Archive for June, 2009

Summer 2009 Week 4: Hiking, Fishing and having Fun at the Beach!

Posted by 26 June, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!! We just finished up the third day of week 4 and let me tell you it’s been another FUN week!!! Got lucky with the weather too! When I left my dock on Tuesday morning to head to Phil Foster Park it was a little wet, but by the time I arrived […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!!

We just finished up the third day of week 4 and let me tell you it’s been another FUN week!!! Got lucky with the weather too! When I left my dock on Tuesday morning to head to Phil Foster Park it was a little wet, but by the time I arrived at Phil Foster Park the sky was clearing. Good thing too cause I could tell this weeks group of Adventurers was raring to go, no matter what the weather was going to be! As soon as AdventureRachel, Amanda, Brendan, Brian, Robert, Michael and Christopher were on board I could tell it was going to be another great week! Their enthusiasm and excitement was contagious!!! Since it was still a little cloudy out to the south, we decided to head north to Munyon Island and start the day with an island hike and a bit of Adventure.

Island Exploration

Island Exploration

Before I had a chance to even drop anchor, this group was ready to go!!! We hopped out and headed up the boardwalk trail and before long we were on our way to the backside of the island to see what we could find. This trail was relatively new and took us past a big stand of Ficus and Sea- grape trees, thru a mangrove estuary, along a salt marsh prairie and eventually out along the northeast side of the island. It was a beautiful hike and along the way we saw wild coffee plants, knickerbean trees, ospreys, giant blue land crabs, monarch and zebra butterflies, a number of lizards and a few big banana spiders high up in the trees. We searched the shallow flats and found dozens of sea grass hermit crabs in a variety of beautiful shells, hundreds of juvenile blue crabs, but no luck finding any live horseshoe crabs. I was hoping to find a few but they are not too common around here anymore. We found a half dozen or so molts from them which we checked out and AdventureBrendan and Christopher kept one each for a souvenir. Nice Big ones too! After an hour or so we headed back to the boat and went to the Rock Garden for a bit of snorkeling.

The tide was incoming, the water crystal clear and the Rock Garden was full of fish, as usual! Within the last week the big schools of Menhaden arrived and we had a wonderful opportunity to swim through large schools of snook and small barracudas on the prowl for an easy meal. It was just great to watch the fish swirl around us by the thousands! We saw hundreds of snappers, grunts, seargent majors, porkfish, Bermuda chub and parrotfish, etc and even a nice small yellow ray without a tail or barb. Looked like a swimming yellow spotted “dinner plate”. I tried to catch it by hand but no luck. It was too slippery to hold on to. AdventureChristopher gave me the “thumbs up” for trying though!

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

The second day we stopped by the Big Sandbar to do a bit of snorkeling over the shallow bar and found quite a few large Mantis Shrimp peaking out of their tunnels at us. We tried to bait a few out but they were more wary than I had hoped. Maybe next time… We all found dozens of Florida and West Indian fighting conchs, short-spined sea urchins and numerous olive shells sliding across the bottom. We chased a few small barracudas out of the shallows just to show them who was “boss” then decided to head out along the beach since the ocean was flat calm.

We had barely made it around the Jetty when right before us was tremendous splash. A second later a group of Bottlenose Dolphin leaped out of the water and began chasing a school of houndfish right off our bow. The houndfish would race, skipping along the surface with the Dolphin in hot pursuit!! We watched as the Dolphin caught one houndfish after another and ate them right before our eyes. Let me tell you, our group of Adventurers were loving this!!! Wish you could have been there to hear their excitement!!! It was just GREAT!!! And just as this was coming to an end, a large Loggerhead Sea Turtle came up for a few quick breaths of air right beside the boat, gave us a quick once over as if checking us out, then lazily swam back towards the bottom. We were having a Blast!!! Love it like this!!! We spent the last hour snorkeling along the beach for shells and body surfing the boat wakes when they would come by. Does it get any better than this?

Today was our fishing day and we were joined by AdventureDakota from last Summer who caught a nice big red grouper the last time he was along! We dropped anchor on my secret spot and as soon as the bait hit the water we were having bites! AdventureAmanda caught the first fish, which by chance was her very first fish ever, so I had to definitely take a picture of that! Nice Job Amanda!!! You Rock!!!

Amandas First Fish!

Amanda's First Fish!

