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Mancations / Fashion / Shopping / → All Tags
We'll admit it: Taking a trip to Wisconsin to shop for jeans is an unorthodox mancation. But it's also worth it. Context in Madison is one of the few stores in the country specializing in raw denim for men. The rugged material is made just like it was in the early 1900s, and store owners Sam and Ryan will set you up with a pair that hug in all the right places.
They'll also give you a bit of unexpected manly advice: don't wash your pants for at least six months. These jeans are truly au natural--no chemicals or fading treatments here--and are designed to be broken-in by the wearer. Expect to pay top dollar for these durable, non-sweatshop garments; they're often upwards of $200. At least you'll save on laundry costs.
Don't let that lightness in your wallet deter you from hitting the town. Right around the corner is the Great Dane Brewpub, where a hearty plate of brats and mash is only $8, and fresh in-house brews are always on tap.
Flying down narrow singletrack trails on a mountain bike is challenging. Doing so after sundown in the South African wilderness sounds damn near crazy. But if there's a beer and a beach at the end of the road, then we're all in.
Live2Ride tours in Langebaan, South Africa--a coastal city roughly 60 miles from Cape Town--offers just that experience for only about $30. Starting at sunset, riders head out from the beachfront, winding through town and up into the woods. The ride is just shy of eight miles long, but the darkness makes dirt roads all the more tricky. (Yes, you'll have lights.) The trail spits you back out by the water where you can score drinks at Driftwoods restaurant.
If you're looking for something a bit longer, Live2Ride also offers day tours for about $70. The Aurora route is a grueling climb up into the Piketberg mountains with a total elevation gain of over 3,000 feet. But save some of that energy for a fast descent on the second half--you'll need it to squeeze your break levers.
Belgium might not be at the top of your list of mancation destinations, but after suffering through six-packs of Pabst and MGD while scraping for travel funds the first thing you could use is a quality beer. And man, those Trappist monks deliver!
Breweries like Chimay and Rochefort have long been crafting beers that come closer in flavor and complexity to fine French wines than to the ambers and lagers common in the US--many can even be aged. Across Belgium, there are only six Trappist monasteries that brew these rich ales, and some have been doing so for over a hundred years as a way of sustaining their needs. (Rochefort has been at it since 1595.)
Almost all of the monasteries welcome tours, but only Achel has a brewery and cafe right inside the abbey, so you and the guys can sit and enjoy while watching monks prepare the brew. They even have a guest house for only 28 ($41) per night, so you won't have to stumble back into town.
A two foot long snakehead fish was caught by an angler on the River Witham in Lincolnshire over the weekend. This "frankenfish," dubbed the gangster of the sea, is deadlier than a piranha and tends to eat everything that might be in it path--even humans.
The fish has a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, and get this, it can crawl on land and live up to four days--so it is possible that this gangster fish can chase you down out of water.
While Lincolnshire locals are hoping this snakehead capture is an anomaly and not the start of a trend, some of the world's leading angling guides actually offer frankenfish heads the opportunity to hunt down these gangster predators in the wild.
Jean Francois-Helias of Angling Adventures Thailand, is one such angler who has led plenty of snakehead captures, just in case you were looking for an adrenaline junkies/gangster fish chase of a vacation.
[Photo: Graham and Shelia & Daily Mail]
So you were smart enough not to spend all your money on jewelry this Valentine's Day. And after all that romance, you've got an itch to angle in some of South America's most secluded spots on the ultimate mancation? Andrés Ergas is your man.
The Chilean millionaire's company, Nomads of the Seas, will helicopter you to prime fly-fishing spots throughout Patagonia, treat you to gourmet picnics and keep your glass full as you unwind on a 150-foot boat.
Ergas' ship is the Atmosphere, which in addition to holding a crew of 32 that caters to just 28 passengers, also accommodates a Bell 407 helicopter and several custom Zodiac jet boats. To the dedicated angler the real hook is the chance to cast a line in virtually untouched spots--Nomads doesn't even issue maps to its guests and supposedly keeps the locations of fishing excursions tightly under wraps.
If fishing isn't your thing, wildlife packages are also available. You can try your hand at nature photography or scout out rare and endemic birds. Whichever options you choose, be prepared to pay pretty-penny for your week-long journey: packages start at about $12,000. Good thing you didn't get her those diamonds!
Our Upstate NY Travel Map will get you there.
As the weather grows colder, we start loosening our definition of "fun" outdoor activities. Today's pick: ice fishing in New York.
But be warned: As doomsday predictions of balmy Northern winters become a reality, lakes aren't freezing hard enough. Unless bone-chilling temperatures set in soon, the thick layer of ice needed to sustain ice fishing shacks and burly men may not form.
Things are so bad that organizers have already canceled the annual Crappie Derby in February, New York's largest ice fishing competition that usually happens on Whitney Point Lake, near Binghamton. (Funny, we'd call any event requiring us to sit on a frozen lake all day crappy, too.)
