COOL SEA CREATURE ENCOUNTERS!!! Morning session.

Posted by 27 June, 2012 (1) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We”ve just finished up another wonderful week of Fun and Adventure on the Lake Worth lagoon and what an AWESOME week we had. First, we were lucky enough not to get rained out by tropical storm Debbie, though we did have a couple of short term torrential downpours without lighting, that […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We”ve just finished up another wonderful week of Fun and Adventure on the Lake Worth lagoon and what an AWESOME week we had. First, we were lucky enough not to get rained out by tropical storm Debbie, though we did have a couple of short term torrential downpours without lighting, that gave a chance to hide out under the bow canopy on the boat while it rained catfish and dogsnappers! We all thought that was rather cool, and once the rained cleared, we were having FUN like there was no tomorrow! We snorkeled Peanut Island, the Rock Garden, the Big Sandbar and Blue Crab Beach for hours on end. We trolled plugs along the drop offs and caught big barracudas until the hooks broke off our lures and there wasn’t any paint left on them! We were catching barracudas by the boatloads and all of us taking turns reeling them in. It was just GREAT! What FUN days of fishing we had!!! We caught them all!!!

Group with barracudas.

Everytime we went by the Big Sandbar, we stopped to take a quick snorkel and found beaded starfish, cushion starfish and 9 armed starfish by the handfuls. The fighting conchs were in by the hundreds, most laying eggs, and it was a cool thing to watch as they laid their eggs in spaghetti like masses. It didn’t take us long to pick up a few for a quick photo op, then back to snorkeling, exploring and chasing crabs we went!

Group finding sea urchins.

Along the way, AJ came up with a big fighting conch that had a real attitude and everytime he held it up for us to see, that fighting conch would stick out its long foot and poke AJ in the hand to try and make him let it go! It was just great watching that happen over and over!!! Nice job not letting go AJ!!!

AJ with a cool fighting conch.

While AJ was messing with that fighting conch, Tripp was swimming around and coming up with a few fighting conchs of his own, plus one big giant 9 armed starfish that was truly a whopper!!! It was a nice find and we all loved it!!! Way to go Tripp!!!

Tripp with conchs and starfish.

Another day we were snorkeling around Peanut Island and came upon a really nice, BIG, short spined burrfish just swimming by!!! It didn’t seem to mind us picking it up or even try and get away. It just puffed itself up with water everytime we came near and became a big round ball of thorns and almost impossible to handle. It knew we weren’t going to eat it now! Talk about a cool defense mechanism! That fish was down right thorny, but Joseph didn’t seem to mind!!! We all took turns checking that awesome pufferfish out and were extra careful not to get our fingers anywhere near the mouth. Those fish can bite! Nice job Joseph!

Joseph with a porcupinefish.

Another day while trolling a plug along the edge of the Big Sandbar, another big barracuda decided to eat it for lunch! This time it was Owen’s turn to reel one in and we had a ball watching him reel that nice barracuda in while it jumped a dozen or more times out of the water. This week there seemed to be barracudas in by the hundreds and we kept a few to put in our crab traps, and gave a couple more away to some people who wanted them for for dinner. The action was almost non stop all week and we loved that too!!! Way to reel that fish in Owen!!!

Owen catches a nice barracuda.

Another morning we stopped by Blue Crab Beach and it wasn’t long before everyone was catching juvenile blue crabs and sand crabs by the netfuls! I’m not sure how many everyone caught, but about an hour later we had a bucketful of crabs that was about half full!! I know Julia was sure having FUN catching one crab right after another! When we let them go, it was awesome watching them scurry out of that bucket in every direction and dissappear into the sand, right under our feet!!! Julia you rock as a crab catcher!!!

Julia catches a juvenile blue crab.

Later in the week we went and checked one of the crab traps that we had baited with a piece of barracuda, and sure enough, it was filled with some big blue crabs that seemed to have some big attitudes to match! I carefully took a few out and showed everyone the safe and proper technique to holding big crabs with some serious attitudes, bare handed without getting pinched no less! Needless to say, Beau sure had FUN when it came his turn to pick up a few!!! Nice Job Beau!!!

