Manta Ray Adventure!

Welcome Back All,

We just finished up the first half of another fabulous adventure session and like all the rest, we had a really great time! The water clarity this week has been poor thanks to all the fresh water runoff being drained into the intra-coastal waterway from the left over remnants of Tropical Storm Fay. This gave us an opportunity to do something different instead of spend most of our time snorkeling at the Rock Garden, even though I would have absolutely loved it!. Visibility just isn’t there right now! Oh well… first time all summer it didn’t look like a swimming pool. But this sure didn’t prevent us from having a wonderful fun filled time!!! Not this gang of adventurers!

Group Photo

I have a whole new group this week and everybody is absolutely GREAT and totally at home in the water! It just doesn’t get any better than this! Groups like this make me truly love and appreciate my job! Right on…You guys can swim!

I arrived bright and early at the dock and was joined by AdventureZach, Matthew, Max, Doug, Ben and Preston. Everyone was excited and ready to go, including me! We loaded up, stashed our gear and headed straight to the sandbar to see what we could find. The tide was really low and made it perfect for exploring. We had no sooner gotten out of the boat before we found some nice large Cushion Sea starfish. Big bright red ones too, really great! Shortly after this we found some nice juvenile mantis shrimp crawling around outside of their burrows which is unusual in the day time and cool to see. There were plenty of blue crabs around to keep us all busy having fun catching them!  Occasionally one would latch on and give me a really good pinch which everybody loved watching. Of course nobody wanted to help me get it off my fingers when the time came to let it go… On the way back to the boat we stopped and jumped in the Deep Hole and found a really large Beaded Sea Starfish which was a nice find. Largest I’ve seen all summer. We all checked it out then released it and swam back to the boat and loaded up to go to a new spot.

We motored out the Inlet and around the south jetty and dropped anchor in 4 feet of clear water.  There were large schools of anchovies and glass minnow just inches from the beach swimming right in the trough. They blackened the water for 200 hundred yards down the beach. They were so thick you couldn’t see though them. Every now and then a big snook would go by and take a mouthful which was great to watch just inches from your face. Really exciting! We grabbed some dip nets and waded in to see who could catch the most with a single scoop. I think I took the cake with 26 in just one swipe. Everybody was having fun and catching fish. Even the sea gulls around us were loving it, grabbing our escapees fresh out of the net. I’m not sure who was having more fun, us or the birds, but we were all making nose trying to catch fish! Every now and then we would come up with a big lady crab in the net to add excitement to the chase. We found a nice big one with no claws and this gave us a chance to take turns holding it and check it out. Its really neat to see how well they camouflage in the sand. Can hardly see them once they dig down a bit. Nice find.

Today there was a nice little swell coming in that was perfect for body surfing and we spent an hour or two having an absolute blast surfing the waves into the beach. Was great exercise too. After this we had about an hour left so we called it quits and went back to the boat for some snacks and refreshments and decided to motor along the beach down towards the Breakers Hotel. We never got there!!!  And boy were we lucky!!!

Body Surfing

About half way there I spotted 3 big black shapes in shallow water swimming in formation heading right at us. They were about 12 feet wide and looked like stealth bombers moving down the beach! They were Manta rays, and BIG ones at that! Just unbelievable!!! Big, beautiful, totally harmless, gentle giants that were just waiting for us to get in and take a look! Many times they would swim right up to the boat, take a look at us, then slowly pirouette and glide away. Just incredibly beautiful to watch and such a lucky opportunity! When I asked if anybody wanted to get in and check them out, you know the answer to that! AdventureZach was ready in a heartbeat and the first one in. My kind of Adventurer!! On the first encounter he had a nice cobia come by and look at him that was swimming right next to the ray! It didn’t take long for AdventureDoug, Ben, Preston, Max and Matthew to follow. Talk about having fun!!! We were having it by the truck loads now! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!! What an opportunity for us to experience!

Manta Ray!

How an hour could go by so quickly I will never know, but we were having fun like there was no tomorrow! When I looked at my watch it was past time to go, so we hurriedly got aboard and headed back. I can guarantee you no one wanted to go back now! We were just too busy having FUN! This was the first time all summer for an unbelievably wonderful Manta Ray encounter. On the way back I felt like we were living life right, AND LOVING IT!!! Been thinking about it all day and smiling non stop! Thank you!!! Leaves me longing for more, more fun that is!!!

I just can’t wait till tomorrow! Going to have 2 more adventurers join us and we’re going to go out and Have Some Fun!  Stay tuned…  Who knows what we may discover, but I can guarantee you one thing, we are going to have a ball and loads of fun along the way!!!

See you on the return…

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