Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!! We just finished our first weekly Adventure and as usual we had a BLAST!!!!! We’ve been so busy adventuring this week I haven’t even had a chance, nor the energy to write about it! As some of you may know, I’ve had such a wonderful response to my camp that I [...]
Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!! We just finished our first weekly Adventure and as usual we had a BLAST!!!!! We’ve been so busy adventuring this week I haven’t even had a chance, nor the energy to write about it! As some of you may know, I’ve had such a wonderful response to my camp that I decided to do double sessions to try and get some more of you in, and even then I couldn’t accommodate all the requests I’ve had. Thanks to you all! For those of you who couldn’t get your child in, I’m sorry…. Would love to be able take everyone who wanted to go, just not able to. Please register early next year when I open up registration and get ALL the paper work to me IMMEDIATELY to hold your space when that time comes! I already know I won’t be able to take everyone for sure then! Now on to this past weeks ADVENTURE!!!
When I arrived at the dock bright and early for the Tuesday morning session I could already tell we were going to have another great group! The kids were there, excited and raring to go, and with smiles from ear to ear. Just the way I love it!!! Soon afterwards, AdventureMatthew, Casey, Jaime, Miriam, Katie, Thomas, Nicholas and Neil boarded my Adventure boat, “DREAM CHASER” to begin the weeks adventure. And were they ever ready to go!!! We stowed the gear, off we went and the FUN began…
We spent the week boating and exploring, isaland hopping, going to the Big Sandbar, the Rock Garden, Munyon Island, Starfish Prairie, the Beach and of course Fishing!!!! And did we Ever Have FUN!!! From start to finish it was a blast and each session seemed to end way to soon!
On the Big Sandbar we found hundreds of Florida and West Indian fighting Conchs and loads of short-spined sea urchins in a variety of colors. We checked them all to see what new color combinations we could find. My favorite being the bright white with the deep purple short spines. Just beautiful!!! Along the way we discovered Mantis Shrimp burrows and watched as Tube Worms slowly filtered sand to digest the algae off each grain. We came upon the broken carapace of a very large Rooster Crab, in the family of box or shame-faced crabs known for holding their claws in front of their faces, that had been freshly eaten by a ray and found quite a few Baby’s Ear Mollusks burrowing in the sand. Always love finding those!
We found a variety of starfish every time we went, from Beaded Sea Stars, Cushion Sea Stars and the unusual Nine-Armed Starfish that’s mainly nocturnal. Always a treat!!! That gave me a great opportunity to take some cool photos of AdventureNeil and a few others with “Nine-Armed Starfish Head” a first for the trip!!! On one day we found a very rare and unusual fish resting in a shallow hole with only an inch or two of water remaining, maybe a hundred feet from the waters edge. I was excited to see it was a Flying Gurnard, distinguished by having fan like pectoral fins that often have brilliant iridescent blue lines and markings!!! It was a fabulous discovery!!! These fish have modified ventral fins that allow them to “walk” about and turn over rocks and shells while foraging. A very unusual fish and one that I rarely see. Boy were we Lucky!!! We released it unharmed into deeper water. I know it was glad about that. Every now and then when we would get cold swimming, we would come back to the Big Sandbar and sit in a deep hole filled with hot water that we nicknamed “The Hot Tub” to warm up. It was just great!!! Our very own hot tub…
At the Rock Garden we saw the usual…. Hundreds of fish in every size, shape and color imaginable! From small barracudas to snook, porkfish, parrotfish, sheepsheads, grunts, snappers, angelfish, damselfish, butterflyfish, blennies, etc. Every where you looked there was something else to be seen… We spent hours searching under the shallow rocks and found all types of hermit crabs, box crabs, rock crabs, porcelain crabs, swimming crabs, stone crabs, pistol shrimp, popping shrimp, blennies and more. A plethora of discoveries with every turn. Just love it that way!!!
This week we were lucky to have calm enough seas to run out the inlet and around the South Jetty to park right near the beach and do some beach combing for shells and worn sea glass. All of us came home with a few treasures of our own. We had hours of fun “hill jumping” and body surfing the small waves in crystal clear water. Never wanted to leave here, and in between body surfing and snorkeling, the group played a few games of “chicken” where Casey and Jaime would team up against Thomas and Nicholas and try and wrestle each other over into the water. It was fun for all!!
