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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Starfish Starfish Everywhere!

Posted by 10 August, 2010 (1) Comment

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

Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!!

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

group of 10

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

Lorenzo and a pair of starfish

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

Sydney with a rooster crab

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

Rylee's beaded starfish

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

Josh with a handful of urchins

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

Bottlenose dolphin encounter

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

Lianne with a brittlestarfish

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

Beau checks out a swimming crab

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

Faye finds the smallest starfish

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

Josh and Faye seining

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

net clearance

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

Seth and a burrfish

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

Burrfish and rabbit ears

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

Beau's big grunt

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

Jake's pufferfish

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

Petey and a pufferfish

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

A manatee ending

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

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

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

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

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

Two More Days of Adventure in Palm Beach

Posted by 26 June, 2008 (2) Comment

Hi All, I just finished up TWO more days adventure session and let me say this week has been perfect. We have a great group of adventurers whose enthusiasm and love for the water is contagious! They arrive early to begin the days adventure with huge smiles and excitement in their voices, and raring to […]

Hi All,

I just finished up TWO more days adventure session and let me say this week has been perfect. We have a great group of adventurers whose enthusiasm and love for the water is contagious! They arrive early to begin the days adventure with huge smiles and excitement in their voices, and raring to go! They jump in the boat, don their life jackets and don’t want to waste one more minute waiting at the dock then they have too. Saying they are extremely excited to go is an understatement!!! They know by now that AdventureMike’s is not your “normal” summer camp! Even after a very full day of adventuring they are never ready to come back. Reminds me of myself as a child, no matter how much fun I had, it just never was enough! I feel the same as an adult now! No wonder I love this group too! Each session just seems to be getting better and better.

Yesterday we started off the day heading back to the sandbar and searching the shallows. AdventureAllison, Madison, Dina and David found some really cool types of shells called “baby’s ears” that have the shell on the inside of the living animal instead of on the outside. They are very unusual and look more like large white nudibranchs or slugs instead of shells, and can burrow thru the sand very quickly. As the sandbar gets exposed and begins to dry out the living creatures begin to “pop” out from underneath the sand and head for water. By now the kids know what’s underneath just by looking at the type and shape of the “cracks” in the sand. They can tell whether its a crab, clam, moon snail, etc., and are quick to let me know. We are constantly being surprised by all kinds of emerging creatures from crabs, shells, clams, starfish, sea cucumbers and a variety of burrowing worms and other invertebrates. A regular smorgasbord of tiny living treasures just waiting to be discovered, and all, by us!!! Just Fabulous!!!

From here we headed to a secret out of the way little place I call “Starfish Prairie” that has hundreds if not thousands of large Cushion Sea Stars also called Bahama starfish. It is a very shallow hard rock bottom totally covered in short spined urchins and Sea Stars from end to end. I don’t let too many people know where this spot is as it is a true treasure in the Lake Worth Lagoon. In just a minute or two we picked up 9 or 10 from the shallow water and placed them in a large livewell container on the boat along with about 10 totally different colored sea urchins from snow white to a rich dark purple. We got back in the boat and talked about their life cycles and habitat, behavior, feeding habits, predators and prey etc., then hurriedly took a quick photo op. and released them where we found them. As long as too much fresh water run-off is not dumped into the lake all at once, they will continue to survive. The kids loved when they turned the large Sea Stars over and discovered the tiny delicate brittlestarfish, about a quarter inch in total length, clinging to the underneath sides. This was a great moment for them and I could tell they just loved it!

We finished up here and headed to the back side of Munyon Island to look for horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs and blue crabs and take a short nature walk thru the estuary and shallow lagoon. We had so much fun along the beach and water we never got to the nature walk. AdventureNicholas showed Dina and Gavin how to tie fishing knots and cast netted some pufferfish for our entertainment. We all got to see how pufferfish get their name. It is always fun to watch them as they suck in air and water and literally double their size. Each adventurer had the opportunity to rub the smooth shiny belly of one of the checkered puffers and make a wish before letting them go, a childhood pastime of my families. How it started, who knows, but it sure is fun!!! I can’t remember if any of my wishes ever came true but it always put a smile on my face and that counts just as much!!! Just make sure to stay away from the mouth, or as I say “the business end” of a pufferfish as they can take an absolutely perfectly clean round bite out of a finger or your hand if given the opportunity. I’ll bet you’ll never guess how I found that out as a child…and on more than one occasion at that. Needless to say, I make sure to hold each fish gently and carefully so that each child has nothing to fear.

