Archive for September, 2010

All The Way From Hungary to Peanut Island!!!

Posted by 14 September, 2010 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!! I’m finally getting a chance to write about last weeks Adventure. Thought I would never get a chance to get to it! All the kids in Palm Beach County have been back in school for the past 2 weeks, but our Summer Camps have still been going strong! Seems like our […]

Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!!

I’m finally getting a chance to write about last weeks Adventure. Thought I would never get a chance to get to it! All the kids in Palm Beach County have been back in school for the past 2 weeks, but our Summer Camps have still been going strong! Seems like our Summer would never come to an end. And I for one, wish it wasn’t!!! We’ve had so much FUN!!! I never want it to stop!!! This past week we had a small group of three brothers, AdventureAdam, Aron and Ariel, come all the way from Hungary to enjoy a week of Adventure!!! And a week of Adventure we had! They got a referral from another group of Hungarian Adventurers, David and Dina, who joined me back in 2008 and decided to come as well. I’m glad they did!!! We had a blast!!!

3 boys and a puffer

These boys loved to snorkle, and every single day we would stop by the Rock Garden and swim for hours. They loved looking at the thousands of tropical fish, swimming in the warm crystal clear water and just searching for anything they could find. Sometimes it was hard to get them out of the water to go do something else. One thing is certain, the water in Hungary is not like the water here! They said they never saw so many fish and had so much FUN being in the water. And no doubt, it is a lot warmer here than there!!! I could just tell by the way they were smiling, they appreciated everything they saw!!! And so did I!!!

Brothers underwater

We spent a good bit of time checking under rocks and searching for some big swimming crabs they could catch in their nets. It seems that no matter where you are from, catching crabs is always a big hit!!! We couldn’t find or catch them fast enough!!! By the time we caught 10, they wanted to catch 10 more! Once they found and caught some really big ones, they wanted to find and catch even bigger ones! The more the merrier, the bigger the better! That sure sounded familiar!!! Just like the rest of us!!! I’ve heard it all Summer!!! I could tell AdventureAron never wanted to quit!!! He was having just too much FUN!!!

Aron with a swimming crab

AdventureAdam would spend most of his time trying to catch fish in his hand net. He would turn over a small rock and patiently wait for the fish to come check out what might be underneath. It wasn’t long before he came up with some nice seaweed blennies and a few small gobies. But it seems he had his mind set on catching some slippery and wary wrasse that were a lot more difficult to fool, much quicker at swimming and a lot harder to catch. After about 10 minutes he finally figured out the secret, and it was great to watch him having fun coming up with one or two in his net at a time!! Nice Job Adam!!!

Adam netting wrasse

Another day we motored down to Munyon Island to take an island hike and do a little exploring. They wanted to get out and walk around, look for some shells and see if anything may have washed up on the beach. Just about every single thing from sea shells to coconuts they thought was cool! Stuff like that never washes up in Hungary!!! They were excited about EVERYTHING and wanted to keep it ALL!!! And that’s just the way I love it!!! The minute we set foot on the beach they were off and running, finding hermit crabs and searching the rocks for any other “treasures” they could find! I could tell they were loving every minute of it! So was I!!!

Boys on the rocks

After we were done having fun doing this, we put on our snorkle gear and 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! We had a blast letting them stick onto our hands using their tiny tube feet. The ones we liked finding best were the big black and white, short spined ones that seemed to have twice the number of tube feet as the rest. Once they attached themselves to your hand they were almost hard to get off! The most common ones we found were the greenish white ones with pink and puple spines. It didn’t take AdventureAron long to pick up an armful of those!

Aron with sea urchins

The last hour of the day we walked and swam around Little Munyon Island looking for shells, some large cushion starfish and sea grass hermit crabs. AdventureAriel picked up some empty queen conch shells while Aron picked up some large oyster shells to bring home. We found a couple of cool land hermit crabs too. One had to be an escaped or released pet as it was living in an empty murex shell that is found only in the Pacific. A bit further down the beach we came upon some really nice big Australian pine tree stumps that were quite weathered and made for a good photo backdrop. We all had fun taking pictures here.

