COOL SEA CREATURE ENCOUNTERS!!!

Posted by 30 June, 2011 (0) Comment

Hi Everybody!!! Welcome back!!! We’ve just finished up our third week of double session Adventure, and as usual, we had a BLAST!!! When I arrived at the dock bright and early for the Tuesday morning session I could tell we had another great group and were going to have another fabulous week!!! The kids were […]

Hi Everybody!!! Welcome back!!!

We’ve just finished up our third week of double session Adventure, and as usual, we had a BLAST!!! When I arrived at the dock bright and early for the Tuesday morning session I could tell we had another great group and were going to have another fabulous week!!! The kids were all there, early no less, excited and raring to go, smiling from ear to ear. And that’s just the way I love it!!! I hopped onto the dock to meet the parents and greet the kids, and the FUN began! As I walked, I looked down into the shallow water along the seawall and saw a 9 armed starfish burrowing out of the sand, variegated urchins along the wall, 2 octopus peeking out from their holes under the rocks, an eagle ray, 3 stingrays, a school of jacks and a striped burrfish swimming by. What a way to start the session!!! What a way to start any day!!! The morning group was already having FUN and we hadn’t even left the dock yet!!! And so was I!!!

Morning group

We spent the week boating, exploring and having non-stop adventure, morning and afternoon!!! It didn’t make a difference what session you were in. It was FUN FUN FUN, all day long!!! We explored the Rock Garden, the Big Sandbar, the South Jetty, Little Munyon Island, Starfish Prairie and more. We even went a bit offshore on one totally calm, flat day looking for sea turtles. And not only did we see sea turtles, but we saw something MORE!!! MUCH MORE!!! One of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen, but your going to have to keep reading to find out WHAT!!! Of course, we also spent a day Fishing where it was non-stop action from start to finish!!!! And did we Ever LOVE IT!!! The whole week was a blast and each session seemed to end way to soon!!!

Afternoon group

At the Rock Garden we saw the usual…. Hundreds of fish in every size, shape and color imaginable! From small barracudas to snook, seargent majors, porkfish, parrotfish, sheepsheads, grunts, snappers, angelfish, damselfish, butterflyfish, blennies and more. Every where you looked there was something else to be seen! There were fish in every direction!!! We didn’t know which way to look!!!

Rock Garden

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!!! We had so much fun finding, chasing and catching swimming crabs, we almost couldn’t stop!!! What a fun day underwater!!!

Fun day on the water

There was a plethora of things to discover, and discover them we did! One day, while swimming along the shallow rocks of the Rock Garden, AdventureKatie looked into a crevasse between 2 rocks and came up with a giant Measled Cowrie. The shell was totally covered by its mantle and looked more like a slimy short-spined sea urchin than a beautiful shiny brown and white, polka-dotted shell that is was. It gave the art of mimicry a whole new meaning! Nice find Katie! Way to Go!

measled cowrie

By the end of the week at the Rock Garden, we had found 4 different species of sea urchins, numerous species of brittle starfish and conchs, almost a dozen different species of corals and sponges, 8 different species of crabs and hundreds of different species of fish. The water was crystal clear all week, and everywhere you looked there was something to see and something new to discover!!! One of our favorite discoveries was a beautiful striped burrfish that we found hiding among seaweed along the bottom of the rocks. It was so darn cute, we just wanted to kiss it. That is, if it wasn’t so spiny and didn’t have a parrotlike beak that could nip you good!!!

Pucker up burrfish

We all spent a good bit of time taking turns checking him out and taking photos along the way. We loved the way it would puff itself up and become a short, stout, spiny pin-cushion. After we released the burrfish, it began to deflate, and then swam a few circles around AdventureLily as if to say, “goodby” before moseying on. They are always a great find and the kids love them! And so do I!!!

Striped burrfish swims by

On the Big Sandbar we found hundreds of Florida and West Indian fighting conchs and noticed they were all laying eggs. Cool to watch! We found dozens of squat lobsters and netted olive shells, and quietly observed tube worms slowly filter sand to digest the algae off each grain. One morning we found a huge Scaly Mantis Shrimp totally out of his hole, lying still in a tiny pool of water. It was a great discovery, and only the second or third time I have ever witnessed it! What LUCK!!!

Scaly mantis shrimp

Mantis shrimp get their name for the way they resemble the preying mantis insect with their large, stalked eyes and long spiked foreclaws which, when not in use, fold back into a claw slot in the leg. These powerful claws can easily slice a finger as well as capture prey! They are known as “thumb splitters’ by Caribbean fisherman. Bet you’ll never guess how I found that out, when, long ago, I wriggled my finger in one of their holes! OUCH!!!

mantis shrimp close-up

We found numerous box crabs and juvenile blue crabs and a couple of small chocolate chip sea cucumbers along the way. The kids had fun trying to find as many, and as many different species of hermit crabs they could find! Most were living in the discarded shells of fighting conchs that made for a great home. AdventureAlex and Max sure loved finding this one that wasn’t a bit shy!

Finding hermit crabs

We found a variety of starfish everytime we visited the Big Sandbar, from Beaded Sea Stars to Cushion Sea Stars and sometimes even the unusual 9 armed starfish that is mainly nocturnal. Always a great find and a wonderful treat for the kids! Of course I would have to make the most of this opportunity and take a few photos of the group with a 9 armed starfish on their heads. I could tell AdventureJacob was having a good time wearing this one as a hat!

Jakob & starfish

One afternoon we stopped to snorkle and explore a small vessel that had recently sunk just north of the Big Sandbar. It was already covered with barnacles and tunicates and loads of fish. There were dozens of juvenile blue crabs hiding underneath the boat and a few arrow crabs clinging towards the stern out of the current. It didn’t take AdventureMaxwell long before he caught one in his hand and held it up for us to see. Nice job Max!

Maxwell finds arrow crab

From here we swam to another smaller sandbar and explored along the shallows to see what we could find. Before long we had found dozens of netted olive shells, plenty of mantis shrimp holes and even a few more starfish. One afternoon little Max found a really cool beaded starfish that was in the process of regenerating the tips on 3 of its arms. It was neat to see how a starfish could grow its arms back after some other creature decided to have one for lunch! How cool is that!!

Max finds beaded starfish

Another morning while exploring the Big Sandbar we found an octopus that had been caught out of water by the falling tide and had died. We felt bad for it and wished we had come by sooner to have found it alive. We did love checking it out up close and personal, even when dead, and somehow this led to another photo opportunity to take some different photos of octopus that we hadn’t done before. That’s right! You guessed it! Dead octopus head photos!!! You just have to admit, AdventureBrett looks like he’s loving this! Well sort of ???

Brett with octopus head

One morning when the ocean was totally flat calm we drove the boat around to the South Jetty and parked a few feet off the beach. The water was crystal clear and there seemed to be thousands of tropical fish all along the shallow rocks. It was absolutely Great!!! There were so many different species of fish you couldn’t keep count! As we swam thru them, they would swirl all around us, sometimes just inches from our nose! We all just loved that!!!

South jetty

A bit further along the jetty we started seeing large numbers of short and long-spined burrfish swimming along in pairs. I found a nice big long-spined burrfish hiding in a crevasse between 2 rocks, seemingly uncorncerned that I was there. I carefully reached in and gently took hold around its midsection and pulled it out for the group to look at. A split second later it inflated itself like a ballon and became so full of long, sharp quills that I could hardly hold it. It poked me good a few times and I think the kids loved that too! One look at the photo and you can tell how it got its name and why it wasn’t too concerned I was there! I sure wasn’t going to try to eat it!!!

Long spined burrfish

On the way back to the boat, AdventureKatie found a cool Hairy Clinging Crab clinging to a rock with all its might. She called me over and it took all I had to pull that crab off that rock! Not only was it hairy, it was thorny like all get out and could hang onto that rock like Arnold Swartzencrab!!! And Arnold Swartzencrab it was!!! I think we could have used that crab as an anchor if we could have could tied a rope around it and dropped it on a rock where it could hang on! It was about that strong!! Nice find Katie!!!