It wasn’t long after that before the whole gang was having them on. All at the same time of course!!! And boy was I missing my helper AdventureNicholas today!! He’s great with kids, fishing, boating, baiting the hooks, rigging the lines, taking off the fish and cleaning the boat, etc. but he over slept and missed the boat. And let me tell you that left me EXTRA busy today. We’ll have to make sure to give him a little “grief” next time we see him just to let him know he was missed!!! Good thing Rachel, Brendan, Amanda and the rest of the gang were quick to learn how to bait their own hooks and take off the fish to give me a hand. I had to move the boat a few times to stay on the fish, but it was non stop from start to finish as usual. I think AdventureDakota may have caught the most fish, AdventureBrendan caught two at once and AdventureAmanda caught the biggest. A nice Margate that fought hard!!! Good job!!! A bit later Dakota was reeling in a nice snapper when a tremendous barracuda decided to have it for lunch and he did a superb job fighting that for quite a while before it bit thru the line. Nice job there too!!! It was nice to see that everyone caught fish and had non stop action as usual!!!

Everyone has a fish on at once!

Everyone has a fish on at once!

The last hour of the day we went back out to the beach for some snorkeling, sea glass and shell collecting and competitive game of “chicken fighting”. Amanda and Rachel against Brendan and Brian, and I have to say in my opinion the girls won! It was great fun for all and a wonderful way to end the day and burn off any excess energy!!! I can tell you that not one of us was ready to call it a day!!!  We were having too much FUN!!! The really nice thing though, is that we have one more day left, and who knows what we may find and discover then!!! I can promise you one thing, we are going to have a BLAST!!! Am thinking about starting the day at the Rock Garden and catching all kinds of fish with nets. Know we will have a ball doing that! Stay tuned to see what we discover and the fun we’re going to have!!! Wish you could join us!!! It’s going to be great!!!

Having FUN Chicken Fighting!

Having FUN Chicken Fighting!

LET”S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: June 22 - June 25 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer 2009 Week 3: Summertime Fun!

Posted by 19 June, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We’ve just finished up the first three days of week 3 and let me tell you it has been absolutely perfect the whole week!!!  The weather, the water, the group, just perfect!!! Things just seem to get better and better and better as the days go on! Everyone in this group […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We’ve just finished up the first three days of week 3 and let me tell you it has been absolutely perfect the whole week!!!  The weather, the water, the group, just perfect!!! Things just seem to get better and better and better as the days go on! Everyone in this group can swim like fish and has so much energy and enthusiasm I can barely keep up with them! Non stop laughter and smiles from start to finish! Just the way I love it!!!

Having FUN in the hot tub!

Having FUN in the hot tub!

This week I was joined by AdventureJoseph, Robert and Acadia who have been with me before and 5 new Adventurers, AdventureKelsey, Ella, Zara, Hannah and Beth. And let me tell you when this group is having fun they sure let you know it! And boy, were they having FUN this week!! My ears are still ringing!!! Had to purposely stick my head underwater a few times and hold my breathe as long as I could just to get a few minutes of “peace and quiet”, and even that didn’t work. In seconds, I’d have 8 kids with masks staring at me and even asking me questions while I was underwater. Oh well, When your having fun, your having fun…

We spent most of the first day at the Big Sandbar finding just about everything you could imagine. The tide was so low we had acres of exposed bar to explore. And Explore we DID!!! Everywhere we looked were short-spined sea urchins, fighting conchs, crabs, starfish, horse conchs, etc. You name it, I think we found it. We hadn’t been on the bar more than a few seconds before this group of adventurers had found Cushion Starfish, Beaded Starfish and even Nine-armed Starfish. And you know this gave us that perfect opportunity to take those now infamous “starfish head” photos that the kids seem to love. I’m beginning to like nine armed starfish head photos even better than cushion Starfish head photos. And of course, the kids love them both!

We found every color combination of short spined sea urchins I think possible around here. My favorite color combination is the pure white body with bright purple spines, but the bright pink ones and the green with pink spines were a big hit for the group too. I think Acadia, Beth, Ella, Zara, Kelsey and Hannah loved every one they found. They had hands full of them the whole time and when ever they found a new color combination we hadn’t seen before, they would make sure to let me know! Just love that enthusiasm!!! I guarantee you we tried to find every color combination that existed before we left here! While they were finding urchins, Joseph and Robert were busy finding starfish and releasing them into deeper water so they wouldn’t dry out or be pecked on by the sea gulls. It was just great and FUN for all!

