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

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Starfish Starfish Everywhere!

Posted by 10 August, 2010 (1) Comment

Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!! We’ve just finished up the third day of Fun and Adventure for the first week of August, and let me tell you it had been absolutely GREAT from the very start!!! Just like every week this whole Summer!!! I just can’t say it enough, “We’ve had FUN FUN FUN from start […]

Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!!

We’ve just finished up the third day of Fun and Adventure for the first week of August, and let me tell you it had been absolutely GREAT from the very start!!! Just like every week this whole Summer!!! I just can’t say it enough, “We’ve had FUN FUN FUN from start to finish! Day after day after day… All Summer long…”. It just doesn’t get any better than this! And I know I’ve said that before!!! :-) This week I have another great group of kids that are ready for Adventure the very minute they come on board! And that’s just the way I love it!!! They’re ready to go go go with or without me! Good thing I keep the keys to the boat in my pocket!

group of 10

We began the week going to the Big Sandbar since dead low tide was occurring just about 9 in the morning. Lucky for us we had the whole sandbar to ourselves and not another boat full of people in sight. I love it like that. If there is anything to be discovered, we are going to be the first to find it and you never know what you might find. On this morning there were starfish starfish everywhere, and did we ever have fun running from one end of the sandbar to the other picking up starfish and checking them out! We saw beaded starfish and cushion starfish lying out on the exposed sand of the bar before we ever left the boat. You should have seen how fast the kids unloaded from the boat. AdventureLorenzo sure had Fun coming up with a couple starfish of his own to share with us. We loved that!

Lorenzo and a pair of starfish

When we weren’t picking up starfish, we were checking out the fighting conchs, moon snails and the olive shells that were leaving long trails thru the sand as they burrowed back towards deeper water. We found quite a few baby ear mollusks that were just beginning to pop out of the sand and we all took turns letting them slime thru our finger tips before letting them go. As the sand got warmer from the sun beating on it, blue claw crabs, box crabs, lady crabs and dozens of hermit crabs began to crawl out from underneath the sand just at our very toes. AdventureSydney came up with one big giant rooster crab that was blowing bubbles out his mouth and we all loved that too!!!

Sydney with a rooster crab

As the tide came in we decided to head to little Munyon Island to do some exploring in the shallows. It took me a bit to get everyone back in the boat. Nobody wanted to leave until they had put all the starfish left exposed on the bar back in to deeper water, and let me tell you that was a LOT!!! It was also a lot of FUN! I think we found the most beaded starfish I have ever seen, and the cool thing about that was not only did we find a ton, but we found a few different species of them too that I haven’t seen in quite a while. AdventureRylee came up with one nice big one that I know she wanted to take home as a pet, but she let it go all the same. Nice find too!!!

Rylee's beaded starfish

When we arrived at Little Munyon Island the whole south side of Sea Urchin Shoals was totally out of water. There were hundreds if not thousands of short spined urchins literally covering almost every square inch of the shoal. We had so much Fun searching and finding every color phase of sea urchins you could imagine. My favorite was the one with a pure white body and dark purple spines. We came up with some beautiful bright pink ones and a few pure white ones too. We found some big black round ones that would cling on to your hands with thousands of tiny tube feet. You could lift them out of the water and hold them upside down and even then they wouldn’t let go. It was just great!!! Everywhere you looked there were short spined sea urchins and AdventureJosh was picking them up by the handfuls! I know he was loving that!!!

Josh with a handful of urchins

As we left Little Munyon Island to head back to the dock a pair of bottlenose dolphin swam right up to our boat and road the bow wave for a while. We watched as they would dart back and forth in the shallows chasing mullet, and then come right back to our boat and swim beside us. They seemed to be as excited checking us out as we were checking them out! We had so much FUN watching them we were late getting back to the dock! Oh well…. I’d love to be late for that reason every day!!!! We all would have!!!

Bottlenose dolphin encounter

The next morning we stopped by the Rock Garden to do some snorkeling. The tide was a bit low and the water was not as clear as I would have liked to do some underwater photography of the group but we had loads of FUN all the same. I don’t think the kids cared whether I took underwater photos of them or not. They were so busy chasing fish and turning over rocks looking for hidden treasures I could hardly get any one of them to look at me! Oh well, so much for underwater photography and those great shots I envisioned…, needlessto say, we had a blast all the same!!! AdventureLianne came up with a really cool brittlestarfish that was about as delicate as you could imagine and that was a great find too. We all loved checking this one out before she let it go.

Lianne with a brittlestarfish

The rest of the gang spent a good bit of time chasing swimming crabs that could be found under every rock. They came in all sizes from tiny to gigunda and every now and then I would hear a squeal of laughter as one crab would swim out of the net of one adventurer and right under the foot of another! It was great to see that! It kept them right on their toes so to speak paying attention to all the fun that was going on around them! AdventureBeau thought it was cool to check out one big swimming crab underwater up close and personal!!

Beau checks out a swimming crab

From here we decided to head to Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting in the shallow grass flats. On the way we stopped for a quick romp around the Big Sandbar to see what we could find. And of course, we found beaded starfish from one end to the other. Did we ever love that!!! AGAIN!!! I was hoping we would find a 9 armed starfish but no luck. Maybe tomorrow! As we were walking from one exposed bar to another, AdventureFaye found the smallest, most tiniest beaded starfish I have ever seen! It wasn’t much bigger than her pinky fingernail and we all thought that was really cool! How she saw it, I will never know! Nice Job!!!

Faye finds the smallest starfish

When we arrived at Little Munyon Island, we grabbed the seine net and a few buckets and within seconds we were seining the shallows. We all would take turns pulling the net and with every pull we would find something cool! We started from one end of the island and worked our way to the other side. Over and over and over..As soon as one group would come in and the net was sorted, the next was raring to go! I loved the enthusiasm this group had, Reminded me of myself. Sometimes its just hard to stop having FUN…

Josh and Faye seining

As soon as the net was pulled on to the beach we would hurriedly sort thru our catch of “treasures”. We would put anything special in our specimen tank to be checked out later, and let the rest go. We caught all kinds of juvenile fish from grunts and snappers to baby barracudas and pipefish. We caught an assortment of shrimp and crabs too. With every pull of the net another treasure was discovered! You should have seen the excitement on the kids faces every time the net came in and how quickly they wanted to sort thru the catch. It was just great!!!

net clearance

Everyone was hoping we would catch some pufferfish and lucky for us we did! On the very last pull of the net we came up with a beautiful striped burrfish that puffed up the minute it was out of water. It became such a spiny pin cushion we could hardly hold it. We all took turns checking it out and I was careful to make sure everybody kept their fingers away from the toothy end of the fish. This little fish can give a painful bite. AdventureSeth sure had fun gingerly holding this burrfish as best he could! No bite either! Nice Job!

Seth and a burrfish

Seine netting always seems to be one of the most fun things the kids like to do. You never know what you may come up with, how many different things you may have or if you have anything at all. Sometimes we get juvenile sea horses, barracudas, pipefish, yellowtail snappers, grass shrimp, cow fish, etc. A plethora of cool things just waiting to be discovered!!! It always seem though that a nice big spiny burrfish or a slippery blown up pufferfish puts a smile on a kids face everytime! I know it does mine!!!

Burrfish and rabbit ears

And of course, today was our fishing day and it’s always mighty hard to beat the FUN and EXCITEMENT that we have on this day!!! Most days the kids will have a fish on within a few seconds of their bait hitting the bottom! On this day it was no different!!! We spent a little bit of time fishing the artificial reef and caught porkfish, grunts, snappers, tomtates, porgies, sailors choice and more! IFrom start to finish we caught fish non stop!!! can’t tell you how many times I heard someone say, ” Mike, I need help taking off my fish”. I just love it like that!!! Everybody caught some nice fish but I think AdventureBeau caught the biggest grunt that gave him a good fight! Way to go Beau!!!

Beau's big grunt

At the end of the day we stopped by the Big Sandbar for another quick romp of exploration then hurried over to the Rock Garden to spend the last hour snorkeling. We spent some time searching for crabs under rocks and along the way found some very cool green mantis shrimp and some big queen conchs. AdventureJosh caught a nice juvenile flounder that we all checked out, then we spent some time chasing sharpnosed pufferfish just for FUN!!! AdventureJake sure had FUN holding this nice puffer all “blown” up!