Hairy clinging crab

The most wonderful underwater encounter of all for this week occurred just as we got back to the boat!!! One unbelievably cute manatee had decided to take a rest right underneath the boat while we were gone swimming along the jetty. As we got closer to the boat, it swam right up to us and just about laid right in our arms!!! It swam and rolled around us like we were long lost friends and brushed up against us over and over! It would come up right beneath us and almost lift us to the surface. It was just GREAT!!! It was one of the most friendliest manatees I have ever seen, and unbelievably cute too!!! Did we EVER LOVE that!!!

One cute manatee

Every now and then it would come right up to us and just lay there for us to scratch its back!!! It would gently roll back and forth underneath our hands while we scratched, like it just didn’t want us to ever quit! We spent a few moments appreciating every minute of that!! I could tell by all the happy squealing coming from the kids, this wondrously extra special manatee encounter would be something they would never forget!!! I know I won’t!!! What a GREAT DAY!!! It just doesn’t get any better than that!!! LOVE IT!!!

Friendly manatee underwater

Thursday was our fishing day, and of course, its hard to match the fun and excitement of that if you love fishing! 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 more!!! All in all, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” over and over and OVER!!! The sound of that is still ringing in my ears!!! I could sure tell AdventureJulia sure loved catching this nice one!

Julia catches fish

On another day, we spent part of one morning and afternoon heading over to Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting in the shallow grass beds. The tide that day was extremely low and the shallow bar to the south was exposed for hundreds of yards. This extreme low tide gave us the very best opportunity to seine net in some areas that we never had before. It was neat to see and we all were excited to get started!!! The full moon sure made a difference for the tides this day.

Extra low tide

AdventureLilly and Noelle were among the first group to go seining and before long, they were seine netting like pros! On the very fisrt pull of the net they caught sea grass filefish, pipefish, mojarras, juvenile snappers and grunts, a couple of tiny hogsnappers, pink shrimp, grass shrimp, small blue crabs and even a few small checkered puffers! What a great way to start your very first day of seine netting!!! Way to go girls!!! YOU Rock!!!

Lilly & Noelle seining

One of the neatest fish we got that day was a nice, big, striped burrfish that inflated on demand. It became a thorny ball with short, curved spines. They are common to Florida and generally inhabit sea grass beds and adjacent reefs. The stripes help them to camoflauge amongst the sea grass where they are difficult to see in brackish water. I know AdventureJack sure loved holding this one! We all did!

Jack with striped burrfish

We spent rest of that morning at Little Munyon Island finding more large sea grass hermits than you could count, and short-spined sea urchins in every color you could imagine by the hundreds. Almost every urchin was covered and camouflaged by little shells held tightly to them by their tiny tube feet. They looked more like the bottom than urchins themselves. Neat to see them this way. Give them a few quick swishes in the water and the shells fall off, leaving you with a handful of urchins in a variety of colors. It didn’t take AdventureTrevor long to find his favorites!

Sea urchin collector Trevor

We snorkeled almost the whole way around Little Munyon Island finding blue crabs, hermit crabs, juvenile stone crabs, some small beaded starfish, a few small 9 armed starfish, and a dozen or more West Indian Sea Eggs . We found just about every color combination of short spined or variegated sea urchins you could imagine. My favorites were the bright white ones with dark purple spines that are hard to find, and I wasn’t succesful on this day! AdventureLilly seemed to like every one she found. I don’t think she cared what color they were. She was having FUN either way!

Sea urchin collector Lilly

When we came around the south end of the island I took the group over to a cluster of rocks hidden among the sea grass beds. I wanted to show them another species of sea urchin called a long-spined or diadema sea urchin. These are the big black ones with long needle sharp spines that can easily puncture the skin and break off in the flesh. They are most commonly found on the near shore reefs but this cluster of rocks seems to have one or two almost every time I look. They are best left alone but over the years I have learned how to handle them without getting stuck. My advice would be to don’t try this on your own!!!

Long-spined sea urchin and group

On the way back to the boat AdventureJulia came up with another large 9 armed starfish that was just crawling out of the sand and moving towards deeper water. They are fairly uncommon thru-out the Caribbean and seem to inhabit shallow sand or sandy mud bottoms. Exactly what we have here. It was another nice find and she held it up for us to see. Way to go Julia!!!

Julia finds a starfish

We spent some time taking turns checking it out.We watched as hundreds of tiny tube feet would wriggle non-stop, as if trying to right itself up from the palms of our hands. The kids loved that and it was just great to watch them all smile when it came to their turn to hold this starfish. I could sure tell AdventureNoelle was having FUN when her turn came around!!! Love that smile too!!!

Upside down starfish

One morning ,when the ocean was flat calm, I decided to take the kids offshore for a little bit to see if we could find a loggerhead or green sea turtle floating on the surface, catching its breath. Little did I know then what a wonderful decision that would be!!! We motored around for a bit in about 120 feet of water, then shut off the engines and drifted quietly. I had just got done telling them that on days like this, when the ocean is flat calm, and shiny like a mirror, you can sometimes see hammerhead sharks swimming lazily on the surface. Not a minute or two later, the ocean erupted a hundred feet in front of us, and a tremendous hammerhead shark came thrashing to the surface with another large hammerhead shark in its jaws!!! What a sight to see!!! So much for swimming “lazily” !!!

hammerhead 1

For the first minute or so I could believe what we were seeing, and I didn’t think to take a picture! I started the engines and quickly motored to within 20 feet of this unbelievable sight, wanting to see what was actually taking place! The ocean seemed to have come alive and walls of water were being thrown 15 feet into the air! We observed, what I would estimate as about a 10 to 12 foot hammerhead shark, being attacked by another monstrous hammerhead shark that I thought was closer to about 18 feet!!! It was just INCREDIBLE!!! and one of the neatest things I HAVE EVER SEEN!!! MAY EVER SEE!!! All this action taking place at about 30 miles per hour!!! What a SIGHT!!! As we came closer, the monster shark let go this shark, and swam deeper down, and just kept circling around us, below.

hammerhead 3

This 10 to 12 foot hammerhead shark, that seconds earlier was in the jaws of the other, swam straight towards the boat as if looking for something to hide behind! For two to three minutes it never left the vicinity of our boat while the other, much LARGER shark kept circling below. This shark appeared totally exhausted and spent, probably trying to flee for its life, and at this time could hardly swim! I did not get a photo of that monster shark as it never came up close enough to the boat for me to take a decent picture. Shortly after I took this photo below, this shark swam away from the boat down a bit deeper, and I watched as that monster shark came racing in and grabbed this one again, thrashing him in its jaws and swimming deeper into the depths, until they disappeared from our view!!! JUST UNBELIEVABLE!!!

hammerhead 4

To witness what we saw was most unbelievable to say the very least!!! One of the most EXCITING and INCREDIBLE things I have ever seen or may ever see in my life!!! I will always wish I would have thought to start taking photos sooner, but I was so awestruck I couldn’t think to take a picture, as I looked on in amazement!!! WHAT A DAY!!! WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!! WHAT AN ADVENTURE!!! WHAT MORE CAN YOU SAY!!! WISH YOU ALL COULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!! IT WAS JUST GREAT!!! The kids summed it up perfectly when I asked them how they felt after seeing THAT!!! Their response was, ” IT WAS AWESOME!!!!” I FEEL THE VERY SAME WAY!!! AWESOME!!!!! WHAT AN INCREDIBLE WEEK!!! IT JUST DOESN”T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS!!! AND I CAN”T WAIT TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, NEXT WEEK!!!!

See you soon!!!

AdventureMike

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

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Cool Sea Creature Encounters!!! Manta Ray!

Posted by 30 August, 2010 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!! I’m finally just sitting down to write last weeks blog. Thought I would never get a chance to get to it! Was busy doing birthday party adventures over the weekend and a little bit of fishing and before I knew it, this weeks adventure was under way! Oh well, what can […]

Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!!

I’m finally just sitting down to write last weeks blog. Thought I would never get a chance to get to it! Was busy doing birthday party adventures over the weekend and a little bit of fishing and before I knew it, this weeks adventure was under way! Oh well, what can you say? Time flies when your having FUN! Last week we had a small group of adventurers, only 3, but we had a blast all the same. We had some last minute cancellations the night before the week started, and I didn’t bother to make any calls to try and fill the spaces at the last second. I thought it would be kind of nice to have just a few of us going for a change. And I’m happy we did! I know AdventureRachel, Neil and Hagan sure had fun checking everything we found and caught, up close and personal. Like this really cool mantis shrimp we found crawling around outside its burrow on the Big Sandbar.

