Another Week in Paradise!

Posted by 27 June, 2010 (1) Comment

Hi Everyone! Welcome Back!!! I’m finally getting a chance to write about last weeks Adventure. I left immediately after camp on Friday to spend the weekend in the Bahamas swimming with Spotted and Bottlenose Dolphin and some nice big Tiger Sharks on the ridge. Saw quite a few big grouper on some sunken wrecks too […]

Hi Everyone! Welcome Back!!!

I’m finally getting a chance to write about last weeks Adventure. I left immediately after camp on Friday to spend the weekend in the Bahamas swimming with Spotted and Bottlenose Dolphin and some nice big Tiger Sharks on the ridge. Saw quite a few big grouper on some sunken wrecks too which I loved. Wanted to do a little underwater photography! Let me tell you I had FUN doing that too, but that’s a another story for another day! Needless to say, its been FUN FUN FUN and I didn’t get a chance to write my blog!!! Oh well…Now is as good a time as any…

Having FUN at the beach!

Like always, I began the week with another great group of kids!!! We had perfect weather and perfect water conditions and boy were we ever ready to go have some fun!!! Like Fun all the way from here to there kind of FUN! Just the way I LOVE it! We spent the first morning visiting the Rock Garden and having a ball finding all kinds of things! There were so many fish in every direction we didn’t know which way to start swimming. Parrotfish, snappers, grunts, seargent majors, porkfish, barracudas, wrasse and snook! Everywhere!!! While we were looking at fish, AdventureDakota found a Big Sea Urchin which we all checked out and AdventureRocky found a nice one too. This photo of Rocky with a nice sea urchin shows you just how much fun we were having!

Rocky finds a nice sea urchin!

We spent a lot of time looking for new things and catching blennies, gobies, beau gregories, flounder, brittle starfish, short nosed pufferfish and conchs, etc. in our hand nets. It didn’t take long for everyone to get the hang of it! The kids would work together corralling the fish and before long someone had it in their net. The schools of fish were thick near the shallow rocks and this kept the kids busy for quite some time. Nobody wanted to give up! They were too busy having FUN chasing fish at the Rock Garden!!!

Chasing fish at the Rock Garden

After one of the kids turned over a rock and found a Big swimming crab hiding underneath, fish chasing turned into crab catching and off in that direction we went for a while. We didn’t care what we were doing, but boy were we ever having fun and keeping busy doing it all the same! Almost every single rock we looked under we found ourselves staring eye to eye with a nice BIG swiming crab, stone crab or coral crab! We even had schools of sheepshead and parrotfish following us around trying to eat the crabs we were finding out from underneath our fingertips. Were we ever loving that!!! It was cool to see!!! I watched AdventureJagger chase down a nice BIG crab and finally catch him and hold him up for all to see. Nice Job, and not getting pinched either!!! Alright!

Jagger catches a big crab

I watched as AdventureMaxwell perfected a fine technique of turning up a rock and snagging a Big Crab in his net all in one swift motion. That is not as easy as it sounds. These crabs have a habit of rapidly swimming under the next rock nearby or right under your feet before you can blink your eye! Sometimes they swim right under the next kids feet before they know whats going on, and that sure can get things exciting in a hurry. You should have heard the squeals of laughter when that would happen! We all loved it!!!

Maxwell nets another crab!

Another day we stopped by the Big Sandbar to look for mantis shrimp, fighting conchs, blue claw crabs, hermit crabs and anything else we could find to check out up close and personal. It didn’t take us long to find something we loved! We always love coming here and seem to come up with underwater “treasures” on every occasion. On this day I re-learned that important lesson why you should NOT wiggle your finger in the hole of a nice big mantis shrimp to see what might happen! And that’s because he might think its a fish and reach out quicker than you can imagine and grab that nice little finger with his sharp dagger like claws before you can move it!! When I pulled my finger back bleeding with 2 nice punctures in it, the kids thought that was just GREAT!!! I’m sure they learned an important lesson and so did I!!! AGAIN… ouch! When will I ever learn? One of the neatest things AdventureBeau found was a nice big 9 armed starfish that he shared with all of us, and we loved that too!!! Good JOB!

Beau finds a 9 armed starfish!

We spent one afternoon seine netting in the shallows and grass flats around Little Munyon Island. The kids always love this and you never know what you might come up with! We find so many cool things from juvenile barracudas to dwarf sea horses to sharp nosed pufferfish. You name it and I think we might be able to find it! Each time we pulled the net we found something new to share! On this day the tide was extra low and we had a chance to seine net in places we weren’t able to before. It was just great!

seine netting the grass flats

On one pull of the net on to the beach we came up with a lovely checkerboard pufferfish that everyone wanted to see! thes fish are commonly in the shallows eating barnackles off the rocks but aren’t easy to get in a seine net. I showed them the powerful jaws and dentures that these fish posses and made sure no one held this fish but me. Didn’t want anyone to get nibbled on. They are capable of giving a nasty bite if you by chance mistakenly slip your finger in their mouth when you are not paying as close attention as you should be. I’ll bet you would never guess how I found that outlong ago… ouch again… Needless to say we loved checking out this checkerboard pufferfish and his toothy dentures!

Checking out a checkerboard pufferfish!

Thursday was our fishing day and as usual we caught fish almost non stop! The most common thing I heard all day was, “AdventureMike I need more BAIT!!!” And let me tell you I heard that before!!! We spent a little bit of time fishing the artificial reef and caught porkfish, grunts, tomtates, porgies, parrotfish and more. I decided to run down to my snapper hole and before long everyone was catching some nice BIG snappers! And I mean one right after another!!! Over and over and over… AdventureSamantha sure had FUN fighting and catching this nice BIG one all by herself!!! YOU ROCK!

