Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!!
I’m finally getting a chance to write about last weeks adventure. We’ve been too busy having so much fun I don’t have any energy left once I get home to write a blog. Now That’s Having Fun!!! I think I have to admit, this group of Adventurers has finally worn me out!!! And for me, that’s saying something!!! Let me tell you, we had one big group, 10 kids in all, and one big pile of FUN!!! All week long!!! Day after day after day… FUN FUN FUN… I just can’t seem to catch up!!! Oh well, sometimes you just have to put your priorities in the order you like best, and for me, FUN and ADVENTURE is at the very top of the list!!! What else can I say? Sorry to make you wait… It’s been Crazy Fun!!!
We started out the first day heading over to the Rock Garden and doing a bit of snorkeling. The tide was coming in and the water was beautiful! As usual, there were thousands of tropical fish everywhere. We spent a good bit of time watching big snook and medium size barracudas chase menhaden for lunch, like right next to us. Talk about having fun, it started the very first minute, at least for us that is. We spent the first half hour chasing pufferfish and seaweed blennies over the shallow sandbar, and caught quite a few. And while we were in the midst of doing this and having all this FUN, low and behold we came upon one beautiful 9 armed starfish. And if by chance you are in the habit of regularly checking out and reading our blog, (you can subscribe your email address on to my site at www.adventuremike.com top right side of page), you know what kind of fun we had doing next!!! We had a chance to take some really cool starfish head and hairdo photos! I think AJ’s Cool Hairdo really ROCKS!!!
After we had fun doing this we went back to chasing fish and searching under rocks for some big swimming crabs, pistol shrimp and what ever else we could find. After about 2 minutes of doing this we had a swarm of dozens of wrasse and juvenile parrotfish following us around like hungry puppy dogs, just waiting to snag a quick meal of some tiny worm or crab the very second we lifted the rock. Sometimes you have to be lightning fast to catch something before they do. I think they might even be starting to recognise me the minute I get in the water! I get in, and here they come… While all this is going on, AdventureDylan finds a nice atlantic spotted yellowray buried in the sand. She calls us over and I gently scoop it in the net and carefully remove its venemous barb so we can check it out up close and very personal. (Don’t do this at home. A lifetime of doing this has got me stuck on more than one occasion. The Ol’ do as I say and not as I do kinda thing!!!) They begin to grow new barbs back the very first week, doesn’t take them long. This gave each of us the opportunity to hold this ray and of course, take some of those now infamous spotted yellowray hairdo photos. The kids love this and I have to say it does feel really cool when one of those rays sucks on to your head like its never going to come off! It can’t help but put one big smile on your face! Even if that smile looks nervously pained at the time! What do you say Colin? Were you having FUN or what?
From here we motored over to the north side of Peanut Island to search for some checkerboard pufferfish. They have a habit of swimming just a few inches off the beach searching for small crabs and shrimp. If your move slow and careful, you might be lucky enough to trap a few up against the bank before they notice and and get a chance to get one in a handnet. They may not look like they can move, but don’t be fooled. They can take off like they were shot out of a canon! It didn’t take us long before all of us, working together, had a few surrounded. Colin, Ethan and Everett came up with some nice ones and we all had fun checking them out and watching them fill themselves up with water to more than twice their size. Nice job guys!!!
Every day we would make a stop at the Rock Garden just to see what we could find and catch in our nets. No matter what we were doing, searching under rocks, finding big queen conchs over the sand, or just swimming thru all the tropical fish, we were having FUN!!!
We saw hundreds of snapper, grunts, parrotfish, seargent majors, sheeps head, pinfish, tomtates and angelfish, etc. every where we looked. You could just float along and watch as hundreds of juvenile spottail pinfish would eat plankton near the surface all within a few inches of your nose! I know Joshua and Christopher had Fun checking things out as they snorkeled by! We all did. It was a Blast!!!
Ever now and then when someone would turn over a rock, some huge swimming crab would take off looking for a new hole to hide in. More often than not, it would be right under someone’s foot and that sure got all of us moving. In every direction at once! Especially if two or three came out at the same time! Talk about having Fun! It was great to watch 10 pair of feet scattering this way and that! But eventualy we would all come back and search those big swimming crabs down. and give it our best shot at catching them! Christopher came up with one nice big one and held it up carefully for us to see. Way to Go Christopher!!!
From here we would usually stop by for a quick jaunt around the Big Sandbar to see what we could find laying exposed on the bar. We never know what we might find, but we are always hoping to come up with a few nice starfish, some colorful fighting conchs or maybe even a variety of box crabs, blue claw crabs, sand crabs, hermit crabs and occasionally even an arrowcrab or two. On this day, Dylan found a nice big 9 armed starfish and we all had a blast taking turns checking it out. It was bigger than average and every leg was in perfect condition. More often than not, the tips of most legs will be nibbled off by some seagull or crab but they grow back quickly. Nice Find Dylan!
Thursday was our fishing day and as always, was one non stop day of action. And let me tell you, that is just the way I love it!!! On most days you can’t even count to three once your bait hits the bottom, before you have something trying to yank the rod out of your hand! And matter of fact on this day, I had Fun swimming after a rod that did just that! Good thing I had a mask and a set of fins right nearby! That rod and reel, complete with fish on, was on its way to the far end of the reef. I know Max was happy when I returned with his fishing rod in hand! A few seconds after this, AdventureEverett gave out a big whoop and I turned and watched as his light tackle rod was bent double. A few moments later he was proudly holding up one Big cuban hogfish, complete with buck-teeth, and in sore need of braces! Nice Fish!