We spent one day going to Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting in the shallows and had a ball. We caught numerous mojarra, pinfish, juvenile grunts and snappers, pistol shrimp, popping shrimp, seagrass shrimp, smooth trunkfish and even a checkerboard pufferfish which delighted the group by puffing up with air for a quick photo op! On the way home that day we stopped by Starfish Prairie and hurriedly picked up a few large Cushion Starfish for another quick photo opportunity then released them unharmed exactly where we found them. They were everywhere to be found! Really nice to have nearby…
And of course, its had to match the fun and excitement of our FISHING DAY!!!. Always non-stop action from start to finish and everyone caught a mixed bag of snappers, tomtates, caesars grunts, sailor’s choice, margates, spot-tail pinfish, porkfish and AdventureNeil caught one scorpionfish which I was happy to get back in the water as quickly as possible. You definitely want to stay away from the venomous spines on those!!! I learned that the hard way many a year ago and don’t want to repeat that EVER again! OUCH!!! All in all, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” over and over and OVER!!! Good thing AdventureNicholas from last summer came to give me a hand helping to bait lines, unhook fish and clean up, and even still, we were running deep in the hole behind this gang trying to keep up with all the fish they were catching!!!
All in all, it was a fabulous first week!!! When it was time to head back, no-one was ready to call it a day!!! We were just too busy having fun!!! And Just the way I love it!!! And lucky for me, I got to do it all over again with the second group of Adventurers for the afternoon session!!! Doesn’t get any better than that!!! Wish you could have joined us!!!! We had a BLAST!!! I just couldn’t wait for the second adventure session to begin!!!
All you guys will be missed, and I can’t wait to see you again!, but it was time to…
Go Have Some More Fun!!!
Hi All, I had no sooner finished up the first adventure session and readied the boat when I was joined by my second group of eager and excited Adventurers that in turn were ready for the Fun to begin!!! And so was I!!! AdventureSheri came along to help me with this weeks afternoon Adventure and [...]
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!
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!!!
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!
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…
Welcome Back All, I just finished up the third day of this weeks adventure session and I just don’t think it gets any better than this!!! There just wasn’t enough hours in the day for us to do all we wanted. Every place we went and everything we did was an absolute blast and we [...]
Welcome Back All,
I just finished up the third day of this weeks adventure session and I just don’t think it gets any better than this!!! There just wasn’t enough hours in the day for us to do all we wanted. Every place we went and everything we did was an absolute blast and we all had fun like their was no tomorrow! I was joined by three more new adventurers today, AdventureAlgis, Linas and Paulius, all the way from the Republic of Lithuania, a country on the southeast shores of the Baltic Sea sharing borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the southeast, Poland, and the Russian exclave of the Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Talk about adventurers, not only could these boys swim, they knew how to travel and even spoke a few words of English. So we got along great! And one thing they knew for sure was how to have fun, and they came to the right summer camp! I can guarantee that! With AdventureDavid and Dina from Hungary and Adventure Algis, Linas and Paulius from Lithuania my summer camp, AdventureMike’s, has gone international, and it has been Fabulous!!! From here on out, the skies the limit. Right on!
With AdventureAlgis, Linas and Paulius joining AdventurersJason, Jordyn, Christopher, Trevor, Gunner, Jagger, Michael and Chaz I had a full boat load, and I knew I was going to have my hands full! I knew this would not be a problem though, I am well seasoned by now after months like this! This is a great group of kids, knows how to swim, and DEFINITELY knows how to have fun!!! And that makes my job easy, at least on days like today!
We decided we would head straight for Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting while the tide was still low. AdventureJason, Jordyn, Michael, Gunner, Trevor and Jagger took turns pulling the seine net thru the shallows while AdventureAlgis, Linas and Paulius went snorkeling with AdventureChaz looking for starfish, sea urchins and large sea grass hermit crabs.
By the time we were finished seine netting the adventurers had found juvenile barracudas, hogsnappers, striped grunts, caesar’s grunts, french grunts, small mouth grunts, tomtates, pinfish, porkfish, mutton snappers, yellowtail snappers, gray snappers, mojarras, filefish, pufferfish, pipefish and even a few scorpionfish which we were careful not to touch. These were just a few of the many “treasures” we discovered. While we were having fun doing this, my Lithuanian Adventurers were discovering all sorts of cool things besides just starfish, hermit crabs and sea urchins. They saw eagle rays, crevalle jacks and even a pile of small lobster under a rock in 3 feet of water. Now that’s having FUN!!!, especially when you are from Lithuania!!! I could hear their excited voices all the way back to the boat! I was loving it!
We went to Big Munyon Island for a really cool island hike, checked out the estuary for finger mullet, the backside of the island for horseshoe crabs and hermit crabs, the wild coffee and knickerbean plants scattered about, and we even checked under the rooftop of the picnic area to find 2 different type nests of 2 distinct species of mud dobber wasps. One type built a group of single family nests while the other built condos. Just like us. Now that was cool to see! We walked back along the beach to the boat and headed to the sandbar to swim in the Big Hole. Along the way. we stopped at Starfish Prairie, picked up a few very large Cushion Seastars to show the group, released them, and off we went.