Acadia and a handful of sea urchins!

Acadia and a handful of sea urchins!

We spent some time swimming in the shallows and caught some nice checkerboard pufferfish, sharp nose pufferfish, blue legged hermit crabs and some nice big swimming crabs too! Everyone had a ball trying to catch them themselves and I could see feet flying and nets swishing in all directions. It was just great to see someone catch one then let every one take turns holding it and checking it out before letting it go. Really Cool… We had a another great encounter too when a large Eagle Ray jumped out of the water numerous times right in front of us with a big remora stuck on it. After a few times it was able to dislodge the remora and swim off. Shortly after that we saw a big ray foraging in the shallows over the sandbar and we were lucky to have it swim right under the boat in 18 inches of water and give us a good look. We all loved that! The kids were screaming with excitement the whole time. I never wanted it to end.

On Wednesday we had a chance to do some island and tidal flat exploration around Munyon Island and found some really large sea grass hermits in a variety of different shells that we hadn’t found before. Really nice! Had a chance to take some photos of the group surrounded by weathered stumps of australian pines and mangroves that I thought were great! We’ll see…

Large ray in the shadows!

Large ray in the shadows!

And of course, today was our fishing day and lucky for me, AdventureNicholas came along to give me a hand!! And let me tell you, I really needed it!!! We didn’t boat record numbers of fish today, but the action was non stop and as usual, we couldn’t bait hooks fast enough for three kids, much less eight!!! It was nice to see that everyone was having a GREAT time!!! We boated some nice big (and small) yellowtail snapper, Porkfish, sailor’s choice, tomtates, caesars grunts and had quite a few big ones on that got away. The highlight of the fishing day came when AdventureElla hooked a really BIG fish and after about 5 minutes of trying hard to get it in, she finally turned it towards the boat and was making real headway.  Just as it got near, there was a tremendous swirl and a huge splash and you can guess what happened next. That’s right, a great BIG Barracuda decided to have it for lunch, and after a second or two more of thrashing, Ella reeled in the what was left of a nice Mutton Snapper. It would have been a nice keeper too. Needless to say we took a few photos and then sadly tossed the head back to the waiting barracuda who was wanting the rest of his meal. And with another mighty swoosh, that was gone too!! It was a great thrill for all of us though I am sure the snapper thought otherwise!!!

Whats left of Ellas Big Fish

What's left of Ella's "Big Fish"

From here we took a quick run back to the Big Sandbar and everybody had a ball playing in the hot tub and chasing after Nicholas who was doing his best to play “keep away” from 8 kids with a lot of energy. I think that wore about everybody out and was an absolutely great way to end the day!!! We had such a great week so far, and I know one thing for sure… I can’t wait till tomorrow to do it all over again!!! The Ocean is flat calm, the water crystal clear and shells on the beach as far as the eyes can see. Am thinking about pulling right up on the beach, hopping out and going beach combing and snorkeling, and hopefully if we are lucky like last week, have another wonderful manatee encounter. I know one thing for sure, whatever we decide, we are going to have FUN!!! Wish you could join us, It’s going to be GREAT!!! And after the day is over, I’m off to the Bahamas to swim with some wild spotted dolphin for the weekend! Does it get any better than this? I Don’t Think So!!!

Stay tuned, We’re going to have some Fun!!! See you soon,

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: June 6 - 19 Tags : , , , , , , , ,

Summer 2009: Week 2 Morning Session (Last week of double duty!)

Posted by 16 June, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! Finished up the second weekly Adventure session and finally getting a few free minutes to write about the wonderful week we had!!! Just don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to get everything I need to get done, done, when running double sessions per week. At this time I […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! Finished up the second weekly Adventure session and finally getting a few free minutes to write about the wonderful week we had!!! Just don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to get everything I need to get done, done, when running double sessions per week. At this time I don’t have any other afternoon sessions scheduled but may later . Will keep you up to date on that. Wish I had room for everyone who wanted to go!!! Will have to come up with something! Now on to the Second Weeks Adventure!!!