Beau with some big blue crabs.

On Wednesday morning we stopped by the Big Sandbar on the way to the Rock Garden and found quite a pile of 9 armed starfish buried in the sand. They seemed to be crawling out and moving about just as we got there. We had a strong rain that morning and I wondered if all the fresh water was making them move into deeper water. They are always a great find and the group loves them! I know Ethan loved picking them up by the handfuls!!! We all did!!! Way to go Ethan!!!

Ethan finds 9 armed starfish.

Later that morning we snorkeled around Peanut Island and found fighting conchs, milk conchs and some really colorful hawkwing conchs. We collected a few to check out and watched as they “hopped” about on the bottom and headed off into deeper water. Jake found one that was extra colorful. It was an awesome find Jake!!!

conch

While we were finding hawkwing conchs and chasing sharp nosed pufferfish with our nets, Brett came up with another nice 9 armed starfish and put it on his head like a hat. It seemed to fit just perfectly and gave him a cool starfish hairdo!!! Way to rock that starfish hairdo Brett!!!

Brett with a cool starfish hairdo.

On the last morning on the way back to the dock, tropical storm Debbie decided to throw one more big rain cloud right on us. As we raced towards the dock the rain came down in buckets and stung our faces! When I looked over at Max, I saw that he had put his mask on and was wearing them like high speed racing goggles. It was awesome!!! He was loving every second of it and giving me the thumbs up!!! I could sure tell he was having Fun!!!Way to use your head Max!!! A few seconds later, we all were wearing them and smiling like there was no tomorrow!!! How cool is that!!!

Max with his racing goggles on.

Needless to say, we had a fabulous week!!! We had Fun!!! We had Adventure!!! We had some Cool Sea Creature Encounters!!! And we learned a pile of stuff along the way!!! It just doesn’t get any better than that!!! I just can’t wait to do it all over again!!!

To check out the rest of the photos from this weeks session, please click on “Check out our FLICKR photostream” found a little bit down on this home page on the right side and go to “June 19 -22, 2012 AM session”. ENJOY!!!
See You All Soon!!!

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

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Boating, Fishing and Snorkeling FUN!!!

Posted by 25 July, 2011 (0) Comment

Hi Everybody, Welcome Back!!! I just wanted to drop a quick post about the weeks Adventure. Let me tell you, it has been another great week full of fun and excitement, and non stop adventure! We’ve had FUN, FUN, FUN all the way from Here to There!!! The whole week thru!!! It just doesn’t get […]

Hi Everybody, Welcome Back!!!

I just wanted to drop a quick post about the weeks Adventure. Let me tell you, it has been another great week full of fun and excitement, and non stop adventure! We’ve had FUN, FUN, FUN all the way from Here to There!!! The whole week thru!!! It just doesn’t get any better than that!!! And I know, I’ve said that before!!! I started out this week with just another absolutely wonderful, great group of kids raring to go!!! They were ready to go have FUN, and so was I!!! And they stayed that way the whole week thru!!! Just the way I love it!

group photo

We quickly loaded up, and off to the Rock Garden we went. The tide was high and the water absolutely beautiful! What a great way to start the day!!! There were menhaden by the thousands and dozens of big snook and juvenile barracudas were trying to eat them for lunch, right up next to the beach! It was darn exciting watching those menhaden race past us with some big fish right after them! It didn’t take long for AdventureMatthew to join the race and try to catch a few in his net as well!!! Way to go Buddy!!! Keep Chasing!!!

Matthew chasing fish

While we swam around the Rock Garden enjoying ourselves and checking out the hundreds of species of fish, one big giant ray came gliding right up next to us that was truly awesome!!! It had to have about a 6 foot wingspan and as it glided past us, it looked like a 747 going down the reef! It was absolutely GREAT, and we all loved it!!! It was cool to see!!! We spent a good bit of time searching for and finding blue legged hermit crabs by the hundreds! Along the way, we found one big, beautiful, mature queen conch that was about as nice as you can find around here. It was a nice find and we all took turns taking our photos with it. AdventureTripp sure had fun when it was his turn!!!