We arrived at the Deep Hole along the sandbar and the water was perfect! Just the right depth and perfectly clear! The way we love it! It was full of menhaden and the snook and small barracudas were having a feast. The menhaden would spray out of the water trying to get away from the hungry fish below while the terns and sea gulls were having a feast from above. There was action in every direction and we were loving it. We checked out the West Indian and Florida fighting conchs laying eggs and found that the West Indian species out numbered the Florida species by about 3 to 1. Along the way, AdventureJordyn found the smallest Beaded Sea Starfish I have ever seen. It wasn’t a half inch in width. They are not just uncommon around here, they are downright rare, and to find one this size, unbelievable! I thought it was great, and the coolest thing was that the smallest adventurer aboard would find the smallest beaded starfish I will probably ever see my whole life. Now that’s neat, and I have searched alot!
After this we went to the Rock Garden, dropped anchor and got in. And low and behold what did we see? That’s right, thousands,and I mean thousands of fish in every direction! One of the best days ever! And how was the visibility? That’s right, crystal clear! It just doesn’t get any better than this! We watched hundreds of blue runners and snook eat menhaden till their hearts, and stomachs content. All within inches of our masks. Just great! AdventureMichael, Gunner, Trevor, Jagger, Christopher and Jason caught all kinds of swimming crabs, blue crabs, seaweed blennies and hermit crabs, while AdventureJordyn, Linas, Chaz and Paulinus were content swimming amongst the tropical fish and watching parrotfish, surgeonfish and spotail pinfish graze on the algae covered rocks.
By now we had only 45 minutes left so we climbed in the boat, had a quick snack and some drinks, and decided to head out to the beach since the ocean was as calm as a swimming pool. We drove around the south jetty and dropped anchor a few hundred yards down the beach 10 feet from shore. The water was crystal clear, the beach full of shells and hundreds of juvenile pompano and permit were feeding on sand fleas in 3 inches of water. We were loving it all! The days just don’t get any better than this! Blue skies, clear calm seas, thousands of fish and a great group of adventurers enjoying their day. Now that’s living!!!
When it was time to go, you know, not one of us was ready to call it quits. And especially my group of Lithuanian Adventurers. Even they, with there limited knowledge of English, let me know they wanted to stay longer! And they sure knew how to say FUN while they were having it!!! Today was one of those truly blessed days and even though AdventureAlgis, Linus and Palius spent only one day with me, I know they will never forget it! When we arrived back at the dock and I heard them excitedly talking to their mom about the day I knew things just didn’t get any better than this! I knew every one of us had fun today! And the best thing about it all, there is one more day of ADVENTURE and I just can’t wait till tomorrow!!!
Its fishing day!!! And you know what that means!!! We’re going to have fun, catch fish and live the adventure!!! We’re going to have some FUN!!! Right On!!! God, I love my job!!! Yippee!!!!
Hi All, I just finished up TWO more days adventure session and let me say this week has been perfect. We have a great group of adventurers whose enthusiasm and love for the water is contagious! They arrive early to begin the days adventure with huge smiles and excitement in their voices, and raring to [...]
I just finished up TWO more days adventure session and let me say this week has been perfect. We have a great group of adventurers whose enthusiasm and love for the water is contagious! They arrive early to begin the days adventure with huge smiles and excitement in their voices, and raring to go! They jump in the boat, don their life jackets and don’t want to waste one more minute waiting at the dock then they have too. Saying they are extremely excited to go is an understatement!!! They know by now that AdventureMike’s is not your “normal” summer camp! Even after a very full day of adventuring they are never ready to come back. Reminds me of myself as a child, no matter how much fun I had, it just never was enough! I feel the same as an adult now! No wonder I love this group too! Each session just seems to be getting better and better.
Yesterday we started off the day heading back to the sandbar and searching the shallows. AdventureAllison, Madison, Dina and David found some really cool types of shells called “baby’s ears” that have the shell on the inside of the living animal instead of on the outside. They are very unusual and look more like large white nudibranchs or slugs instead of shells, and can burrow thru the sand very quickly. As the sandbar gets exposed and begins to dry out the living creatures begin to “pop” out from underneath the sand and head for water. By now the kids know what’s underneath just by looking at the type and shape of the “cracks” in the sand. They can tell whether its a crab, clam, moon snail, etc., and are quick to let me know. We are constantly being surprised by all kinds of emerging creatures from crabs, shells, clams, starfish, sea cucumbers and a variety of burrowing worms and other invertebrates. A regular smorgasbord of tiny living treasures just waiting to be discovered, and all, by us!!! Just Fabulous!!!