Adam, Aron and Ariel

Another day we stopped by the Big Sandbar to do some snorkeling around the edge. The tide was dead high so walking the bar was out of the question. We were hoping to find some 9 armed starfish and maybe a beaded starfish or two. Lucky for us, today was our lucky day!!! Not only did we find a beaded starfish, but we eventually found three 9 armed starfish as well!!! All within about a ten foot area. How great is that! The first two 9 armed starfish we found were quite large and the boys sure loved finding them,!!! I loved taking the pictures!!! I couldn’t believe we found a third one just a few feet away as we headed back to the boat. that’s about as good as it gets!!!

brothers with starfish

From here we decided to head over to Pufferfish Beach and try our luck at finding checkerboard pufferfish. We were in the water only a few seconds before we spotted the first two! They were coming down the beach one right after another and it wasn’t long before we had another one in the net! A few moments after that we had another, and before you could count to 300, we had a bucketful!!! The boys would take turns running them back up the beach to put in our bucket. I could tell the boys were really having FUN when the pufferfish inflated with air. I could hear them squealing with laughter the whole way back to the bucket like there was no tomorrow. I knew they never saw those before in Hungary!!! It was just GREAT!!!

puffers and shells

Between finding 9 armed starfish, catching a bucketful of puffers and collecting some fighting conchs along the way; I don’t think this group of adventurous brothers ever had so much FUN!!! They were going non-stop and laughing and smiling all the way!!! Just the way I love it!!! They begged me to bring the puffers and starfish back to show their parents so we placed them in a large plastic bin and filled it up with fresh sea water. We changed the water regularly, and after we showed them off, we let them go where we found them. It was just GREAT to see the kids so happy!!!

puffers, starfish and shells

Thursday was our fishing day, and as usual we caught fish almost non stop the whole time. We stopped at the artificial reef and dropped the anchor. I took a few seconds to show the boys how to bait the hooks and release the line down. Before you knew it, they all had a fish on at the very same time!!! It was just wonderful watching them catch fish one right after the other, and bigger than any of them had ever caught before!!! Every fish they caught, they thought was just huge! It was just GREAT!!! I guess the fishing in Hungary was not quite as fast paced and exciting as it was on this day! Lucky for me!!!

trio of grunts

For over 3 hours, Adam, Aron and Ariel caught fish!!! I didn’t think they were ever going to quit. We caught all kinds of fish from lane snappers to grunts, sailors choice, spot-tail pinfish, and more. It sure was a blast watching them get excited everytime one of them brought in another species they had never seen before. AdventureAdam and Aron would help take off Ariel’s fish just about every time he brought one in. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get him to hold one in his hand for a picture. Maybe next year! I think his favorite fish he caught was a seargent major, not anywhere near his biggest, but certainly the most colorful one he caught. I could tell he thought it was cool!!! Way to go!

Ariel and sergeant major

AdventureAron caught some really nice big lane snappers and a few Ceasars grunts and tons of tomtates! AdventureAdam caught most of the same, and non stop too! I think his favorite fish was a nice big porkfish that was also about as equally colorful as the seargent major that Ariel caught, but a good bit bigger. I could tell they weren’t used to seeing or catching so many different species of fish, and especially ones so colorful. They wanted to keep everything in a bucket to bring back to show mom but we decided to let them all go where we caught them. Either way, they had Fun and that’s what counts. Nice big porkfish Adam! You don’t catch them too often!

Adam with porkfish

On the morning of the last day we stopped by the Big Sandbar to do some snorkeling. The tide was way high and the sandbar was totally submerged. We had fun swimming around the whole bar collecting West Indian and Florida fighting conchs, looking at tons of mantis shrimp, watching small barracudas chase menhaden and even finding a few beaded starfish to check out. It was a great way to start the day! AdventureAdam took a moment to hold up his “treasures’ for a quick photo op then we released them and motored over to the Rock Garden.

Three brothers collecting

We spent about an hour at the Rock Garden checking out all the fish and looking for some big queen conchs along the edge of the rocks. It wasn’t long before Adam, Aron and Ariel found a few nice ones that had bright pink interiors. I know they wanted to find an empty shell to bring home but everyone of the mollusks was living and I was happy for that. They are not found in too many places around here any more and I’m glad to see them doing so well. On the way back to the boat we found a nice big Cushion Starfish to check out, and I know they loved that as well!!! Nice find!

starfish and conchs

We spent another hour over at Pufferfish Beach looking for puffers. It didn’t take us long to find some, and we spent a good bit of that time chasing and catching checkerboard puffers like there was no tomorrow. Today was the last day of official “Summer Camp” and we were making the very best of the time we had left! I could tell these boys weren’t ready for the week to come to an end!!! And neither was I!!! We were just too busy having FUN and chasing and catchings those pufferfish in our net sure was a BLAST!!!

boys and four puffers

The last half hour of the day the boys wanted to spend back at the beach along the ocean looking for some shells to bring home as souvenirs. The Ocean was flat calm and shells were everywhere to be found! We collected a bunch along with some nice peices of smooth sea glass, then spent the last few minutes enjoying the warm crystal clear water before having to load up and head back. There was no doubt in my mind these 3 boys, all the way from Hungary, were just not ready to head back home!!! They didn’t want this last day at the beach to come to an end!!! And neither did I!!!