After an hour here of catching grunts, snappers, tomtates, sailors choice, spottail pinfish, cuban hogfish and a variety of others we took a quick ride to the sandbar to jump in and cool off. A half hour later we were anchored over one of my favorite lane snapper holes and dropping down again. It wasn’t long before everyone was having bites and catching some nice fish! We all lost a few big ones that broke off on the reef but Max and Everett came up with a nice pair of fish at the same time. Its hard to beat catching some nice big lane snappers and porgies one after another! Just ask AdventureMax and Everett. I know they were having FUN!!!
I”m not sure how many Lane Snappers we all caught, but for the next hour it was almost non stop! I think I could have used two or three of me to bait hooks and unhook fish! Good thing it wasn’t long before everyone was taking off their own fish and baiting their hooks. Nobody wanted to wait for me to catch up and I was moving fast as lightning!!! Now that FISHING!!! I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “I need more bait!” but its still ringing in my ears!!! AdventureJoshua caught quite a pile of nice big snappers and I know he was having FUN too!!!
Another day we went to the backside of Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting along the grass flats. This is another thing the kids absolutely love! Sometimes you find dwarf seahorses sometimes juvenile barracudas and sometimes a variety of burrfish and puffers. You never know what you might come up with and I think thats whats the most FUN! Everybody always wants to be the first to pull in the net and sometimes we have to resort to rock, paper and scissors to see who wins. Rock, paper, scissors rules when I have to make thes tough decisions between 10 kids looking at you and saying ME ME ME!!! Doesn’t really make a diference though since we all take turns doing everything and sharing everything we get.
On this day we had a blast catching a bunch of juvenile barracudas, mojarras, checkerboard pufferfish, grunts, snappers and a ton of needlefish! Most would jump over the net the minute you got close to the beach, which is always cool to see! Everytime we pulled in the net we would find something new! And no doubt, that keeps things exciting for the kids! The minute the net hit the beach, 20 hands were sorting Fish and clearing things out. If I wasn’t careful I’d get trampled as I stood in the way trying to take a picture! Now thats what I call having FUN!!!
After we were done this and put away the net, we swam down to Sea Urchin Shoals and spent the next hour finding hundreds of short-spined sea urchins in every size, shape and color combination you could find! Most would be covered with shells and algae, but every now and then you would find a few with sea-squirts on them and we’d have fun having a sea-squirt squirt gun fight. It didn’t take the kids long to gang up on me! When that was done with, we went back to collecting a variety of urchins and I know AdventureEthan had a blast picking them up by the handfuls! It was sure fun having them stick to your hands using their tiny tube feet like suction cups!
We decided to swim the rest of the way around the island and see what else we could find. At least that’s what I told them! I was hoping to tire them out with a good 1/4 mile swim but they kept up with no trouble. Matter of fact they tired me out, since everytime somebody found something new they would call me over to see what they had found! Between going back and forth, and left and right, I think I swam 4 miles instead! Maybe thats what they had in mind? Either way we had a blast! Along the way, AdventureJoseph found a nice horseshoe crab and held it up for us to check out. Cool find, Joe!
Along the west side of the island we found an area with some hard rock bottom and loads of sea grass growing everywhere. Juvenile stone crab were living in every hole and small blue crabs scurried about in the sea grass ahead of us. We found some nice big, living crown conchs grazing on the sea grass. Every empty shell we came upon had a hermit crab living in it. Every now and then someone would find a big one and we’d all check it out and see if someone else could find a bigger one than that. It was a fun contest and I’m not sure who won, but I know we were having a BLAST either way! Most of the hermit crabs we found were green legged hermits and I know AdventureEthan found a pile!!! We all did!!!
The last day we went back to the Rock Garden and snorkeled for hours. We did the usual, chase crabs, catch fish, go after puffers, look for big queen conchs, find jawfish, watch pearly razorfish dive into the sand, feed the sheeps head, parrotfish and wrasse an occasional crab and most of all, Have FUN from start to finish!!! Just the way I Love It!! And as we swam back and forth along the shallow rock bottom, guess what we were lucky enough to find? That’s right, (I’m giving you the benfit of the doubt), we found our ol’ friend the barbless yellowray from earlier in the week, and you know what happened next! Thats Right, We took some more pics with that barbless yellowray stuck on our heads and I know AdventureDylan loved that!!! A second later she stood up and showed us her new “yellowray sun visor” and I could tell, it “Fit Just Right”. Now how cool is that!
We decided to go out to the beach for one last quick swim. No sooner had we gotten in then AdventureJoseph found a nice big lady crab and gave us a yell! We swam over and all gave chase. A few minutes later we had caught it bare handed and brought it up on to the beach to get a closer look. I showed them the proper way to hold a big crab without getting pinched, and before you knew it, everybody was taking their turn. It was just a great way to end that day at the beach and we all loved it! Good thing none of us got pinched! That was one big crab! I know AdventureMax sure had FUN when it was his turn!!!
On the way back in we made one last quick stop at the Rock Garden. Nobody was ready to head back to the dock and call it a day. So, for the last few minutes, AdventureDylan entertained us with her own performance of underwater ballet. Before we knew it, our week had come to an end and we were running late. I just couldn’t believe how quickly this week flew by. I knew there wasn’t one of us who ready to go home yet!! These kids weren’t ready for Summer to be over and neither was I!!! They were just too busy having FUN!!! We all were!!! The kind of FUN from start to finish! The kind that sticks in your teeth and hard to blow thru your snorkle!!! That Non-Stop Crazy Adventure Fun!!! Wish you all could have joined us!!! It was just GREAT!!!
I can’t wait till next week to do it all over again!!! I just can’t wait!!! See you soon!!!
Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!