Trip with queen conch

We spent a little bit of time swimming around the lagoon on Peanut Island, and saw a manatee go by, found a school of reef squid hovering in mid water that were really great to watch as they changed colors by contracting and expanding their chromatophores.We found dozens of large short spined and variegated sea urchins that were totally covered with shells and algae. We came upon a nice rock that had a half dozen big lobsters underneath waving their antennae’s at us as if to say hello! AdventureDylan and Beau caught dozens of rock crabs and swimming crabs, and had fun feeding a few to the friendly sheep head and parrotfish that were following us around.

crab catchers

On the way back to the boat we found some small sea cucumbers and big tunicates, and at least a half dozen Giant Hermit crabs that were just waiting to crawl right out of their shells and grab your fingers if you gave them half a chance!!! There was nothing shy about these guys!!! The very second you grabbed their shell, they would stretch way out and try and reach around and take hold of your finger! It was just GREAT and EXCITING too trying to hold those crabs with getting pinched! AdventureDylan sure payed close attention to this one when he held it up for a picture!!! Nice Job!!! Didn’t get pinched either!!! Way to go!!!

Dylan with hermit crab

Each time we went by the Big Sandbar we put out a line with a shiny “Gotcha” plug and trolled along the shallows. A few times during the week a big barracuda would grab it, and we would all take turns reeling it in. A few we kept for our crab trap, and others to use as bait for our set line hoping to catch a small shark or a big ray! We didn’t have any luck this week on the line, but we sure had fun on the way there to check it out just in case! Sometimes anticipation is everything!!! AdventureMatthew sure had FUN when it was his turn to reel in a nice big barracuda!!!

matthew and barracuda

Everyday at low tide we stopped by the Big Sandbar to explore and see what we could find. We found hundreds of West Indian and Florida fighting conchs laying eggs, dozens of Baby Ear mollusks and olive snails, quite a few juvenile box crabs and blue claw crabs and a few nice, big, short-spined sea urchins and beaded starfish. Along the way AdventureRachel and Davina found the smallest, most tiniest beaded starfish that I’ve seen all year! It was a really nice find and we all took turns taking pictures of that tiny starfish as well. AdventureDavina was sure full of smiles when it was her turn to check it out!!! Way to go girls!!!

Davina with smallest starfish

Everyday we would check out our crab trap to see if we caught anything and to add a bit more bait. Some days we would have nothing, and other days we would have only spider crabs. One day we had a trap full of some of the biggest, meanest blue crabs you ever saw!!! I’m talking CRABS WITH ATTITUDE!!! And thats just the way we love it!!! I gave the kids a talk on how to hold a “big mean blue crab full of attitude”without getting pinched, and showed them the proper technique that works everytime!!! I could tell they paid close attention too the way they tamed these big ol’ Crabs!!! Nice job!!! Nobody was “crabby” here!!!

3 blue crabs

We stopped by Little Munyon Island a couple of times this week to look for horseshoe crabs and 9 armed starfish and to do a little bit of searching and exploring along the shallows on the backside of the island. We found loads of green legged hermit crabs and a few juvenile starfish that had most of the tips of the arms nibbled off by crabs. Probably by those very same ‘big mean blue crabs with attitude”!!! Most of the tips had begun to regenerate and that was cool for the kids to see! We stopped by the south end of the island to take a couple of group photos along the edge of the rocks, where everyone had fun posing for pictures!!!

On the rocks

Another day we stopped by little Munyon Island to do some seine netting along the shallow sea grass beds, and talk about how many juvenile reef fish begin their life cycles in the grass flats before moving out onto the reefs as adults. We never know what we might pull up, and that always seems to add to the excitement for the group! On this day, the lake was flat calm, the tide way out, and conditions were perfect for seineing. Everyone was excited and ready to get started, and so was I!!!

seine netting

By the end of the day we had caught more than a dozen juvenile barracudas, hundreds of mojarras, grunts, pinfish, snappers and tomtates. A half dozen or so big pipefish that are related to sea horses, tons of sea grass filefish that have rough skin with tiny teeth-like denticles similiar to that of sharks and lucky for the kids, a bunch of sharp-nosed puffers and checkerboard pufferfish that inflated right on demand!!! The kids loved these and we all took turns checking them out!!! It was a great day!!!