Boys on the beach

On the way back in, I couldn’t help but think just how fast this Summer seemed to fly by! It seemed like it was just yesterday that the Summer started and AdventureMike’s was in full swing! I couldn’t believe it was over. We had so much FUN!!! We found so many cool things to share and talk about! We caught so many fish! We had such a great time! We smiled and laughed like crazy! We had a BLAST from start to finish!!! We had one heck of an Adventure!!! All summer long!!! I just can’t wait to do it all over again!!! Good thing I have a bunch of custom session birthday parties coming up! don’t forget to schedule yours! They’re going to be GREAT!!! Christmas and Holiday break camps and Spring Camps seem so far away right now!!! But I know they too will fill up quickly! And I’m ready to go have FUN!!! How about you? See you soon…

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2010: August 31 - September 3 Tags : , , , , , , ,

A Peanut Island Pufferfish Adventure!!!

Posted by 1 September, 2010 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!! We’ve just finished up another wonderful FUN filled week of Adventure and fun in the sun! It just doesn’t get any better than this! This week I was again blessed with another Great group, another Great week of weather and another Great week of discovery and Adventure!!! And as usual, we […]

Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!!

We’ve just finished up another wonderful FUN filled week of Adventure and fun in the sun! It just doesn’t get any better than this! This week I was again blessed with another Great group, another Great week of weather and another Great week of discovery and Adventure!!! And as usual, we had FUN from the very start to the very end of the week! FUN FUN FUN like there was no tomorrow! Just the way I love it!!! And I know I’ve said that before! On weeks like this I just wish everyone could join us! We had a blast!!!

Boating fun at the beach

We started out the week going to the Rock Garden and snorkeling for hours. The water was warm and crystal clear and all kinds of fish were everywhere. It didn’t take us long to find and catch some really cool porcelain crabs, a pile of rock crabs, some tiny mantis shrimp and some small sea-weed blennies. We swam into the shallows to look for some pufferfish, and low and behold, they were everywhere to be seen! We would herd them into the shallows right up next to the beach and all take turns catching them in our nets. AdventureDavina was the very first one to catch one on her own! As soon as she took it out of the net to show me, it puffed up right on cue. Nice job Davina! You ROCK!

Pufferfish fun

A half hour later everyone had had a chance to catch some puffers on their own! Most of the ones we caught were checkerboard pufferfish but every now and then someone would come up with a sharp-nosed puffer or two. After tiring of catching pufferfish, AdventureAlex moved back over the shallow rocks and began to search for some big swimming crabs. After turning over a few small rocks he found a big one that was worthy of his attention. I watched him chase it from rock to rock. It was a touch and go battle for a while as that crab scurried back and forth, but eventually Alex was able to get it in his net. When he reached in and held that big crab up for me to see, I thought it was just Great!!!

Alex's Big Swimming Crab

From here we motored the boat a short distance around to the north side of Peanut Island and dropped anchor. As soon as we got in the water I could hear the kids yelling pufferfish, pufferfish and sure enough they were swimming everywhere by the droves. It didn’t take long for us to fill another bucket. We had it down now to a fine science! Perfected by constant practice! We’d all work together herding those puffers into the shallows and surround them with our hand nets. Before you knew it they were swimming right in to one of our nets! Just like they belonged there. We sure loved that!!! AdventureBeau and Max sure had a blast holding them up by the handfuls!

kissing pufferfish

Another morning we stopped back by the Rock Garden, caught a bunch more swimming crabs and coral crabs and found some really big queen conchs. We watched as snook and small barracudas chased menhaden for lunch and parrotfish and sheepshead ate crabs. Snappers, grunts, seargeant majors, porkfish and angelfish were everywhere to be seen! It was like our very own swimming pool full of tropical fish, and we had it all to ourselves! How cool is that? We swam over to a small boat that had sunk during the hurricanes a few years back. We looked under the hull and found some some nice, long-legged spider crabs that look and jumped about more like spiders than crabs. We picked up a few and checked them out then afterwards, let them go where we had found them. I know Dahlia had FUN playing around with these! We all did! It was just great!

