Boating, Fishing and Snorkeling Fun!

Posted by 13 July, 2011 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We’ve been having so much FUN these past few weeks that I just haven’t found the time and energy to keep up to date with my blogs and posts. I’m running a couple weeks behind and its about time that I get right down to it!!! Thanks for your patience!Where does […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We’ve been having so much FUN these past few weeks that I just haven’t found the time and energy to keep up to date with my blogs and posts. I’m running a couple weeks behind and its about time that I get right down to it!!! Thanks for your patience!Where does the time go? For us it has been spent boating, fishing, snorkeling, seine netting, crab trapping, island hiking and exploring, and having all kinds of Adventure Fun!!! Fun from Here to There!!! 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 for this week at the Rock Garden has been the best the whole summer! Crystal clear water, flat calm and loads of fish in every direction you look!!! 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 AdventureMichael, Nicholas, William, Jacob, Vinnie, Domanik, Rocky, Eli and Gabrielle, they would all tell you the same thing! FUN FUN FUN from start to finish!!!

island group photo

We spent a bit of each 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 there, no one else in sight. Our very own swimming pool full of fish! Just the way I love it!!! Every where we looked were fish in all different sizes, shapes and colors imaginable. Large schools of snook and juvenile barracuda were all around us lying lazily in the shallows, their bellies gorged to the max on menhaden. At times the schools of menhaden and glass minnows were so thick you could hardly see a snorkeler thru them! It was just great, and did we ever love that!!!

Rock garden Fun

We spent a fair amount of time at the Rock Garden chasing fish thru the shallows with our nets. By the end of the week we caught some cool wrasse, a couple of beau gregories, lots of blennies, and even came up with a juvenile green moray eel that was a first for the camp and darn hard to keep in the net! It was a nice catch and cool to check out, before we let it go back into the rocks where we had found it. We found dozens of queen conchs and a few smaller hawkwing conchs scattered along the rocky bottom. Somewhere along the way, AdventureJacob found a nice milk conch that was just about fully mature but still had a thin lip that was just beginning to flare out. It was a nice find and another first for the camp! Not very common around here! Way to go Jacob!

Jacob finds a milk conch

Each day we came back to the Rock Garden, we would search for crabs under the rocks.We found hundreds, and I mean hundreds of blue-legged hermit crabs. There seemed to be dozens under each and 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 and rock crabs clinging to the undersides of the rocks. We caught dozens of swimming crabs and juvenile blue crabs and that kept us busy for a while!We all took turns checking out each others finds, and loved every minute of it!!! The big sheep head would follow us around trying to take the crabs right out of our fingertips! One morning, AdventureMichael came up with such a big blue crab, that even the sheep head knew better than to try and mess with this one! Nice Job Michael! One BIG crab too!!! Didn’t get pinched either! Alright!!!

Michael with Blue Crab

The coolest thing we found by turning over rocks in the shallows, was a juvenile octopus that would cling and stick to your hands with its suction cup tentacles, and just about never let go! It was a wonderful find and all the kids loved it, including even the big kids like me!!! We all took turns checking it out up close and personal. We watched as it siphoned water thru its sphericals and changed its color, which they are able to do by expanding or contracting their specialised pigment cells called chromatophores. By the end of the week, we had found 3 different ones. I know AdventureGabrielle sure loved holding this one! We all did!!!

Gabrielle with octopus

We spent about a half hour each day exploring the Big Sandbar and walking around in the shallows to see what we could discover. We found hundreds of fighting conchs laying eggs, saw dozens of scaly tailed mantis shrimp peeking their heads out of their holes, caught numerous juvenile blue crabs and star eyed hermit crabs, found more than a half dozen beaded starfish and even snorkeled and explored around a sunken boat where we found an inch long spiny burrfish and a few arrow crabs. On the way back to the boat, AdventureDomanik found a nice big Cushion Starfish that we all thought was way cool! Way to go Domanik!