Samantha catches a BIG lane snapper!

I’m not sure how many snapper we caught here, but it seemed to many for me to keep count!!! A few of the kids caught some nice big porgies and they had to work hard bringing those fish in on light tackle! A few times I heard the kids say their wrists were getting tired from reeling in so many fish and thats a “complaint” I love to hear!!! It seems our fishing day is always like this! On one occassion AdventureDakota came up with a nice BIG blue claw crab hanging on his bait and thats the first one anybody has caught during my summer camp! Lucky for us he let go on his own and fell over the side to swim away! Nice catch Dakota!

Dakota catches a blue crab!

The last day we spent a bit of time swimming at the Rock Garden chasing more fish and darting after swimming crabs and having so much fun trying to catch sharpnosed pufferfish when we would see them. When first spotted they don’t appear to be able to swim fast but don’t be fooled by their diminutive size. They can dart away quickly and disappear before you can say, “Where did he go?”. That happened more often than not!!! AdventureMichael came up with a nice one and everyone loved watching it puff up to more than twice its size!!

Michael with a pufferfish!

We ended the day going back to Little Munyon Island and walking around in the shallows finding thousands, and I mean thousands of short spined sea urchins, hundreds of hermit crabs and juvenile blue crabs and a few beaded starfish that everyone loved to see! The tide was so low we had a chance to walk all the way around the island and look for shells and what ever else we could find. AdventureJake came up with a juvenile striped burrfish that had short little spines on top and blue and yellow polka dots on the bottom, and let me tell you we ALL loved that!!! Nice Find!!!

Jake with a juvenile burrfish!

Before we knew it the week had come to an end and none of us was ready to call it a day! We had so much FUN we never wanted it to stop!!! But I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to drop off the group and head to the Bahamas and I knew it was going to be a long day, Having FUN that is, before I cleared customs and I couldn’t wait to get started!!! . And just like I thought, it was wonderful! Wish you all could have joined me! It was just GREAT!!!

Having all this Fun left me looking forward to this week. And one things certain, I couldn’t wait to head out in the boat with the kids and have fun doing it all over again! I know its going to be great! I can just feel it!!! Hope you’ll join us in the Adventure!!! Stay tuned, it will be here before you know it! Time Flies when your having FUN!!!! And we’re going to have it from start to finish!!! See you soon!

Let’s Go Have Some FUN!!!
AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2010: June 21 - 25 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Posted by 4 July, 2009 (0) Comment

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

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

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

Island Adventure Fun!

Island Adventure Fun!

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

Seth and Dawson with a beaded starfish!

Seth and Dawson with a beaded starfish!

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

George found a nine-armed starfish!

George found a nine-armed starfish!

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

Searching for the Smallest Urchin

Searching for the Smallest Urchin

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

Darby with Puff Daddy

Darby with "Puff Daddy"

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

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

Trusha and Rujul with some nice fish!

Trusha and Rujul with some nice fish!

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

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

See you soon!!!

Let’s Go have some FUN!!!

AdventureMike

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

Summer 2009 Week 4: Hiking, Fishing and having Fun at the Beach!

Posted by 26 June, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!! We just finished up the third day of week 4 and let me tell you it’s been another FUN week!!! Got lucky with the weather too! When I left my dock on Tuesday morning to head to Phil Foster Park it was a little wet, but by the time I arrived […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!!

We just finished up the third day of week 4 and let me tell you it’s been another FUN week!!! Got lucky with the weather too! When I left my dock on Tuesday morning to head to Phil Foster Park it was a little wet, but by the time I arrived at Phil Foster Park the sky was clearing. Good thing too cause I could tell this weeks group of Adventurers was raring to go, no matter what the weather was going to be! As soon as AdventureRachel, Amanda, Brendan, Brian, Robert, Michael and Christopher were on board I could tell it was going to be another great week! Their enthusiasm and excitement was contagious!!! Since it was still a little cloudy out to the south, we decided to head north to Munyon Island and start the day with an island hike and a bit of Adventure.

Island Exploration

Island Exploration

Before I had a chance to even drop anchor, this group was ready to go!!! We hopped out and headed up the boardwalk trail and before long we were on our way to the backside of the island to see what we could find. This trail was relatively new and took us past a big stand of Ficus and Sea- grape trees, thru a mangrove estuary, along a salt marsh prairie and eventually out along the northeast side of the island. It was a beautiful hike and along the way we saw wild coffee plants, knickerbean trees, ospreys, giant blue land crabs, monarch and zebra butterflies, a number of lizards and a few big banana spiders high up in the trees. We searched the shallow flats and found dozens of sea grass hermit crabs in a variety of beautiful shells, hundreds of juvenile blue crabs, but no luck finding any live horseshoe crabs. I was hoping to find a few but they are not too common around here anymore. We found a half dozen or so molts from them which we checked out and AdventureBrendan and Christopher kept one each for a souvenir. Nice Big ones too! After an hour or so we headed back to the boat and went to the Rock Garden for a bit of snorkeling.

The tide was incoming, the water crystal clear and the Rock Garden was full of fish, as usual! Within the last week the big schools of Menhaden arrived and we had a wonderful opportunity to swim through large schools of snook and small barracudas on the prowl for an easy meal. It was just great to watch the fish swirl around us by the thousands! We saw hundreds of snappers, grunts, seargent majors, porkfish, Bermuda chub and parrotfish, etc and even a nice small yellow ray without a tail or barb. Looked like a swimming yellow spotted “dinner plate”. I tried to catch it by hand but no luck. It was too slippery to hold on to. AdventureChristopher gave me the “thumbs up” for trying though!