A cool mantis shrimp

This was the very first time I have ever seen one out and about in the day time and it was a really great find! You have to be extremely careful when picking these up, best not to at all, as they can give you a painful stick with their sharp dagger like claws. We always see their burrows in the sand around the sandbar but rarely do we ever see them peeking out at us, much less crawling about. Wish I could find one like this on every weekly adventure! Like all shrimp, mantis shrimp also have the capability of slapping their tails closed. The big difference with this species is that they also have sharp razor like edges along their hard tail with a few big needle like spines to boot. Commercial fisherman who catch these shrimp sometimes call them “thumb splitters” for good reason. Either way, I was happy to find it, and we checked it out up close before letting it go.

Mantis shrimp close-up

Every morning we spent an hour or so walking the Big Sandbar and exploring the shallows like there was no tomorrow. We had a full moon coming up and the tide was exceptionally low. The bar was exposed for hundreds of yards in every direction and it didn’ take us long to find some big Cushion Starfish that were bright red in color. You could see them in the shallows at least 100 yards away. The Kids would race to get them, sometimes stopping along the way to check something else out they didn’t see at first. It was just great and we had a blast finding one big starfish after another. I know AdventureRachel sure had FUN sporting her new starfish “hat”. It seemed to fit just right!!!

Rachel's new hat

Every single day we stopped at the Sandbar to explore. We found fighting conchs, box crabs, blue claw crabs and hermit crabs galore. We even found some really cool shells and living scotch bonnets that I rarely see. Netted olive shells and bubble shells were every where leaving long burrows thru the sand. But the kids always seemed to love finding the starfish best, and every morning we found a bunch!!! We found two different species of beaded starfish, a few small brittle starfish, some nice big Cushion Starfish and quite a few 9 armed starfish that we all loved to hold. A few of the 9 armed starfish had previously lost the tips of some of their legs and you could see where they were all growing back. We all thought that was cool! I know AdventureHagan had Fun wearing a few starfish stuck to his shirt, before he let them go.

Hagan and starfish

Every afternoon we would take a swim at the Rock Garden and check out all the fish and search under rocks for swimming crabs, rock crabs, brittle starfish, blennies and what ever else we could find. Occasionally we would discover a really big swimming crab that would dart out from the rocks right under our feet. AdventureNeil and Hagan would give chase and eventually catch it in their hand net. It was a fun and exciting thing to watch as they tried to get it out of the net by the back leg without getting pinched. Half the time I would come to the rescue, but more often than naught they would get it on their own. Even Rachel would come up with a big crab in her net as well!

finding crabs and conchs

After a while we would take a break from this and swim about and look for some big queen conchs and see who could find the biggest. They can be found in a variety of sizes though most are in the 4 to 6 inch range. Every now and then one of us would come up with a mature conch that had a beautiful pink and yellow interior and we all loved that. This past week we found dozens of conchs right up next to the rocks feeding on algae and it wasn’t long before AdventureNeil came up with a really nice big one that won the contest. Nice job Neil! I thought I was going to win it for a while!

Neil finds a nice queen conch

Thursday was our fishing day, and as usual we had non-stop action the minute our lines were in the water! And I mean from the very first second! If you didn’t have a fish on within 3 seconds of hitting the bottom then your bait was gone. We all caught fish one right after the other and sometimes all at once ! And that’s just the way I love it! Over and over and over. Fish Fish Fish!!! It just doesn’t get any better than that! We started out fishing the artificial reef north of Phil Foster Park and it wasn’t long before AdventureRachel, Neil and Hagan were standing side by side, each with their very own fish! It was just great!!!

trio of fisherman

After an hour here of catching grunts, tomtates, sailors choice, porgies, seargent majors, long-spined filefish and a few cuban hogfish we decided to move the boat a bit over and try a new spot. The very first fish that AdventureHagan hooked was a nice big Ceasars Grunt and as he was fighting to bring it in to the boat a great big barracuda decided to have part of it for lunch. The line went screaming off his reel for about 10 seconds and then the fight was over. He reeled in what was left of his big grunt and we all checked out what that nice big hungry barracuda had done. I could tell AdventureHagan thought that was about as exciting as things could get! We all did!

Hagan's half eaten grunt

A few minutes after this we started catching lane snappers one right after the other until the group was tired of reeling in so many fish! From here we spent the last hour going out to the beach to do some beach combing and a bit of snorkeling along the shoreline. On the way down the beach we found a small boat that had run ashore some time in the past week. It was totally filled up with sand and sitting high and dry on the beach. The kids wanted to stop and check it out so we did. We anchored our boat and swam in to the beach. A few seconds later the kids were sitting in the old boat pretending they were driving and getting ready to run aground. No doubt they were having FUN! They were screaming with laughter the whole time!

boat aground

The last few minutes of the day we took a quick walk down the beach to do some beach combing and check out the tracks left by big sea turtles coming up on to the beach to lay eggs. There were quite a few around and some of the tracks were tremendous. On the way back to the boat a ghost crab went scurrying down the beach in front of us and we all gave chase. It took a while for us to catch up with it but we finally tired it out and it sat still just long enough for AdventureRachel to pick it up. It was great to watch. Nice job Rachel!

Rachel with a ghost crab

The next morning we went down to Little Munyon Island to collect some sea urchins and see what else we could find. We came up with quite a few different color combinations and some really nice big bright pink ones. Most of the ones we found were of the green variety and it wasn’t long before every one of us was holding them by the handfuls. In some places there were so many you had to be careful to look first before you sat down in the shallows. I learned that the hard way. They make a tough cushion to sit on! Ouch! Either way, we had a blast and it was great finding so many.

sea urchin trio

From here we decided to do some seine netting in the shallow grass flats. After just a few pulls of the net we had come up with some nice juvenile barracudas, a cool juvenile flounder, some small needlefish, a couple of pipefish, a sharpnosed and a checkerboard puffer, a bunch of filefish, mojarras, pinfish, juvenile lane and yellowtail snapper, a small hogfish, pink shrimp and grass shrimp and best of all, a dwarf sea horse. It wasn’t much bigger than a dime. We always love finding these! It was just great and we all loved checking them out before letting them go.

We find a Dwarf Seahorse!

With the very last pull of the net we came up with one really nice big blue claw crab that sat and waved its claws menacingly at us just daring us to try and pick it up. I carefully slid my hand along the backside of its carapace and picked it up by the base of its swimming leg. I showed everyone the proper technique without getting pinched, and asked if anyone wanted to pick it up for a photo op. AdventureNeil was the only taker brave enough to give it a try. I watched carefully to make sure he didn’t get pinched and a few seconds later he had it firmly in his grip. You can tell that this crab is sure capable of giving you one heck of a pinch! Nice Job Neil! Way to go!

Neils big blue crab

The last morning we spent snorkeling at the Rock Garden and chasing pufferfish and then as the tide went out, we motored over to the Big Sandbar, hopped out and began to explore the bar. The tide was so low we could walk for hundreds of yards in any direction. It was just great and we found all kinds of cool shells, sea urchins, box crabs and more. We found two different species of beaded starfish and a pile of 9 armed starfish. Every where we looked we seemed to find another starfish! We moved most of them into deeper water and kept a few just long enough to take some pictures before letting them go. We had a ball finding so many and having FUN all the while!!!

starfish trio and group

We decided to spend the last hour of the day going back out to the beach. Over the past few weeks I had seen some really nice big and beautiful Manta Rays swimming just a short distance from the beach. I was hoping that we might see another one and if we were really lucky, have a chance to get in for a wonderful manta encounter. Though they may be big, they are totally harmless, have no venemous barbs and feed mainly on small fish and plankton. Lucky for us, today was our day!!! A short distance ahead was a nice big manta ray, maybe10 feet wide from wingtip to wingtip, swimming in about 4 feet of water. We motored the boat ahead and quietly got in. A few seconds later we had this wonderful creature swim right up and past us and did we EVER LOVE THAT!!!

swimming with a manta ray

We did this over and over until it was time to go. I can tell you nobody was ready to call it a day when it was finally time to head home!!! We just never wanted it to end!!! We had such a great time and such a great week!!! I just wish it could have lasted for ever!!! None of us was ready for Summer to be over!!! Good thing for me I have one week left to do it all over again!!! I have a small group coming all the way from Hungary, and I know its going to be Great!!! I just can’t wait!!!