Domanik with starfish

Each time we passed by the Big Sandbar, I put out a trolling line with a big silver “gotcha” plug on in the hopes that we would hook a barracuda for the kids to reel in, and that we could later use as bait in our crab traps or on our shark line. We had numerous fish on thru out the week, and every now and then we would catch a nice big one that would give a good fight and often leap clear of the water, and shake its head trying to dislodge the fish hook. It was a wonderful and exciting experience for the kids and everyone took turns reeling them in. AdventureMichael sure had fun reeling this nice barracuda in!

Group with barracuda

Thursday was our fishing day, and like every fishing day we’ve had this year, it was non-stop action from start to finish!! And I mean from the very second the line hit bottom! I just about couldn’t keep up with all the action these kids were having!! I baited the hooks and took fish off as fast as I could, but still I couldn’t keep up!!! I didn’t get a chance to even look at my watch until almost three hours went by! Talk about being busy, and having FUN, we were sure having it then!!! 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!!! I know AdventureEli sure had FUN catching this big grunt!!!

Eli catches a grunt

All I know is that this gang of Adventurers and I were beat by the time our fishing day came to an end!!! We had smiles on our faces from ear to ear, and had an absolute ball!!! We didn’t catch the big ones today, but we sure made up for that in quantity!!! Its hard not to have fun when your catching yellowtail snappers, lane snappers, ceasars grunts, tomtates, porgies, butter hamlets, pigfish and even a few big pinfish, one after another after another!!! By the hundreds!!! I know AdventureNick sure loved catching this nice yellowtail snapper!!!

Nick catches yellowtail snapper

Another day we went to the backside of Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting along the shallow grass flats. This is another thing the kids absolutely love! Sometimes you find dwarf seahorses sometimes juvenile barracudas and sometimes a variety of burrfish and puffers. You never know what you might come up with and I think thats whats the most FUN! Everyone loves checking, and clearing the net of fish, and when the net comes in, it is a blur of hands trying to pick up all the really cool things first!Sometimes all I hear is, “MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE…” What a pile of FUN!!!

seine netting

On this day we came up with some really big pipefish, a few juvenile barracudas, tons of mojarras, juvenile grunts and snappers, a couple of tiny hogsnappers, pink shrimp, grass shrimp and some nice checkered puffers!!! By the time we got done seine netting we had caught 7 checkered puffers and a few sharp nose puffers, and I can tell you everbody sure loved holding those!!! The really great thing too, is those checkered puffers seemed to inflate right on cue the minute you picked one up! We all loved that!!! I know AdventureWilliam sure did!!!

William with checkered puffer

After we were seine nettings and put away the net, we swam down to Sea Urchin Shoals and spent the next hour finding hundreds of short-spined or variegated sea urchins in every size, shape and color combination you could find! That’s how they get their name, variegated urchins, from the variety of colors they come in. It didn’t take us long to find them by the netfuls. They literally covered the bottom! We had a blast letting them stick to our hands with their tiny tube feet and looking for the smallest one we could find! I won on this day, finally!!! It was just great!

Sea urchin collectors

I think we swam half way around Little Munyon Island looking for sea urchins and trying to find the color combinations that we liked best. My favorite color combination is the one that has the bright white shell and the very tips of the short spines a rich deep purple. I didn’t find any of these today, but I’m always looking. Some of the kids liked the bright pink urchins, the brilliant red ones, or the green and pink banded ones. I think AdventureWilliam seemed to like them all, no matter which color they were!!! He was collecting them by the handfuls!!!

handful of sea urchins

As we swam thru a shallow section of sea grass beds, I heard AdventureGabrielle yelling that he found a puffer fish ,and I swam over to take a look. When I got close I could see him pointing to a nice big striped burrfish lying totally motionless, almost perfectly camouflaged amongst the sea grass. It was a nice find and I gently scooped it up in a small handnet so that we could al check it out. We took turns carefully and gently holding it, and inspecting it up close and personal. We were all careful to avoid placing our fingers near the mouth and teeth as they ae capable of giving a painful bite! Good job Gabrielle!!!

gabrielle and burrfish

On the way back to the boat, we came upon a BIG blue crab crawling about thru the shallows. We gave chase, and eventually had it cornered between all of us. It stood its ground and began to wave its claws menancing back and forth. I carefully scooped it up and held it by the back legs just where they attach to the shell or carapace. This is the best way I know how to handle a big blue crab without getting pinched. Well, most of the time anyway!!! I showed the group the proper way to hold it and AdventureRocky was the first to give it a try! I have to say, he handled that big crab perfectly!!! Way to go Rocky!!! And way to pay attention!!!

