Week 4

From Hungary to Palm Beach

Posted by 21 June, 2008 (1) Comment

Welcome back all, We just finished up another great week full of adventure and thrills and at the same time were lucky enough to miss all the rain that seemed to fall everywhere but on us. Most of the showers came thru around 3pm, long after we were off the water. We could not have […]

Welcome back all,

We just finished up another great week full of adventure and thrills and at the same time were lucky enough to miss all the rain that seemed to fall everywhere but on us. Most of the showers came thru around 3pm, long after we were off the water. We could not have timed things better, thank you…

Group Photo

We started off yesterdays adventure session with a little bit of trolling down the inter-coastal waterway south along the Palm Beach Island side. I hoped to hook some large jack crevalles or barracudas on light tackle just to give Adventurers Jonah, Annie, Jake and Javier a real tussle trying to bring them in. No luck, but we trolled down to an old tugboat that looked like it had been out of service for the last 50 years or more just to check it out and give Jonah an up close view. We all found it fascinating and pondered its history and years of service.

From here, everyone wanted to go back to the Rock Garden to go snorkeling, search for hermit crabs and try and catch pufferfish and lizardfish. Adventure Annie spent her time trying to catch pufferfish barehanded. Her technique was so good that I can guarantee one day she will get one! We made a bet to see who could find the smallest shell with a hermit crab in it, and for a long while I was in the lead. Just when I thought I was going to win, Javier came up with one that I knew was going to be tough to beat, so back to work, Adventure Jake, Jonah and I went looking. We all wanted to win and I was going to give it my best. I planned on winning just to set an example that you could do anything with persistence and determination. There was just one thing I neglected to think about or seemed to overlook. And that one thing was the fact that “eagle eye” Jake could see a hermit crab about half the size of a head of a pin and not just see it, but pick it up and sure enough he won! I had to take it back to the boat and look at it with my glasses on just to see if it was a shell, and sure enough while I was looking at it, out came the tiniest blue legs I have ever seen. I had to declare him the winner. The only way I’ll ever beat that is to go have some prescription lenses put in my mask and then use a magnifying glass on top of that. Its funny how age has a way of catching up with you and evening the odds. I thought I had the better skill and experience, he just had the better eye sight. Oh well… and of course maybe skill too.

From here we took a quick trip around the island, stopped on the west side to play a little bocce ball, do a bit of snorkeling and fishing then had to hurry to get back to the dock on time. We all had a great day!

Today was a little bit different than the normal routine. A week or two ago I was contacted by a very nice lady, Elizabeth, calling from Hungary in Europe. She had google searched “summer camps” and found my website. After reading about it, she thought it might be fascinating for her children to attend so she decided to call me. After speaking for a while, she told me she was going to come to Delray Beach, FL with her two children and would like to meet me and that she would arrive on Tuesday. I told her Friday morning, (today) would be the best opportunity for us to meet, and speak with some parents and kids who are attending AdventureMike’s and get a real feel of what it is all about. Its not your “normal” summer camp experience. I love what I do too much!

Fishing Buddies

As Adventure Jonah, Annie, Javier and Jake were boarding the boat she arrived with her son David and daughter Dina. While we were speaking, Adventure Annie and Dina became instant friends and Annie did not want me to leave without taking Dina along. She asked me, (more like insisted), if Dina could go. I looked at her mom and she looked back at me and shrugged, and I said, “Lets go have some fun!” and we were joined by Adventure David and Adventure Dina and off we went. I had planned on spending the morning fishing, and then snorkeling the last half of the day and we stuck to the plan.

I dropped anchor by the artificial reef 400 yards away and baited the hooks. I watched as four lines dropped down, hit bottom and instantaneously hooked up in unison. The adventurers began to scream with joy. It was nonstop action for three hours. They all took turns reeling fish in, while I baited the hooks, unhooked the fish and de-tangled some lines. I cannot describe how fabulous it was to watch the 6 kids working together, sharing rods, helping each other reel the fish in, letting go the fish and smiling from ear to ear, and doing it all on their own. I think the real highlight came when a very large barracuda took up residence under the boat and left his mark on one nice yellowtail snapper that Adventure Jake was reeling in. The kids got to see first hand just how “toothy” a big barracuda is. The excitement in their voices reached a crescendo when I threw the head back in and the water exploded right next to the boat as two large barracudas fought for the spoils. I think every one in the boat had to catch at least 10 to 15 grunts, yellowtail snapper, lane snapper, cottonwicks, or porgies each. I know we boated over a hundred fish total and only 2 break offs. Not bad for 3 hours of fishing! I know the kids will never forget that, especially Adventure Dina and David! Their non stop smiles from ear to ear summed up the day! I don’t think they catch fish like this in Hungary!!!

When the bait came to an end we headed back to the Rock Garden to snorkel. I wanted Adventure David and Dina to see just how beautiful is. They are considering coming next week and I wanted them to have an idea of what they would encounter. Adventurers Jonah, Jake, Javier and Annie showed them around and brought them to the best spots. The boys hung together chasing fish and catching crabs with nets, while Adventure Annie and Dina were inseparable and collected shells. It was fantastic to watch and be a part of! As usual, the time seemed to fly by way too quickly and none of us were ready to head back when it was time to go. I’m going to miss this bunch too…

I just can’t tell you how personally rewarding it is for me to look into the eyes of the adventures, see their smiles and hear their laughter and know, you have left them with some truly wonderful and special memories they may never forget. For me, it is times like these that make me feel life has come full circle. To have the opportunity to share with others the things I love, the things my parents so freely shared with me, the things I will never forget, always cherish, and forever be thankful for is truly a blessing!!!! Thank you…!!!!