AM Group Picture

AM Group Picture

Left my dad’s dock early Tuesday morning and stopped to pick up AdventureZach, Matthew, Hanna and Max on the way to Phil Foster Park. They live just down the lake a bit and this made it easier for all to just grab them and then run for the rest. When we arrived at Phil Foster Park we were greeted by AdventureKatie, Lauren and Andrew from last year. Seems that everybody arrives early and with smiles for my camp and I just love it! We had perfect weather for this week too, calm winds, sunny skies and nice clear water along the beach! Doesn’t get any better than that! We spent the week boating and exploring, island hopping, going to the Big Sandbar, the Rock Garden, Munyon Island, Starfish Prairie, the Beach and of course Fishing!!!! And did we Ever Have FUN!!! And Lots of it!!!

We spent about an hour or so each morning going to the Rock Garden and just having a ball snorkeling along the rocks and finding hundreds of crabs of all kinds. From hermit crabs, arrow crabs, swimming crabs, rock crabs and stone crabs, etc. You name it, we probably found it! And as usual there were the hundreds of different species of reef fish to enjoy and admire along the way!!! Had a lovely stingray glide past us foraging for food and saw quite a few small barracudas and loads of Bermuda Chubs, Parrotfish and Doctorfish every where we looked. AdventureZach was able to catch a nice sharpnosed pufferfish which we nick-named “Puff Daddy” and as if just on cue, it puffed up perfectly. We absolutely loved that!!! Everybody had a chance to take an up close and personal look at “Puff Daddy” then we let him go happily on his way. Always love coming to this spot, never know what we might see.

AdventureZach with Puff Daddy

AdventureZach with "Puff Daddy"

We stopped by the Big sandbar every time it was out of water for a quick romp around and to check out the fighting conchs, starfish, box crabs and anything else we could find. One afternoon we found a nice big Horse Conch trying to chase down a fighting conch for a quick meal. I was going to say “easy” meal except that every time he got close to a fighting conch and was almost able to get his foot around to hold it, that fighting conch would literally start jumping away as fast as it could go! Was fascinating to watch this interaction between a large predatory mollusk trying to chase down a meal. Never saw it get one but was cool to see!!! Horse Conchs are the largest species of Mollusk found along the east coast of North America, can get up to 38 inches in length and eat other shells by wrapping their large “foot” around the other shell then literally “sucking” it out of its shell and swallowing it whole. First time I saw one here. Nice Find!!! Its always exciting when we find something new we haven’t seen before…

And of course, its had to match the fun and excitement of our FISHING DAY!!!. Always non-stop action from start to finish and everyone caught a mixed bag of snappers, tomtates, caesars grunts, sailor’s choice, margates, spot-tail pinfish, porkfish and even a Butter Hamlet. First time for one of those. We had a bet to see who could catch the most fish and AdventureAndrew took the win!  Nice Job!!! Most of the time the girls win this bet. The guys are busy talking and the girls are busy fishing!!!! And as usual, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” over and over and OVER!!! Good thing AdventureNicholas from last week came to give me a hand helping to bait lines, unhook fish and clean up, and even still, we were running deep in the hole behind this gang trying to keep up with all the fish they were catching too!!!

One morning we stopped by Starfish Prairie on the way to Little Munyon Island to check out some of the large starfish that are found here. Always love finding the large Cushion Sea Stars that inhabit this hard rock, sea urchin covered bottom. Have to be really careful when walking around here or you will find yourself with a nice short-spined sea urchin stuck to the bottom of your foot. Been there, done that on numerous occasions, hence those water shoes I always wear now a days…. Spent an hour or so seine netting the shallows behind Munyon Island and came up with some nice juvenile grunts, tomtates, permit and snappers. After this we took a romp around the island and then headed out towards the beach south of the Lake Worth jetty.

Horse Conchs and Starfish

Horse Conchs and Starfish

Every day we were lucky to get a chance to go out the Inlet and along the beach to do some snorkeling, beach combing and shell collecting, etc. The Ocean was flat calm all week and the water beautifully clear along the beach. We were so lucky! Wish it was always like this!!! Just love it!!! It was so much Fun being here!!!  We never wanted to head back in and call it a day!!! One day the group dug such a large hole by hand the whole gang could fit in it. Couldn’t imagine if they had shovels! Another day we were saddened to discover a large dead Green Sea Turtle washed up along the beach. It had been run over by a boat and you could see that the propeller gashes had penetrated deep into the carapace. It was a good lesson for us all to keep a sharp eye out for sea turtles resting on the surface while boating, and especially now during sea turtle nesting season when they are much more likely to be encountered. As we walked further down the beach, our spirits quickly lifted when we observed a large manatee swimming slowly in the shallows along the south jetty. We hurriedly donned our masks and got in. The manatee swam over as if to take a closer look and for a few seconds we stared eye to eye, each checking the other out. We watched as she slowly swam away into the distance…