Rocky & blue crab

The last part of the day we spent at the beach snorkeling for shells and sea glass, and checking out the turtle tracks and nests from the night before. The kids had fun playing on the beach, digging for sand fleas and having chicken fights along the waters edge. There were a couple of good matches, and it was great fun to watch! Everyone had a ball horseing around till it was time to go!! It was just GREAT!!! On this day, AdventureMichael and Nicholas were the definite champs!!! Nice job guys! Way to have FUN!!!

horsefighting champ

What a way to end the day!!! What a wonderful way to end the week!!! I can tell you none of us was ready to go back when it was time to leave! We were just too busy having fun, Boating, Fishing and Snorkeling FUN!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!! Can’t wait to do it all over again next week!!! Hope you’ll join us!!! I know its going to be GREAT!!!! See you all soon!!!

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

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

All The Way From Hungary to Peanut Island!!!

Posted by 14 September, 2010 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!! I’m finally getting a chance to write about last weeks Adventure. Thought I would never get a chance to get to it! All the kids in Palm Beach County have been back in school for the past 2 weeks, but our Summer Camps have still been going strong! Seems like our […]

Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!!

I’m finally getting a chance to write about last weeks Adventure. Thought I would never get a chance to get to it! All the kids in Palm Beach County have been back in school for the past 2 weeks, but our Summer Camps have still been going strong! Seems like our Summer would never come to an end. And I for one, wish it wasn’t!!! We’ve had so much FUN!!! I never want it to stop!!! This past week we had a small group of three brothers, AdventureAdam, Aron and Ariel, come all the way from Hungary to enjoy a week of Adventure!!! And a week of Adventure we had! They got a referral from another group of Hungarian Adventurers, David and Dina, who joined me back in 2008 and decided to come as well. I’m glad they did!!! We had a blast!!!

3 boys and a puffer

These boys loved to snorkle, and every single day we would stop by the Rock Garden and swim for hours. They loved looking at the thousands of tropical fish, swimming in the warm crystal clear water and just searching for anything they could find. Sometimes it was hard to get them out of the water to go do something else. One thing is certain, the water in Hungary is not like the water here! They said they never saw so many fish and had so much FUN being in the water. And no doubt, it is a lot warmer here than there!!! I could just tell by the way they were smiling, they appreciated everything they saw!!! And so did I!!!

Brothers underwater

We spent a good bit of time checking under rocks and searching for some big swimming crabs they could catch in their nets. It seems that no matter where you are from, catching crabs is always a big hit!!! We couldn’t find or catch them fast enough!!! By the time we caught 10, they wanted to catch 10 more! Once they found and caught some really big ones, they wanted to find and catch even bigger ones! The more the merrier, the bigger the better! That sure sounded familiar!!! Just like the rest of us!!! I’ve heard it all Summer!!! I could tell AdventureAron never wanted to quit!!! He was having just too much FUN!!!

Aron with a swimming crab

AdventureAdam would spend most of his time trying to catch fish in his hand net. He would turn over a small rock and patiently wait for the fish to come check out what might be underneath. It wasn’t long before he came up with some nice seaweed blennies and a few small gobies. But it seems he had his mind set on catching some slippery and wary wrasse that were a lot more difficult to fool, much quicker at swimming and a lot harder to catch. After about 10 minutes he finally figured out the secret, and it was great to watch him having fun coming up with one or two in his net at a time!! Nice Job Adam!!!

