Spring Break Adventure 2012

Posted by 31 March, 2012 (0) Comment

Hi Everybody, Welcome back!!! We”ve just finished up another Spring Break Adventure and what a wonderful adventure we had!!! We spent the week boating, snorkeling, fishing, island hiking, exploring the sandbars, watching for manatees and bottlenose dolphins, finding horseshoe crabs, scaly mantis shrimp and cool starfish of al kinds. We found dozens of variegated sea […]

Hi Everybody, Welcome back!!!

We”ve just finished up another Spring Break Adventure and what a wonderful adventure we had!!! We spent the week boating, snorkeling, fishing, island hiking, exploring the sandbars, watching for manatees and bottlenose dolphins, finding horseshoe crabs, scaly mantis shrimp and cool starfish of al kinds. We found dozens of variegated sea urchins, west indian sea eggs, blue crabs and hermit crabs, watched schools of squid change colors right before our eyes, found beautiful pink queen conchs and fighting conchs galore, and caught pufferfish bare-handed day after day! We found a half dozen spotted yellow rays swimming amongst the shallows. I caught a few in hand net, took off the venemous barbs, which will begin to grow back after a few days, just so we could check them out up close and personal. We even went out along the beach most calm mornings to check out the schools of small spinner sharks and blacktip sharks that migrate past this time of year. We saw dozens swimming right off the beach! It was just GREAT!!! But best of all, I had a fabulous group of kids, and we had non-stop FUN and ADVENTURE from start to finish, each and every day!!! It just doesn’t get any better than that!!!

Group Photo

The tides were high most of the week and the Big Sandbar was covered underwater more often that not, but this didn’t stop us from romping around and catching blue crabs by the dozens! We had a blast chasing them down and catching them with our hand nets, and even at times with our bare hands. Occasionally, it would get really exciting when one would scurry right under your foot where the sand was stirred up, and we couldn’t help but think it was looking for our toes! This sure didn’t stop AdventureMatthew from catching his share and showing us one crab right after another!

Matthew with a blue crab

AdventureMax caught a pile himself and pretended he was the one that was going to have a blue crab for lunch. I wasn’t quite sure who was going to eat who, if he happened to drop it by mistake, still alive and kicking, right in his mouth! One thing for certain, he was sure having FUN, and he entertained us most of the morning! Way to go Max!!!

Max having fun

We spent a good bit of time each morning snorkeling about at the Rock Garden.Later, we would end up snorkeling in the protected inland lagoon looking for hermit crabs, juvenile lobsters, sea urchins and more! We hoped we might see a manatee again sun bathing in the shallows, but had no luck this day. AdventureMickey came up with a nice red hermit crab living within a discarded fighting conch shell, and I could tell he was having FUN holding that one up for us to see!!! His smile was contageous, and we all took turns checking that hermit crab out!

Mickey finds a hermit crab

Every morning we found spotted yellow rays swimming in the shallows or lying motionless on the gravelly sand. I caught one in a small hand net and removed the venemous barb so that we could handle it safely and check out its sphericals and tiny mouth, filled with two bony sand-paper like plates that are capable of crushing very small mollusks or invertebrates for food. The kids loved when the ray would “suck” on to their shirt, or head for that matter, and have to be gently removed by hand after a few seconds. I know AdventureMatthew was having FUN, but his older brother AdventureJohn was a bit more hesitant on this day. By the end of the week though, he was a trooper just like the rest of them!!! Way to go Matthew and John!!!