I can’t wait till the next adventure to begin!!! Come join us. I don’t have many more spots left. Lets go have some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

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A Manatee Encounter and More

Posted by 18 June, 2008 (0) Comment

Hi everyone, I just got back in from the second day of another new and wonderful adventure, and let me tell you it was another great start! We started the week off with a few repeat adventurers; Adventure Jonah, Adventure Annie and Adventure Jake, and one new adventurer, Adventure Javier. Adventure Jake’s dad, Adventure Paul […]

Hi everyone,

I just got back in from the second day of another new and wonderful adventure, and let me tell you it was another great start! We started the week off with a few repeat adventurers; Adventure Jonah, Adventure Annie and Adventure Jake, and one new adventurer, Adventure Javier. Adventure Jake’s dad, Adventure Paul decided to join us as well for some much needed rest and relaxation but I’m not sure if he got any, looked like he was too busy having fun to me!

Group Photo

On Monday we started off the adventure session with a trip to the Rock Garden. The water conditions were unbeatable. Crystal clear, calm ,warm, fish in every direction and best of all, no-one else around! Just the way I love it. Our very own piece of paradise! Sometimes its just hard to leave this spot! We began by doing a little bit of collecting and identification, found 6 different species of hermit crabs alone. The most common ones being the Giant Hermit, Stareye Hermit, Red Reef Hermit and the Red-Stripe Hermit. There were hundreds with beautiful blue legs and some with long green slender legs, but at this time I am not sure what species they are. I will have to find out. We collected 3 different species of Blennies, the Hairy Blenny, Seaweed Blenny and the Molly Miller. I saw a few others but couldn’t catch them bare-handed. We saw numerous species of tropical fish, angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, snook, jacks, lizard fish, porkfish, seargent majors, wrasse, sheephead, snapper, grunts, and large schools of menhayden, etc. A virtual bonanza of fish in every direction, the usual here. We didn’t get out of the water for 3 straight hours. Like I said, sometimes its just hard to leave…

With one hour left we headed over to the sandbar to play in the shallows. We looked for conch and mantis shrimp and found juvenile blue crabs galore. We talked about the differences between Florida fighting conchs and West Indian fighting conchs and even found a few hawk-wing conchs as well, not too common around here anymore. It was a nice find! We spent the rest of the time looking for pelagic tunicates, a translucent type of free swimming ascidian that looks similiar to a jellyfish, but without the stinging tentacles, and came up with a few. They are almost transparent in the water and difficult to see. From here I headed back with the sounds of, ” Do we have to go back already?” echoing from all sides. The usual…

Today we loaded up and again headed back to the Rock Garden. The conditions were just as perfect as yesterday, and everyone raring to go. Same beautiful scene, different day!!! In seconds, Adventurers Annie, Jonah, Jake and Javier were in the water and telling me and Adventure Paul to “hurry up” and “don’t take so long”. I thought I was quick to get in. About got trampled underneath by 8 tiny feet all in a hurry to be the first ones on the dive platform. Whew, that was a close call…

Once in we headed towards the shallow rocks. Everyone was pointing in different directions for me to look. “Adventure Mike over here, over here, a snook, a snook… No, no, over here ,over here, a barracuda, a barracuda… Look here, Over here, a parrotfish, a parrotfish… Adventure Mike, Adventure Mike…and on and on…” Shortly after this I put Adventure Paul to work giving me a hand, so much for his rest and relaxation.

A few moments after this I heard Adventure Jonah yell, “A manatee, a manatee” and I thought he might be mistaken.

Look!  A Manatee!

I turned around to take a look and sure enough, there was a young manatee swimming right beside us looking us right in the eye! He wasn’t 4 feet away! Could of smooched him on the nose if I wasn’t in a panic hurrying to turn on the camera to take a picture. At times like these no camera turns on quick enough. By the time I got ready he was passing us by and I hurriedly pointed and hit the shutter button once or twice.

A Friendly Manatee

I was so excited I don’t even remember looking in the view finder. I don’t think professional underwater photographers are supposed to make that mistake. Oh well…

After another hour or two swimming we headed back to the boat, had lunch, reapplied sunscreen and headed to Little Munyon Island to try some cast-netting. Everyone took turns, but Adventure Jake, under the fine tutelage of his dad, Adventure Paul, was already a pro! It didn’t take him long to fill a bucket with Killifish, sometimes called mud-minnows, mullet and moharras, also called sandperch. It was great fun! Adventure Jonah, Javier and Annie were quick to learn but by now we had spooked most of the fish so there wasn’t much around. Adventure Annie began playing in the shallows and she came up with a nice nine-armed starfish, Adventure Jake found a nice horseshoe crab molt and plenty of short spined urchins and Adventure Javier and Jonah continued practicing throwing the cast net until it was time to leave. I couldn’t believe it when I looked at my watch and it was already 1pm. We were almost running late, we had to hurry, it was time to go. And once again I thought, “Time does fly when you’re having Fun!!!

Can’t wait till tomorrow!!! Wonder what we’re going to see next? Stay tuned for the next adventure… Better yet, come join us!

Ciao,
Adventure Mike

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