From here we headed to a secret out of the way little place I call “Starfish Prairie” that has hundreds if not thousands of large Cushion Sea Stars also called Bahama starfish. It is a very shallow hard rock bottom totally covered in short spined urchins and Sea Stars from end to end. I don’t let too many people know where this spot is as it is a true treasure in the Lake Worth Lagoon. In just a minute or two we picked up 9 or 10 from the shallow water and placed them in a large livewell container on the boat along with about 10 totally different colored sea urchins from snow white to a rich dark purple. We got back in the boat and talked about their life cycles and habitat, behavior, feeding habits, predators and prey etc., then hurriedly took a quick photo op. and released them where we found them. As long as too much fresh water run-off is not dumped into the lake all at once, they will continue to survive. The kids loved when they turned the large Sea Stars over and discovered the tiny delicate brittlestarfish, about a quarter inch in total length, clinging to the underneath sides. This was a great moment for them and I could tell they just loved it!
We finished up here and headed to the back side of Munyon Island to look for horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs and blue crabs and take a short nature walk thru the estuary and shallow lagoon. We had so much fun along the beach and water we never got to the nature walk. AdventureNicholas showed Dina and Gavin how to tie fishing knots and cast netted some pufferfish for our entertainment. We all got to see how pufferfish get their name. It is always fun to watch them as they suck in air and water and literally double their size. Each adventurer had the opportunity to rub the smooth shiny belly of one of the checkered puffers and make a wish before letting them go, a childhood pastime of my families. How it started, who knows, but it sure is fun!!! I can’t remember if any of my wishes ever came true but it always put a smile on my face and that counts just as much!!! Just make sure to stay away from the mouth, or as I say “the business end” of a pufferfish as they can take an absolutely perfectly clean round bite out of a finger or your hand if given the opportunity. I’ll bet you’ll never guess how I found that out as a child…and on more than one occasion at that. Needless to say, I make sure to hold each fish gently and carefully so that each child has nothing to fear.
After this we had about 45 minutes left so we quickly headed to Little Munyon Island to explore and hopefully find one of those nine armed starfish that AdventureAnnie discovered last week. The only way I know how to do this is to find an area underwater with course well worked sand and just run your fingers back and forth thru the sand as you swim. Try and cover as much area as you can and if you are lucky you might find one. Watch out for broken glass and fireworms if you are in an area where they might be, just in case. AdventureAllison, Gavin and Trevor worked with me while AdventureDavid and Nicholas collected sea urchins for Madison and Dina who were taking a break in the boat. We searched and searched and searched till it was almost time to leave and just as I was getting ready to call it a day, my fingers found what we were looking for. I gently dug and sure enough it was a nice nine armed starfish. I was glad we found one! I really wanted Allison, Gavin and Trevor to see one since they had looked so hard too, and everyone had a chance to hold another new species and learn a little bit more about its behavior. On the way back I breathed a sigh of relief and was glad we got a bit lucky! I always love when things work out the way you hope!
Today, 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.
I anchored the boat over the same section of artificial reef where we had done so well last Friday. I watched as 6 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 AdventureNicholas 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 6, and I’m sure to Nicholas 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 only parts of fish. Glad I spent my whole life diving here and marked all the hot-spots where the fish were. Made things easy for me later on…
It didn’t take long for the big barracudas to show up and park themselves right underneath the hull. The way everyone was catching fish, they knew they had pulled up to an “all you could eat diner” and for free too. I heard AdventureDavid yell, “I have a big one, A BIG ONE!!!, and just when I turned around, I saw a big swoosh by the side of the boat . I watched as David lifted his line out of the water with nothing but the very nose of his “Big Fish” left dangling. So much for almost catching the “big one” but I know it didn’t get away. I knew that just underneath us was a fat and happy barracuda waiting for the next one to be reeled in too.
I decided to try and hook a barracuda for the kids to reel in so I rigged a line with some wire leader, put on a fish and tossed it out. The second it hit the water, and I mean second, the water exploded and a huge barracuda launched skyward with the bait in his mouth. I didn’t even get a chance to take a turn on the reel before he had eaten the bait and thrown the hook. I could tell that these big barracudas had been hooked on numerous occasions before! They knew exactly what to do! The huge barracuda landed right next to the boat with a mighty splash, just about soaking AdventureMadison in the process, and then was gone. Talk about exciting for every one, it was great!!!! I know they won’t forget that!
We were so busy having fish on that I am sorry to say I didn’t get much of a chance to take photos of the whole encounter. 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 6 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 and headed to the Rock Garden to get in the water, rinse off and feed the last bit of our bait to the friendly inhabitants. 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 6 happy kids would tell you that today!!!! Nothing but smiles!!! and the way I like it!!! Each day a real blessing! Thank you!
Come be a part of the Adventure!!! Just a few spaces left till next year… I guarantee your child will have fun!!!
See you soon,