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

The second day we stopped by the Big Sandbar to do a bit of snorkeling over the shallow bar and found quite a few large Mantis Shrimp peaking out of their tunnels at us. We tried to bait a few out but they were more wary than I had hoped. Maybe next time… We all found dozens of Florida and West Indian fighting conchs, short-spined sea urchins and numerous olive shells sliding across the bottom. We chased a few small barracudas out of the shallows just to show them who was “boss” then decided to head out along the beach since the ocean was flat calm.

We had barely made it around the Jetty when right before us was tremendous splash. A second later a group of Bottlenose Dolphin leaped out of the water and began chasing a school of houndfish right off our bow. The houndfish would race, skipping along the surface with the Dolphin in hot pursuit!! We watched as the Dolphin caught one houndfish after another and ate them right before our eyes. Let me tell you, our group of Adventurers were loving this!!! Wish you could have been there to hear their excitement!!! It was just GREAT!!! And just as this was coming to an end, a large Loggerhead Sea Turtle came up for a few quick breaths of air right beside the boat, gave us a quick once over as if checking us out, then lazily swam back towards the bottom. We were having a Blast!!! Love it like this!!! We spent the last hour snorkeling along the beach for shells and body surfing the boat wakes when they would come by. Does it get any better than this?

Today was our fishing day and we were joined by AdventureDakota from last Summer who caught a nice big red grouper the last time he was along! We dropped anchor on my secret spot and as soon as the bait hit the water we were having bites! AdventureAmanda caught the first fish, which by chance was her very first fish ever, so I had to definitely take a picture of that! Nice Job Amanda!!! You Rock!!!

Amandas First Fish!

Amanda's First Fish!

It wasn’t long after that before the whole gang was having them on. All at the same time of course!!! And boy was I missing my helper AdventureNicholas today!! He’s great with kids, fishing, boating, baiting the hooks, rigging the lines, taking off the fish and cleaning the boat, etc. but he over slept and missed the boat. And let me tell you that left me EXTRA busy today. We’ll have to make sure to give him a little “grief” next time we see him just to let him know he was missed!!! Good thing Rachel, Brendan, Amanda and the rest of the gang were quick to learn how to bait their own hooks and take off the fish to give me a hand. I had to move the boat a few times to stay on the fish, but it was non stop from start to finish as usual. I think AdventureDakota may have caught the most fish, AdventureBrendan caught two at once and AdventureAmanda caught the biggest. A nice Margate that fought hard!!! Good job!!! A bit later Dakota was reeling in a nice snapper when a tremendous barracuda decided to have it for lunch and he did a superb job fighting that for quite a while before it bit thru the line. Nice job there too!!! It was nice to see that everyone caught fish and had non stop action as usual!!!

Everyone has a fish on at once!

Everyone has a fish on at once!

The last hour of the day we went back out to the beach for some snorkeling, sea glass and shell collecting and competitive game of “chicken fighting”. Amanda and Rachel against Brendan and Brian, and I have to say in my opinion the girls won! It was great fun for all and a wonderful way to end the day and burn off any excess energy!!! I can tell you that not one of us was ready to call it a day!!!  We were having too much FUN!!! The really nice thing though, is that we have one more day left, and who knows what we may find and discover then!!! I can promise you one thing, we are going to have a BLAST!!! Am thinking about starting the day at the Rock Garden and catching all kinds of fish with nets. Know we will have a ball doing that! Stay tuned to see what we discover and the fun we’re going to have!!! Wish you could join us!!! It’s going to be great!!!

Having FUN Chicken Fighting!

Having FUN Chicken Fighting!

LET”S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: June 22 - June 25 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer 2009: Week 2 Afternoon Session

Posted by 16 June, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi All, I had no sooner finished up the first adventure session and readied the boat when I was joined by my second group of eager and excited Adventurers that in turn were ready for the Fun to begin!!! And so was I!!! AdventureSheri came along to help me with this weeks afternoon Adventure session, […]

Hi All,
I had no sooner finished up the first adventure session and readied the boat when I was joined by my second group of eager and excited Adventurers that in turn were ready for the Fun to begin!!! And so was I!!!
AdventureSheri came along to help me with this weeks afternoon Adventure session, and she and I were joined by AdventureJake and Mickey from last Spring and Summer, and four new Adventurers, Kelly, Victoria, Sienna and Adrianna This group was just as full of energy as the last, and great swimmers to too, another fabulous bunch!!! Love it like this! And nice to have AdventureSheri along to give me a hand, oversee the group and take pictures as well.  :-)

Afternoon group photo

Afternoon group photo

For the weeks afternoon session we followed much like the first group. We would visit the same places, just different times or on different days. Same loads of Fun, just a different group of Adventurers! The days adventure for the most part is determined by the tides. At high tide we go snorkeling, island hopping and beach combing and at low tide we go seine netting in the shallows and exploring at the Big Sandbar, etc. All subject to change at a whim of course… whatever the group or I may want to do. Sometimes we are having so much fun doing one thing that its hard to quit and go do another. Just doesn’t get any better than that!!! If there was something special that the first group found, I would take the second group back to take a look and share the same experience. Wanted everybody in the second group to share in the same excitement as the first Thing seem to work well this way…

We would make sure to visit the Rock Garden every day as well. See and share in the same things and try and improve on the first mornings encounters as well. As usual, we had a ball searching and finding all kinds of things. Never seems to be a boring second here. AdventureKelly and Victoria would be searching for one thing, Jake and Mickey looking for crabs and Sienna and Adrianna having fun just being together!!! It was always non stop Fun and we would share everything we found!!! Just Great!!!