Jake's pufferfish

Whenever we would find something cool or catch a pufferfish we would all take turns checking it out and sharing it with the whole group. Many times the pufferfish would wiggle and deflate, and out of your hand they would go! It was amazing how quickly they could disappear right before your eyes! I can’t tell you how many times that happened today! No problem though, it wasn’t long before someone had another and enjoying it all over again! You can see how much FUN AdventurePetey was having with this puffer! Me too of course…

Petey and a pufferfish

Before we knew it the day had come to an end! I don’t know how the time flew by so fast, but when I said it was time for us to head back, nobody was ready to go! Not even me… on the way back to the ramp we had one more cool adventure! And did we ever love that!!! Just as we were slowly coming around the end of the Big Sandbar in the boat, a huge dark shape appeared right beside us. I put the boat in nuetral and we watched as a big friendly manatee swam right up past us, stuck his nose out of the water and took a good look at us, then took a breath and disappeared. How cool is that!!! What a way to end the day!!!

A manatee ending

One things certain, it sure left me looking forward to tomorrow and doing it all over again!!! Needless to say, we didn’t make it back to the boatramp on time again… Oh well, we were just too busy having FUN!!! I can’t wait till tomorrow! i know it’s going to be great!!! Hope you’ll join us!!! See you soon!!!

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

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Sun, Fun and Adventure times Two!

Posted by 14 June, 2010 (0) Comment

Hi Everybody, Welcome back!!! We’ve just finished up the second week of Fun and Adventure. Times two of course doing double sessions, and as usual, We had so much FUN!!! I was again blessed with two more perfect groups of kids, and absolutely perfect weather as well, and all this led up to another fabulous […]

Hi Everybody, Welcome back!!!

We’ve just finished up the second week of Fun and Adventure. Times two of course doing double sessions, and as usual, We had so much FUN!!! I was again blessed with two more perfect groups of kids, and absolutely perfect weather as well, and all this led up to another fabulous week of Fun and Adventure!!! We had FUN from sunrise to sunset for four days in a row!!!As soon as the first session was over, the second would arrive, and off we would go again! It just doesn’t get any better than that! FUN FUN FUN from start to finish!!! Just the way I love it!

A Day at the Beach!

We spent a few hours everyday exploring the Rock Garden. There were fish everywhere and the water was crystal clear! We had so much fun observing and chasing fish, looking under rocks catching all sorts of different species of crabs, finding sea cucumbers, conchs and shrimp. You name it, we found it, and of course we tried to catch it just for FUN! Sometimes we were succesfull, sometimes we weren’t, but we had FUN trying none the less! It was just GREAT! One of the best moments occurred when an inquisitive porcupinefish swam right up to us as if to ask, “Are you AdventureMike?” And let me tell you, we loved that!!!

Are you AdventureMike?

That beautiful porcupinefish swam all around us and we couldn’t help but take a few photos with our new found friend! We were careful not to get our hands or fingers close or near to her mouth as they can deliver a painful bite! They eat barnacles right off the rocks with no problem! We all took turns carefully holding her up close, watching her fill up with water to twice her size, and being very careful to not let our fingers get in the way! A few moments later we released her and watched as she lazily swam into a nearby hole in a rock, turned around one last time to take another peek at us, and then disappear. AdventureJake sure had FUN when it was his turn to hold her. We ALL did!!!

Jake catches a Big porcupinefish!

This week was the perfect one to check out the Big Sandbar! We had exceptionally low tides and each and every day we would stop by to search the bar for starfish, shells and anything else that was out and about. We found so many cool things!!! We found beaded starfish, cushion starfish and 9 armed starfish in a variety of sizes. During one morning romp we came upon the biggest 9 armed starfish I have ever seen! It was just crawling out of the sand into deeper water when we arrived. Lucky for us!!! A few minutes later and we would never have seen it. Adventure Hannah sure loved finding that one!

Hannah finds a 9 armed starfish!

We all took turns checking it out and watching at how quickly it could right itself when turned upside down. This species of starfish is one of the fastest “movers” in this area, and has no trouble burrowing quickly into the sand and disappearing right before your very eyes! We always love finding these and wish I could find one every trip! Of course this gave those who wanted an opportunity to have their picture take with a 9 armed starfish hairdo! After all that was over and done with, we placed it in deeper water in the direction it was going and off we went to discover knew things. I think the photo I love best is of Adventure Trey having fun with his 9 armed starfish hairdo!!!

Trey with a starfish hairdo!

Another interesting thing we discovered while snorkeling along the shallows of the bar was a tiny blacktip shark about 8 inches long lying dead on the bottom. She appeared to be premature or still-born the night before. Blacktip sharks sometimes come near shore to give birth and unfortunately this juvenile didn’t make it. But it did give us a wonderful opportunity to check out a real shark up close and personal and we all were appreciative and thankful for that! On the way back to the boat we found dozens of Florida and West Indian fighting laying eggs. We collected a few to look at happily found some that came in beautiful colors! I always love finding those!

Fighting Conchs

One of our very favorite days was Fishing Day!!! And of course as usual, this day was no different than all the other fishing days we’ve experienced so far! Non-stop action from start to finish!!! Sometimes you can’t count 3 seconds before having a fish on!!! Just the way I LOVE IT!!! This time we caught so many different species of fish that I could hardly keep track!!! The ‘toothiest one” was caught by Adventure Bradley who came up with a nice and impressive barracuda that had the most pearly white dentures you’ve ever seen!!! He gave a great fight and I was amazed that Bradley got that one in with no wire leader at all. When it started jumping out of the water and shaking its head I kept telling Bradley there is no way that fish is going to stay on with out cutting the line! Of course he had to prove me wrong!!! Nice Job Bradley!!!

Bradley catches a nice barracuda!

After catching numerous parrotfish, porkfish, grunts, tomtates, hogfish and a few small yellowtail snapper and one rather ugly scorpionfish, etc. I decided to take the kids to my secret snapper hole a bit further up the lake. This spot sometimes holds a rather impressive number of Big lane snapper, and on this day it was no different! As soon as the boat was anchored, the lines dropped down and the action began!!! Non stop snapper action from start to finish!!! I was so busy unhooking and releasing snapper I could hardly take a photo. The minute I stopped to take a picture, 7 more were on the lines!!! How GREAT is that!!! One of my favorites is of Adventure Jackie catching another big one!!!

Jackie catches a Big lane Snapper!

While we were here, AdventurePaul caught a lovely remora that gave a good fight. These are the fish commonly found attached to sharks, rays and sea turtles, etc. and hitch a free ride waiting for a meal. I let it “suck” onto his arm after it was unhooked just for the fun of it. You should have seen his smile! i loved that and he did too! Everybody caught big fish. Over and over and over!!! AdventureMichael caught a big porgy that gave him a good battle too. It took some time for him to get that one up to the boat on super light tackle. Nice job Michael!!! Everybody did Great and I was super proud!

Michael catches a porgy!

One afternoon during low tide we took an island hike to the back side of Big Munyon Island. The tide was as low as I’ve ever seen it! In one deep hole we watched snook, jacks and a big permit chase mullet into the air and almost on the beach! We watched Roseatte Spoonbills search for crabs and shrimp in the shallows and found the smallest horseshoe crabs I’ve ever seen!!! We loved every minute of that!, and when the mosquitos found us, we hurriedly hiked back to the boat and went to the Rock Garden for another quick dip and chase fish with our nets.We had so much Fun on that day too! From the very start to the very end!

Chasing fish at the Rock Garden.

I think one of the most favorite fish we keep our eyes out for is the sharpnosed pufferfish. Even though they are small and rather slow swimmers as fish go, they are difficult to catch!!! They have a habit of darting quickly away, then turning on a dime and swimming rapidly between your feet and disappearing into the silt or under some rock, no where to be found! I can’t tell you how many we lost track of that day!, but we kept trying and were finally rewarded for our efforts! I think this picture of AdventureSara with a pufferfish sums up our enjoyment!!! It sure did mine!

Chasing pufferfish!