Adam netting wrasse

Another day we motored down to Munyon Island to take an island hike and do a little exploring. They wanted to get out and walk around, look for some shells and see if anything may have washed up on the beach. Just about every single thing from sea shells to coconuts they thought was cool! Stuff like that never washes up in Hungary!!! They were excited about EVERYTHING and wanted to keep it ALL!!! And that’s just the way I love it!!! The minute we set foot on the beach they were off and running, finding hermit crabs and searching the rocks for any other “treasures” they could find! I could tell they were loving every minute of it! So was I!!!

Boys on the rocks

After we were done having fun doing this, we put on our snorkle gear and swam down to Sea Urchin Shoals and spent the next hour finding hundreds of short-spined sea urchins in every size, shape and color combination you could find! We had a blast letting them stick onto our hands using their tiny tube feet. The ones we liked finding best were the big black and white, short spined ones that seemed to have twice the number of tube feet as the rest. Once they attached themselves to your hand they were almost hard to get off! The most common ones we found were the greenish white ones with pink and puple spines. It didn’t take AdventureAron long to pick up an armful of those!

Aron with sea urchins

The last hour of the day we walked and swam around Little Munyon Island looking for shells, some large cushion starfish and sea grass hermit crabs. AdventureAriel picked up some empty queen conch shells while Aron picked up some large oyster shells to bring home. We found a couple of cool land hermit crabs too. One had to be an escaped or released pet as it was living in an empty murex shell that is found only in the Pacific. A bit further down the beach we came upon some really nice big Australian pine tree stumps that were quite weathered and made for a good photo backdrop. We all had fun taking pictures here.

Adam, Aron and Ariel

Another day we stopped by the Big Sandbar to do some snorkeling around the edge. The tide was dead high so walking the bar was out of the question. We were hoping to find some 9 armed starfish and maybe a beaded starfish or two. Lucky for us, today was our lucky day!!! Not only did we find a beaded starfish, but we eventually found three 9 armed starfish as well!!! All within about a ten foot area. How great is that! The first two 9 armed starfish we found were quite large and the boys sure loved finding them,!!! I loved taking the pictures!!! I couldn’t believe we found a third one just a few feet away as we headed back to the boat. that’s about as good as it gets!!!

brothers with starfish

From here we decided to head over to Pufferfish Beach and try our luck at finding checkerboard pufferfish. We were in the water only a few seconds before we spotted the first two! They were coming down the beach one right after another and it wasn’t long before we had another one in the net! A few moments after that we had another, and before you could count to 300, we had a bucketful!!! The boys would take turns running them back up the beach to put in our bucket. I could tell the boys were really having FUN when the pufferfish inflated with air. I could hear them squealing with laughter the whole way back to the bucket like there was no tomorrow. I knew they never saw those before in Hungary!!! It was just GREAT!!!

puffers and shells

Between finding 9 armed starfish, catching a bucketful of puffers and collecting some fighting conchs along the way; I don’t think this group of adventurous brothers ever had so much FUN!!! They were going non-stop and laughing and smiling all the way!!! Just the way I love it!!! They begged me to bring the puffers and starfish back to show their parents so we placed them in a large plastic bin and filled it up with fresh sea water. We changed the water regularly, and after we showed them off, we let them go where we found them. It was just GREAT to see the kids so happy!!!

puffers, starfish and shells

Thursday was our fishing day, and as usual we caught fish almost non stop the whole time. We stopped at the artificial reef and dropped the anchor. I took a few seconds to show the boys how to bait the hooks and release the line down. Before you knew it, they all had a fish on at the very same time!!! It was just wonderful watching them catch fish one right after the other, and bigger than any of them had ever caught before!!! Every fish they caught, they thought was just huge! It was just GREAT!!! I guess the fishing in Hungary was not quite as fast paced and exciting as it was on this day! Lucky for me!!!

trio of grunts

For over 3 hours, Adam, Aron and Ariel caught fish!!! I didn’t think they were ever going to quit. We caught all kinds of fish from lane snappers to grunts, sailors choice, spot-tail pinfish, and more. It sure was a blast watching them get excited everytime one of them brought in another species they had never seen before. AdventureAdam and Aron would help take off Ariel’s fish just about every time he brought one in. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get him to hold one in his hand for a picture. Maybe next year! I think his favorite fish he caught was a seargent major, not anywhere near his biggest, but certainly the most colorful one he caught. I could tell he thought it was cool!!! Way to go!