Friendly manatee

Friendly manatee

It was just GREAT and a fitting way to end the weeks adventure!!! We had such a BLAST and not one of us wanted to call it a day!!! Such a great week with such a great group!!!  Just doesn’t get any better than this!!! And for me, I just couldn’t wait for the afternoon session to begin and to get back out, and… HAVE SOME FUN!!!

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: June 9 - June 12 Tags : , , ,

Summer 2009: Week 2 Afternoon Session

Posted by 16 June, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi All, I had no sooner finished up the first adventure session and readied the boat when I was joined by my second group of eager and excited Adventurers that in turn were ready for the Fun to begin!!! And so was I!!! AdventureSheri came along to help me with this weeks afternoon Adventure session, […]

Hi All,
I had no sooner finished up the first adventure session and readied the boat when I was joined by my second group of eager and excited Adventurers that in turn were ready for the Fun to begin!!! And so was I!!!
AdventureSheri came along to help me with this weeks afternoon Adventure session, and she and I were joined by AdventureJake and Mickey from last Spring and Summer, and four new Adventurers, Kelly, Victoria, Sienna and Adrianna This group was just as full of energy as the last, and great swimmers to too, another fabulous bunch!!! Love it like this! And nice to have AdventureSheri along to give me a hand, oversee the group and take pictures as well.  :-)

Afternoon group photo

Afternoon group photo

For the weeks afternoon session we followed much like the first group. We would visit the same places, just different times or on different days. Same loads of Fun, just a different group of Adventurers! The days adventure for the most part is determined by the tides. At high tide we go snorkeling, island hopping and beach combing and at low tide we go seine netting in the shallows and exploring at the Big Sandbar, etc. All subject to change at a whim of course… whatever the group or I may want to do. Sometimes we are having so much fun doing one thing that its hard to quit and go do another. Just doesn’t get any better than that!!! If there was something special that the first group found, I would take the second group back to take a look and share the same experience. Wanted everybody in the second group to share in the same excitement as the first Thing seem to work well this way…

We would make sure to visit the Rock Garden every day as well. See and share in the same things and try and improve on the first mornings encounters as well. As usual, we had a ball searching and finding all kinds of things. Never seems to be a boring second here. AdventureKelly and Victoria would be searching for one thing, Jake and Mickey looking for crabs and Sienna and Adrianna having fun just being together!!! It was always non stop Fun and we would share everything we found!!! Just Great!!!

We visited Starfish Prairie and later took an island hike around Munyon Island and did some seine netting as well. Took some nice photos of the groups in front of some weathered Australian pine tree stumps as a wonderful back drop. Discovered quite a large number of green legged sea grass hermits as well. Always nice… We would all take turns pulling in the nets and finding new things and revel in the excitement of new discoveries unfolding before our eyes. You never know when something new and as yet undiscovered by us might be found. Just love it like that!

I took them back to the Big Sandbar to check out the horse conch and the fighting conchs, and there it was still hot on the trail after another fighting conch. We watched as those would quickly jump out of the way too. I guess every now and then it finds a fighting conch unawares since we found a few empty shells that I did not notice earlier. I showed them the eyes of the horse conch up close and personal, took a few photos then let him go to continue the hunt.

AdventureVictoria and Kelly with Horse Conch

AdventureVictoria and Kelly with Horse Conch

Our fishing day was just as exciting with the same fast paced action, maybe even faster than the first groups. AdventureVictoria and Kelly were neck and neck till the very end, both catching almost 40 fish each, maybe even more!!! In the last few minutes, Victoria was able to take the lead and run away with the win, as she had back to back fish, one after another right up till the time we ran out of bait! One thing was certain, it was non stop action and I couldn’t keep an exact count of who caught how many, and what type, etc. AdventureJake and Mickey were having fun catching their fare share as was AdventureSienna and Adrianna as well. One thing was certain, We couldn’t keep bait on their hooks or take fish off their lines as quick as they could catch them either,. And Yes, I heard those now infamous words over and over and OVER too!!! “Mike, I Need More Bait!!!!!!!!!” Oh boy…..