One day when the Ocean was flat calm, we took the Dreamchaser south out the inlet and anchored right on the beach to enjoy the day. We looked for sea glass and shells, and scooped up the sargassum seaweed in our handnets hoping to catch some small sargassum filefish, shrimp and crabs that camouflage perfectly with the seaweed itself. We found hundreds and before long had a 5 gallon bucket of “treasures” that was neat to look at! One of the neatest things we caught was a reef squid that propelled itself backwards around the bucket squirting out ink, and this was much to our enjoyment! I know AdventureMadison was thrilled with that! Me too of course!

Madison catches a reef squid!

We spent a good portion of the last day back at the Rock Garden watching small barracudas and jacks chase menhaden and hundreds of parrotfish grazing algae off the rocks inches from our noses! We never wanted to leave as the water was crystal clear and fish by the hundreds were everywhere!!! We had a contest to see who could catch the biggest crabs and everybody came up with something nice! AdventureSeth, Rujul and Trusha caught one nice big one together and that was great to watch them in action! They looked like professional “Crab Catchers” to me. You guys rock!!!

Crab Catchers!

Of course I explained to them the proper and safe way to hold crabs without getting pinched, and they learned that right quick! I decided to show them my very own favorite way to catch crabs without using a net and they followed me until I found a nice one that would cooperate. I gave chase and quickly had it cornered. As they all watched, it began to wave its claws back and forth in a menacing fashion. I knew it was now ready for my tried and true technique! One that works almost every time!!! I took my finger and wriggled it right in front of the crabs nose and sure enough it fell for the bait!!! In one split second I had him right where I wanted him, and I knew there was no getting away now!!! It was latched on like there was no tomorrow and I proudly held it up for everyone to see! For some reason or other no-one else wanted to give it a try??? Maybe next week…

AdventureMike catches a nice crab!

I can’t tell you how much FUN they thought that was!!! It was just GREAT!!! You could have heard then laughing a mile away!!! I loved every second of it!!! Well almost anyway… It just doesn’t get any better than that!!! Just how much FUN can one have? you’ll have to join us and find out for yourself! See you soon!!!

LET”S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2010: June 7 – June 11 Tags : , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer 2009 Week 12: FUN, FUN, FUN from Here to There!!!

Posted by 21 August, 2009 (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 one of the very best! We’ve had FUN, FUN, FUN from Here to There!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!  And I really mean that!!! I just never want this […]

Hi Everybody, Welcome Back!!! I just wanted to drop a quick post about the weeks Adventure. Let me tell you, it has been one of the very best! We’ve had FUN, FUN, FUN from Here to There!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!  And I really mean that!!! I just never want this Summer to come to an end!!! It has been so much Fun!!! I must be dreaming… :-)

Having FUN!!!

Having FUN!!!

I started out the week with just another absolutely wonderful, great group of kids! And like I’ve said before, “Each week just seems to get better and better!!!” When I arrived at the dock I was joined by 4 previous adventurers, AdventureRachel, Amanda, Rylee and Sydney. In turn, we were joined by 4 new Adventurers, AdventureRobert, Jonathan, Madeline and Emily. It was Emily’s birthday on Monday and we spent a great day doing an AdventureMike custom birthday party session, and boy did we ever have FUN! I never wanted that to end either! Always have a blast! I just love doing those!!! We’ll have to do some more!!!

When I arrived at the dock I could tell this group was ready and raring to go. We quickly loaded up, and off to the Rock Garden we went. The tide was high and the water absolutely beautiful! We had just dropped anchor and as I was getting the masks ready for everyone, 5 manatees came by and took a look at us!!! Right by the boat. Boy do I wish we had gotten there 2 minutes sooner so we could have been in the water with them. They hung around the boat for a minute or two, then off they went. What a way to start the day!!! It didn’t take us long to get in after that, and as usual, there were fish every where we looked!!! Within a few seconds we were catching swimming crabs, blennies, wrasse and pufferfish. We all took turns checking out what everyone was catching. It was just great and we were having so much FUN!

Amanda with a BIG swimming crab!

Amanda with a BIG swimming crab!

We found some really beautiful Hawkwing and Queen conchs and checked out their cute little eyes peeking back out at us. We found a nice big spotted moray eel living in an old barrel and that was great to see too! There were all kinds of arrow crabs and rock crabs living all around the barrel, and of course we had to catch a few of those in our nets to check them out up close and personal! There were so many things to see we didn’t know which direction to go! There were sheepshead, snook, barracudas, porkfish, snapper, grunts, surgeonfish, parrotfish, angelfish, wrasse, blennies, toadfish, cowfish, jawfish and even some beautiful pearly razorfish almost within reach of our fingertips! We found so many cool things!!!

This is COOL

This is COOL

We swam around in the shallows looking for flounder and pufferfish and came upon a beautiful small,yellow spotted ray hidden in the sand. Even though they have a small venomous barb like a stingray, I carefully took a scoop and caught it in my net. I gently pulled the barb off so that we could all hold it and take a good look up close and personal. They begin to grow their barbs back in a week or two and I thought this would be a great opportunity for the kids to hold one in their hands and see what they’re like. Boy, did everyone love doing this! I never saw such smiles on so many kids faces!!! Miles of Smiles, from ear to ear!!! Just the way I love it!!! I just loved it!!! A bit later we let him go to continue on his way.

Robert, Jonathan and Rylee with a barbless yellow ray!

Robert, Jonathan and Rylee with a barbless yellow ray!

By now the tide was going out and we went to the Big Sandbar to explore the shallows. Before we even had a chance to drop anchor I could see some big Cushion Starfish and fighting conchs exposed on the bar. The second we dropped anchor, the crew unloaded. Off and running they went to check out the big starfish!!! Nobody wanted to be the last one out of the boat here! By the time I got out of the boat they were all checking the Cushion Starfish out. So much for waiting for me… By now I was getting used to being the last one out. This group had more energy and enthusiasm than you could imagine. Just the way I love it!!!

We found a Cushion Starfish!

We found a Cushion Starfish!

We placed the big starfish back into deeper water and off we went to explore the bar. It was only a matter of seconds before we found Baby’s Ear mollusks, Netted olives and fighting conchs popping out of the sand. There seemed to be something everywhere we looked! We found numerous beaded starfish, maybe 10 or so, and that was the most I have ever seen at one time. One of the best finds on the bar was a lovely 9 armed starfish, and of course we had to share that and take some “9 armed starfish head ” photos for fun. I could tell Rachel really loved that!!! Tell me she doesn’t look like a “Natural” !!!

Rachel with a starfish hairdo!

Rachel with a starfish hairdo!

I think Jonathan found the most beautiful blue-eyed hermit crab I have ever seen! It had eyes like fluorescent deep blue sapphires! The most beautiful and unreal shade of blue in the world!!! Stunning comes to mind… Wish mine looked just like that, it was so cool! A really nice find! We took a jump into the hot tub for a few seconds, checked out some Mantis Shrimp in their tunnels then had to head back to the boat to make it back on time. On the way back we found another large Cushion Starfish and I could tell everybody loved that again too.

 Rylee and Sydney with a Big Starfish!!!

Rylee and Sydney with a Big Starfish!!!

Today may have been the most fun for me all Summer!!! Everything was just absolutely perfect from beginning to end!!! We had so much fun today!!! It just couldn’t have been any better!!! You guys ROCK!!!

Woke up Wednesday morning to a heavy rainfall, blustery winds and some strong lightning storms in the vicinity. Finally the bad weather from tropical storm Anna had caught up with me. This was the very first time EVER that I was going to have to call it a day without being able to go out, but I didn’t want to take any chances so I made the calls to cancel the day. Boy was I disappointed, but I knew the weather for Thursday was looking perfect, and that of course is our FISHING DAY! Just wanted everyone to be safe, and I knew we were going to have FUN the next two days!!!

When I arrived at the dock today, everybody was early and ready to go, and so was I!!! Little did I know then just how good our fishing day was going to be!!! When I arrived at my secret spot and checked the fish finder, I was recording fish from top to bottom!!! Excitedly I dropped anchor, baited the rods and handed them out and then everyone dropped down at once. From that second on there wasn’t ever a moment that somebody didn’t have a fish on. And I mean not for one second!!! You know the saying a “pictures worth a thousand words”, well look below…

FISH ON!!!

FISH ON!!!