Juvenile barracudas and puffers

We spent another morning going over to Sea Urchin Shoals and found more short spined and variegated sea urchins than you could count!!! They came in every size and color combination you could think of!!! I’m not sure who won the contest that day for finding the smallest sea urchin, but I know it wasn’t me!!! And I gave it my best too! Oh well… We all took turns letting them stick to our hands using their tiny tube feet and checked out their tiny pyramidal teeth underneath, known as ‘Aristotle’s lantern”. They have the perfect teeth for grazing on sea grass, which is why we find them here in such large numbers. AdventureRachel had fun finding the perfect color she liked best!

Rachel with sea urchin

I took the kids down to a section of rocks that often has a few of the long-spined or diadema sea urchins hidden among the crevasses. I wanted to show them what another species looks like that is cool to see, but best left alone!!! These also feed on algae but usually are found on the rocks and not in the sea grass beds around here. These have long, black, venemous spines that easily break off in the skin leaving a painful puncture for an hour or so. Sometimes they can be carefully handled underneath where the spines have been worn down and dull at the tips. If you chose to pick one up, WHICH YOU SHOULDN”T!!!, be prepared to be stuck on more than a few occasions. It happens to me quite often!!! The kids sure loved seeing this one up close and personal!!!

Long spined urchin

On our fishing day we started out going to the artificial reef where we caught Ceasars grunts, snappers, tomtates, pinfish, pigfish and striped grunts, NON-STOP!!! We caught so many fish that I stopped counting after a couple hundred! I have no idea who caught the most, but I can guarantee you, we had FUN like there was no tomorrow!!! I don’t think I could count three seconds before someone else had a fish on, or there was 8 fish on at once!!! One thing is certain, AdventureDavina sure had FUN catching this nice fish!!!

Davina catches another fish

A bit later I took the group down to my secret lane snapper hole, and we caught lane snappers there, like there was no tomorrow too!!! After about 15 minutes of catching snappers non-stop, one big ,hungry barracuda decided to park itself right underneath the boat and start having our lane snappers for lunch!!! AdventureRachel was reeling in one fine snapper when this barracuda darted out and ate half of it for lunch. She dangled the remaining half just out of water and that baracuda never took its eyes off that fish. I thought it might jump out of the water and grab it in mid air. I took the rest of that snapper and put it on a slightly bigger rod with a hook and wire leader and gave it to Rachel. A split second later, she had that big Cuda on, and a while after that, she got it in the boat!!! Way to Go Rachel!!! How is it, that it always seems the girls catch the biggest fish??? HMMMNNNN?????

Rachel's Big Barracuda

The latter part of the day we went to the Big Sandbar to swim in the Deep Hole to rinse off. We collected a bunch of florida and west indian fighting conchs to check out, and take a few photos of the kids with Rachel’s Big Barracuda, now that it was dead and safe to handle! We had so much fun we never wanted the day to end!!! When I told the kids it was getting time to go, I could hardly get them to come back in the boat. I had to threaten them that if they didn’t hurry, I was going to have to BLOW MY WHISTLE!!! And lucky for me, it happens to be one of the worlds loudest whistles!!! This day was one of those very special days, and that barracuda was one heck of a FISH!!! Way to Go Everybody!!! You guys ROCK!!!

Group with barracuda

The last day we spent snorkeling around the Rock Garden, then took a quick boat ride along the beach so everyone could enjoy going “FAST”. From here we went to check the crab trap and shark line we set in the deep trough along the sea grass beds. Lotsa crabs!!! No shark!!! Oh well… But one thing very cool we did see when we went to check the line was 21, yes, that is the correct number!!!, 21 big huge manatees eating mouthfuls of sea grass, all around the boat!!! It was fantastic!!! And we loved every second of it!!! We spent at least 30 minutes watching them munch away just a few feet from our boat!!! What a sight to see!!! It was just GREAT!!! And did we EVER want to join them!!!