Dahlia and an arrow crab)

Later on that afternoon we went back to the north side of Peanut Island, and sure enough those checkerboard pufferfish were just waiting for us to give chase! They were swimming right down the beach in long lines just tempting us to try and catch them. And catch them we did!!! By the dozens!!! If you ever wanted a pufferfish adventure, then today was your day! I’ve never seen so many puffers all in one place. There seemed to be having a parade, a parade of puffers that is! And we all were loving that!!! I know AdventureParker had a blast trying to hold four slippery and slimy pufferfish all at once!!! Good Job!

four pufferfish

And of course, Thursday was our fishing day and as usual we caught fish almost non stop! The most common thing I heard all day was, “AdventureMike I need more BAIT!!!” And let me tell you I heard that before!!! We spent a little bit of time fishing the artificial reef and caught porkfish, grunts, tomtates, porgies, parrotfish and more. AdventureParker was bringing in a nice flounder when all of a sudden he felt a big yank on the line and reeled in only the head! So much for that flounder! I decided to run down to my snapper hole and before long everyone was catching some nice BIG snappers! And I mean one right after another!!! Over and over and over!!! It was awesome!!! I know AdventureJoseph sure had FUN reeling in this nice big lane snapper! Nice Job Buddy!!! You did GREAT!

Josephs Big Bad Lane Snapper

On Another day, we spent the morning seine netting in the shallows and grass flats around Little Munyon Island. The kids always love this and you never know what you might come up with! Some days we find so many cool things, from juvenile barracudas to dwarf sea horses to sharp nosed pufferfish. You name it and I think we might be able to find it! On this day the tide was fairly high and we had trouble seining in the areas we wanted. It was just too deep with no real beach to pull on to. We tried a few different areas but just couldn’t find a spot shallow enough to give it a real try. But we still had Fun all the same!

Julia, Max and Parker seining

We decided to move a bit further towards the north end of the island and give it another shot. After a couple more pulls of the net we came up with some cool juvenile barracudas, a bunch of mojarras and pinfish, striped grunts, ceasars grunts, grass shrimp, pink shrimp and some cool filefish. The neat thing about filefish is if you rub your fingers from head to tail, they are smooth to the touch. If you rub your fingers from tail to head they are rough like sandpaper. Years back, they were once dried out and used for sanding or used as a surface to strike matches on. There rough skin feels almost exactly like that of a shark, full of tiny denticles instead of scales. I know AdventureJulia had Fun checking them out!

Julia with a filefish

The latter part of the afternoon we spent swimming around Sea Urchin Shoals looking for the largest and smallest sea urchins we could find. Some of our favorites were the big black ones with short white spines or the bright pink or dark purple ones that were more difficult to find. The big black sea urchins would stick to your hands using their tiny tube feet. When you would turn your hand upside down, they would hold on like they were glued in place. The most common ones we found were white with greenish pink spines and you could pick them up by the armfuls! You can tell AdventureMax had a ball collecting his big bonanza of sea urchins!

Big bonanza of sea urchins

The most special day of all occurred when we decided to spend the day out by the beach. The ocean was flat calm and the water was warm and crystal clear. After snorkeling for a bit, the girls decided to have FUN racing “slow-mo” style up and down the beach. The object of the game was to look like you were running as fast as you could, but in reality, be barely moving. It was fun trying to take pictures of them moving so slow and at the same time, trying to make it look like they were moving fast. After that we all had fun racing up and down the beach to see who could run the fastest. I can tell you, it wasn’t me that won!

slow motion race

As we moved further down the beach taking pictures, I looked down in the seaweed and saw three dead sea turtle hatchlings stuck in the weeds. They seemed to have gotten stuck in a deep hole they couldn’t get out of and dried out or got over heated as the sun came up. As we sat and looked at them feeling a bit saddened, we saw movement in the seaweed and discovered there were 5 more turtle hatchlings stuck with the rest, but still alive underneath. It seemed the seaweed had kept them sheltered from the sun just long and lucky enough for us to find them. We gently picked them up and moved them to deeper water where they could swim away on their own. As we let them go and watched them swim away, we felt lucky to have had such a wonderful opportunity and encounter to lend them our help.

Saving sea turtles

As we raced back to the boat, we had one last chance to take a refreshing splash and AdventureJoseph took the win for the day! Way to go Joe!!! You can run like the wind!

refreshing splash

All in all we had a fabulous week!!! The kids were just GREAT and we had FUN from start to finish!!! The days just flew by, and thats a sure sign of having FUN!!! What a way to end the week, with smiles from ear to ear!!! We had sea turtle encounters, a pufferfish adventure and a BLAST the whole week long!!! Now it just doesn’t get any better than that!!! AdventureJulia seemed to sum things up best when she said, “I’d give up all my other camps just to come to this one”. I couldn’t have said it better myself, and it left me thinking just one thing!!! I just can’t wait till next week to go do it all over again! We’re going to have FUN, its going to be GREAT!!! Wish you could join us and be a part of the Adventure!!! See you soon…

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2010: July 13-16 Tags : , , , ,