See you soon!!!

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

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Sea Creature Encounters, Big and Small !!!

Posted by 16 July, 2010 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone! Welcome back!!! We’ve just finished up another week of FUN and Adventure and let me tell you it was one of the best! We had so much FUN I don’t even know where to begin!!! It does seem that every week just gets better and better or maybe we are just getting lucky, […]

Hi Everyone! Welcome back!!!

We’ve just finished up another week of FUN and Adventure and let me tell you it was one of the best! We had so much FUN I don’t even know where to begin!!! It does seem that every week just gets better and better or maybe we are just getting lucky, but either way I LOVE IT!!! All week long we had the coolest encounters with all kinds of sea creatures both big and small! No matter where we went or under which rock we looked, we found something COOL! I think AdventureMandy summed this week up best when I asked the group at the end of the day, ‘Well, Did you have Fun?” And her response was, “This was AWESOME!!! This is the BEST camp I’ve ever been too!!! ” My thoughts exactly Mandy!!! I couldn’t have said it better!!!

Jack with a ghost crab

We began the first day stopping by the Big Sandbar. The tide was dead low and we all wanted to jump out and explore the bar to see what we could find. We hadn’t been out of the boat for more than a minute before we found something we liked or were fascinated with! Wherever we walked we found blue crabs scurrying by, or baby’s ear mollusks burrowing in the sand. As we walked we would occasionally stop to check out the Mantis shrimp and tube worm tunnels or pick up a handful of fighting conchs to watch for a bit. We kept our eyes open for starfish and before long we found a few. We came up with two beaded starfish, one big Cushion Starfish and shortly after that, we found a nice, medium sized 9 armed starfish that we loved! Some of the legs were shorter than others and we could see it was in the process of regenerating and growing new legs which we all found to be really neat! I know Mandy, Mac and Jack had a good time finding this one!

Mandy, Mac and jack

As we loaded up in the boat to head over to the Rock Garden to snorkel, we noticed a thin wispy water spout coming out of the very edge of beautiful cloud bank a ways offshore. We stopped and watched it develop a bit bigger than disappear in a blink of an eye as the cloud bank moved to the south. We thought that was just great too! No trouble for us! The minute we got in the water we were seeing fish by the thousands. Every where we looked there were FISH, FISH, FISH!!! And did we ever love that! While watching a school of parrotfish swim by one of the kids found a big slimy sea cucumber which we all took turns checking out. And did we ever enjoy that too! I know AdventureMandy sure did!!!

Mandy with a slimy sea cucmber

As we snorkeled along the edge of the Rock Garden we saw dozens of short-nosed puffers and quite a few checkerboard pufferfish. As usual, we all wanted to try and catch one to watch it “blow up” with air or water to more than twice its normal size. Chasing after and catching pufferfish has to be one of the most favorite things the kids love to do! We don’t always get them, but we sure LOVE trying! Sometimes it takes a combined effort to be successful. I know AdventureBobby was sure happy when it came his turn to get one in the net! We all were! Nice job!

Bobby with a checkerboard puffer

As some of the kids chased puffers or watched the thousands of fish swim by, others would search or turn over small rocks looking for crabs, shrimp, brittle starfish or anything else they could find. Every now and then someone would come up with a few small stone crabs or porcelain crabs or a nice big queen conch or two. But the prize they were after was a nice big swimming crab! Every now and then I would hear a squeal of glee and turn around just in time to see some big crab dart about scurrying from rock to rock or underneath a nearby foot. You have to be quick of foot and hand to get a big one in your net. All the while not getting pinched! Check out the impressive pincers on this one that AdventureJack was lucky to catch!

Jack catches a swimming crab

Another day we went to Little Munyon Island to search along Sea Urchin Shoals to see how many different color variations of short-spined urchins we could find. The ones most commonly found are the dark green varieties, but my favorite color phase is the bright white ones with rich dark purple spines. We found sea urchins in every size and color! There were so many urchins you could collect them by the armfuls. And by the armfuls we did! It looked like it had rained urchins all night long! On this day they literally covered the bottom and we picked them up one after another checking each one out! We loved when they would stick to our hands using their tiny little tube feet, and we would all share when a smaller one or new color variety was found.

Raining sea urchins

The latter part of the day we spent seine netting the shallow grass flat to the east. The tide had gone out and the flats were exposed like never before. This gave us a rare opportunity to seine in areas that were normally too deep. Here the sea grass was thick and luxuriant. The perfect home for fish! With the very first pull of the net we brought in some wonderful “treasures” that we placed in our tank of sea water to check out a bit later. They came in all sizes. You name it and I think we found it! The group loved to sort through the net the minute it reached the beach! And me too of course!

Low tide seine netting

The second pull of the net thru the grass flats brought in the typical assortment of juvenile fish ranging from tiny barracudas to filefish, mojarras, striped grunts, ceasars grunts, lane snappers, yellowtail snappers, pinfish, sea grass shrimp, pink shrimp and lucky for us, some striped burrfish! This fish are in the blowfish family of fishes and are striped to match the sea grass and covered in short spines. They can be handled easily from underneath if you are careful to keep your hands and fingers out of the way of their mouths. AdventureJacob, Harper and William loved taking a close-up look at these!

Jacob, Harper, William and striped burrfish

It seemed with every pull of the net we would come up with something different. It is amazing how many species of fish and juvenile fish depend on the grass flats to provide food and shelter until they are big enough to live on the reef. Many species of fish will never leave the grass flats their entire lives. This is the perfect habitat for slow swimming pufferfish and on this day we were finding them by the dozens. And were we ever happy with that! AdventureMandy, Mac and Bobby sure had FUN checking out this checkerboard pufferfish up close and personal!

Mandy, Mac, Bobby and checkerboard puffer

On the last pull of the net we came up with a juvenile long-spined porcupinefish and that was the very first one we have ever caught here. The minute the net came in to the beach this two inch long porcupinefish puffed up in all its glory and turned itself into a round little ball of quills. We absolutely loved that! This species of porcupinefish has the longest spines of any around, and even though it was tiny, we had to be very careful to hold it gingerly. All in all, we found 4 different species of blowfish or pufferfish in one pull of the net, and let me tell you that was just GREAT! AdventureHarper and Mandy loved the striped burrfish and long-spined porcupinefish best!

Harper, Mandy and porcupinefish

Of course, Thursday was our fishing day and it is mighty hard to beat the FUN and EXCITEMENT that we have on this day!!! Most days the kids will have a fish on within a few seconds of their bait hitting the bottom! 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, parrotfish and more! I took them to my secret snapper hole a bit later and we caught lane snappers non stop till we were almost too tired to bring any more in!!! And that’s just the way I love it!!!

Great day of fishing!

It always seems on most trips the smallest person in the boat catches the biggest fish, and on this day it was no different. This was AdventureMandy’s first day of fishing and I think she stopped counting how many fish she caught once she reached about 40 or so. She seemed to be catching big fish one after another and sometimes I was wondering whether she would get them in or whether they would pull her out of the boat. She had quite a tussle with a few big fish but eventually got them in! I absolutely loved watching that! Great job Mandy! Nice big grunt too!

Mandy catches a ceasars grunt

The last half hour of the day we went back to the Big Sandbar and romped around in the shallows. The boys dug trenches in the sand like they were building an irrigation project and the girls played in the warm pool of water we call the Hot Tub. As we headed back to the boat to call it a day we came upon a large Cushion starfish at the edge of the bar. We all had a chance to check the starfish out and take some cool photos along the way!

sandbar starfish

When we arrived back at the dock we were met with Icecream bars to celebrate AdventureJacobs birthday, and the cool thing about that was not only did we love that ice cream, but AdventureJacob and I celebrate the very same birthday! That’s July 8th, so Happy Birthday again Jacob! You ROCK! Nice sharing a birthday with another Adventurer!!!