We also had the opportunity to spend an hour or two at the beach every day and would find loads of shells and sea glass. We would have the best time snorkeling along the shallows and watching large schools of permit forage for sand fleas at the waters edge. AdventureAdrianna and Sienna would beg me to dig sand fleas for them every time we went and would keep jars of them for fun till it was time to go. Jake and Mickey would find shells, play in the shallows and search the sargassum weed for shrimp. filefish and crabs. It was a bonanza of treasures waiting to be discovered and we had the very best time finding new things. AdventureKelly and Victoria would collect shells and hang together like the very best friends they are. Always smiling and joking around. Just Great!!! We stopped by the dead green sea turtle too and had the same talks about being conscience of your surroundings and always doing your best to pay attention to what may be in your path. It was equally as sad to see the big turtle dead, but I think we all learned a good lesson that we would remember. I took a few photo opportunities. with the big turtle and then it was time for us to call it a day too.

Dead Green Sea Turtle Discovery

Dead Green Sea Turtle Discovery

All in all, it was a wonderful week for all of us!! An Adventure we soon wouldn’t forget, and of course it left me looking forward to this up coming week. A new Adventure to be shared with an exciting new group of Adventurers. Who knows what we may discover, but one things certain, We Are Going To Have Some FUN!!! Stay tuned for the next adventure and see what we find!!! In the next week or so, you can join me on facebook, and together…

Let’s Go Have Some FUN!!!!!
AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: June 9 - June 12 Tags : , , , ,

Summer 2009 Begins!!!

Posted by 7 June, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!! We just finished our first weekly Adventure and as usual we had a BLAST!!!!! We’ve been so busy adventuring this week I haven’t even had a chance, nor the energy to write about it! As some of you may know, I’ve had such a wonderful response to my camp that I […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!! We just finished our first weekly Adventure and as usual we had a BLAST!!!!! We’ve been so busy adventuring this week I haven’t even had a chance, nor the energy to write about it! As some of you may know, I’ve had such a wonderful response to my camp that I decided to do double sessions to try and get some more of you in, and even then I couldn’t accommodate all the requests I’ve had. Thanks to you all! For those of you who couldn’t get your child in, I’m sorry…. Would love to be able take everyone who wanted to go, just not able to. Please register early next year when I open up registration and get ALL the paper work to me IMMEDIATELY to hold your space when that time comes! I already know I won’t be able to take everyone for sure then! Now on to this past weeks ADVENTURE!!!

 Havin Fun!

When I arrived at the dock bright and early for the Tuesday morning session I could already tell we were going to have another great group! The kids were there, excited and raring to go, and with smiles from ear to ear. Just the way I love it!!! Soon afterwards, AdventureMatthew, Casey, Jaime, Miriam, Katie, Thomas, Nicholas and Neil boarded my Adventure boat, “DREAM CHASER” to begin the weeks adventure. And were they ever ready to go!!! We stowed the gear, off we went and the FUN began…

We spent the week boating and exploring, isaland hopping, going to the Big Sandbar, the Rock Garden, Munyon Island, Starfish Prairie, the Beach and of course Fishing!!!! And did we Ever Have FUN!!! From start to finish it was a blast and each session seemed to end way to soon!

On the Big Sandbar we found hundreds of Florida and West Indian fighting Conchs and loads of short-spined sea urchins in a variety of colors. We checked them all to see what new color combinations we could find. My favorite being the bright white with the deep purple short spines. Just beautiful!!! Along the way we discovered Mantis Shrimp burrows and watched as Tube Worms slowly filtered sand to digest the algae off each grain. We came upon the broken carapace of a very large Rooster Crab, in the family of box or shame-faced crabs known for holding their claws in front of their faces, that had been freshly eaten by a ray and found quite a few Baby’s Ear Mollusks burrowing in the sand. Always love finding those!