We visited Starfish Prairie and later took an island hike around Munyon Island and did some seine netting as well. Took some nice photos of the groups in front of some weathered Australian pine tree stumps as a wonderful back drop. Discovered quite a large number of green legged sea grass hermits as well. Always nice… We would all take turns pulling in the nets and finding new things and revel in the excitement of new discoveries unfolding before our eyes. You never know when something new and as yet undiscovered by us might be found. Just love it like that!

I took them back to the Big Sandbar to check out the horse conch and the fighting conchs, and there it was still hot on the trail after another fighting conch. We watched as those would quickly jump out of the way too. I guess every now and then it finds a fighting conch unawares since we found a few empty shells that I did not notice earlier. I showed them the eyes of the horse conch up close and personal, took a few photos then let him go to continue the hunt.

AdventureVictoria and Kelly with Horse Conch

AdventureVictoria and Kelly with Horse Conch

Our fishing day was just as exciting with the same fast paced action, maybe even faster than the first groups. AdventureVictoria and Kelly were neck and neck till the very end, both catching almost 40 fish each, maybe even more!!! In the last few minutes, Victoria was able to take the lead and run away with the win, as she had back to back fish, one after another right up till the time we ran out of bait! One thing was certain, it was non stop action and I couldn’t keep an exact count of who caught how many, and what type, etc. AdventureJake and Mickey were having fun catching their fare share as was AdventureSienna and Adrianna as well. One thing was certain, We couldn’t keep bait on their hooks or take fish off their lines as quick as they could catch them either,. And Yes, I heard those now infamous words over and over and OVER too!!! “Mike, I Need More Bait!!!!!!!!!” Oh boy…..

We also had the opportunity to spend an hour or two at the beach every day and would find loads of shells and sea glass. We would have the best time snorkeling along the shallows and watching large schools of permit forage for sand fleas at the waters edge. AdventureAdrianna and Sienna would beg me to dig sand fleas for them every time we went and would keep jars of them for fun till it was time to go. Jake and Mickey would find shells, play in the shallows and search the sargassum weed for shrimp. filefish and crabs. It was a bonanza of treasures waiting to be discovered and we had the very best time finding new things. AdventureKelly and Victoria would collect shells and hang together like the very best friends they are. Always smiling and joking around. Just Great!!! We stopped by the dead green sea turtle too and had the same talks about being conscience of your surroundings and always doing your best to pay attention to what may be in your path. It was equally as sad to see the big turtle dead, but I think we all learned a good lesson that we would remember. I took a few photo opportunities. with the big turtle and then it was time for us to call it a day too.

Dead Green Sea Turtle Discovery

Dead Green Sea Turtle Discovery

All in all, it was a wonderful week for all of us!! An Adventure we soon wouldn’t forget, and of course it left me looking forward to this up coming week. A new Adventure to be shared with an exciting new group of Adventurers. Who knows what we may discover, but one things certain, We Are Going To Have Some FUN!!! Stay tuned for the next adventure and see what we find!!! In the next week or so, you can join me on facebook, and together…

Let’s Go Have Some FUN!!!!!
AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: June 9 - June 12 Tags : , , , ,

Summer 2009 Begins!!!

Posted by 7 June, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!! We just finished our first weekly Adventure and as usual we had a BLAST!!!!! We’ve been so busy adventuring this week I haven’t even had a chance, nor the energy to write about it! As some of you may know, I’ve had such a wonderful response to my camp that I […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!! We just finished our first weekly Adventure and as usual we had a BLAST!!!!! We’ve been so busy adventuring this week I haven’t even had a chance, nor the energy to write about it! As some of you may know, I’ve had such a wonderful response to my camp that I decided to do double sessions to try and get some more of you in, and even then I couldn’t accommodate all the requests I’ve had. Thanks to you all! For those of you who couldn’t get your child in, I’m sorry…. Would love to be able take everyone who wanted to go, just not able to. Please register early next year when I open up registration and get ALL the paper work to me IMMEDIATELY to hold your space when that time comes! I already know I won’t be able to take everyone for sure then! Now on to this past weeks ADVENTURE!!!

 Havin Fun!

When I arrived at the dock bright and early for the Tuesday morning session I could already tell we were going to have another great group! The kids were there, excited and raring to go, and with smiles from ear to ear. Just the way I love it!!! Soon afterwards, AdventureMatthew, Casey, Jaime, Miriam, Katie, Thomas, Nicholas and Neil boarded my Adventure boat, “DREAM CHASER” to begin the weeks adventure. And were they ever ready to go!!! We stowed the gear, off we went and the FUN began…

We spent the week boating and exploring, isaland hopping, going to the Big Sandbar, the Rock Garden, Munyon Island, Starfish Prairie, the Beach and of course Fishing!!!! And did we Ever Have FUN!!! From start to finish it was a blast and each session seemed to end way to soon!

On the Big Sandbar we found hundreds of Florida and West Indian fighting Conchs and loads of short-spined sea urchins in a variety of colors. We checked them all to see what new color combinations we could find. My favorite being the bright white with the deep purple short spines. Just beautiful!!! Along the way we discovered Mantis Shrimp burrows and watched as Tube Worms slowly filtered sand to digest the algae off each grain. We came upon the broken carapace of a very large Rooster Crab, in the family of box or shame-faced crabs known for holding their claws in front of their faces, that had been freshly eaten by a ray and found quite a few Baby’s Ear Mollusks burrowing in the sand. Always love finding those!