Eight kids, eight rods and eight fish on at ONCE!!! All day long it was like this!!! From the very first second and it never stopped!!! I was so busy I couldn’t even take photos. I can’t tell you how often I heard, ” I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” I You could not count one second from the moment your bait hit bottom till you had one on!!! AdventureDaniel, if you are following this post you got lucky today…  If I would have had more help taking off fish and baiting hooks, your record of 111 fish in 3 hours would have fallen today!!! It was that unbelievable!!! I think everyone must have caught between 50 and 70 fish each, and some were mighty big! We caught some really nice grunts, snappers, parrotfish, tomtates, porkfish and even a seargent major or two. Good thing Madeline, Emily and Robert helped to bait lines and take fish off!!!

Madeline and Emily help take off fish!

Madeline and Emily help take off fish!

The action was so incredible that I heard complaints that wrists and arms were getting sore reeling so many fish in!!! Now that’s what I call FUN!!! I may never again see fishing action like this, but I can only hope!!! Most of the time you couldn’t even get your line to the bottom before you had a fish on. And of course all this excitement and non-stop action brought in the Big Barracudas right up underneath the boat!!! And it wasn’t long before they decided to make a meal of all the big fish that were fighting hard not to come in!!! We had fish eaten right up next to the boat and I can tell you that was exciting!!! Matter of fact, it was AWESOME!!! At least for us that is… I’m sure the snapper felt otherwise…

A Barracuda ate my fish!!!

A Barracuda ate my fish!!!

As it turned out, I have no idea how many fish we caught, but it had to be somewhere over three hundred. That may sound like a fish story to some, but we know better!!! We lived the ADVENTURE!!! You can ask anybody on board today and they would say the same thing. Non stop from start to finish!!! It just couldn’t have been any better!!! It was just GREAT!!!  JUST GREAT!!!  God, I LOVE THIS JOB!!!

When we finally reached the point where no one could reel in one more fish, we pulled anchor and went to the Rock Garden for a quick swim and a rinse. We spent some time chasing fish and crabs and relaxed, just having fun! On the way back to the boat when it was time to leave, A big manatee came by, gave us an up close and personal look, and then continued on. We gave him a quick rub on the back before he left. It couldn’t have been a nicer way to end the day!!! I would have loved to kiss him right on his nose!!!  Did I say, “It just couldn’t get any better than this”!!!

Friendly Manatee!

Friendly Manatee!

All I can say is, “So Far, We had fun from start to finish”!!! And I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wait till tomorrow!!! We have one more day left, And I can guarantee you, I’m going to make it FUN!!! It’s going to be GREAT!!! Wish you could join us!!!

LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!
AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: August 17 to August 20 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer 2009 Week 11: Boating, Fishing and Snorkeling Adventure!

Posted by 14 August, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We’ve been having so much FUN this past week that I just can’t believe its time to write another post! It seems like I just wrote last weeks blog yesterday. Where does the time go? For us it has been spent boating, fishing, snorkeling, etc., and having all kinds of Adventure […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We’ve been having so much FUN this past week that I just can’t believe its time to write another post! It seems like I just wrote last weeks blog yesterday. Where does the time go? For us it has been spent boating, fishing, snorkeling, etc., and having all kinds of Adventure Fun!!!   And like I seem to say every week, “It has been just GREAT, and I mean from start to finish!!!” It just doesn’t get any better than this!! The water quality this week has been the very best all Summer! Absolutely crystal clear, flat calm and so many fish around we don’t know where to begin or which direction to head. I have never seen so many snook, sheeps head and parrotfish like I have seen this week! Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, every where you look there seems to be a dozen looking back at you!!! Now that’s what I call having FUN!!! And if you ask AdventureCasey, Maxwell, Joseph, Connor, Joshua, Armaan, Meher, Sienna and Neal, they would tell you the same thing!!! FUN, FUN, FUN from start to finish!

Fun at the Rock Garden!

Fun at the Rock Garden!

We spent the first day going straight to the Rock Garden to do some snorkeling and check out the tremendous schools of fish that inhabit this area. The water was as clear as it could possibly be and we were the only ones here, no one else in sight. Our very own swimming pool full of fish! Just the way I love it!!!  I could tell the life guard down the beach was wanting to join us. He was laughing at all the commotion we were causing, chasing this way and that with our nets in hand after pufferfish, blennies, toadfish, flying gurnards, flounders and lizardfish. We didn’t know where to begin. Every where we looked were fish in all different sizes, shapes and colors. Large schools of snook were all around us lying lazily in the shallows, their bellies gorged to the max on menhaden. And let me say, they were looking fat and happy!!! We could get within 2 to 3 feet of them before they slowly moved off. AdventureJoseph would swim around them and ham it up just for our entertainment to see if they would move.

Joseph hamming it up!

Joseph hamming it up!

We spent a good bit of time searching for crabs under the rocks and found thousands, and I mean thousands of blue-legged hermit crabs. There seemed to be dozens under every rock, much to our enjoyment! We found some really cool mantis shrimp, popping shrimp and tiny pistol shrimp. Most of us even came up with some unusual porcelain crabs clinging to the undersides of the rocks. We all took turns checking out each others finds, and loved every minute of it!!! The sheep head would follow us around like puppy dogs wanting another handout, trying to catch the crabs under the rocks before we could. On many occasions I could reach out and touch them. Before long, the parrotfish were doing the same. We had a whole entourage full of fish behind us like we were playing follow the leader. It was just GREAT!!! AdventureMeher found a big arrow crab that would sit on her hand like it belonged there, and did we all love that! Especially her!!!

Meher with an Arrow Crab!

Meher with an Arrow Crab!

Before the day was done we had found some beautiful queen conchs, hawkwing conchs, sea anemones, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, rock crabs, swimming crabs, blue claw crabs, mantis shrimp, and even saw a couple of flying gurnards and sea robyns which definitely aren’t too common around here. We saw a couple of barracuda and lizardfish eat other fish which definitely caused excitement in the group! The kids were loving that! It was so cool to see hundreds of Bermuda chub, parrotfish, snook, sheep head, snapper and grunts all around us. We never left this spot till it was time to go and I could tell no one was ready to call it quits yet. We were having too much fun!!!

The next morning we went straight to the Big Sandbar to walk the shallows and see what we could discover. It wasn’t long before AdventureJoshua came up with a very big and beautiful, red cushion starfish. A rarity in this area. We all took turns checking it out up close and personal. It was great! Nice find Joshua!!! AdventureNeal really loved this!!! I could tell he was having fun by the smile on his face!!!

Neal with a Cushion Starfish!

Neal with a Cushion Starfish!

The rest of us spent some time checking out the fighting conchs, large mantis shrimp tunnels and catching small blue crabs in the sand. AdventureSienna found a nice beaded starfish and we all checked that out too. Nice find there also! Shortly after this we followed AdventureConor, Casey and Maxwell into the Hot Tub and had fun playing around here until it got almost too deep to stand . As the tide came in, it carried with it large mats of sargassum seaweed over the shallows. We all grabbed nets and scooped it up and found hundreds of Sargassum filefish, shrimp and crabs! With every scoop we found something cool!!! You never know what you may find. We never wanted to quit, but time was flying by and since the water was so clear and the ocean so calm, I wanted to spend the last hour going out to the beach and having FUN there. On the way back to the boat AdventureArmaan and Meher came up with a beautiful cushion starfish of their own. And I could tell, they loved this too!!! It just couldn’t get any better than this!!!

Armaan and Meher with a Cushion Starfish

Armaan and Meher with a Cushion Starfish

As we rounded the jetty on the way to the beach, juvenile flying fish took off in every direction. It was neat to see so many this close to shore! I dropped anchor right next to the beach and we hopped out with our masks in hand and swam around collecting shells and sea glass and searching the beach for treasures. We found a hatchling loggerhead sea turtle tangled in the seaweed that didn’t make it to the water on time and appeared to be fresh dead. We took it out in the water anyway hoping it might “come back to life” but no luck. We were all a bit saddened by this, but this gave everyone an opportunity to check out a new born hatchling up close and feel the texture of its skin and carapace. We spent the remainder of the day walking along the beach looking to see if we could find anymore hatchlings in the seaweed that we might save and release into the water before they perished. No luck, but we looked anyway.

Casey with a loggerhead turtle hatchling!

Casey with a loggerhead turtle hatchling!

