Living Fossils in Palm Beach!

Tomorrow we’re going to go to my secret spot and look for some real fossils. Hopefully we’ll discover some sharks teeth, parrotfish mouth plates, or worm tubes.

Today we had an encounter with a real living fossil, the horseshoe crab.

Living Fossils!

Some interesting fun facts …

  • They used to swim side-by-side with Trilobites a long, l-o-o-o-ng time before you were born
  • They live 20-30 years
  • They can regrow their limbs like starfish

Class dismissed! Let’s go have some fun …

A Fun Day in The Rock Garden

I just got back in from the first day of a new adventure session and let me tell you we had fun today! It was a smaller group than normal as a couple of the kids from one family scheduled to go were sick today and unable to make it.

Now on to the fun…

We had not been on the boat more than 5 minutes before one of my favorite adventurers, “Adventure Lisa” spotted a young Bottlenose Dolphin swimming and playing near little Munyon Island. We slowly motored over for a closer look and soon “Adventure Jonah” and “Adventure Annie” were pointing with excitement too. As we watched the dolphin in the shallow waters, Jonah and Annie spotted some very large Ocean Starfish, two Horseshoe Crabs and hundreds of Short Spined Sea Urchins on the bottom feeding on the algae.

Spiny Finds!

They wanted a closer look so I jumped in and collected a few to show them and held up the Horseshoe Crab so they could see and they screamed with glee. We then carefully placed them in their homes and headed off to do some snorkeling in the shallow waters. On the way there Jonah spotted a very large ray foraging for food in the shallows and we turned around for a closer look and we watched as it disappeared in the distance.

When we arrived at “the rock garden” everyone was in a hurry to get in and the water was crystal clear. Adventure Jonah was in first and looked like a natural born snorkeler. Adventure Annie was quick to follow with Adventure Lisa in hot pursuit.

Over Here! Over Here!

Jonah was quick to point out a small barracuda and a beautiful yellow Spotted Ray on the bottom which we tried to get some photos of, along with some of the large schools of Menhaden, Parrotfish, Porkfish, Grunts, Snapper, Seargent Majors and Spot Tail Pinfish, etc…

In no time at all Annie found some small Queen Conchs with beautiful pink interiors and lovely blue eyes which she just had to pick up and look at before letting go.

Nice Find!

Lisa showed us how to find hermit crabs by the hundreds. It was almost impossible to get the kids to go back to the boat for lunch and drinks and to reapply sunscreen. I haven’t seen such enthusiasm in a “long time” or at least not since last week when we had a different group doing the same thing.

I can’t tell you how fulfilling it is to watch the kids discover things for the first time and with that gleam in their eye and excitement in their voice, yell to me, “Adventure Mike, Adventure Mike over here, over here, I found something!” and off we go searching for “treasures”. From here we went to the sandbar, found more Starfish, Florida and West Indian Fighting Conchs, explored the tunnels left behind by Mantis Shrimp and Tube Worms and had fun chasing Seagulls.

Sea Money!

AdventureAnnie found a beautiful Milk Conch with a little pilot fish swimming around which she tried to catch bare handed, and in the process came up with a nice living Sandollar. She said she had found some “sea money” and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as we let it go. By now it was time to head back and Adventure Jonah and Adventure Annie drove us slowly home while Adventure Lisa made us snacks.

Adventure Jonah at the Helm

It was a beautiful way to end the first day of our second week! Not bad for a four hour trip! Can’t wait till the island adventure trek, fishing and exploring tomorrow. Lets go have some fun! Yippee!!!!

Our First Adventure

This past weekend we had a wonderful time on a one day custom session with a great group of kids. At 9:15 a.m., Hannah, Madison, Jack, Jake and Noelle boarded the Dreamchaser, my 26 foot island runner, and off to Peanut Island we went to begin the day snorkeling.

Ready to Go

On the way there we spotted a large eagle ray foraging and were able to approach within a few feet.

Wow! Eagle Ray to Port!

While snorkeling in the shallows, we saw porkfish, bermuda chub, parrotfish, grunts, sergeant majors and spottail pinfish along with numerous hermit crabs feeding on algae growing on the rocks. Madison was so excited to see 2 very large Giant Hermit crabs fighting over each others Queen Conch shells that she took almost her whole roll of film in just a few seconds.

Bocce!

After Bocce and Snacks we went to the sandbar where everyone was excited to find dozens of fighting conchs, hermit crabs and giant mantis shrimp and southern lugworm tunnels. It was fun to watch Hannah, Jack and Noelle try furiously to dig one up to no avail. Everyone had a blast playing in the shallows, looking for starfish, and chasing seagulls.

Chasing Seagulls

From here we headed to Munyon Island to explore the mangrove estuaries, see what we could find, and take a short nature walk. Collecting Nicker Beans, sometimes called lucky beans, from their thorny pods and finding a few Spotted Sea Hares along the beach were the highlights here. We stopped and pulled one of our crab traps along the way but no luck.

Sea Hare

By now it was time to call it a day and head back to Phil Foster Park. On the way back, “Eagle Eye” Jake spotted a bottlenose dolphin and we stopped to watch hoping for an up close encounter. It was a perfect way to end the day and left everyone looking forward to their next adventure. We’ll be heading out again soon so make sure to check back for highlights of the next trip! And remember, it’s time to get outdoors and have some fun, come join the adventure! 🙂

First Post on the New Site!

Welcome All! My new website is up and running and I just can’t tell you how excited I am to begin the 2008 summer camp session! I’ve scouted out some new and exciting adventure sites that I am thrilled to add to this years itinerary. Also, we’ve added a new “blogging feature” to the site that allows me to keep you up to date on our weekly adventures. Check back soon for updates and photos of the latest trips!