We found a variety of starfish every time we went, from Beaded Sea Stars, Cushion Sea Stars and the unusual Nine-Armed Starfish that’s mainly nocturnal. Always a treat!!! That gave me a great opportunity to take some cool photos of AdventureNeil and a few others with “Nine-Armed Starfish Head” a first for the trip!!! On one day we found a very rare and unusual fish resting in a shallow hole with only an inch or two of water remaining, maybe a hundred feet from the waters edge. I was excited to see it was a Flying Gurnard, distinguished by having fan like pectoral fins that often have brilliant iridescent blue lines and markings!!! It was a fabulous discovery!!! These fish have modified ventral fins that allow them to “walk” about and turn over rocks and shells while foraging. A very unusual fish and one that I rarely see. Boy were we Lucky!!! We released it unharmed into deeper water. I know it was glad about that. Every now and then when we would get cold swimming, we would come back to the Big Sandbar and sit in a deep hole filled with hot water that we nicknamed “The Hot Tub” to warm up. It was just great!!! Our very own hot tub…

At the Rock Garden we saw the usual…. Hundreds of fish in every size, shape and color imaginable! From small barracudas to snook, porkfish, parrotfish, sheepsheads, grunts, snappers, angelfish, damselfish, butterflyfish, blennies, etc. Every where you looked there was something else to be seen… We spent hours searching under the shallow rocks and found all types of hermit crabs, box crabs, rock crabs, porcelain crabs, swimming crabs, stone crabs, pistol shrimp, popping shrimp, blennies and more. A plethora of discoveries with every turn. Just love it that way!!!

This week we were lucky to have calm enough seas to run out the inlet and around the South Jetty to park right near the beach and do some beach combing for shells and worn sea glass. All of us came home with a few treasures of our own. We had hours of fun “hill jumping” and body surfing the small waves in crystal clear water. Never wanted to leave here, and in between body surfing and snorkeling, the group played a few games of “chicken” where Casey and Jaime would team up against Thomas and Nicholas and try and wrestle each other over into the water. It was fun for all!!

  Playing Chicken!

We spent one day going to Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting in the shallows and had a ball. We caught numerous mojarra, pinfish, juvenile grunts and snappers, pistol shrimp, popping shrimp, seagrass shrimp, smooth trunkfish and even a checkerboard pufferfish which delighted the group by puffing up with air for a quick photo op! On the way home that day we stopped by Starfish Prairie and hurriedly picked up a few large Cushion Starfish for another quick photo opportunity then released them unharmed exactly where we found them. They were everywhere to be found! Really nice to have nearby…

And of course, its had to match the fun and excitement of our FISHING DAY!!!. Always non-stop action from start to finish and everyone caught a mixed bag of snappers, tomtates, caesars grunts, sailor’s choice, margates, spot-tail pinfish, porkfish and AdventureNeil caught one scorpionfish which I was happy to get back in the water as quickly as possible. You definitely want to stay away from the venomous spines on those!!! I learned that the hard way many a year ago and don’t want to repeat that EVER again! OUCH!!! All in all, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” over and over and OVER!!! Good thing AdventureNicholas from last summer came to give me a hand helping to bait lines, unhook fish and clean up, and even still, we were running deep in the hole behind this gang trying to keep up with all the fish they were catching!!!

All in all, it was a fabulous first week!!! When it was time to head back, no-one was ready to call it a day!!! We were just too busy having fun!!! And Just the way I love it!!! And lucky for me, I got to do it all over again with the second group of Adventurers for the afternoon session!!! Doesn’t get any better than that!!! Wish you could have joined us!!!! We had a BLAST!!! I just couldn’t wait for the second adventure session to begin!!!

All you guys will be missed, and I can’t wait to see you again!, but it was time to…

Hill Jumpin at the Beach

Go Have Some More Fun!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: June 2 - June 5 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer 2009 Begins – The Afternoon Adventure!

Posted by 7 June, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi All, I had no sooner finished up the first adventure session and readied the boat when I was joined by my second group of eager and excited Adventurers that in turn were ready for the Fun to begin!!! And so was I!!! AdventureSheri came along to help me with this weeks afternoon Adventure and […]

Hi All,
I had no sooner finished up the first adventure session and readied the boat when I was joined by my second group of eager and excited Adventurers that in turn were ready for the Fun to begin!!! And so was I!!!
AdventureSheri came along to help me with this weeks afternoon Adventure and she and I were joined by AdventureAnnie and Jonah from last Summer and three new Adventurers, Michael, Brooke and Leah. This group was just as full of energy as the last, and great swimmers to too, another fabulous bunch!!! Love it like this!