We found a variety of starfish every time we went, from Beaded Sea Stars, Cushion Sea Stars and the unusual Nine-Armed Starfish that’s mainly nocturnal. Always a treat!!! That gave me a great opportunity to take some cool photos of AdventureNeil and a few others with “Nine-Armed Starfish Head” a first for the trip!!! On one day we found a very rare and unusual fish resting in a shallow hole with only an inch or two of water remaining, maybe a hundred feet from the waters edge. I was excited to see it was a Flying Gurnard, distinguished by having fan like pectoral fins that often have brilliant iridescent blue lines and markings!!! It was a fabulous discovery!!! These fish have modified ventral fins that allow them to “walk” about and turn over rocks and shells while foraging. A very unusual fish and one that I rarely see. Boy were we Lucky!!! We released it unharmed into deeper water. I know it was glad about that. Every now and then when we would get cold swimming, we would come back to the Big Sandbar and sit in a deep hole filled with hot water that we nicknamed “The Hot Tub” to warm up. It was just great!!! Our very own hot tub…

At the Rock Garden we saw the usual…. Hundreds of fish in every size, shape and color imaginable! From small barracudas to snook, porkfish, parrotfish, sheepsheads, grunts, snappers, angelfish, damselfish, butterflyfish, blennies, etc. Every where you looked there was something else to be seen… We spent hours searching under the shallow rocks and found all types of hermit crabs, box crabs, rock crabs, porcelain crabs, swimming crabs, stone crabs, pistol shrimp, popping shrimp, blennies and more. A plethora of discoveries with every turn. Just love it that way!!!

This week we were lucky to have calm enough seas to run out the inlet and around the South Jetty to park right near the beach and do some beach combing for shells and worn sea glass. All of us came home with a few treasures of our own. We had hours of fun “hill jumping” and body surfing the small waves in crystal clear water. Never wanted to leave here, and in between body surfing and snorkeling, the group played a few games of “chicken” where Casey and Jaime would team up against Thomas and Nicholas and try and wrestle each other over into the water. It was fun for all!!

  Playing Chicken!

We spent one day going to Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting in the shallows and had a ball. We caught numerous mojarra, pinfish, juvenile grunts and snappers, pistol shrimp, popping shrimp, seagrass shrimp, smooth trunkfish and even a checkerboard pufferfish which delighted the group by puffing up with air for a quick photo op! On the way home that day we stopped by Starfish Prairie and hurriedly picked up a few large Cushion Starfish for another quick photo opportunity then released them unharmed exactly where we found them. They were everywhere to be found! Really nice to have nearby…

And of course, its had to match the fun and excitement of our FISHING DAY!!!. Always non-stop action from start to finish and everyone caught a mixed bag of snappers, tomtates, caesars grunts, sailor’s choice, margates, spot-tail pinfish, porkfish and AdventureNeil caught one scorpionfish which I was happy to get back in the water as quickly as possible. You definitely want to stay away from the venomous spines on those!!! I learned that the hard way many a year ago and don’t want to repeat that EVER again! OUCH!!! All in all, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” over and over and OVER!!! Good thing AdventureNicholas from last summer came to give me a hand helping to bait lines, unhook fish and clean up, and even still, we were running deep in the hole behind this gang trying to keep up with all the fish they were catching!!!

All in all, it was a fabulous first week!!! When it was time to head back, no-one was ready to call it a day!!! We were just too busy having fun!!! And Just the way I love it!!! And lucky for me, I got to do it all over again with the second group of Adventurers for the afternoon session!!! Doesn’t get any better than that!!! Wish you could have joined us!!!! We had a BLAST!!! I just couldn’t wait for the second adventure session to begin!!!

All you guys will be missed, and I can’t wait to see you again!, but it was time to…

Hill Jumpin at the Beach

Go Have Some More Fun!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: June 2 - June 5 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Manatee Adventure in Palm Beach!

Posted by 14 August, 2008 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back! We just finished up the first day of another new and wonderful adventure session and as usual we had an absolutely fantastic time! It was perfect from start to finish! Just the way I love it!!! AdventureJonah, Annie, Allison and Nicholas came back for some more adventuring and the four of […]

Hi Everyone,

Welcome Back! We just finished up the first day of another new and wonderful adventure session and as usual we had an absolutely fantastic time! It was perfect from start to finish! Just the way I love it!!! AdventureJonah, Annie, Allison and Nicholas came back for some more adventuring and the four of us were joined by five new adventurers, Adventure Emily, Katie, McKenzie, Megan and Joseph. Everyone was excited and ready to start the day. I quickly gave a run down on what we were going to do and we loaded up, donned life jackets and off we went.

Group Photo

We went straight to the Rock Garden, dropped anchor, readied our gear and in we went. From the very start I could tell this was going to be another great group. It didn’t take them long to get ready and they could swim like fish! Just great!!!The minute we got in we were surrounded by parrotfish, surgeonfish, doctor fish, porkfish, pinfish, grunts, snappers, wrasse, menhaden and hundreds of tropical fish too numerous to mention. We saw some barracudas, snook and large houndfish chasing menhaden with blue runners quickly following. It was wonderful to see so many fish in such shallow water and as usual the visibility was almost perfect.

We swam from spot to spot chasing fish, catching hermit crabs, finding queen conchs and looking for “treasures”. We covered almost every square inch, stopping here and there to check out something new, answer questions and look for more. It was non stop fun for two hours and we finally headed back to the boat for some snacks and drinks and take a quick breather. The wind was out of the west today and the ocean flat calm so we pulled anchor and decided to motor around the south jetty and park right next to the beach. What a great decision that was!!!

Wow! A Manatee!

We didn’t even have a chance to drop anchor before we spotted two large manatees coming right towards us. They stopped in three feet of water not far from the boat and just laid there and nibbled algae off each others backs for half an hour. We had such a fabulous time watching them from 3 feet away. You just wanted to swim up and kiss one! Well actually, both of them! They didn’t even mind that we were there watching and smiling the whole time. It just doesn’t get any better than that!!!, and boy were we lucky to have that opportunity in crystal clear water! What a way to start the first day!!! Right on!!!