We began the last day going back to the Rock Garden to enjoy the fabulous snorkeling and of course spent a good bit of time chasing and netting fish and crabs. We always love that!!! I noticed the ocean was absolutely flat calm so I decided to take the kids for a short jaunt offshore looking for some loggerhead and green sea turtles to show them. On the way out we passed over a nice sargassum seaweed line so we stopped to dip net a bit to see what we could find. With the very first scoop we caught a half dozen filefish, numerous shrimp and crabs and a lovely juvenile long spined porcupinefish that filled itself with air as if right on cue! Harper was the first to check it out and I could tell she loved it!!! We all did!

Harper with a long spined porcupinefish

We all took turns checking out the porcupinefish and watched how cool it was to see it fill itself up with air to more than double its size. Being able to double its size and protrude hundreds of tiny sharp spines is a great way of preventing oneself from being eaten. Makes it also difficult to hold even if all you want to do just take a quick peek before leting it go! When fully grown this porcupinefishes spines can be over 2 inches long and needle sharp, making it almost impossible to be eaten or held! I know AdventureJason sure enjoyed checking it out when it came to his turn. Me too of course!

Jason with a long-spined porcupinefish

While all this FUN was going on a great big loggerhead sea turtle surfaced right by the boat and we all got a chance to see one right up close! And let me tell you, We Loved That Too!!! After this we went to the beach and anchored a few feet offshore. Most of us snorkeled while AdventureJoseph dug a huge hole in the sand to sit in. A second or two later I heard a yelp and watched as Joseph jumped up out of the hole with a huge Ghost Crab following closely behind! And “behind” is the key word! I think he even left a mark! How about it Joseph? I laughed so hard I could hardly take a picture! In a wink of an eye, Joseph quickly chased it down and held it up carefully for us to see. Nice Find Joseph!!! Well, I’m not really sure who found who, but it was great entertainment all the same! I loved it. :-)

Joseph with his ghost crab

Just as we were getting ready to call it a day and slowly swimming back to the boat, a huge friendly manatee swam right up to us as if to say ,”hello” and gave us another BIG THRILL!!! He hung around for a little bit, then moseyed off down the beach. We loved that so much we had to get in the boat and go by and take one last look before heading home! I can tell you none of us wanted to go back that day!!! It was GREAT to have such a wonderful encounter! I wish a big friendly manatee would come by for a visit everyday!!!

Coming by to say hello

On the way back we saw another big manatee swimming right down the beach in crystal clear, shallow water. And of course, we stopped to take a look at that one too. The amazing thing about what we saw that would have knocked our socks off if we were wearing any…. Following closely behind was a huge Manta Ray that swam right up to us looking like a Bomber coming in for a landing!!! Let me tell you, WE LOVED THAT TOO!!! So much so that I forgot to take a picture! Oh well… It was just unbelievable! What a way to end the week, any week!!!

We had Sea Creature Encounters, Big and Small, all week long!!! It just doesn’t get any better than that!!! How LUCKY we were!!! One things certain, I just can’t wait till next week to do it all over again!!! Hope you’ll join us and be a part of the ADVENTURE!!! I know its going to be GREAT!!! See you soon!!!

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2010: July 6 - July 9 Tags : , , , , , , , ,

Adventure in an Octopuses Garden

Posted by 30 June, 2010 (0) Comment

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

Hi Everyone! Welcome Back!!!

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

group photo with octopus

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

group photo netting

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

Beth and Zara find conchs

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

Leah nets a big crab

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

Nicholas holds one big crab

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

Zara with a barbless ray

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

Finding treasures in the net

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

Reese with puffdaddy

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

We find a lined seahorse

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

Of course, Thursday was our fishing day and it is mighty hard to beat the FUN and EXCITEMENT that we have on this day!!! Most days the kids will have a fish on within a few seconds of their bait hitting the bottom! And on this day it was no different!!! I took them to my secret snapper hole and we caught snappers non stop till we were almost too tired to bring any more in!!! And that’s just the way I love it!!!

A bunch of snappers

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

Christopher catches a porkfish

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

Jacob catches a porgy

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

Christopher, Nicholas and starfish

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

Beth watches an octopus

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

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

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

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 12: FUN, FUN, FUN from Here to There!!!

Posted by 21 August, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everybody, Welcome Back!!! I just wanted to drop a quick post about the weeks Adventure. Let me tell you, it has been one of the very best! We’ve had FUN, FUN, FUN from Here to There!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!  And I really mean that!!! I just never want this […]

Hi Everybody, Welcome Back!!! I just wanted to drop a quick post about the weeks Adventure. Let me tell you, it has been one of the very best! We’ve had FUN, FUN, FUN from Here to There!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!  And I really mean that!!! I just never want this Summer to come to an end!!! It has been so much Fun!!! I must be dreaming… :-)

Having FUN!!!

Having FUN!!!

I started out the week with just another absolutely wonderful, great group of kids! And like I’ve said before, “Each week just seems to get better and better!!!” When I arrived at the dock I was joined by 4 previous adventurers, AdventureRachel, Amanda, Rylee and Sydney. In turn, we were joined by 4 new Adventurers, AdventureRobert, Jonathan, Madeline and Emily. It was Emily’s birthday on Monday and we spent a great day doing an AdventureMike custom birthday party session, and boy did we ever have FUN! I never wanted that to end either! Always have a blast! I just love doing those!!! We’ll have to do some more!!!

When I arrived at the dock I could tell this group was ready and raring to go. We quickly loaded up, and off to the Rock Garden we went. The tide was high and the water absolutely beautiful! We had just dropped anchor and as I was getting the masks ready for everyone, 5 manatees came by and took a look at us!!! Right by the boat. Boy do I wish we had gotten there 2 minutes sooner so we could have been in the water with them. They hung around the boat for a minute or two, then off they went. What a way to start the day!!! It didn’t take us long to get in after that, and as usual, there were fish every where we looked!!! Within a few seconds we were catching swimming crabs, blennies, wrasse and pufferfish. We all took turns checking out what everyone was catching. It was just great and we were having so much FUN!

Amanda with a BIG swimming crab!

Amanda with a BIG swimming crab!

We found some really beautiful Hawkwing and Queen conchs and checked out their cute little eyes peeking back out at us. We found a nice big spotted moray eel living in an old barrel and that was great to see too! There were all kinds of arrow crabs and rock crabs living all around the barrel, and of course we had to catch a few of those in our nets to check them out up close and personal! There were so many things to see we didn’t know which direction to go! There were sheepshead, snook, barracudas, porkfish, snapper, grunts, surgeonfish, parrotfish, angelfish, wrasse, blennies, toadfish, cowfish, jawfish and even some beautiful pearly razorfish almost within reach of our fingertips! We found so many cool things!!!

This is COOL

This is COOL

We swam around in the shallows looking for flounder and pufferfish and came upon a beautiful small,yellow spotted ray hidden in the sand. Even though they have a small venomous barb like a stingray, I carefully took a scoop and caught it in my net. I gently pulled the barb off so that we could all hold it and take a good look up close and personal. They begin to grow their barbs back in a week or two and I thought this would be a great opportunity for the kids to hold one in their hands and see what they’re like. Boy, did everyone love doing this! I never saw such smiles on so many kids faces!!! Miles of Smiles, from ear to ear!!! Just the way I love it!!! I just loved it!!! A bit later we let him go to continue on his way.

Robert, Jonathan and Rylee with a barbless yellow ray!

Robert, Jonathan and Rylee with a barbless yellow ray!

By now the tide was going out and we went to the Big Sandbar to explore the shallows. Before we even had a chance to drop anchor I could see some big Cushion Starfish and fighting conchs exposed on the bar. The second we dropped anchor, the crew unloaded. Off and running they went to check out the big starfish!!! Nobody wanted to be the last one out of the boat here! By the time I got out of the boat they were all checking the Cushion Starfish out. So much for waiting for me… By now I was getting used to being the last one out. This group had more energy and enthusiasm than you could imagine. Just the way I love it!!!

We found a Cushion Starfish!

We found a Cushion Starfish!

We placed the big starfish back into deeper water and off we went to explore the bar. It was only a matter of seconds before we found Baby’s Ear mollusks, Netted olives and fighting conchs popping out of the sand. There seemed to be something everywhere we looked! We found numerous beaded starfish, maybe 10 or so, and that was the most I have ever seen at one time. One of the best finds on the bar was a lovely 9 armed starfish, and of course we had to share that and take some “9 armed starfish head ” photos for fun. I could tell Rachel really loved that!!! Tell me she doesn’t look like a “Natural” !!!