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Every morning that we passed by the Big Sandbar or had to slow down for a no-wake zone, I would put out a light tackle rod and troll for a barracuda, blue runner or jack crevalle. We all took turns putting the line out and reeling fish in, and every now and then we would catch a nice barracuda that we would later use as bait on a shark line or save for our crab traps. AdventureRachael holds up a nice barracuda that is about typical of the size we normally catch. Nice job Rachael! Nice barracuda too!!!

rachael with a barracuda

Each day we stopped by the Big Sandbar to do some exploring, shallow water snorkeling and look for big orange or red Cushion Starfish lying on the sandy bottom. Everytime we stopped by, the kids found a few, and we would all take turns checking them out and taking a few photos ops for our own entertainment, and for that of the parents as well! Some of these starfish were quite large, and the kids all loved that!!! AdventureJohn and Matthew would take turns catching crabs and finding starfish and I could tell they were having FUN too!!!

starfish heads

Not to be out done, AdventureDylan and Rachael had a blast finding Cushion Starfish of their own and acting silly along the way! They looked like naturals, wearing those two starfish as hats, and I could tell they must have practiced their posture, since those starfish never fell off! Way to be entertaining Dylan and Rachael!!! Nice Starfish Hairdo!!!

More starfish heads

One day we snorkeled the whole way around Peanut Island and had a blast finding all sorts of cool things! We saw more spotted yellow rays, schools of mullet by the hundreds and found queen conchs galore! We found tons of blue legged hermit crabs, chased and caught short nosed pufferfish by the dozens and had more FUN than you could imagine!!! AdventureRachael found piles of west indian sea eggs, which are an uncommon species of sea urchin around here. They were feeding on the algae and sea grass growing in the shallows. It was just GREAT!!! Nice find Rachael!!!

Rachael with a west indian sea egg

AdventureMickey had a blast snorkeling the whole way around the island and just checking out everything in general. He didn’t seem to care what he saw or found! He just loved it all!!! And so did we!!! AdventureMicky first came to my camp about 3 years ago, had never snorkeled, been on a boat or ever caught a fish! Let me tell you, 3 years later, he is as comfortable and a natural swimmer as you’ll ever see!!! Mickey, you have come a long ways!!! Way to ROCK, and SWIM for that matter!!!

Mickey underwater

We spent another morning exploring the islands and estuaries, and the shallow rocky oyster covered sandbars. We talked about the benefits of mangroves, algae’s and sea grasses, and how this type of natural habitat is necessary and crucial to the juvenile reef fish, crabs and millions of crustaceans and invertebrates that inhabit this marine ecosystem. It is vital and necessary to preserve and maintain as much of this environment as possible, for without this, the water quality and near shore marine life would diminish greatly! Along the way I showed them wild coffee plants and thorny knicker beans. An interesting fact, the husk of the knicker bean is used in making quinine, an anti-malarial medicine. How neat is that!

island adventure

We took a nice hike along a nature trail on Munyon Island to the backside, or east side of the island. We ended up hiking along a narrow spit of land along the red mangroves and found a half dozen or so molts of horseshoe crabs. We hoped to see a few live ones crawling along the bottom, but no luck today. Horseshoe crabs, like all marine crustaceans, shed their outer carapace as they grow. After this molt, they fill their now soft body with sea water, and stretch out their skin. After a few days, their now much larger outer shell turns hard, giving them room to grow. Horseshoe crabs are related to spiders and enzymes from their blood are used in medicine to make blood thinners. How cool is that!!!

finding horseshoe crabs

Thursday was our fishing day and we went to one of my secret spots and everyone caught lane snappers, pigfish, big grunts and tomtates non -stop! It was a blast watching everyone catch fish by the dozens!!! Like as fast as you could “bait your hook and drop down” dozens!!! It was just GREAT, and as usual, there were a few sore arms from reeling fish in afterwards!!! Just the way I love it!!! AdventureDylan, yes, the same girl who holds the all time biggest fish record caught for my summer camp on my boat Dylan, (49lb barracuda on 6lb test, Yippee!!!) and her brother, AdventureJohn holds up a couple of nice fish! Way to go again!!!

Dylan and Matthew

AdventureMax caught lane snappers, big grunts and tons of other fish, along with some unusual pufferfish with really neat markings, that we just started seeing in the lake a couple years ago. He always does well and is a great fisherman too! loves to fish like their is no tomorrow! And as he said to me about 3 years ago on one of his first adventures with me, “Fishing is my Mojo”. Well, mine too buddy! Nice Job!!!