Itchy Head!

A while later they swam into deeper water and we spent some time swimming along the shoreline looking for shells and watching juvenile permit and pompano search for sand fleas in the shallows. We just could not have had a more wonderful first day than this! With only a short time left we loaded up, motored to the sand bar and searched for fighting conchs, mantis shrimp and what ever else we could discover. We found both Florida and West Indian fighting conchs and watched as many were laying eggs. We found one conch that was extremely beautiful! Instead of being solid orange or dark brown inside, it had a pure white interior that was outlined in bright purple.

Monster Hermit Crab!

Absolutely gorgeous! I have never seen one like this before, really a nice discovery! Everyone took a look, then we put it back where we found it and swam back to the boat. It was time to go, and I can tell you nobody wanted to head home yet! I had heard it all before, ” AdventureMike, why can’t your camp last till 3 or 5 instead of 1, why do we have to go back so soon?” Oh boy, I still haven’t come up with a good answer for that…. and most of the time I don’t want to go back either. Oh well…

All of us had such a wonderful time! You could see it in our smiles and hear the excitement in our voices! We just couldn’t wait to do it all over again! Each one of us was looking forward to tomorrow! We just can’t wait!!!

Stay tuned….. We are going to have some fun!!! I can guarantee it!!! Right on!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 10 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Weiss School Student Adventure – Part I

Posted by 15 July, 2008 (0) Comment

Welcome back all, We just finished up the first day of a new adventure session and as usual we had a fabulous time! I was joined by a whole new group of adventurers today, AdventureSeth, Michael, Darby, JC, Andrew and Lauren from the Weiss School. This group was well acquainted, extremely comfortable in the water, […]

Welcome back all,

We just finished up the first day of a new adventure session and as usual we had a fabulous time! I was joined by a whole new group of adventurers today, AdventureSeth, Michael, Darby, JC, Andrew and Lauren from the Weiss School. This group was well acquainted, extremely comfortable in the water, and they could all swim like fish. All the makings for a wonderful week! I just love it like this! AdventureNicholas, who joined me a few weeks back, came along to give me a hand and help find unusual creatures to share with the group.

Group Photo

After introductions, the group of adventurers boarded my 26′ Island Runner, “Dream Chaser”, donned lifejackets and off we went. We were all excited and in a hurry to get to the Rock Garden and start the days adventure! After a few minutes getting the masks cleaned and ready we got in. In seconds everyone was pointing at different fish, searching for crabs and finding “treasures”. We saw parrotfish, sheepshead, wrasse, bermuda chub, porkfish, pinfish, snook, barracudas, snappers, lizardfish, grunts and an assortment of tropical fish all around us. The usual here! Many times we were completely surrounded by schools of menhaden so thick you could not see thru them. AdventurersDarby, JC and Lauren found all kinds of corals while AdveturersAndrew, Michael and Seth were finding tunicates, crabs and some strange types of tube worms that had long thin stringy tentacles filtering thru the sediment on the bottom. Some of these tentacles were 2 or 3 feet long and the second you touched a tip of one, the whole thing would race back into the hole and disappear in a split second. It was neat to watch them go!

While we were snorkeling a barge came in carrying a load of large rocks to place around the perimeter of the snorkeling area to increase habitat for fish and stop erosion along the south east side of the island. I never saw this here before and it was neat to watch the back hoe operator pull the barge into shallow water and begin dropping off his load. We moved further south along the snorkeling area to get out of his way and check out some new area so we did not swim in the same places I usually go. Even the life guards didn’t know he was showing up till 10 minutes before he arrived.

Future Naturalists!

AdventureNicholas found us crabs and sea urchins and caught a few fish in his hand net to show the gang. He caught a small scorpionfish in his net and brought it over to show us. I wanted everyone to see what they looked like and how well they camouflaged on the bottom. I mentioned how they could deliver a potent sting and to just let them be should you encounter one. I just wanted to make sure everyone new what to be aware of and how to recognise them in case they saw one.

A short time later AdventureNicholas returned with the smallest yellow stingray I had ever seen. It was only about 3 inches wide and cute as can be!!! It had one very tiny little barb that was hung up in the net and preventing it from swimming away. Everyone wanted a closer look so I carefully removed the barb from the ray and gently lifted her out of the net for everyone to see. Since she no longer had any barbs she was totally harmless and I could hold her without worry. This was a great opportunity for everyone to hold a ray and feel how it would suction itself to the palm of their hand as it pumped water thru its gills on the underside and out the sphericals on the top side of the head. It didn’t even try and get away and we all took turns holding it. It was a great experience for all of us and I could tell by the giant smiles all around that everybody was enjoying this encounter as much as I was. I just love it when there is nothing but smiles!!!

Seth with a Yellow Ray

From here we swam back to the boat and found some really nice fossilized worm tubes and quarts crystals along the shallows. We discovered a few jawfish burrows with the tiny jawfish peeking up at us from within their shell lined homes. These are one of my favorite fish that actually carry their fertilized eggs within their mouths until the babies hatch. When danger comes near the young swim back into their mothers mouth and hide till the danger has passed. Always wonderful and fascinating to see this take place. Just love it!