Rachel with a starfish hairdo!

Rachel with a starfish hairdo!

I think Jonathan found the most beautiful blue-eyed hermit crab I have ever seen! It had eyes like fluorescent deep blue sapphires! The most beautiful and unreal shade of blue in the world!!! Stunning comes to mind… Wish mine looked just like that, it was so cool! A really nice find! We took a jump into the hot tub for a few seconds, checked out some Mantis Shrimp in their tunnels then had to head back to the boat to make it back on time. On the way back we found another large Cushion Starfish and I could tell everybody loved that again too.

 Rylee and Sydney with a Big Starfish!!!

Rylee and Sydney with a Big Starfish!!!

Today may have been the most fun for me all Summer!!! Everything was just absolutely perfect from beginning to end!!! We had so much fun today!!! It just couldn’t have been any better!!! You guys ROCK!!!

Woke up Wednesday morning to a heavy rainfall, blustery winds and some strong lightning storms in the vicinity. Finally the bad weather from tropical storm Anna had caught up with me. This was the very first time EVER that I was going to have to call it a day without being able to go out, but I didn’t want to take any chances so I made the calls to cancel the day. Boy was I disappointed, but I knew the weather for Thursday was looking perfect, and that of course is our FISHING DAY! Just wanted everyone to be safe, and I knew we were going to have FUN the next two days!!!

When I arrived at the dock today, everybody was early and ready to go, and so was I!!! Little did I know then just how good our fishing day was going to be!!! When I arrived at my secret spot and checked the fish finder, I was recording fish from top to bottom!!! Excitedly I dropped anchor, baited the rods and handed them out and then everyone dropped down at once. From that second on there wasn’t ever a moment that somebody didn’t have a fish on. And I mean not for one second!!! You know the saying a “pictures worth a thousand words”, well look below…

FISH ON!!!

FISH ON!!!

Eight kids, eight rods and eight fish on at ONCE!!! All day long it was like this!!! From the very first second and it never stopped!!! I was so busy I couldn’t even take photos. I can’t tell you how often I heard, ” I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” I You could not count one second from the moment your bait hit bottom till you had one on!!! AdventureDaniel, if you are following this post you got lucky today…  If I would have had more help taking off fish and baiting hooks, your record of 111 fish in 3 hours would have fallen today!!! It was that unbelievable!!! I think everyone must have caught between 50 and 70 fish each, and some were mighty big! We caught some really nice grunts, snappers, parrotfish, tomtates, porkfish and even a seargent major or two. Good thing Madeline, Emily and Robert helped to bait lines and take fish off!!!

Madeline and Emily help take off fish!

Madeline and Emily help take off fish!

The action was so incredible that I heard complaints that wrists and arms were getting sore reeling so many fish in!!! Now that’s what I call FUN!!! I may never again see fishing action like this, but I can only hope!!! Most of the time you couldn’t even get your line to the bottom before you had a fish on. And of course all this excitement and non-stop action brought in the Big Barracudas right up underneath the boat!!! And it wasn’t long before they decided to make a meal of all the big fish that were fighting hard not to come in!!! We had fish eaten right up next to the boat and I can tell you that was exciting!!! Matter of fact, it was AWESOME!!! At least for us that is… I’m sure the snapper felt otherwise…

A Barracuda ate my fish!!!

A Barracuda ate my fish!!!

As it turned out, I have no idea how many fish we caught, but it had to be somewhere over three hundred. That may sound like a fish story to some, but we know better!!! We lived the ADVENTURE!!! You can ask anybody on board today and they would say the same thing. Non stop from start to finish!!! It just couldn’t have been any better!!! It was just GREAT!!!  JUST GREAT!!!  God, I LOVE THIS JOB!!!

When we finally reached the point where no one could reel in one more fish, we pulled anchor and went to the Rock Garden for a quick swim and a rinse. We spent some time chasing fish and crabs and relaxed, just having fun! On the way back to the boat when it was time to leave, A big manatee came by, gave us an up close and personal look, and then continued on. We gave him a quick rub on the back before he left. It couldn’t have been a nicer way to end the day!!! I would have loved to kiss him right on his nose!!!  Did I say, “It just couldn’t get any better than this”!!!

Friendly Manatee!

Friendly Manatee!

All I can say is, “So Far, We had fun from start to finish”!!! And I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wait till tomorrow!!! We have one more day left, And I can guarantee you, I’m going to make it FUN!!! It’s going to be GREAT!!! Wish you could join us!!!

LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!
AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: August 17 to August 20 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer 2009 Week 11: Boating, Fishing and Snorkeling Adventure!

Posted by 14 August, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We’ve been having so much FUN this past week that I just can’t believe its time to write another post! It seems like I just wrote last weeks blog yesterday. Where does the time go? For us it has been spent boating, fishing, snorkeling, etc., and having all kinds of Adventure […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We’ve been having so much FUN this past week that I just can’t believe its time to write another post! It seems like I just wrote last weeks blog yesterday. Where does the time go? For us it has been spent boating, fishing, snorkeling, etc., and having all kinds of Adventure Fun!!!   And like I seem to say every week, “It has been just GREAT, and I mean from start to finish!!!” It just doesn’t get any better than this!! The water quality this week has been the very best all Summer! Absolutely crystal clear, flat calm and so many fish around we don’t know where to begin or which direction to head. I have never seen so many snook, sheeps head and parrotfish like I have seen this week! Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, every where you look there seems to be a dozen looking back at you!!! Now that’s what I call having FUN!!! And if you ask AdventureCasey, Maxwell, Joseph, Connor, Joshua, Armaan, Meher, Sienna and Neal, they would tell you the same thing!!! FUN, FUN, FUN from start to finish!

Fun at the Rock Garden!

Fun at the Rock Garden!

We spent the first day going straight to the Rock Garden to do some snorkeling and check out the tremendous schools of fish that inhabit this area. The water was as clear as it could possibly be and we were the only ones here, no one else in sight. Our very own swimming pool full of fish! Just the way I love it!!!  I could tell the life guard down the beach was wanting to join us. He was laughing at all the commotion we were causing, chasing this way and that with our nets in hand after pufferfish, blennies, toadfish, flying gurnards, flounders and lizardfish. We didn’t know where to begin. Every where we looked were fish in all different sizes, shapes and colors. Large schools of snook were all around us lying lazily in the shallows, their bellies gorged to the max on menhaden. And let me say, they were looking fat and happy!!! We could get within 2 to 3 feet of them before they slowly moved off. AdventureJoseph would swim around them and ham it up just for our entertainment to see if they would move.

Joseph hamming it up!

Joseph hamming it up!

We spent a good bit of time searching for crabs under the rocks and found thousands, and I mean thousands of blue-legged hermit crabs. There seemed to be dozens under every rock, much to our enjoyment! We found some really cool mantis shrimp, popping shrimp and tiny pistol shrimp. Most of us even came up with some unusual porcelain crabs clinging to the undersides of the rocks. We all took turns checking out each others finds, and loved every minute of it!!! The sheep head would follow us around like puppy dogs wanting another handout, trying to catch the crabs under the rocks before we could. On many occasions I could reach out and touch them. Before long, the parrotfish were doing the same. We had a whole entourage full of fish behind us like we were playing follow the leader. It was just GREAT!!! AdventureMeher found a big arrow crab that would sit on her hand like it belonged there, and did we all love that! Especially her!!!

Meher with an Arrow Crab!

Meher with an Arrow Crab!

Before the day was done we had found some beautiful queen conchs, hawkwing conchs, sea anemones, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, rock crabs, swimming crabs, blue claw crabs, mantis shrimp, and even saw a couple of flying gurnards and sea robyns which definitely aren’t too common around here. We saw a couple of barracuda and lizardfish eat other fish which definitely caused excitement in the group! The kids were loving that! It was so cool to see hundreds of Bermuda chub, parrotfish, snook, sheep head, snapper and grunts all around us. We never left this spot till it was time to go and I could tell no one was ready to call it quits yet. We were having too much fun!!!