So far, it looks like the most reliable place to plan an ice fishing trip will be the northern heights of the Adirondack Mountains in what is really the upstate of Upstate New York. Lake Pleasant is shallow and at elevation, meaning it forms ice easily. And it's stockpiled with brown and rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, walleyes, pickerel, lake whitefish and yellow perch. Sushi on ice, anyone?
Adventure Travel / Diving / Sharks / Mancations / → All Tags
So hunting for 844-pound sharks is too extreme for you? And you don't feel like pioneering the Iraqi shark fishing industry? Then you might want to reconsider your trip to Mexico's Isla Guadalupe with SharkDiver.com.
Passengers and crew on a recent excursion got plenty of action when they witnessed a great white attack a fur seal, says dive master Luke Tipple:
We were in the middle of cage diving operations on the back deck of the MV Islander when all of a sudden a 6 foot geyser of black foam and red blood erupted 50 yards from our position.
While the boys at Shark Diver have been working these waters for years, a surface attack like this surprised even them.
Of course, there's no guarantee you'll see great whites on any particular trip, but Shark Diver CEO Patric Douglas says the odds are good, especially in the winter months:
We have research data showing these sharks actively stalking the smaller Guadalupe fur seals early in the shark season. By November these pups are quite big and begin to play offshore, which is the equivalent of ringing the dinner bell for larger female whites.
Sharks / Fishing / Mancations / Iraq / Iraq Travel / → All Tags
Attention! A new force is threatening the sovereignty of Iraq, and it's very, very hungry. A man fishing in a canal near the southern city of Nassiriya caught a six-foot-long shark who somehow eluded barriers and swam up the Euphrates River into what is known as the cradle of civilization.
Some Iraqis believe the shark was planted by occupying American forces to scare the locals. But that doesn't answer the question of how the shark got to Nassiriya in the first place. If Iraq is a little exotic for you, visit our fishing map to find some more traditional spots for landing a big catch on your next trip.
Six friends went to a fishing tournament looking to catch some grouper and ended up hauling in a Jaws-like 844-pound shark instead. Needless to say, when Adlee Bruner and friends to pulled into the docks for the Destin Fish Rodeo prize, their Gulf of Mexico 11-foot mako shark set a Destin Fishing Rodeo record.
While this year's rodeo is not only un-winnable, but also over, next year's rodeo looms, and Adlee Bruner set the bar high for 2008. However, FishDestin gives you plenty of chances to practice between now and then. Family fishing, corporate fishing, and bay fishing are all offered. Don't see "big ass shark fishing trips", but apparently that is a possible bonus of any trip. Can you imagine if one of these "Family Fishing Trips" hooked a 844 pound Mako? Anyway, it goes without saying if you pull in Jaws you have had the ultimate mancation. Drinks are on AJ's, or they should be.
[Photo: Miami Press]
Looking for a summer vacation with a bit more -- and excuse us for this -- bite? Try swimming with sharks, sans cage. And we're not talking about just sissy sandsharks. Nope. You'll be in a tank with over 25 different types of flesh-eating sea beasts with only a pair of goggles, a snorkel, and nerves of steel to protect you.
What aquarium is brave enough to send its patrons into shark-infested waters? The Adventure Aquarium, of course. It makes sense, after all, that the attraction is in Camden, N.J., America's fifth most dangerous city. Just make sure you drive there during daylight, or you may be risking life-and-limb before you even get to the aquarium.
More Summer Vacations With an Edge are this way.
Australia's a good country for men. All that wide open desert, plenty of dangerous animals and beer, beer, beer. A great mancation is waiting to be had around Queensland's Rockhampton, about 450 miles north of Brisbane. A brave ex-Englishman recently had what he'll probably remember as "the bull testicle holiday."
The city, nicknamed "Rocky," is a great men's destination: rodeo, golf, fishing and sailing abound. Not that gals are not allowed, but when the conversation continually focuses on measuring a bull's scrotum, they might prefer to stay away. The "Beef Capital of Australia" is full of both testosterone and bucking bronco rides (out the back of the Great Western Hotel, if you're looking for 'em). So if your manliness needs beefing up, book a Rockhampton break.
· Bulls, Balls and Blokes [news.com.au]
[Photo: Denni Schnapp]
Now that it's full-on summer beach fun time the New York Times figures an article about shark tourism is in order. And though these sharks don't swim near the beach, the piece still gives us chills.
Writer Joshua Hammer has the scoop on what it's really like to stare down a great white off the coast of South Africa:
Just beneath the surface a massive gray missile was hurtling toward us. The crew member pulled the bait line toward the boat; the creature kept coming. Then, amazingly, the great white lurched out of the ocean, eyes bulging, jaws snapping, teeth flashing. A 10-foot-long gray mass of muscle and cartilage, he twisted left, then right, in furious pursuit of the bloody chunk of yellowfin. The water frothed around him as he lunged for the bait, and as he slammed his massive body back down into the ocean, cold spray washed over all of us.
If that's your idea of fun, we've already covered some top shark scoping spots.
You might remember, our sister in sharks told you about this South African vacation option almost a year ago. Of course, we are too scared to actually do this ourselves, so thankfully Joshua Hammer did that for us.
[Photo: Benedicte Kurzen]