Group Photo

 
For the weeks afternoon session we followed much like the first group, but in a different order. The days adventure for the most part is determined by the tides. At high tide we go snorkeling, island hopping and beach combing and at low tide we go seine netting in the shallows and exploring at the Big Sandbar, etc. All subject to change at a whim of course… whatever the group or I may want to do. Sometimes we are having so much fun doing one thing that its hard to quit and go do another. Just doesn’t get any better than that!!!
 
Everytime we visited the Big Sandbar we had as much fun as the first group. This was really a great week for low tide exploration since we had lower mean low tides than normal and we found so many different starfish, shells and sea urchins that we couldn’t keep count. Everybody had fun collecting their own and sharing their finds with the rest. And of course, I had to take a few photos of “starfish head” with this group too. Always put a smile on their faces and mine and that’s what counts! AdventureAnnie, Leah and Brooke would be busy finding starfish, conchs and sea urchins while AdventureJonah and Michael would be busy finding crabs, mantis shrimp, baby ear mollusks, sundial shells, bristleworms and netted olives, etc. I was careful to gently pick up a bristleworm and point out the mildly venomous spines and to make sure they knew not to play with them unless they wanted to learn a painful lesson of their own. They don’t call them fireworms for nothing. Yes, I learned that too? Over and over and over, still learning I guess?…


9 Armed Starfish!

 
 AdventureSheri would over see the gang, bring us drinks and snacks, entertain the kids, keep things running smoothly and occasionally find some cool treasures of her own to share with us. Very Nice to have her along!!!  :-)  We had such a great time!!! We would stop and jump into the “hot tub” every time we came just for the fun and to warm up of course. We even practiced to see who could hold their breathes the longest. It was close for all…and left us breathless…
 
We visited the beach and found some cool shells and treasures of our own, checked out some fresh turtle tracks leading up to their nests, found numerous ghost crabs that we couldn’t catch and did some body surfing too. Its nice when the water is crystal clear along the beach and we hoped we might see a few manatees like last year as an extra bonus. No luck, but maybe next week. I hope! We had as much fun here as the first group and none of us wanted to leave!
 
We spent one day at Little Munyon Island finding more large sea grass hermits than you could count and short-spined sea urchins in every color you could imagine by the thousands.  Almost every urchin was covered and camouflaged by little shells held tightly to them by their tiny little tube feet so they looked more like the bottom than urchins themselves. Neat to see them this way. We had a contest to see who could find the smallest one and for a while I had the winner. Later I was usurped by Michael who was later dethroned by Brooke and Leah who some how found one about a quarter inch in diameter. It was a really fun way to spend that afternoon. We even did a little seine netting and came up with a beautiful blue, scrawled cowfish, complete with two tiny “horns”. One over each eye. Everybody had a chance to hold the fish and check out its small mouth, rubbery lips and wiggly tail. They subsist mainly on a diet of small invertebrates and sponges. Very Cool!!! As usual, we stopped at Starfish Prairie along the way to check out the Cushion Sea Stars and found some really nice big red ones to everyone’s delight. Nice Finds…
 
Our fishing day was just as exciting with the same fast paced action, maybe even faster than the first groups. AdventureBrooke and Leah were neck and neck till the very end, both catching almost 40 fish each!!! AdventureJonah, Annie and Michael were following close behind! We had double, triple, qraduple and quintuple hook-ups all at once! Numerous times! Was too busy to take all the photos I wanted. Yes. I lost count of how many times I heard, “AdventureMike, I NEED MORE BAIT!!!”. Oh well…  AdventureJonah caught a big mutton snapper and Michael caught some nice sailors choice and a big black margate. Just another great day of fishing by a great group of “fishermen”! Right on!!!  You guys ROCK!!!


Quadruple Hookup!

 
On the last day we had to cut the adventure session a half hour short and head back to the dock because of a big rain storm to the north of us. Luckily the rain held off till after we arrived and we spent the last minutes glad we were inside out of the wind. We had so much fun this week! Non-stop from beginning to end! None of us wanted this session to end either! It was such a great week and a real adventure for all of us. One I won’t forget anytime soon!  And I’m sure neither will they… That’s what I love about running this camp!!! Sharing the things I love and appreciate with a great group of Adventurers, each one having as much FUN as I…. I can’t wait till next weeks double sessions begin too! Let the Adventure begin!
 
Will miss you all. It was a Blast!!! Hope to see you soon… :-) Until then…
 
Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!
 
AdventureMike
Categories : Summer 2009: June 2 - June 5 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,