From here we loaded up and went to the sandbar and found West Indian and Florida fighting conchs laying eggs and swam in the Deep Hole looking for fish. For the first time this summer, the skies began to darken overhead and the rain storm was inevitable so we motored over to the Blue Heron Bridge and played around by the life guard stand and stayed out of the rain for the last half hour till it was time to go. We even had fun doing that! I was with a great group, and we had fun no matter what we were doing and that’s what counted. I would liked to have spent more time in the shallows around the sandbar but didn’t want to stay out in a storm. I knew there was always tomorrow, and with this group, there is no doubt in my mind, We are going to have some Fun!!! I can’t wait!!! Stay tuned…..

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 8 Tags : , , , , , , , , , ,

Another Week of Adventure Mike’s Summer Camp

Posted by 8 July, 2008 (0) Comment

We just finished up the first day of a new summer camp adventure session and as usual, we had a blast! I had a whole new group of adventurers today, AdventureJason, Jordyn, Brian, Carolyn, and Dakota, and let me say, we had fun, non stop! AdventureChaz from a couple of weeks ago came along for […]

We just finished up the first day of a new summer camp adventure session and as usual, we had a blast! I had a whole new group of adventurers today, AdventureJason, Jordyn, Brian, Carolyn, and Dakota, and let me say, we had fun, non stop! AdventureChaz from a couple of weeks ago came along for the day and gave me a hand with the boat, anchor, creature collection and more. When I met the group at the ramp, not only were they early, they were eager and ready to go!

Group Photo

It didn’t take us long to load up, organize our snorkel gear and get on our way. I could already tell this was an enthusiastic bunch and we were going to have some fun today! We rounded the corner and decided to stop at the sandbar for an hour instead of going straight to the Rock Garden. The tide was incoming and only a small part of the bar was showing and we wanted to hurry up and check it out while we still could. We grabbed our gear and a couple of nets and hopped out. In seconds, AdventureDakota, Jason and Brian found both Florida and West Indian fighting Conchs and AdventurersCarolyn and Jordan found some buried in the sand laying eggs. In no time at all we had our hands full of them and I began showing them the difference between the two. A few of the conchs didn’t want to be held and they tried to shove our hands away with their operculum’s. This gave us a great opportunity to really check out the animals inside as they would crawl halfway out and try and dislodge our fingers. It was really neat to watch those in the sand actually lay eggs. I don’t see that too often, always is fascinating to me to watch as each species of shell lays its own identifying egg mass. Cool…

Got One in the Net!

We then took a quick jaunt around the sandbar and I watched as AdventureJason, Brian and Dakota caught some nice blue crabs and the rest of us checked out Mantis Shrimp holes hoping to find one inside. No luck, they are shy, intelligent, nocturnal creatures that know when we are there and hide way before we know where they are. We took a swim in the Deep Hole which was full of menhaden and a couple of nice barracudas and snook, then headed back to the boat to have some snacks and drinks. We scooped up some Sargasso seaweed along the way and found some filefish, shrimp and crabs that camouflaged perfectly with the weeds.

While we were sitting in the boat, I spotted a nice Porcupinefish in the shallows and I quickly grabbed a net, hopped out of the boat and ran after it. I’m sure everyone in the boat thought I had lost my mind as they watched me scramble back and forth trying to net something they didn’t see. Finally I was able to net it and as I held it up to show everyone it began to suck in air and balloon up. Within a second or two it became firmly stuck in the net and I brought it back to the boat to show them and let each one touch it and feel the short spines. I made sure to tell them about the mouth and how well it could take that “perfectly clean round bite” out of a finger or hand if they weren’t careful. Remember that important lesson I spoke of in a previous post that I learned as a child and never wanted to repeat! Will never forget that!

I See You Too!

I told the story that as a child, when we would catch fish bare-handed we would make a wish, give em a kiss and let them go for good luck, just in case. In case of what, I was never sure. AdventureBrian decided to give it a kiss, on the backside of course, and make a wish for good luck before releasing it. Hope his wish comes true! I could never remember if mine ever did but it was always fun and it put a smile on my face every time! I never minded a mouth full of fish slime either as a child but I think the porcupinefish was a bit “fishier” tasting than AdventureBrian actually thought it was going to be. Live and learn, right on… yumm! Or in his case, Yuck!!! I don’t think he has the same enthusiasm for “fish kissing” as I had when I was a child. Maybe he just needs more practice?

A Kiss Before You Go

We started up the Dream Chaser, motored over to the Rock Garden, dropped anchor and got in. The water was perfectly clear and full of fish! Absolutely perfect and the way I love it!!! We had large schools of parrotfish, doctorfish, bermuda chubs, jack crevalles, blue runners, menhaden, snook and barracuds all around us! It was great!! We felt like we were in a giant aquarium and the best thing about it was that we were! Our very own! AdventureDakota, Brian and Jason caught all kinds of crabs. Big ones, little ones, round ones, thin ones, short ones, long ones. You name it, they caught it. It was just great! AdventureJordyn hung on my back for a ride and learned about fish while AdventureCarolyn caught things on her own and found out that some crabs can pinch well! Even while in the boat and right thru the net! AdventureChaz came to the rescue and dislodged that nice crab claw hanging to AdventureCarolyn’s finger while I tried not to laugh. Been there, done that a thousand times, and yes, “I could feel her pain” too. As I have said before, I was a slow learner!, but in reality I just loved grabbing everything and didn’t mind if I got pinched or not. I just knew I was having fun!!! There was so many fish to see we didn’t know which direction to go first. It was just great to watch the thousands of menhaden try and hide all around us while the snook and jacks chased after them. At times the they were so thick you couldn’t see thru them. I just love it like that! Non stop constant action all around us, just great..

We were having so much fun we didn’t want to quit! When I looked at my watch and it was 1pm I couldn’t believe how quickly the day had gone. When I called everyone back to the boat said it was time to go, no-one wanted to leave. Nobody was ready to quit and neither was I, but the parents were waiting, there was always tomorrow, and I knew we were going to have Fun!!! Our adventure was just beginning and we were going to make the most of it!!!