Ariel and sergeant major

AdventureAron caught some really nice big lane snappers and a few Ceasars grunts and tons of tomtates! AdventureAdam caught most of the same, and non stop too! I think his favorite fish was a nice big porkfish that was also about as equally colorful as the seargent major that Ariel caught, but a good bit bigger. I could tell they weren’t used to seeing or catching so many different species of fish, and especially ones so colorful. They wanted to keep everything in a bucket to bring back to show mom but we decided to let them all go where we caught them. Either way, they had Fun and that’s what counts. Nice big porkfish Adam! You don’t catch them too often!

Adam with porkfish

On the morning of the last day we stopped by the Big Sandbar to do some snorkeling. The tide was way high and the sandbar was totally submerged. We had fun swimming around the whole bar collecting West Indian and Florida fighting conchs, looking at tons of mantis shrimp, watching small barracudas chase menhaden and even finding a few beaded starfish to check out. It was a great way to start the day! AdventureAdam took a moment to hold up his “treasures’ for a quick photo op then we released them and motored over to the Rock Garden.

Three brothers collecting

We spent about an hour at the Rock Garden checking out all the fish and looking for some big queen conchs along the edge of the rocks. It wasn’t long before Adam, Aron and Ariel found a few nice ones that had bright pink interiors. I know they wanted to find an empty shell to bring home but everyone of the mollusks was living and I was happy for that. They are not found in too many places around here any more and I’m glad to see them doing so well. On the way back to the boat we found a nice big Cushion Starfish to check out, and I know they loved that as well!!! Nice find!

starfish and conchs

We spent another hour over at Pufferfish Beach looking for puffers. It didn’t take us long to find some, and we spent a good bit of that time chasing and catching checkerboard puffers like there was no tomorrow. Today was the last day of official “Summer Camp” and we were making the very best of the time we had left! I could tell these boys weren’t ready for the week to come to an end!!! And neither was I!!! We were just too busy having FUN and chasing and catchings those pufferfish in our net sure was a BLAST!!!

boys and four puffers

The last half hour of the day the boys wanted to spend back at the beach along the ocean looking for some shells to bring home as souvenirs. The Ocean was flat calm and shells were everywhere to be found! We collected a bunch along with some nice peices of smooth sea glass, then spent the last few minutes enjoying the warm crystal clear water before having to load up and head back. There was no doubt in my mind these 3 boys, all the way from Hungary, were just not ready to head back home!!! They didn’t want this last day at the beach to come to an end!!! And neither did I!!!

Boys on the beach

On the way back in, I couldn’t help but think just how fast this Summer seemed to fly by! It seemed like it was just yesterday that the Summer started and AdventureMike’s was in full swing! I couldn’t believe it was over. We had so much FUN!!! We found so many cool things to share and talk about! We caught so many fish! We had such a great time! We smiled and laughed like crazy! We had a BLAST from start to finish!!! We had one heck of an Adventure!!! All summer long!!! I just can’t wait to do it all over again!!! Good thing I have a bunch of custom session birthday parties coming up! don’t forget to schedule yours! They’re going to be GREAT!!! Christmas and Holiday break camps and Spring Camps seem so far away right now!!! But I know they too will fill up quickly! And I’m ready to go have FUN!!! How about you? See you soon…

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2010: August 31 - September 3 Tags : , , , , , , ,

Adventure in an Octopuses Garden

Posted by 30 June, 2010 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone! Welcome Back!!! I’m finally getting a chance to sit down and write about last weeks Adventure and let me tell you we had loads of FUN from start to finish! It seems that every week just gets better and better! The weather has been just great, the water is as warm as a […]

Hi Everyone! Welcome Back!!!