On the way back in we stopped by the Big Sandbar to frolic around and get our mind off the baby turtle. We ran back and forth along the shallows looking to find some things we hadn’t seen yet. We spent a bit of time searching for Mantis shrimp in their tunnels and when we’d find one, we would drop a small piece of broken shell into the hole and watch the shrimp come out and place the shell along the edge of the tunnel out of the way. I couldn’t help but feel it wanted to keep a clean house just like us! Loved watching that!!! It wasn’t long before everyone was laughing and smiling again, and having the time of our life until it was time to go! We had so much fun!

Fun at the Big Sandbar!

Fun at the Big Sandbar!

And, as you all know if you follow our blog, today was our fishing day, and I knew I was going to need some help with the hooks, lines, bait and kids the way the action has been lately! Non stop fish on from start to finish, the WHOLE SUMMER!!! And like I said, “It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!” Lucky for me, AdventureSheri was able to give me a hand, and she knows how to fish!!! Matter of fact, when she was a child growing up in Texas, her father taught her how to “noodle” catfish and I hear she was one of the best female catfish “noodlers” in the state, even though she doesn’t like to admit it. Well, at least that’s how I remember it… And for those of you who don’t know what “catfish noodleing” is, that is when you dive down into the dark water of the lakes without a mask, reach your hand way back into the deep dark crevasses of rock, feel around for a big lunker catfish, carefully work your hand towards its head, then firmly grab it by the mouth and gills until it clamps down on your hand like a vice, then you pull it out of the hole and wrestle it back to the beach for dinner!!!, all bare handed no less!!! Now that’s what I call an Adventurer!!! I sure would have loved doing this myself!!! Still hope to one day!!! I’ll let you know how I do when I get the chance, hope I don’t “find” a snapping turtle… Just my Luck, Oh boy!!!…

Anyway, back to our adventure…  As soon as we arrived at my secret spot and dropped anchor I could tell it was going to be a busy day. The current was moving and that always bodes well here! As soon as we dropped our lines down the action began!!!

FISH ON!!!

FISH ON!!!

It was non stop from the very start and from that moment on, the rest seems just a blur!!!  AdventureSheri and I couldn’t keep up with all the action these kids were having today. We baited the hooks and took fish off as fast as we could, but still we could never keep up!!! I didn’t get a chance to even look at my watch till almost three hours went by! Talk about being busy, and having FUN, We were having it now!!! Just the way I remember it!!! God, I just love it like this!!! I’m not sure who caught what or how many, but everyone was catching fish and having a blast, and that is what counts!!! We didn’t catch the big ones today, but what we lacked in size, we made up for in quantity!!! All I know is that AdventureSheri and I were beat by the time our fishing day came to an end, and we had smiles on our faces from ear to ear, and had an absolute ball!!! We spent the last half hour back at the Rock Garden swimming with the fish and enjoying life!!! When it was time to call it a day, I can tell you, nobody wanted to go, especially me!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!! I love this job!!!

And the best thing about it all…  We still have one more day left!!!  I don’t know about you, but one things certain, we’re going to have FUN!!!  I can’t wait till tomorrow!!!!  It’s going to be GREAT!!!  :-)

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!
AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: August 10 to August 13 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer 2009 Week 10: Snorkeling Fun and Adventure times 10!!!

Posted by 7 August, 2009 (2) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We’ve just finished up the third day of Adventure for week 10 and I’m not sure where all the time goes, but one things certain!!!! We’ve been HAVING FUN!!! There is no doubt time seems to fly by when you are having the time of your life, and this week has […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We’ve just finished up the third day of Adventure for week 10 and I’m not sure where all the time goes, but one things certain!!!! We’ve been HAVING FUN!!! There is no doubt time seems to fly by when you are having the time of your life, and this week has been as great as all the rest!!! Matter of fact, just perfect!!!  And like I’ve said before, “It just doesn’t get any better than this!” This week AdventureSheri and I were joined by AdventureDaniel, Maxwell, Jake, Michael, Dylan, Kassedy, Sydney and Rylee. And let me tell you, it’s been non-stop fun from start to finish! As usual…

Group Photo!

Group Photo!

When I arrived at the dock I was greeted by one big happy and excited group of Adventurers and were they ever ready to go have some FUN!!! We loaded up and went straight over to the Rock Garden to do some snorkeling in the shallows. The tide was just beginning to ebb and there were schools of fish swimming back and forth in the shallows as far as you could see. Parrotfish, sheepshead, grunts, snapper, snook, small barracuda and menhaden were all around the boat. It was just great and we couldn’t wait to get in!!!  It didn’t take long before we found some big beautiful beaded starfish and everyone was excited about that! Including me!!!

Rylee and Sydney with a Beaded Starfish

Rylee and Sydney with a Beaded Starfish

While we swam around in the shallows turning over small rocks looking for crabs, a big school of Sheepshead followed us and tried to catch and eat them before we could get the crabs in our nets. Were we ever having fun watching this!!! They were sure better at catching the crabs than we were! We found hundreds of swimming crabs, rock crabs, stone crabs and coral crabs. Under every rock were one or two crabs. AdventureDaniel came up with one nice big swimming crab attached to his net and hanging firmly by one claw. I could tell he loved this!!! Glad it was hanging on the net and not his finger since it took quite a while to let go! It was fun to watch!

Daniel with a Big Crab!

Daniel with a Big Crab!

We found four or five sharpnosed pufferfish swimming along the shallows, gave chase and were able to catch a few in our nets. I can’t tell you how much fun it was watching all the kids smile and laugh when those pufferfish decided to puff themselves up with water! Everyone wanted to be the first to hold them, and we all took turns until everyone had a chance to see them up close and personal.Once we all had our fill we let them go and searched for other undersea treasures. AdventureKassidy came up with a lovely pink sea urchin and we all went over and checked that out too. Nice find!

Kassedy finds a lovely sea urchin!

Kassedy finds a lovely sea urchin!

We took the long way back to the boat swimming along the rock piles looking at all the schools of fish and turning over more rocks as we went. We spent a little bit of time searching the shallow sandy patches looking for small flounder and saw a few but were not able to catch any as I had hoped. They sure know how to dart rapidly between your feet and disappear in a wink of an eye! I haven’t been able to catch one yet this summer, but I’m going to keep trying! While we were looking for flounder, AdventureJake came up with a nice pipefish. It was a very cool find! They are related to Seahorses, a slow swimming bony fish that blends in well with the seagrasses and was the first one we saw here this summer. We loved seeing that!

Jake catches a nice pipefish!

Jake catches a nice pipefish!

Yesterday we spent the morning going back to the Rock Garden for a quick snorkel, then motored over to the Big Sandbar and spent an hour snorkeling along the shallow edge looking for Mantis Shrimp. We found quite a few large ones peering out their holes and we loved watching them! It seemed they were just as curious about us as we were about them!!! It was just GREAT!!! We came upon a big tractor tire that had quite a few arrow crabs and banded coral shrimp and we caught a few in our nets and checked them out. Then we went off and found florida and west indian fighting conchs, hawkwing conchs and even a few large queen conchs with their bright pink shells on the inside. Michael had a ball following us around and watching all the FUN!!!

Michael having fun!

Michael having fun!

From here we went to Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting along the sea grass beds. Everybody loved this!!! With every pull of the net we found something new and exciting. The tide was high and a bit hard to pull the net in but we had a ball no matter what!!! We all took turns trying our luck in new areas we hadn’t tried before. We caught a nice juvenile triple tail that was bright yellow and only an inch long and that was a first for this year! Always love finding something new like this!!!

Seine netting in the shallows.

Seine netting in the shallows.

It is so cool to catch juvenile fish in the grass flat that spend their adult lives on the outer reefs. We caught quite a few juvenile barracudas, ceasars grunts, tomtates, needlefish, mojarras, snappers, parrotfish, pipefish, pink shrimp, sea grass shrimp and a host of other too numerous to mention. It was just great!!! I think the best catch of all came when we came up with a beautiful blue and green scrawled cowfish! They get their names from having horns on the top of their heads. I can tell you everyone loved that one!!!! There were smiles from ear to ear!!! Just the way I love it!!!

Scrawled Cowfish

Scrawled Cowfish

And as you all know if you follow our blog, today was our fishing day!!! And as usual it was non stop action from start to finish!!! With just one of me and 7 kids hooking fish as fast as they could get lines down, I didn’t have a chance to even look at my watch for 3 hours!!! AdventureSydney, I’m sorry you weren’t feeling well today and didn’t make it cause I would sure have loved to have you along to join in FUN and EXCITEMENT!!! And YES, I heard those infamous words that will for-ever be etched into my brain, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” more than a thousand times I’m sure!!! It was just GREAT!!! JUST LOVE IT LIKE THAT!!! It just can’t get any better than THIS!!!