Manatees

And while we were all enjoying this, 3 bottlenose dolphin swam by to take a close up look for themselves! They spent about 15 minutes circling our boat looking at us, while we looked back at them!!! It was a great way to end the day and our week, and a put an exclamation point on another wonderful week full of FUN and ADVENTURE!!! All the way from HERE to THERE!!! Boating, Fishing and Snorkeling FUN!!!! What a week!!! What a day!!! What FUN we had!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!!

Bottlenose Dolphin

I can’t wait till next week to do it all over again!!! Hope you’ll join us!!! Its going to be GREAT!!!

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!
AdventureMike

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COOL SEA CREATURE ENCOUNTERS!!!

Posted by 30 June, 2011 (0) Comment

Hi Everybody!!! Welcome back!!! We’ve just finished up our third week of double session Adventure, and as usual, we had a BLAST!!! When I arrived at the dock bright and early for the Tuesday morning session I could tell we had another great group and were going to have another fabulous week!!! The kids were […]

Hi Everybody!!! Welcome back!!!

We’ve just finished up our third week of double session Adventure, and as usual, we had a BLAST!!! When I arrived at the dock bright and early for the Tuesday morning session I could tell we had another great group and were going to have another fabulous week!!! The kids were all there, early no less, excited and raring to go, smiling from ear to ear. And that’s just the way I love it!!! I hopped onto the dock to meet the parents and greet the kids, and the FUN began! As I walked, I looked down into the shallow water along the seawall and saw a 9 armed starfish burrowing out of the sand, variegated urchins along the wall, 2 octopus peeking out from their holes under the rocks, an eagle ray, 3 stingrays, a school of jacks and a striped burrfish swimming by. What a way to start the session!!! What a way to start any day!!! The morning group was already having FUN and we hadn’t even left the dock yet!!! And so was I!!!

Morning group

We spent the week boating, exploring and having non-stop adventure, morning and afternoon!!! It didn’t make a difference what session you were in. It was FUN FUN FUN, all day long!!! We explored the Rock Garden, the Big Sandbar, the South Jetty, Little Munyon Island, Starfish Prairie and more. We even went a bit offshore on one totally calm, flat day looking for sea turtles. And not only did we see sea turtles, but we saw something MORE!!! MUCH MORE!!! One of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen, but your going to have to keep reading to find out WHAT!!! Of course, we also spent a day Fishing where it was non-stop action from start to finish!!!! And did we Ever LOVE IT!!! The whole week was a blast and each session seemed to end way to soon!!!

Afternoon group

At the Rock Garden we saw the usual…. Hundreds of fish in every size, shape and color imaginable! From small barracudas to snook, seargent majors, porkfish, parrotfish, sheepsheads, grunts, snappers, angelfish, damselfish, butterflyfish, blennies and more. Every where you looked there was something else to be seen! There were fish in every direction!!! We didn’t know which way to look!!!

Rock Garden

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!!! We had so much fun finding, chasing and catching swimming crabs, we almost couldn’t stop!!! What a fun day underwater!!!

Fun day on the water

There was a plethora of things to discover, and discover them we did! One day, while swimming along the shallow rocks of the Rock Garden, AdventureKatie looked into a crevasse between 2 rocks and came up with a giant Measled Cowrie. The shell was totally covered by its mantle and looked more like a slimy short-spined sea urchin than a beautiful shiny brown and white, polka-dotted shell that is was. It gave the art of mimicry a whole new meaning! Nice find Katie! Way to Go!

measled cowrie

By the end of the week at the Rock Garden, we had found 4 different species of sea urchins, numerous species of brittle starfish and conchs, almost a dozen different species of corals and sponges, 8 different species of crabs and hundreds of different species of fish. The water was crystal clear all week, and everywhere you looked there was something to see and something new to discover!!! One of our favorite discoveries was a beautiful striped burrfish that we found hiding among seaweed along the bottom of the rocks. It was so darn cute, we just wanted to kiss it. That is, if it wasn’t so spiny and didn’t have a parrotlike beak that could nip you good!!!