Max catches a strange pufferfish

AdventureJohn, Dylan and Matthews brother, seemed to be fishing in the right spot! Time after time, he would hook up with something big and have a real battle trying to get it in on light tackle! It turned out to be one big porgy after another, and after watching that going on non-stop for half an hour, I was wanting to grab a rod myself and move over right next to him and have a go at it too!!! Needless to say, he seemed to be catching the biggest ones that day!!! Way to catch another big porgy John!!! Nice fish!!!

AdventureJohn catches a Big Porgy

The really great thing about this spot is, you never know what you might catch!!! Over the years we have caught dozens and dozens of different species of fish, in all sizes, shapes and colors!!! This is also where AdventureDylan caught her huge barracuda that ate her lane snapper she was reeling in, but not quite fast enough!!! Good thing for her too, cause that barracuda was a monster!!! Yes, I had to post a photo of that fish again!!!

Dylan's Monster Barracuda!

Anyway, on this day she didn’t catch another monster baracuda, but she did catch an unusual filefish that had a set of really sharp teeth and extremely rough skin covered with denticles, just like that of a shark, not with scales like most other fish. She always seems to catch not only a ton of fish, but all kinds as well!!! Nice Job Dylan!!! Again!!!

Dylan catches a filefish

On the last day we took another wonderful snorkel adventure along the backside of Peanut Island. As we were swimming along catching sharpnosed pufferfish and finding sea urchins, etc., I hear AdventureDylan yell, “AdventureMike, come over here quick! I’ve found something!!!”. I quickly swam over and took a look, and low and behold, she had found a large scaly mantis shrimp totally out of its burrough, just crusing along the bottom. What a find!!! This doesn’t happen often!!! Mantis shrimp have large front arms, like those of a preying mantis, with spikes on those arms used for impaling their prey, hence their name! When encountered, it would be best to leave these well enough alone so as not to get your thumb split, but I knew how to handle them and showed the kids the proper technique without getting stuck. We all took turns checking it out up close and personal, and loved the experience. It ws just GREAT!!! AdventureMax was careful to hold it well!!!

Max with a mantis shrimp

Just as our last day was coming to an end, we found another small spotted yellow ray that didn’t have a barb, and we all took turns checking that one out as well!!! It seemed to be a fitting way to end the weeks Adventure. We started out finding spotted yellow rays and ended finding spotted yellow rays. What a GREAT DAY!!! What a GREAT WEEK full of FUN and ADVENTURE!!! What a GREAT group of kids!!! It just doesn’t get any better than that!!!

Dylan with a spotted yellow ray

I just can’t wait to go do it all over again!!! Stay tuned…. See you all soon!!!

Let’s Go have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

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Boating, Fishing and Snorkeling FUN!!!

Posted by 25 July, 2011 (0) Comment

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

Hi Everybody, Welcome Back!!!

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

group photo

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

Matthew chasing fish

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

Trip with queen conch

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

crab catchers

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

Dylan with hermit crab

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

matthew and barracuda

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

Davina with smallest starfish

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

3 blue crabs

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

On the rocks

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

seine netting

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

Juvenile barracudas and puffers

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

Rachel with sea urchin

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

Long spined urchin

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

Davina catches another fish

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

Rachel's Big Barracuda

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

Group with barracuda

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

Manatees

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

Bottlenose Dolphin

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

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!
AdventureMike

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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 6: Snorkeling and A New Fishing Record!!!