Dylan catches a Big Porkfish!

Dylan catches a Big Porkfish!

I’m not sure how many fish everyone caught, but it seemed like hundreds to me!!! Most of the fish caught were tomtates, ceasars grunts, yellowtail snapper, sailors choice and a few porkfish. AdventureDaniel caught a venomous scorpionfish that I was quick to let go and AdventureDylan caught an unusual small barred hamlet that was a first for AdventureMike’s. One exciting moment came when a large barracuda came in and took a big tomtate for dinner right off the line next to the edge of the boat. We all LOVED THAT!!! I know the tomtate felt otherwise… The best fish of the day though was caught by AdventureMaxwell with Daniel’s help! It was a big Black Grouper!!! And a wonderful catch too!!! It gave a ferocious battle and we were lucky to get it out of the rocks. Nice Job Guys!!! You all ROCK!!! Never thought they would get it in for a while!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!

Maxwell catches a Black Grouper!

Maxwell catches a Black Grouper!

All in all it was just a fabulous day of fishing!!! Everybody caught some really nice fish and I was extra glad about that!!! Love it when things like that come together!!! We had so much FUN!!! Everybody was baiting their own hooks and taking off their own fish and that really helped me to keep up. Thanks guys, you did GREAT!!! The last half hour we had left we spent swimming at the Big Sandbar rinsing off and just having a ball!!! Nobody wanted this day to end, and neither did I!!! We spent a little bit of time snorkeling around the big sunken tire and found a few more arrow crabs and shrimp, then it was time to go.

Sydney finds an Arrow Crab!

Sydney finds an Arrow Crab!

And like I said before, I don’t know where the time went, but one things certain we had fun from start to finish!!! This week seemed to fly by!!! I’m so glad we have one more day left!! It’s going to be great!!! I can’t wait till tomorrow!!! Who knows what we may find or discover… but one thing’s certain…  We’re going to have FUN!!!  Wish you could join us!!! It’s going to be great!!!!

LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: August 3 to August 6 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer 2009 Week 8: Adventure FUN in the Lake Worth Lagoon!

Posted by 29 July, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We just finished up the third day of our weekly Adventure and as usual, We’ve had an Awesome week! Things have been just perfect from the very start! The weather was looking iffy in the beginning of the week but somehow it turned to be about as nice as it could […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We just finished up the third day of our weekly Adventure and as usual, We’ve had an Awesome week! Things have been just perfect from the very start! The weather was looking iffy in the beginning of the week but somehow it turned to be about as nice as it could be! The Adventurous weather Gods were looking out for us and the water was beautiful, calm and clear, and sunny skies all day long! It just doesn’t get any nicer than this week! Which is a good thing cause I have a boatful of Adventurers and let me tell you they know how to have FUN!!! From start to finish, We’ve had a Blast!!!

Group Photo

Group Photo

I arrived at the dock bright and early Tuesday morning and as soon as I tied up, AdventureGunner, Jagger, Kai, Seth, Josh, Dominik, Daniel, Eli, Louis and Madison hopped aboard! They were as full of energy as you could imagine and ready to start the Adventure and have some FUN! And so was I!!! could already tell it was going to be another great week!!! The tide was high and the water clear so we went straight to Peanut Island to do some snorkeling in the shallows. The minute we got in the water we could see fish everywhere!!! Snook, Barracudas, parrotfish, sheepshead, sergeant majors, grunts, snappers, porkfish, bermuda chub, needlefish, surgeonfish, doctorfish, pufferfish, blue runners, crevalle jacks and menhaden by the thousands. No matter where you looked, there were fish EVERYWHERE!!! And I mean every where!!! And we were loving this!!!

Fun at the Rock Garden!

Fun at the Rock Garden!

We all grabbed some small hand nets and decided to give chase for some fun and excitement! It wasn’t long before we had caught some pufferfish, large crabs and some cute seaweed blennies! We almost caught a pair of small peacock flounders but they got away at the last minute. It was FUN to see and we were getting some good exercise swimming frantically around in the shallows chasing after fish this way and that!!! Even the lifeguard decided to come over and take a look at what we were catching. She said, “It looks like you guys are having fun! Wish I could join you”, but she was still on duty and we went back to chasing fish!. Just about that time Daniel came up with a BIG swimming crab in his net and we all took turns checking it out and then everybody was catching them right and left! It was GREAT!!! You could hear squeals of laughter and excitement every time you came up for a breathe! It doesn’t get any better than this!!!

Netting Crabs!

Netting Crabs!

I don’t know where the time went but somehow it flew by!!! It seemed to me we had only been in the water for just a few minutes, not 3 hours! We were having so much FUN we never even thought to take a look at our watches! We had just enough time to take a quick romp on the Big Sandbar before heading back to the dock. I can tell you when I said it was time to head back, I thought there was going to be a mutiny! Nobody and I mean nobody was ready to call it a day yet!!! Good thing there was 3 more days left of adventure, and we couldn’t wait to do it all over again! It was that much Fun!!!

The next day we went straight to the Big Sandbar to do some exploring and found all kinds of sea urchins, fighting conchs, nine armed and beaded starfish, mantis shrimp and some cool arrow crabs and banded cleaner shrimp. We found a blue crab in the very process of molting its shell and watched as it shed its shell and pumped himself up with water to stretch the new soft shell out into a bigger shell with room to grow into. It was just great to see that!!! Did it right in our hands too!!! How cool is that!!! There were giant mantis shrimp peeking out of every hole we saw and checking us out as we swam by! And of course when we found the nine armed starfish we had to take some “starfish head” photos of the gang having FUN! AdventureJagger especially liked that! We all did!

Jagger with starfish head

Jagger with starfish head

While we were swimming in the shallows a big school of crevalle jacks chased a school of menhaden right up next to us and began to eat them with gusto!!! We could hear the jacks gulping them down as we watched them from underwater. Talk about having Fun and EXCITEMENT!!! We were loving it!!! I’m sure the menhaden felt otherwise!!! By the time it was all over, there were nothing but scales and tails. After this we decided to take a quick plunge into the “Hot Tub” and then head to Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting in the shallows.

Jumping in the Hot Tub!

Jumping in the Hot Tub!

As soon as we arrived we grabbed the seine net and waded out into the shallows. Everybody took turns bringing in the net, sorting the fish and releasing the rest. We caught so many different types of juvenile fish, shrimp and crabs. Our favorites were the small barracudas, the checkerboard and sharpnosed pufferfish, the hogfish, needlefish, grunts, snappers and tiny flounders! Each one of us had a chance to gingerly hold them, take a few photos and release them where we caught them. And just like yesterday, when I mentioned it was time to go, nobody was ready!!! We were having too much FUN!!! After a few more hurried pulls we loaded up and headed back, and yes, I arrived a bit late, Oh well…

Seine netting treasures!

Seine netting treasures!

Today was our fishing day, and when I arrived at the dock everybody was raring to go! Good thing one of my very best friends, AdventureBill was kind enough to give me a hand!!! He’s a captain and ships pilot at the port of Palm Beach and one of the best too! Not only that, he’s my best tennis bud and we take turns showing each other who’s “boss” on the tennis court. I think we are about even there though he may think otherwise…  Nice of him to come along!  We didn’t have the action that I had hoped for today but everybody caught fish and no matter how fast we worked to catch up, we never could!!! I know he won’t ever forget those infamous words either, “I NEED MORE BAIT” without thinking about today! It was just GREAT even though we didn’t catch the hundreds I had hoped!!! I think Jagger caught the biggest one, A nice Porkfish, and Josh caught a few really beautiful parrotfish and everybody caught some nice big Casears Grunts, Tomtates and Sailors Choice!!! We just had trouble hooking the fish today. We lost a few really nice fish to some huge barracudas that took up residence under the boat. Everybody loved when one would dart out, swallow their fish whole and take hook, line and sinker to boot! Just great, at least for us anyway…

Jaggers BIG FISH!

Jaggers BIG FISH!