After this we had about 45 minutes left so we quickly headed to Little Munyon Island to explore and hopefully find one of those nine armed starfish that AdventureAnnie discovered last week. The only way I know how to do this is to find an area underwater with course well worked sand and just run your fingers back and forth thru the sand as you swim. Try and cover as much area as you can and if you are lucky you might find one. Watch out for broken glass and fireworms if you are in an area where they might be, just in case. AdventureAllison, Gavin and Trevor worked with me while AdventureDavid and Nicholas collected sea urchins for Madison and Dina who were taking a break in the boat. We searched and searched and searched till it was almost time to leave and just as I was getting ready to call it a day, my fingers found what we were looking for. I gently dug and sure enough it was a nice nine armed starfish. I was glad we found one! I really wanted Allison, Gavin and Trevor to see one since they had looked so hard too, and everyone had a chance to hold another new species and learn a little bit more about its behavior. On the way back I breathed a sigh of relief and was glad we got a bit lucky! I always love when things work out the way you hope!

Today, was the day I planned for us to fish and when I arrived at the dock not only were the Adventurers early, they were ready and willing and in a hurry to go!!! Everyone was asking if I “brought enough rods, enough bait, am I sure, am I sure, etc.” and I smiled and said yes even though I really wasn’t sure at the time.

I anchored the boat over the same section of artificial reef where we had done so well last Friday. I watched as 6 lines went down, hit bottom and instantly had fish on. Just like before, it was non stop action. The minute the bait hit bottom something was trying to eat it! Everyone had fish on all the time!!! It took everything AdventureNicholas and I could do to keep bait on the hooks and take fish off. No matter how fast we worked there was always a line of excited adventurers waiting. It seemed like we had 30 adventurers in the boat not just 6, and I’m sure to Nicholas it seemed more like 60!!! I didn’t see him get a chance to eat or drink the whole time we were there. Talk about having non stop fun, we did!!! I’ve never seen fish come in the boat so fast, and sometimes only parts of fish. Glad I spent my whole life diving here and marked all the hot-spots where the fish were. Made things easy for me later on…

It didn’t take long for the big barracudas to show up and park themselves right underneath the hull. The way everyone was catching fish, they knew they had pulled up to an “all you could eat diner” and for free too. I heard AdventureDavid yell, “I have a big one, A BIG ONE!!!, and just when I turned around, I saw a big swoosh by the side of the boat . I watched as David lifted his line out of the water with nothing but the very nose of his “Big Fish” left dangling. So much for almost catching the “big one” but I know it didn’t get away. I knew that just underneath us was a fat and happy barracuda waiting for the next one to be reeled in too.

I decided to try and hook a barracuda for the kids to reel in so I rigged a line with some wire leader, put on a fish and tossed it out. The second it hit the water, and I mean second, the water exploded and a huge barracuda launched skyward with the bait in his mouth. I didn’t even get a chance to take a turn on the reel before he had eaten the bait and thrown the hook. I could tell that these big barracudas had been hooked on numerous occasions before! They knew exactly what to do! The huge barracuda landed right next to the boat with a mighty splash, just about soaking AdventureMadison in the process, and then was gone. Talk about exciting for every one, it was great!!!! I know they won’t forget that!

We were so busy having fish on that I am sorry to say I didn’t get much of a chance to take photos of the whole encounter. Next time I may have to have the kids wait while I use the camera instead of bait the hooks, but its hard when you have 6 very happy and excited kids wanting their baits back in the water faster than you can possibly move, all wanting to catch the next “Big One”. I was the exact same way. Oh well…

It seemed like we only spent an hour fishing but when I looked at my watch, three and a half hours had already passed. It was the first time I had a chance to look at my watch all day. We quickly reeled and headed to the Rock Garden to get in the water, rinse off and feed the last bit of our bait to the friendly inhabitants. Again I found myself wondering just how did the time go by so fast? How can things move so quickly? It seemed to us all like we just started? And it seems to be so true…and often said,

Allison's Rare Find

“Time Flies, When You’re Having Fun”!!!! Our 6 happy kids would tell you that today!!!! Nothing but smiles!!! and the way I like it!!! Each day a real blessing! Thank you!

Come be a part of the Adventure!!! Just a few spaces left till next year… I guarantee your child will have fun!!!