Posted by 10 July, 2009 (3) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We just finished up the third day of our weekly Adventure and let me tell you it has been absolutely FABULOUS!!! This week has been just perfect!!! I’m not even sure where to begin! We’ve had so much FUN since the very first second we left the dock!!! It seems like […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We just finished up the third day of our weekly Adventure and let me tell you it has been absolutely FABULOUS!!! This week has been just perfect!!! I’m not even sure where to begin! We’ve had so much FUN since the very first second we left the dock!!! It seems like this adventure has been going on for weeks, not just 3 days! Just love it like this!!! On Tuesday AdventureGeorge, Peyton and I were joined by 6 New Adventurers, Adventurer’sLeah, Nicholas, Emily, Daniel and Joseph. And the best thing, this group not only swims like fish, they know how to make the most of an Adventure!!! It doesn’t get any better than this!!!

Group photo at the Rock Garden

Group photo at the Rock Garden

We started the first day going to the Rock Garden. The tide was high, the water crystal clear and fish everywhere by the thousands! As soon as we got in the water we saw big snook chasing menhaden, small barracudas on the prowl, parrotfish, surgeonfish and sergeant majors by the hundreds! Everywhere you looked there were fish in every size, shape and color. So many different species of fish just too numerous to mention!  It was just GREAT!!! The first wonderful highlight of the morning occurred when we caught a small sharpnosed pufferfish and watched as it puffed itself up as if on cue with water to almost double its size. Always love catching these!!! Had a chance to take some nice photos as everyone had a chance to hold it and check it out. Everybody had smiles from ear to ear as this was going on! Everyone was on the hunt with nets and catching swimming crabs, blennies, rock crabs, hermit crabs, pistol shrimp, etc. You name it, we just about caught it!!!

Emily with a pufferfish!

Emily with a pufferfish!

The second fabulous highlight of the morning occurred when we discovered a nice yellow ray swimming along the bottom without a barb.  We quickly surrounded it and were able to catch it in a net. This gave everyone a wonderful chance to check it out up close and personal since it was totally harmless. It was just great!!! We brought it back to the boat to take some photos and give everyone the opportunity to check out the mouth underneath and the sphericals on the top behind the eyes. It would lay in our hands like it belonged there without even wriggling! Did we all love this!!! Just GREAT!!! After a few minutes we let it go and watched as it swam back to the bottom and continued on its way. We spent the whole day snorkeling here. We never wanted to leave we were having so much FUN!

Yellow Ray with no barb! Nice find!

Yellow Ray with no barb! Nice find!

The second day we went back to the Rock Garden since we had so much FUN the previous day and found a baby octopus peaking out of his hole at us as we swam by. It seemed he was as curious about us as we were about him. We would stare eye to eye for minutes and boy did we all love this! We also found some cool jawfish and a baby flying gurnard crawling across the sand with its modified ventral fins that act more like legs than fins. Such a cool find! From here we went to the beach and spent the rest of the day snorkeling, collecting sea glass, shells and body surfing in the waves. We were having so much fun nobody wanted to call it a day when it was time to leave!  On the way back to the boat we saw some big tarpon in the shallows! Really cool seeing that! And on the way home we saw 2 big eagle rays swimming slowly side by side and we were able to motor right up next to them just a few feet away. They didn’t seem to mind that we were there and we loved that too!!!
And of course you all know that Thursday is our fishing day. And let me tell you, DID WE HAVE FUN TODAY!!! We set all kinds of records that may never be beaten! And I mean NEVER!!! Unfortunatel 2 adventurers couldn’t make it this morning so AdventureGeorge and Joseph missed the boat since their moms called and let me know they weren’t going to make it. They won’t believe what they missed! We had so much FUN today!!! Sorry guys…

Another quadruple hook-up!!!

Another quadruple hook-up!!!