I’m finally getting a chance to sit down and write about last weeks Adventure and let me tell you we had loads of FUN from start to finish! It seems that every week just gets better and better! The weather has been just great, the water is as warm as a bathtub and there are fish of every size, shape and color to be seen!!! EVERYWHERE!!! The kids and I have been on a roll and we are ready for Adventure as soon as the day begins. It seems that no matter how early I get to the boat ramp somebody is there waiting for me with a giant smile from ear to ear and ready and raring to go have some FUN!!! Just like me, and that’s just the way I Love It!

group photo with octopus

We began the first day going to the Rock Garden and as soon as we got in the water we spotted big schools of snook chasing menhaden right onto the beach! What a way to begin! The menhaden had arrived by the tens of thousands and everyone loved watching the snook, jacks and juvenile barracudas chase them around us for a meal. Sometimes the schools of fish were so thick you couldn’t see thru them and we absolutely loved that! We all brought little hand nets and tried our luck catching as many different fish as we could. It sure kept us busy having FUN!!!

group photo netting

We searched the shallows occasionally turning over small rocks to see what’s underneath. Every now and then someone would come up with a very delicate brittlestarfish or a purple and blue pistol shrimp and we would check them out up close and personal before letting them go under the very rock we found them. We saw hundreds of seaweed blennies but had difficulty trying to catch them as they darted back and forth from rock to rock. AdventureBeth and Zara spent most of the time having fun searching for Queen Conchs and they came up with quite a few. We all had fun watching as the mollusks would shyly peek back out at us from within their shells.

Beth and Zara find conchs

One of the favorite things we love to do is search for shortnosed pufferfish. Every now and then one of the kids would find one and we would all give chase hoping to catch it in our net. Sometimes we would catch them and sometimes we wouldn’t, but we had loads of FUN all the same! And like I’ve said before, you just can’t believe how quickly a tiny pufferfish can take off straight way, then instantly stop, change direction and race right between your feet never to be seen again! It didn’t take AdventureLeah long before she could expertly catch them like she had been doing it her whole life! Nice JOB!!!

Leah nets a big crab

Occasionally we would turn over a big rock and find ourselves face to face with a nice Big swimming crab waving its claws back and forth in a menacing gesture. We knew they were just waiting for a chance to grab our finger but we were all careful and they never did. These crabs can swim rapidly from side to side and sometimes it takes two or three of us to corner them before we get one. They can give a good pinch if you are unlucky enough to not be paying close attention when the action begins and you’ve got to hold them just RIGHT!!! I learned that one years ago the hard way… This possibility never stopped AdventureNicholas from catching some big swimming crabs and holding them up for us to see! That’s one BIG Crab!!!

Nicholas holds one big crab

One of the coolest things we found and the kids absolutely loved, was a pair of yellow rays lying buried in the sand. I gently scooped one up and after making absolutely certain it didn’t have any venomous barbs, we all took turns holding it and checking it out. We loved when it would pump the water out its sphericals and suck on to us, not even trying to get away! This cute little ray let us hold him until our hearts were content and we all loved that! It would even suck onto the wet hair on our heads and stick there like that’s where it belonged! And did we ever love that too!!!

Zara with a barbless ray

One day during low tide we went to Little Munyon Island to seine net the shallow grass flats to see what we could find. This is always one of the kids favorite things to do. You never know what you may come up with and lucky for us, today was one of those days! Sometimes it just pays to be lucky! On the very first pull of the net we came up with some juvenile barracudas, lots of file fish, tiny yellowtail snappers, grunts, mojarras and a few hogfish, loads of sea grass shrimp and some big pink shrimp.

Finding treasures in the net

The second pull of the net we got even luckier! As soon as the kids brought the net on to the beach I could see some dwarf seahorses. Full grown dwarf seahorses reach about an inch and a half in length for a big one. We don’t get them very often and they are always a cool find! As usual we got more filefish, juvenile barracudas, a couple of short-nosed pufferfish and two checkerboard pufferfish as well. The minute the pufferfish were out of the water they filled themselves up with air and “puffed up” to twice their normal size. The kids absolutely loved that and so did I! AdventureReese came up with a nice one that puffed up in his hand and we nick named it Puff Daddy the pufferfish!