Pucker up burrfish

We all spent a good bit of time taking turns checking him out and taking photos along the way. We loved the way it would puff itself up and become a short, stout, spiny pin-cushion. After we released the burrfish, it began to deflate, and then swam a few circles around AdventureLily as if to say, “goodby” before moseying on. They are always a great find and the kids love them! And so do I!!!

Striped burrfish swims by

On the Big Sandbar we found hundreds of Florida and West Indian fighting conchs and noticed they were all laying eggs. Cool to watch! We found dozens of squat lobsters and netted olive shells, and quietly observed tube worms slowly filter sand to digest the algae off each grain. One morning we found a huge Scaly Mantis Shrimp totally out of his hole, lying still in a tiny pool of water. It was a great discovery, and only the second or third time I have ever witnessed it! What LUCK!!!

Scaly mantis shrimp

Mantis shrimp get their name for the way they resemble the preying mantis insect with their large, stalked eyes and long spiked foreclaws which, when not in use, fold back into a claw slot in the leg. These powerful claws can easily slice a finger as well as capture prey! They are known as “thumb splitters’ by Caribbean fisherman. Bet you’ll never guess how I found that out, when, long ago, I wriggled my finger in one of their holes! OUCH!!!

mantis shrimp close-up

We found numerous box crabs and juvenile blue crabs and a couple of small chocolate chip sea cucumbers along the way. The kids had fun trying to find as many, and as many different species of hermit crabs they could find! Most were living in the discarded shells of fighting conchs that made for a great home. AdventureAlex and Max sure loved finding this one that wasn’t a bit shy!

Finding hermit crabs

We found a variety of starfish everytime we visited the Big Sandbar, from Beaded Sea Stars to Cushion Sea Stars and sometimes even the unusual 9 armed starfish that is mainly nocturnal. Always a great find and a wonderful treat for the kids! Of course I would have to make the most of this opportunity and take a few photos of the group with a 9 armed starfish on their heads. I could tell AdventureJacob was having a good time wearing this one as a hat!

Jakob & starfish

One afternoon we stopped to snorkle and explore a small vessel that had recently sunk just north of the Big Sandbar. It was already covered with barnacles and tunicates and loads of fish. There were dozens of juvenile blue crabs hiding underneath the boat and a few arrow crabs clinging towards the stern out of the current. It didn’t take AdventureMaxwell long before he caught one in his hand and held it up for us to see. Nice job Max!

Maxwell finds arrow crab

From here we swam to another smaller sandbar and explored along the shallows to see what we could find. Before long we had found dozens of netted olive shells, plenty of mantis shrimp holes and even a few more starfish. One afternoon little Max found a really cool beaded starfish that was in the process of regenerating the tips on 3 of its arms. It was neat to see how a starfish could grow its arms back after some other creature decided to have one for lunch! How cool is that!!

Max finds beaded starfish

Another morning while exploring the Big Sandbar we found an octopus that had been caught out of water by the falling tide and had died. We felt bad for it and wished we had come by sooner to have found it alive. We did love checking it out up close and personal, even when dead, and somehow this led to another photo opportunity to take some different photos of octopus that we hadn’t done before. That’s right! You guessed it! Dead octopus head photos!!! You just have to admit, AdventureBrett looks like he’s loving this! Well sort of ???

Brett with octopus head

One morning when the ocean was totally flat calm we drove the boat around to the South Jetty and parked a few feet off the beach. The water was crystal clear and there seemed to be thousands of tropical fish all along the shallow rocks. It was absolutely Great!!! There were so many different species of fish you couldn’t keep count! As we swam thru them, they would swirl all around us, sometimes just inches from our nose! We all just loved that!!!

South jetty

A bit further along the jetty we started seeing large numbers of short and long-spined burrfish swimming along in pairs. I found a nice big long-spined burrfish hiding in a crevasse between 2 rocks, seemingly uncorncerned that I was there. I carefully reached in and gently took hold around its midsection and pulled it out for the group to look at. A split second later it inflated itself like a ballon and became so full of long, sharp quills that I could hardly hold it. It poked me good a few times and I think the kids loved that too! One look at the photo and you can tell how it got its name and why it wasn’t too concerned I was there! I sure wasn’t going to try to eat it!!!

