Summer 2009: June 2 – June 5

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 : , , , , , , , , , , ,