Reese with puffdaddy

On the very last pull of the net we got even luckier!!! We caught more pufferfish, parrotfish, pipefish, barracudas, hogfish, snappers, pinfish, etc., and the very Best Of All, a very large male Lined Seahorse!!! This seahorse was about 7 inches long and absolutely beautiful!!! What makes this so cool is that it is the very first one we ever caught seine netting in this area. everybody wanted to take a closer look and we had so much FUN checking it out! We were so lucky to have caught the only two known species of sea horses found in this area all in the same hour! Now just how COOL is that! It was great to be able to check out both species side by side at the same time!!!

We find a lined seahorse

After we released our “treasures” where we found them, we took a quick hike around the island and found hundreds of sea urchins, dozens of big hermit crabs and loads of blue claw crabs with the bluest claws you’ve ever seen! We even came up with 7 beaded starfish in a variety of sizes and some nice crown conchs as well!!! It was just GREAT!

Of course, Thursday was our fishing day and it is 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! And on this day it was no different!!! I took them to my secret snapper hole and we caught snappers non stop till we were almost too tired to bring any more in!!! And that’s just the way I love it!!!

A bunch of snappers

After a couple hours of snapper fishing we went to the artificial reef to try and catch some different things. We came up with some yellowtail snappers, tomtates, some Big Ceasars grunts, dozens of large spottail pinfish and a few beautiful parrotfish. The kids hooked a few BIG fish we could not get to the boat and I think on more than one occasion they became lunch for some big barracudas!!! AdventureChristopher was the first to catch a nice big colorful porkfish and everybody loved that!

Christopher catches a porkfish

Every now and then we will get into a school of porgies that are aggressive feeders and hard fighters for their size! Today was one of those days! Before long everybody had one on and you should have seen the kids work hard to reel them in on ultra light tackle! Just about the time the kids would get them next to the boat, the porgies would take off swimming hard again and the kids would have to reel like crazy to bring in the line they just lost! It was just great! AdventureJacob caught quite a few nice ones and I loved that!

Jacob catches a porgy

On the morning of the last day we stopped by the Rock Garden to enjoy all the fish and had a ball swimming thru schools of menhaden, watching snook and just checking out the thousands of tropical fish that live here. The water was just beautiful and we never wanted to get leave! As the tide dropped we decided to head to the Big Sandbar and have FUN looking for Mantis Shrimp, fighting conchs, starfish and playing in the Hot Tub! AdventureChristopher and Nicholas loved finding a big red Cushion Starfish that was one of the largest I’ve ever seen here! Nice Going Guys!!!

Christopher, Nicholas and starfish

We ended the day finding a lovely octopus crawling about in the shallows looking for crabs and I know that was one of the very best things the kids loved all week. Me Too!!! We rarely see them out and about in the day time and boy were we LUCKY!!! I think I’ve said that before! This was the very first one I’ve seen in over a year and I’m always looking! It was great to watch the kids lie nearby and watch the octopus reach out with an arm and gently touch them! We had so much FUN watching it change colors from light brown to bright red and the kids were smiling from ear to ear!!! Me too of course!!!. I know AdventureBeth loved watching that octopus crawl slowly past, right in front of her nose!!!

Beth watches an octopus

As I watched the octopus head into deeper water and the kids following closely behind, smiles by the miles in view, I couldn’t help but think how lucky we were to have spent the day in an Octopuses Garden! All to ourselves. Just how COOL is that!!! I know I LOVED IT!!! WE ALL DID!!! IT JUST DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS!!! And I can’t wait till next week to do it all over again!!! Who knows what we may discover or adventure we may have, but one things certain, we are going to have FUN!!! From start to Finish!!! I guarantee it!!! Hope you’ll join us in the Adventure!!! It’s going to be GREAT!!! Stay tuned… See you soon…..

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2010: June 22 - June 25 Tags : , , , , , , , ,

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 : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,