Needless to say, We had an absolute ball and everybody had fun, and that’s what counts!!! Sometimes fishing is just “fishing” and not always “catching” and AdventureDaniel when you read this you can breathe a sigh of relief!!! Your record of 111 fish in one day still stands! I know you will love that!!! That number still seems mind blowing to me!!! And he’ll be the first to tell you that was no “FISH STORY” either!!! All in all, we had a fabulous day, non stop action, not always catching, but it was Fun from start to finish!!! And you know what the best thing is? We still have one more day left!!! And I can’t wait till tomorrow!!!! How about you?

LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

AdventureMike

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

Summer 2009 Week 5: A Starfish, Sea Urchin and Fishing Bonanza!

Posted by 4 July, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We just finished up the third day of our weekly Adventure and let me tell you this week has been just GREAT!!! And I mean from start to finish!!! We’ve just had the very best time and have been having so much FUN that I can promise you nobody wants this […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We just finished up the third day of our weekly Adventure and let me tell you this week has been just GREAT!!! And I mean from start to finish!!! We’ve just had the very best time and have been having so much FUN that I can promise you nobody wants this week to end!!! Not one day has anybody wanted me to head back on time and I have a feeling they would stay till dark if I would let them! And sometimes I think about it myself, most days after the adventure session ends I’m not ready to go home either! We’ve been having too much FUN!!! And this week I was blessed to have another great group of Adventurers! I was joined by AdventureGeorge, Peyton, Seth, Dawson, Trusha, Rujul, Darby and Madison, and they have had as much energy and enthusiasm as I have EVER seen! Each week seems to just get better and better and this group can swim like fish and go non stop. Like mini me’s… Just the way I love it!!! I can’t believe how much fun we’ve had this week. Wish you all could have joined our group of Adventurers!!! It’s been a Blast!

Island Adventure Fun!

Island Adventure Fun!

We started out the week going straight to the Big Sandbar. The tide was dead low and the bar was exposed for almost as far as you could see. Just Love it like this! We get to go exploring within two minutes of boarding the boat and we never know what we may find high and dry on the bar. As soon as we arrived we could see sea urchins and fighting conchs high and dry. We jumped out and started exploring the bar and within a few seconds found some big baby ear mollusks, netted olive shells, moon snails, mantis shrimp tunnels, box crabs and beaded starfish. Everybody was finding their very own treasures and sharing them with the rest. It was just great to see the smiles!

Seth and Dawson with a beaded starfish!

Seth and Dawson with a beaded starfish!

On the way back to the boat we jumped in the “hot tub” for a quick swim and grabbed our masks to go snorkeling. There were menhaden all around and we saw some small barracudas and snook chasing them for dinner.It was non stop action all around! We found egg clusters to moon snails and fighting conchs and then came upon a nice big nine armed starfish in the shallows. It was a nice find and everyone was excited to see one! We even had a chance to take some “starfish head” photos and after everyone was done looking we placed it back in deeper water. I know George was extra happy to see one for the first time! He had smiles from ear to ear!

George found a nine-armed starfish!

George found a nine-armed starfish!

One morning we went to little Munyon Island to do some island exploration and found hundreds of sea grass hermit crabs in a variety of shells, numerous stone crabs and some really cool looking pistol shrimp. We found short spined sea urchins by the thousands and decided to have a contest to see who could find the smallest one. We found them in every size and color. Everybody was having a ball looking and for a while AdventureMadison was winning with a green one about the size of a dime. A short while later AdventureTrusha found a tiny one about the size of a pea hiding under a small shell. It was a great find and I loved hearing her say, “I found one, I found one” in an excited voice. It was the smallest one I have ever seen in my life and she took the win. I can’t imagine finding one smaller than that! We all had so much fun finding so many sea urchins in such a variety of sizes and colors! We never wanted to stop looking!!!

Searching for the Smallest Urchin

Searching for the Smallest Urchin

Tuesday morning we stopped by the Big Sandbar again and did some exploring and snorkeled the whole way over to Peanut Island. It was absolutely beautiful! On the way we discovered two sunken boats with hundreds of fish and arrow crabs all around them. We saw numerous sharpnosed pufferfish and were able to catch two in the nets which everyone loved!!! Just love watching them puff up with water and air. Of course we nick-named them “Puff Daddy” and “Little Puff” and we all took turns checking them out and taking a few photos.It was just great! On the way back we stopped by the beach for a quick snorkel, caught some sandfleas, collected some shells and beach glass and played with the ctenophores, a non stinging jellyfish like siphonophore, that are common along the beaches this time of year. It was great fun for all!!! We never wanted the day to come to an end!

Darby with Puff Daddy

Darby with "Puff Daddy"

Thursday was the day I planned for us to fish and when I arrived at the dock not only were the Adventurers early, they were ready and willing and in a hurry to go!!! Everyone was asking if I “brought enough rods, enough bait, am I sure, am I sure, etc.” and I smiled and said yes even though I really wasn’t sure at the time. Lucky for me one of my very best friends, AdventureGlenn, came along to give me a hand, bait the hooks, rig the lines, and take off all the fish, etc. And boy, did I need him today! To say it was hectic and exciting is an understatement!!!

I anchored the boat over the same section of artificial reef where we had done so well last week. I watched as 8 lines went down, hit bottom and instantly had fish on. Just like before, it was non stop action. The minute the bait hit bottom something was trying to eat it! Everyone had fish on all the time!!! It took everything AdventureGlenn and I could do to keep bait on the hooks and take fish off. No matter how fast we worked there was always a line of excited adventurers waiting. It seemed like we had 30 adventurers in the boat not just 8, and I’m sure to Glenn it seemed more like 60!!! I didn’t see him get a chance to eat or drink the whole time we were there. Talk about having non stop fun, we did!!! I’ve never seen fish come in the boat so fast, and sometimes we had 8 fish on at once!!! Once we had one big Ceasars Grunt come in with 2 hooks in his mouth. He had eaten two baits at the same time! you should have seen the smiles on AdventureGeorge and Darby when they both reeled in the same fish! It was priceless!!! The same big smiles went for AdventureTrusha and Rujul when they both caught two big fish at the same time too! Just love it when things come together like that! Non stop action from start to finish for every Adventurerer on our boat today!!! IT WAS GREAT!!!

Trusha and Rujul with some nice fish!

Trusha and Rujul with some nice fish!

We were so busy having fish on that I am sorry to say I didn’t get much of a chance to take as many photos of the whole encounter as I would have liked. Next time I may have to have the kids wait while I use the camera instead of bait the hooks, but its hard when you have 8 very happy and excited kids wanting their baits back in the water faster than you can possibly move, all wanting to catch the next “Big One”. I was the exact same way. Oh well…   It seemed like we only spent an hour fishing but when I looked at my watch, three and a half hours had already passed. It was the first time I had a chance to look at my watch all day. We quickly reeled in and headed back to the beach to get in the water and rinse off. Again I found myself wondering just how did the time go by so fast? How can things move so quickly? It seemed to us all like we just started? And it seems to be so true…and often said,

“Time Flies, When You’re Having Fun”!!!! Our 8 happy kids would tell you that today!!!! Nothing but smiles!!! and the way I like it!!! I’ll miss you guys!!! Each day was a real blessing! Thank you!!! God I love this job!!!

See you soon!!!

Let’s Go have some FUN!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: June 29 - July 2 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Manta Ray Adventure!

Posted by 27 August, 2008 (0) Comment

Welcome Back All, We just finished up the first half of another fabulous adventure session and like all the rest, we had a really great time! The water clarity this week has been poor thanks to all the fresh water runoff being drained into the intra-coastal waterway from the left over remnants of Tropical Storm […]

Welcome Back All,

We just finished up the first half of another fabulous adventure session and like all the rest, we had a really great time! The water clarity this week has been poor thanks to all the fresh water runoff being drained into the intra-coastal waterway from the left over remnants of Tropical Storm Fay. This gave us an opportunity to do something different instead of spend most of our time snorkeling at the Rock Garden, even though I would have absolutely loved it!. Visibility just isn’t there right now! Oh well… first time all summer it didn’t look like a swimming pool. But this sure didn’t prevent us from having a wonderful fun filled time!!! Not this gang of adventurers!

Group Photo

I have a whole new group this week and everybody is absolutely GREAT and totally at home in the water! It just doesn’t get any better than this! Groups like this make me truly love and appreciate my job! Right on…You guys can swim!