The next morning we went straight to the Big Sandbar to walk the shallows and see what we could discover. It wasn’t long before AdventureJoshua came up with a very big and beautiful, red cushion starfish. A rarity in this area. We all took turns checking it out up close and personal. It was great! Nice find Joshua!!! AdventureNeal really loved this!!! I could tell he was having fun by the smile on his face!!!

Neal with a Cushion Starfish!

Neal with a Cushion Starfish!

The rest of us spent some time checking out the fighting conchs, large mantis shrimp tunnels and catching small blue crabs in the sand. AdventureSienna found a nice beaded starfish and we all checked that out too. Nice find there also! Shortly after this we followed AdventureConor, Casey and Maxwell into the Hot Tub and had fun playing around here until it got almost too deep to stand . As the tide came in, it carried with it large mats of sargassum seaweed over the shallows. We all grabbed nets and scooped it up and found hundreds of Sargassum filefish, shrimp and crabs! With every scoop we found something cool!!! You never know what you may find. We never wanted to quit, but time was flying by and since the water was so clear and the ocean so calm, I wanted to spend the last hour going out to the beach and having FUN there. On the way back to the boat AdventureArmaan and Meher came up with a beautiful cushion starfish of their own. And I could tell, they loved this too!!! It just couldn’t get any better than this!!!

Armaan and Meher with a Cushion Starfish

Armaan and Meher with a Cushion Starfish

As we rounded the jetty on the way to the beach, juvenile flying fish took off in every direction. It was neat to see so many this close to shore! I dropped anchor right next to the beach and we hopped out with our masks in hand and swam around collecting shells and sea glass and searching the beach for treasures. We found a hatchling loggerhead sea turtle tangled in the seaweed that didn’t make it to the water on time and appeared to be fresh dead. We took it out in the water anyway hoping it might “come back to life” but no luck. We were all a bit saddened by this, but this gave everyone an opportunity to check out a new born hatchling up close and feel the texture of its skin and carapace. We spent the remainder of the day walking along the beach looking to see if we could find anymore hatchlings in the seaweed that we might save and release into the water before they perished. No luck, but we looked anyway.

Casey with a loggerhead turtle hatchling!

Casey with a loggerhead turtle hatchling!

On the way back in we stopped by the Big Sandbar to frolic around and get our mind off the baby turtle. We ran back and forth along the shallows looking to find some things we hadn’t seen yet. We spent a bit of time searching for Mantis shrimp in their tunnels and when we’d find one, we would drop a small piece of broken shell into the hole and watch the shrimp come out and place the shell along the edge of the tunnel out of the way. I couldn’t help but feel it wanted to keep a clean house just like us! Loved watching that!!! It wasn’t long before everyone was laughing and smiling again, and having the time of our life until it was time to go! We had so much fun!

Fun at the Big Sandbar!

Fun at the Big Sandbar!

And, as you all know if you follow our blog, today was our fishing day, and I knew I was going to need some help with the hooks, lines, bait and kids the way the action has been lately! Non stop fish on from start to finish, the WHOLE SUMMER!!! And like I said, “It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!” Lucky for me, AdventureSheri was able to give me a hand, and she knows how to fish!!! Matter of fact, when she was a child growing up in Texas, her father taught her how to “noodle” catfish and I hear she was one of the best female catfish “noodlers” in the state, even though she doesn’t like to admit it. Well, at least that’s how I remember it… And for those of you who don’t know what “catfish noodleing” is, that is when you dive down into the dark water of the lakes without a mask, reach your hand way back into the deep dark crevasses of rock, feel around for a big lunker catfish, carefully work your hand towards its head, then firmly grab it by the mouth and gills until it clamps down on your hand like a vice, then you pull it out of the hole and wrestle it back to the beach for dinner!!!, all bare handed no less!!! Now that’s what I call an Adventurer!!! I sure would have loved doing this myself!!! Still hope to one day!!! I’ll let you know how I do when I get the chance, hope I don’t “find” a snapping turtle… Just my Luck, Oh boy!!!…

Anyway, back to our adventure…  As soon as we arrived at my secret spot and dropped anchor I could tell it was going to be a busy day. The current was moving and that always bodes well here! As soon as we dropped our lines down the action began!!!

FISH ON!!!

FISH ON!!!

It was non stop from the very start and from that moment on, the rest seems just a blur!!!  AdventureSheri and I couldn’t keep up with all the action these kids were having today. We baited the hooks and took fish off as fast as we could, but still we could never keep up!!! I didn’t get a chance to even look at my watch till almost three hours went by! Talk about being busy, and having FUN, We were having it now!!! Just the way I remember it!!! God, I just love it like this!!! I’m not sure who caught what or how many, but everyone was catching fish and having a blast, and that is what counts!!! We didn’t catch the big ones today, but what we lacked in size, we made up for in quantity!!! All I know is that AdventureSheri and I were beat by the time our fishing day came to an end, and we had smiles on our faces from ear to ear, and had an absolute ball!!! We spent the last half hour back at the Rock Garden swimming with the fish and enjoying life!!! When it was time to call it a day, I can tell you, nobody wanted to go, especially me!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!! I love this job!!!

And the best thing about it all…  We still have one more day left!!!  I don’t know about you, but one things certain, we’re going to have FUN!!!  I can’t wait till tomorrow!!!!  It’s going to be GREAT!!!  :-)

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!
AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: August 10 to August 13 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer 2009 Week 10: Snorkeling Fun and Adventure times 10!!!

Posted by 7 August, 2009 (2) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We’ve just finished up the third day of Adventure for week 10 and I’m not sure where all the time goes, but one things certain!!!! We’ve been HAVING FUN!!! There is no doubt time seems to fly by when you are having the time of your life, and this week has […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We’ve just finished up the third day of Adventure for week 10 and I’m not sure where all the time goes, but one things certain!!!! We’ve been HAVING FUN!!! There is no doubt time seems to fly by when you are having the time of your life, and this week has been as great as all the rest!!! Matter of fact, just perfect!!!  And like I’ve said before, “It just doesn’t get any better than this!” This week AdventureSheri and I were joined by AdventureDaniel, Maxwell, Jake, Michael, Dylan, Kassedy, Sydney and Rylee. And let me tell you, it’s been non-stop fun from start to finish! As usual…

Group Photo!

Group Photo!

When I arrived at the dock I was greeted by one big happy and excited group of Adventurers and were they ever ready to go have some FUN!!! We loaded up and went straight over to the Rock Garden to do some snorkeling in the shallows. The tide was just beginning to ebb and there were schools of fish swimming back and forth in the shallows as far as you could see. Parrotfish, sheepshead, grunts, snapper, snook, small barracuda and menhaden were all around the boat. It was just great and we couldn’t wait to get in!!!  It didn’t take long before we found some big beautiful beaded starfish and everyone was excited about that! Including me!!!

Rylee and Sydney with a Beaded Starfish

Rylee and Sydney with a Beaded Starfish

While we swam around in the shallows turning over small rocks looking for crabs, a big school of Sheepshead followed us and tried to catch and eat them before we could get the crabs in our nets. Were we ever having fun watching this!!! They were sure better at catching the crabs than we were! We found hundreds of swimming crabs, rock crabs, stone crabs and coral crabs. Under every rock were one or two crabs. AdventureDaniel came up with one nice big swimming crab attached to his net and hanging firmly by one claw. I could tell he loved this!!! Glad it was hanging on the net and not his finger since it took quite a while to let go! It was fun to watch!

Daniel with a Big Crab!

Daniel with a Big Crab!

We found four or five sharpnosed pufferfish swimming along the shallows, gave chase and were able to catch a few in our nets. I can’t tell you how much fun it was watching all the kids smile and laugh when those pufferfish decided to puff themselves up with water! Everyone wanted to be the first to hold them, and we all took turns until everyone had a chance to see them up close and personal.Once we all had our fill we let them go and searched for other undersea treasures. AdventureKassidy came up with a lovely pink sea urchin and we all went over and checked that out too. Nice find!

Kassedy finds a lovely sea urchin!

Kassedy finds a lovely sea urchin!

We took the long way back to the boat swimming along the rock piles looking at all the schools of fish and turning over more rocks as we went. We spent a little bit of time searching the shallow sandy patches looking for small flounder and saw a few but were not able to catch any as I had hoped. They sure know how to dart rapidly between your feet and disappear in a wink of an eye! I haven’t been able to catch one yet this summer, but I’m going to keep trying! While we were looking for flounder, AdventureJake came up with a nice pipefish. It was a very cool find! They are related to Seahorses, a slow swimming bony fish that blends in well with the seagrasses and was the first one we saw here this summer. We loved seeing that!