See you soon,

AdventureMike

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

Ctenophores and More in the Lake Worth Lagoon!

Posted by 25 June, 2008 (0) Comment

I just finished up the first day of another new adventure session with a wonderful group of adventurers, and as usual, it was a blast! I had a full boat today and one of my best friends sons, AdventureNicholas, gave me a hand helping with all the things needing to be done, but most of […]

I just finished up the first day of another new adventure session with a wonderful group of adventurers, and as usual, it was a blast! I had a full boat today and one of my best friends sons, AdventureNicholas, gave me a hand helping with all the things needing to be done, but most of all entertaining the kids and making sure everyone left with smiles from ear to ear. Which of course they did! He was great to have along and after the days session was over helped me clean the barnacles off the bottom of the boat and put away all the gear. Thanks so much, I really appreciate it!!!

Group Photo

We had 3 new adventurers join us for the first time, AdventureAllison, AdventureGavin and AdventureTrevor plus 3 returning adventurers, AdventureMadison, AdventureDina and AdventureDavid. It was a great group to have together and we laughed and had fun the whole day. I can’t remember when I or anyone else laughed this hard.

We started the day going right around the corner to the sandbar and anchoring in knee deep water. We hopped out and everyone was instantly collecting fighting conchs, juvenile blue crabs and looking for starfish. We found fighting conchs with blue eyes, brown eyes and even some with green eyes and a few shy ones that never came out of their shells to show us what color eyes they had. Madison found a really nice empty Alphabet Cone and I believe Gavin or Trevor found a few empty sundial shells that get their name from the way they are shaped and patterned. Nice find!!!, and not many around sitting empty. There were hundreds of ctenophores, a type of non-stinging jellyfish like tunicate washing into the shallows as the tide went out that look and feel exactly like clear jelly. I brought up the fact that my brother and I used to play with them as kids, and the next thing I know I became target practice for 6 laughing kids hurling ctenophores in my direction. I got one in my ear, in my mouth and even one up my nose. I thought I was going to die of laughter! I’ve never seen kids laugh so hard and for so long as today. I couldn’t open my mouth long enough to yell, “aim for Nicholas instead of me” without one just about flying in there. I’m still laughing just thinking about it…and I know they are too.

Creature Collectors

From here we went to the Rock Garden and everyone got in to snorkel and check out all the fish, crabs and Hairy Blennies. And as usual, they were there by the hundreds. We saw parrotfish, angelfish, barracudas, sheephead, houndfish, snook, needlefish, lizardfish, porkfish, snappers, grunts, flounders, large schools of menhaden and an assortment of tropical fish too numerous to mention. We found hermit crabs by the hundreds, rock crabs, blue crabs, stone crabs, shamefaced crabs and sally lightfoot crabs running on the rocks just at the high tide mark. None of us wanted to get out of the water! That kept us busy for the rest of the day, barely had time to snack. AdventureGavin, David and Trevor caught crabs and blennies and put them in a bucket for all to see, while AdventureAllison, Madison and Dina collected hermit crabs and looked for shells. We all worked together and it was a blast. AdventureNicholas made sure we had what we needed, carried creatures back and forth to the buckets and brought us drinks when we asked. It was a perfect day!!!

Goofing Around

Somehow when the kids got in the boat they found my hidden stash of Squirt guns and nothing stayed dry after that, including my glasses which I could barely see out of. Next time I’m going to hide a “super soaker” for me and blast them all in return. Can’t wait…Some kids just never grow up, and that would include me too. Oh well… we had fun!

From here it was time to go, and as we headed back we saw a quite large eagle ray foraging in the shallows for conchs. Had to be 6 feet across. We stopped to watch as he glided about and then disappeared into the deeper water. It was a beautiful way to end the day! On the way back the kids kept saying ,”why do we have to go back now? Why can’t you run your camp till 3 or 5 and not end at 1? I don’t want to go back yet, do we have to go back now?” I told them their parents would be waiting for them and they said why don’t I just call and have them come back later? I didn’t have a good answer for that. They seem to think of everything nowadays. I told them there is always tomorrow, three more days left, and who knows what we are going to see next… That didn’t really satisfy them but they quit asking, and I didn’t really want to go in either. I understood how they felt. Oh well…

And for all the rest of you who haven’t experienced AdventureMike’s aquatic summer camp… Stay tuned, or better yet, Come join us for our next adventure!!! Get off the couch and get outside… Be a part of the Adventure!!!

Lets all go have some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

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