I arrived bright and early at the dock and was joined by AdventureZach, Matthew, Max, Doug, Ben and Preston. Everyone was excited and ready to go, including me! We loaded up, stashed our gear and headed straight to the sandbar to see what we could find. The tide was really low and made it perfect for exploring. We had no sooner gotten out of the boat before we found some nice large Cushion Sea starfish. Big bright red ones too, really great! Shortly after this we found some nice juvenile mantis shrimp crawling around outside of their burrows which is unusual in the day time and cool to see. There were plenty of blue crabs around to keep us all busy having fun catching them!  Occasionally one would latch on and give me a really good pinch which everybody loved watching. Of course nobody wanted to help me get it off my fingers when the time came to let it go… On the way back to the boat we stopped and jumped in the Deep Hole and found a really large Beaded Sea Starfish which was a nice find. Largest I’ve seen all summer. We all checked it out then released it and swam back to the boat and loaded up to go to a new spot.

We motored out the Inlet and around the south jetty and dropped anchor in 4 feet of clear water.  There were large schools of anchovies and glass minnow just inches from the beach swimming right in the trough. They blackened the water for 200 hundred yards down the beach. They were so thick you couldn’t see though them. Every now and then a big snook would go by and take a mouthful which was great to watch just inches from your face. Really exciting! We grabbed some dip nets and waded in to see who could catch the most with a single scoop. I think I took the cake with 26 in just one swipe. Everybody was having fun and catching fish. Even the sea gulls around us were loving it, grabbing our escapees fresh out of the net. I’m not sure who was having more fun, us or the birds, but we were all making nose trying to catch fish! Every now and then we would come up with a big lady crab in the net to add excitement to the chase. We found a nice big one with no claws and this gave us a chance to take turns holding it and check it out. Its really neat to see how well they camouflage in the sand. Can hardly see them once they dig down a bit. Nice find.

Today there was a nice little swell coming in that was perfect for body surfing and we spent an hour or two having an absolute blast surfing the waves into the beach. Was great exercise too. After this we had about an hour left so we called it quits and went back to the boat for some snacks and refreshments and decided to motor along the beach down towards the Breakers Hotel. We never got there!!!  And boy were we lucky!!!

Body Surfing

About half way there I spotted 3 big black shapes in shallow water swimming in formation heading right at us. They were about 12 feet wide and looked like stealth bombers moving down the beach! They were Manta rays, and BIG ones at that! Just unbelievable!!! Big, beautiful, totally harmless, gentle giants that were just waiting for us to get in and take a look! Many times they would swim right up to the boat, take a look at us, then slowly pirouette and glide away. Just incredibly beautiful to watch and such a lucky opportunity! When I asked if anybody wanted to get in and check them out, you know the answer to that! AdventureZach was ready in a heartbeat and the first one in. My kind of Adventurer!! On the first encounter he had a nice cobia come by and look at him that was swimming right next to the ray! It didn’t take long for AdventureDoug, Ben, Preston, Max and Matthew to follow. Talk about having fun!!! We were having it by the truck loads now! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!! What an opportunity for us to experience!

Manta Ray!

How an hour could go by so quickly I will never know, but we were having fun like there was no tomorrow! When I looked at my watch it was past time to go, so we hurriedly got aboard and headed back. I can guarantee you no one wanted to go back now! We were just too busy having FUN! This was the first time all summer for an unbelievably wonderful Manta Ray encounter. On the way back I felt like we were living life right, AND LOVING IT!!! Been thinking about it all day and smiling non stop! Thank you!!! Leaves me longing for more, more fun that is!!!

I just can’t wait till tomorrow! Going to have 2 more adventurers join us and we’re going to go out and Have Some Fun!  Stay tuned…  Who knows what we may discover, but I can guarantee you one thing, we are going to have a ball and loads of fun along the way!!!

See you on the return…
AdventureMike

Categories : Week 11 Tags : , , , , , ,

Pool Hopping Near Munyon Island

Posted by 30 June, 2008 (1) Comment

Hi Everybody, Welcome back! We just finished up the first day of another new adventure session and as usual, what a great day it was! Adventure David and Dina from last week had so much fun they decided to join me for this week too. Alright! I just love it when kids come back! After […]

Hi Everybody,

Welcome back! We just finished up the first day of another new adventure session and as usual, what a great day it was! Adventure David and Dina from last week had so much fun they decided to join me for this week too. Alright! I just love it when kids come back! After a weekly session of adventuring you almost feel like you’ve become family. We have that great a time! I’m going to miss them when they go back home to Hungary. Today the three of us were joined by 4 new adventurers, AdventureCorey, Hannah, Parker and Maxwell, and I can already tell its going to be another great group!

Group Photo

We left the dock and headed out to do the normal first day adventure going to the Rock Garden and checking out the hundreds of fish that call this place home. When I came around the bend I noticed the sandbar was already exposed and dead low tide wasn’t till around noon so I knew it was going to be an extreme low tide. When we arrived at the Rock Garden the water was only about 2 feet deep instead of the usual 4 to 5 foot range so we anchored out a bit further than normal got our snorkel stuff together and got in. The large schools of menhaden, parrotfish and sheepshead were still there. We all took little collection nets and spent the first hour catching blue crabs, hermit crabs, swimming crabs, arrowcrabs, rock crabs, brittle starfish, blennies and a variety of pistol and popping shrimp. I think each one of us caught something different. After a while, the water level got so low we could walk from place to place without getting deeper than our knees. I have never seen such a low tide here. It has to be an unusual planetary alignment or moon phase or both to cause this extreme low tide. We decided to go to the sandbar to check that out.

When we arrived, we were amazed by what we saw. The whole north side of the island was exposed for hundreds of yards. It was just so unusual to see this much area out of water. We could already see shells and starfish popping out of the sand. We hurriedly grabbed our nets, masks and a bucket and headed out to explore. By the time we got to the sandbar, AdventureCorey, David, Parker and Maxwell had nets full of crabs.

I Found a Brittle Starfish!

We found some really unusual box crabs, egg masses to moon snails and fighting conchs and lettered olives were popping from the sand by the hundreds. We discovered them in all sizes from tiny to gigunda. I had never seen this before. It was just fabulous and AdventureDina and Hannah had handfuls to observe and let slither around before letting go. We had to find at least a dozen beaded starfish that we let go in deeper water so the birds wouldn’t eat them and some very large baby’s ears snails that were coming out from the sand. We explored the whole area and found so much. It was great to search the exposed areas I had never seen out of water before and even the sea grasses were high and dry.

We came to a large swimming pool sized hole that was around 8 feet deep in the middle with a dry bank all around it and full of fish. We would take turns running off the bank and doing cannonballs to make the biggest splashes and see who could jump out the furthest. We had a ball.

Jump into the Pool

Before we knew it the day was over and we had to head back to the boat. On the walk back along the sandbar AdventureParker found a very large nine armed starfish crawling out from beneath the sand and showed us all. It was a nice find! We took some photos then he moved it to deeper water also so it wouldn’t dry out in the sun or get eaten by a bird. Just as we were coming to the end of the sandbar we spotted something crawling towards the water and ran to see it. It was a very large and beautiful Rooster Crab, one of the largest members of the box crab or shame-faced family of crabs.

Group Photo with Rooster Crab

They get their name from the way they hold their claws folded in front as if they are “ashamed” to show their faces. The Rooster Crab gets its name from the raised edge of this folded claw that looks like cackles on a rooster. This is the only one I have ever seen here and a real beauty to find. We were lucky! It may be many years before I see another one like this, and especially one this large. Just great! Thank you…

From here we climbed back aboard the “Dream Chaser” and headed back. And on the way I was again asked, “why don’t I end the camp at 5pm instead of 1pm? We don’t want to go back yet!” and I mumbled something about how the weather gets worse around 3pm and didn’t want anyone out in lightning or thunderstorms, etc. but at that moment I don’t think they seemed to care. They were too busy having fun and its hard to quit while your still smiling! I know all about that, and it seemed like we just started. Oh well…

and there’s always tomorrow, and who knows what we may discover then, but one thing is certain, “We’re going to have Fun”!!! Stay tuned to see what we find… or better yet, come join us for your own adventure!!! Have a story to tell of your own and memories to share forever.

See you on the return,

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 5 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,