Long spined burrfish

On the way back to the boat, AdventureKatie found a cool Hairy Clinging Crab clinging to a rock with all its might. She called me over and it took all I had to pull that crab off that rock! Not only was it hairy, it was thorny like all get out and could hang onto that rock like Arnold Swartzencrab!!! And Arnold Swartzencrab it was!!! I think we could have used that crab as an anchor if we could have could tied a rope around it and dropped it on a rock where it could hang on! It was about that strong!! Nice find Katie!!!

Hairy clinging crab

The most wonderful underwater encounter of all for this week occurred just as we got back to the boat!!! One unbelievably cute manatee had decided to take a rest right underneath the boat while we were gone swimming along the jetty. As we got closer to the boat, it swam right up to us and just about laid right in our arms!!! It swam and rolled around us like we were long lost friends and brushed up against us over and over! It would come up right beneath us and almost lift us to the surface. It was just GREAT!!! It was one of the most friendliest manatees I have ever seen, and unbelievably cute too!!! Did we EVER LOVE that!!!

One cute manatee

Every now and then it would come right up to us and just lay there for us to scratch its back!!! It would gently roll back and forth underneath our hands while we scratched, like it just didn’t want us to ever quit! We spent a few moments appreciating every minute of that!! I could tell by all the happy squealing coming from the kids, this wondrously extra special manatee encounter would be something they would never forget!!! I know I won’t!!! What a GREAT DAY!!! It just doesn’t get any better than that!!! LOVE IT!!!

Friendly manatee underwater

Thursday was our fishing day, and of course, its hard to match the fun and excitement of that if you love fishing! 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 more!!! All in all, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” over and over and OVER!!! The sound of that is still ringing in my ears!!! I could sure tell AdventureJulia sure loved catching this nice one!

Julia catches fish

On another day, we spent part of one morning and afternoon heading over to Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting in the shallow grass beds. The tide that day was extremely low and the shallow bar to the south was exposed for hundreds of yards. This extreme low tide gave us the very best opportunity to seine net in some areas that we never had before. It was neat to see and we all were excited to get started!!! The full moon sure made a difference for the tides this day.

Extra low tide

AdventureLilly and Noelle were among the first group to go seining and before long, they were seine netting like pros! On the very fisrt pull of the net they caught sea grass filefish, pipefish, mojarras, juvenile snappers and grunts, a couple of tiny hogsnappers, pink shrimp, grass shrimp, small blue crabs and even a few small checkered puffers! What a great way to start your very first day of seine netting!!! Way to go girls!!! YOU Rock!!!

Lilly & Noelle seining

One of the neatest fish we got that day was a nice, big, striped burrfish that inflated on demand. It became a thorny ball with short, curved spines. They are common to Florida and generally inhabit sea grass beds and adjacent reefs. The stripes help them to camoflauge amongst the sea grass where they are difficult to see in brackish water. I know AdventureJack sure loved holding this one! We all did!

Jack with striped burrfish

We spent rest of that morning 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 hundreds. Almost every urchin was covered and camouflaged by little shells held tightly to them by their tiny tube feet. They looked more like the bottom than urchins themselves. Neat to see them this way. Give them a few quick swishes in the water and the shells fall off, leaving you with a handful of urchins in a variety of colors. It didn’t take AdventureTrevor long to find his favorites!

Sea urchin collector Trevor

We snorkeled almost the whole way around Little Munyon Island finding blue crabs, hermit crabs, juvenile stone crabs, some small beaded starfish, a few small 9 armed starfish, and a dozen or more West Indian Sea Eggs . We found just about every color combination of short spined or variegated sea urchins you could imagine. My favorites were the bright white ones with dark purple spines that are hard to find, and I wasn’t succesful on this day! AdventureLilly seemed to like every one she found. I don’t think she cared what color they were. She was having FUN either way!