I arrived at the dock at 9AM, and AdventureReese, Leah, Peyton, Nicholas, Emily and Daniel were quick to load up and as excited as you could be about fishing! Man were they raring to go!!! Luckily I had 5 pounds of squid already cut up into bite size morsels and 20 extra rigs already made! I wasn’t going to be having any help today so I had prepared everything as best as I could! Little did I know then how unbelievable our day of fishing was going to be!!! I quickly motored out to one of my “secret spots” and  when I drove over it with the fathometer on, we marked thousands of fish from top to bottom! The bottom was litterally “swimming” with fish!!! I anchored right above the rocky ledge, got the rods ready and handed them out. From the very minute we baited the hooks and dropped them down the rest was just a blur!!!
Instantly, and I mean INSTANTLY everyone had a fish on. AdventureReese, Leah, Peyton, Nicholas, Emily and Daniel caught fish faster than I have ever seen, and I mean EVER SEEN!!! Like in my whole life of fishing! You didn’t have 3 seconds from the moment you dropped down till you had a fish on, most times I couldn’t count to 1 second! EVERYONE had fish on ALL THE TIME!!! The action was so unbelievable that everyone was baiting and taking off their own fish!! I couldn’t even keep up with just one adventurer by myself today, the action was so hot!!!
The kids caught all kinds of fish in every size shape and color you could imagine. They caught fish I have never seen caught on rods before. From Parrotfish, snapper, grunts, cottonwicks, sailors choice, tomtates, scorpionfish, banded pufferfish, threadfin herring, porkfish,  butter hamlets, etc. You name it, I think they caught it!! We had groupers eating our bait and fish left and right and cutting us off in the rocks!!! Just Unbelievable. We had one very exciting moment occurr while AdventurePeyton was waiting for me to take his big Caesars Grunt off a big shark came up and ate it right at the side of the boat; hook, line and sinker!!! Just about splashed us in the frenzy. And while that was going on, a huge barracuda came up and ate Reeses fish off too!!! Man was that exciting too!!! Talk about having FUN, we were having it NOW!!! I know none of us will ever forget this day of fishing!!! I didn’t get a chance to look at my watch for 3 hours. It was just that crazy!!!
By the time 3 hours were over and done with, we had boated 419 fish!!! That’s right, you read that number correctly!!!  419 FISH!!!  BROUGHT IN THE BOAT!!!  And that does not include what we lost, had on or got eaten by something else!!! As fast as we could catch them and release them, we had 6 more on!!! I have NEVER seen anything LIKE THIS!!! I may never again!!! It set an all new fishing record for AdventureMike’s that may NEVER be beat!!! And I mean NEVER!!!  It never let up!!! From BIG FISH TO SMALL FISH, WE CAUGHT THEM all!!! God I love this job!!!!!
Somehow or other AdventureDaniel caught this tiny pufferfish on a hook that I had never seen done before and I bet him he would never catch another one like that again. Well just to prove me wrong, not only did he catch another one, he caught another two!!! Talk about losing a bet, Oh Boy…. I loved every minute of it!!!!!!!!! Just GREAT!!!  :-)

Daniel catches his first pufferfish!

Daniel catches his first pufferfish!

In the end, the final tally was: AdventurePeyton with 43 fish, Reese with 54, maybe even more? Lost count, oops.., Leah with 67, Nicholas with 71, Emily with 73, and the new all time winner, AdventureDaniel with 111 fish!!! I can’t tell you just how good I feel right now!!  Today was one of those “ONCE IN A LIFETIME DAYS!!! Is it possible to get any better than this or have more FUN? I don’t think so… What a day it was!!! I will never hear, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” without thinking about this day! never!!!
We caught so many fish!  I can’t even begin to guess how many we had on besides that. It was amazing!!! I would have given anything to have it all on video!!!  I have no idea what made the action so extra special, or what made the fish bite like they did, but I know one thing for sure, not one of these adventurers will ever forget this day, and neither I !!!!
We had fun!!! We had a blast!! ! We had a once in a lifetime day!!! And we all had a story to tell!!! It may sound like a “fish story” to some, but we all know differently! WE LIVED THE ADVENTURE!!! And if you saw the smiles on the faces that I did today, you would never forget it either!!! Thank you !!!

God, I love my job!!!! How can we have this much fun!!! I must still be dreaming… YOU GUYS ROCK!! I can’t wait till tomorrow!!!

LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: July 6 - July 9 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,