was named as #2 of the Top Ten emerging travel destinations in the U.S. by

For information about area events, activities and attractions, contact the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau, 18500 Murdock Circle, Suite B104, Port Charlotte, FL 33948; 941-743-1900, or call toll free at 1-800-652-6090 for a free Visitor’s Guide; or visit the Web site at

CONTACTS: Jennifer Huber
Tourism Public Relations Manager
Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau
(941) 743-1900

Mary Jane Kolassa / Cindy Dobyns
Above Water Public Relations & Marketing
(407) 463-0040 / (239) 596-9149

Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau
18500 Murdock Circle, Suite B104, Port Charlotte, FL 33948
941-743-1900, FAX: 941-764-4932