Sea urchin collector Lilly

When we came around the south end of the island I took the group over to a cluster of rocks hidden among the sea grass beds. I wanted to show them another species of sea urchin called a long-spined or diadema sea urchin. These are the big black ones with long needle sharp spines that can easily puncture the skin and break off in the flesh. They are most commonly found on the near shore reefs but this cluster of rocks seems to have one or two almost every time I look. They are best left alone but over the years I have learned how to handle them without getting stuck. My advice would be to don’t try this on your own!!!

Long-spined sea urchin and group

On the way back to the boat AdventureJulia came up with another large 9 armed starfish that was just crawling out of the sand and moving towards deeper water. They are fairly uncommon thru-out the Caribbean and seem to inhabit shallow sand or sandy mud bottoms. Exactly what we have here. It was another nice find and she held it up for us to see. Way to go Julia!!!

Julia finds a starfish

We spent some time taking turns checking it out.We watched as hundreds of tiny tube feet would wriggle non-stop, as if trying to right itself up from the palms of our hands. The kids loved that and it was just great to watch them all smile when it came to their turn to hold this starfish. I could sure tell AdventureNoelle was having FUN when her turn came around!!! Love that smile too!!!

Upside down starfish

One morning ,when the ocean was flat calm, I decided to take the kids offshore for a little bit to see if we could find a loggerhead or green sea turtle floating on the surface, catching its breath. Little did I know then what a wonderful decision that would be!!! We motored around for a bit in about 120 feet of water, then shut off the engines and drifted quietly. I had just got done telling them that on days like this, when the ocean is flat calm, and shiny like a mirror, you can sometimes see hammerhead sharks swimming lazily on the surface. Not a minute or two later, the ocean erupted a hundred feet in front of us, and a tremendous hammerhead shark came thrashing to the surface with another large hammerhead shark in its jaws!!! What a sight to see!!! So much for swimming “lazily” !!!

hammerhead 1

For the first minute or so I could believe what we were seeing, and I didn’t think to take a picture! I started the engines and quickly motored to within 20 feet of this unbelievable sight, wanting to see what was actually taking place! The ocean seemed to have come alive and walls of water were being thrown 15 feet into the air! We observed, what I would estimate as about a 10 to 12 foot hammerhead shark, being attacked by another monstrous hammerhead shark that I thought was closer to about 18 feet!!! It was just INCREDIBLE!!! and one of the neatest things I HAVE EVER SEEN!!! MAY EVER SEE!!! All this action taking place at about 30 miles per hour!!! What a SIGHT!!! As we came closer, the monster shark let go this shark, and swam deeper down, and just kept circling around us, below.

hammerhead 3

This 10 to 12 foot hammerhead shark, that seconds earlier was in the jaws of the other, swam straight towards the boat as if looking for something to hide behind! For two to three minutes it never left the vicinity of our boat while the other, much LARGER shark kept circling below. This shark appeared totally exhausted and spent, probably trying to flee for its life, and at this time could hardly swim! I did not get a photo of that monster shark as it never came up close enough to the boat for me to take a decent picture. Shortly after I took this photo below, this shark swam away from the boat down a bit deeper, and I watched as that monster shark came racing in and grabbed this one again, thrashing him in its jaws and swimming deeper into the depths, until they disappeared from our view!!! JUST UNBELIEVABLE!!!

hammerhead 4

To witness what we saw was most unbelievable to say the very least!!! One of the most EXCITING and INCREDIBLE things I have ever seen or may ever see in my life!!! I will always wish I would have thought to start taking photos sooner, but I was so awestruck I couldn’t think to take a picture, as I looked on in amazement!!! WHAT A DAY!!! WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!! WHAT AN ADVENTURE!!! WHAT MORE CAN YOU SAY!!! WISH YOU ALL COULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!! IT WAS JUST GREAT!!! The kids summed it up perfectly when I asked them how they felt after seeing THAT!!! Their response was, ” IT WAS AWESOME!!!!” I FEEL THE VERY SAME WAY!!! AWESOME!!!!! WHAT AN INCREDIBLE WEEK!!! IT JUST DOESN”T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS!!! AND I CAN”T WAIT TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, NEXT WEEK!!!!

See you soon!!!

AdventureMike

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Uncategorized Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 : , , , , , , ,