Stay tuned to see what we discover, or better yet, come join us, share in your own adventure and “Lets go have some Fun”!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Week 7 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pool Hopping Near Munyon Island

Posted by 30 June, 2008 (1) Comment

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

Hi Everybody,

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

Group Photo

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

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

I Found a Brittle Starfish!

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

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

Jump into the Pool

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

Group Photo with Rooster Crab

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

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

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

See you on the return,

AdventureMike

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

A Manatee Encounter and More

Posted by 18 June, 2008 (0) Comment

Hi everyone, I just got back in from the second day of another new and wonderful adventure, and let me tell you it was another great start! We started the week off with a few repeat adventurers; Adventure Jonah, Adventure Annie and Adventure Jake, and one new adventurer, Adventure Javier. Adventure Jake’s dad, Adventure Paul […]

Hi everyone,

I just got back in from the second day of another new and wonderful adventure, and let me tell you it was another great start! We started the week off with a few repeat adventurers; Adventure Jonah, Adventure Annie and Adventure Jake, and one new adventurer, Adventure Javier. Adventure Jake’s dad, Adventure Paul decided to join us as well for some much needed rest and relaxation but I’m not sure if he got any, looked like he was too busy having fun to me!

Group Photo

On Monday we started off the adventure session with a trip to the Rock Garden. The water conditions were unbeatable. Crystal clear, calm ,warm, fish in every direction and best of all, no-one else around! Just the way I love it. Our very own piece of paradise! Sometimes its just hard to leave this spot! We began by doing a little bit of collecting and identification, found 6 different species of hermit crabs alone. The most common ones being the Giant Hermit, Stareye Hermit, Red Reef Hermit and the Red-Stripe Hermit. There were hundreds with beautiful blue legs and some with long green slender legs, but at this time I am not sure what species they are. I will have to find out. We collected 3 different species of Blennies, the Hairy Blenny, Seaweed Blenny and the Molly Miller. I saw a few others but couldn’t catch them bare-handed. We saw numerous species of tropical fish, angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, snook, jacks, lizard fish, porkfish, seargent majors, wrasse, sheephead, snapper, grunts, and large schools of menhayden, etc. A virtual bonanza of fish in every direction, the usual here. We didn’t get out of the water for 3 straight hours. Like I said, sometimes its just hard to leave…

With one hour left we headed over to the sandbar to play in the shallows. We looked for conch and mantis shrimp and found juvenile blue crabs galore. We talked about the differences between Florida fighting conchs and West Indian fighting conchs and even found a few hawk-wing conchs as well, not too common around here anymore. It was a nice find! We spent the rest of the time looking for pelagic tunicates, a translucent type of free swimming ascidian that looks similiar to a jellyfish, but without the stinging tentacles, and came up with a few. They are almost transparent in the water and difficult to see. From here I headed back with the sounds of, ” Do we have to go back already?” echoing from all sides. The usual…

Today we loaded up and again headed back to the Rock Garden. The conditions were just as perfect as yesterday, and everyone raring to go. Same beautiful scene, different day!!! In seconds, Adventurers Annie, Jonah, Jake and Javier were in the water and telling me and Adventure Paul to “hurry up” and “don’t take so long”. I thought I was quick to get in. About got trampled underneath by 8 tiny feet all in a hurry to be the first ones on the dive platform. Whew, that was a close call…

Once in we headed towards the shallow rocks. Everyone was pointing in different directions for me to look. “Adventure Mike over here, over here, a snook, a snook… No, no, over here ,over here, a barracuda, a barracuda… Look here, Over here, a parrotfish, a parrotfish… Adventure Mike, Adventure Mike…and on and on…” Shortly after this I put Adventure Paul to work giving me a hand, so much for his rest and relaxation.

A few moments after this I heard Adventure Jonah yell, “A manatee, a manatee” and I thought he might be mistaken.

Look!  A Manatee!

I turned around to take a look and sure enough, there was a young manatee swimming right beside us looking us right in the eye! He wasn’t 4 feet away! Could of smooched him on the nose if I wasn’t in a panic hurrying to turn on the camera to take a picture. At times like these no camera turns on quick enough. By the time I got ready he was passing us by and I hurriedly pointed and hit the shutter button once or twice.

A Friendly Manatee

I was so excited I don’t even remember looking in the view finder. I don’t think professional underwater photographers are supposed to make that mistake. Oh well…

After another hour or two swimming we headed back to the boat, had lunch, reapplied sunscreen and headed to Little Munyon Island to try some cast-netting. Everyone took turns, but Adventure Jake, under the fine tutelage of his dad, Adventure Paul, was already a pro! It didn’t take him long to fill a bucket with Killifish, sometimes called mud-minnows, mullet and moharras, also called sandperch. It was great fun! Adventure Jonah, Javier and Annie were quick to learn but by now we had spooked most of the fish so there wasn’t much around. Adventure Annie began playing in the shallows and she came up with a nice nine-armed starfish, Adventure Jake found a nice horseshoe crab molt and plenty of short spined urchins and Adventure Javier and Jonah continued practicing throwing the cast net until it was time to leave. I couldn’t believe it when I looked at my watch and it was already 1pm. We were almost running late, we had to hurry, it was time to go. And once again I thought, “Time does fly when you’re having Fun!!!

Can’t wait till tomorrow!!! Wonder what we’re going to see next? Stay tuned for the next adventure… Better yet, come join us!

Ciao,
Adventure Mike

Categories : Week 4 Tags : , , , , , , , , , ,