Jake catches a nice pipefish!

Jake catches a nice pipefish!

Yesterday we spent the morning going back to the Rock Garden for a quick snorkel, then motored over to the Big Sandbar and spent an hour snorkeling along the shallow edge looking for Mantis Shrimp. We found quite a few large ones peering out their holes and we loved watching them! It seemed they were just as curious about us as we were about them!!! It was just GREAT!!! We came upon a big tractor tire that had quite a few arrow crabs and banded coral shrimp and we caught a few in our nets and checked them out. Then we went off and found florida and west indian fighting conchs, hawkwing conchs and even a few large queen conchs with their bright pink shells on the inside. Michael had a ball following us around and watching all the FUN!!!

Michael having fun!

Michael having fun!

From here we went to Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting along the sea grass beds. Everybody loved this!!! With every pull of the net we found something new and exciting. The tide was high and a bit hard to pull the net in but we had a ball no matter what!!! We all took turns trying our luck in new areas we hadn’t tried before. We caught a nice juvenile triple tail that was bright yellow and only an inch long and that was a first for this year! Always love finding something new like this!!!

Seine netting in the shallows.

Seine netting in the shallows.

It is so cool to catch juvenile fish in the grass flat that spend their adult lives on the outer reefs. We caught quite a few juvenile barracudas, ceasars grunts, tomtates, needlefish, mojarras, snappers, parrotfish, pipefish, pink shrimp, sea grass shrimp and a host of other too numerous to mention. It was just great!!! I think the best catch of all came when we came up with a beautiful blue and green scrawled cowfish! They get their names from having horns on the top of their heads. I can tell you everyone loved that one!!!! There were smiles from ear to ear!!! Just the way I love it!!!

Scrawled Cowfish

Scrawled Cowfish

And as you all know if you follow our blog, today was our fishing day!!! And as usual it was non stop action from start to finish!!! With just one of me and 7 kids hooking fish as fast as they could get lines down, I didn’t have a chance to even look at my watch for 3 hours!!! AdventureSydney, I’m sorry you weren’t feeling well today and didn’t make it cause I would sure have loved to have you along to join in FUN and EXCITEMENT!!! And YES, I heard those infamous words that will for-ever be etched into my brain, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” more than a thousand times I’m sure!!! It was just GREAT!!! JUST LOVE IT LIKE THAT!!! It just can’t get any better than THIS!!!

Dylan catches a Big Porkfish!

Dylan catches a Big Porkfish!

I’m not sure how many fish everyone caught, but it seemed like hundreds to me!!! Most of the fish caught were tomtates, ceasars grunts, yellowtail snapper, sailors choice and a few porkfish. AdventureDaniel caught a venomous scorpionfish that I was quick to let go and AdventureDylan caught an unusual small barred hamlet that was a first for AdventureMike’s. One exciting moment came when a large barracuda came in and took a big tomtate for dinner right off the line next to the edge of the boat. We all LOVED THAT!!! I know the tomtate felt otherwise… The best fish of the day though was caught by AdventureMaxwell with Daniel’s help! It was a big Black Grouper!!! And a wonderful catch too!!! It gave a ferocious battle and we were lucky to get it out of the rocks. Nice Job Guys!!! You all ROCK!!! Never thought they would get it in for a while!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!

Maxwell catches a Black Grouper!

Maxwell catches a Black Grouper!

All in all it was just a fabulous day of fishing!!! Everybody caught some really nice fish and I was extra glad about that!!! Love it when things like that come together!!! We had so much FUN!!! Everybody was baiting their own hooks and taking off their own fish and that really helped me to keep up. Thanks guys, you did GREAT!!! The last half hour we had left we spent swimming at the Big Sandbar rinsing off and just having a ball!!! Nobody wanted this day to end, and neither did I!!! We spent a little bit of time snorkeling around the big sunken tire and found a few more arrow crabs and shrimp, then it was time to go.

Sydney finds an Arrow Crab!

Sydney finds an Arrow Crab!

And like I said before, I don’t know where the time went, but one things certain we had fun from start to finish!!! This week seemed to fly by!!! I’m so glad we have one more day left!! It’s going to be great!!! I can’t wait till tomorrow!!! Who knows what we may find or discover… but one thing’s certain…  We’re going to have FUN!!!  Wish you could join us!!! It’s going to be great!!!!

LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: August 3 to August 6 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer 2009 Week 8: Adventure FUN in the Lake Worth Lagoon!

Posted by 29 July, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We just finished up the third day of our weekly Adventure and as usual, We’ve had an Awesome week! Things have been just perfect from the very start! The weather was looking iffy in the beginning of the week but somehow it turned to be about as nice as it could […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We just finished up the third day of our weekly Adventure and as usual, We’ve had an Awesome week! Things have been just perfect from the very start! The weather was looking iffy in the beginning of the week but somehow it turned to be about as nice as it could be! The Adventurous weather Gods were looking out for us and the water was beautiful, calm and clear, and sunny skies all day long! It just doesn’t get any nicer than this week! Which is a good thing cause I have a boatful of Adventurers and let me tell you they know how to have FUN!!! From start to finish, We’ve had a Blast!!!

Group Photo

Group Photo

I arrived at the dock bright and early Tuesday morning and as soon as I tied up, AdventureGunner, Jagger, Kai, Seth, Josh, Dominik, Daniel, Eli, Louis and Madison hopped aboard! They were as full of energy as you could imagine and ready to start the Adventure and have some FUN! And so was I!!! could already tell it was going to be another great week!!! The tide was high and the water clear so we went straight to Peanut Island to do some snorkeling in the shallows. The minute we got in the water we could see fish everywhere!!! Snook, Barracudas, parrotfish, sheepshead, sergeant majors, grunts, snappers, porkfish, bermuda chub, needlefish, surgeonfish, doctorfish, pufferfish, blue runners, crevalle jacks and menhaden by the thousands. No matter where you looked, there were fish EVERYWHERE!!! And I mean every where!!! And we were loving this!!!

Fun at the Rock Garden!

Fun at the Rock Garden!

We all grabbed some small hand nets and decided to give chase for some fun and excitement! It wasn’t long before we had caught some pufferfish, large crabs and some cute seaweed blennies! We almost caught a pair of small peacock flounders but they got away at the last minute. It was FUN to see and we were getting some good exercise swimming frantically around in the shallows chasing after fish this way and that!!! Even the lifeguard decided to come over and take a look at what we were catching. She said, “It looks like you guys are having fun! Wish I could join you”, but she was still on duty and we went back to chasing fish!. Just about that time Daniel came up with a BIG swimming crab in his net and we all took turns checking it out and then everybody was catching them right and left! It was GREAT!!! You could hear squeals of laughter and excitement every time you came up for a breathe! It doesn’t get any better than this!!!

Netting Crabs!

Netting Crabs!

I don’t know where the time went but somehow it flew by!!! It seemed to me we had only been in the water for just a few minutes, not 3 hours! We were having so much FUN we never even thought to take a look at our watches! We had just enough time to take a quick romp on the Big Sandbar before heading back to the dock. I can tell you when I said it was time to head back, I thought there was going to be a mutiny! Nobody and I mean nobody was ready to call it a day yet!!! Good thing there was 3 more days left of adventure, and we couldn’t wait to do it all over again! It was that much Fun!!!

The next day we went straight to the Big Sandbar to do some exploring and found all kinds of sea urchins, fighting conchs, nine armed and beaded starfish, mantis shrimp and some cool arrow crabs and banded cleaner shrimp. We found a blue crab in the very process of molting its shell and watched as it shed its shell and pumped himself up with water to stretch the new soft shell out into a bigger shell with room to grow into. It was just great to see that!!! Did it right in our hands too!!! How cool is that!!! There were giant mantis shrimp peeking out of every hole we saw and checking us out as we swam by! And of course when we found the nine armed starfish we had to take some “starfish head” photos of the gang having FUN! AdventureJagger especially liked that! We all did!

Jagger with starfish head

Jagger with starfish head

While we were swimming in the shallows a big school of crevalle jacks chased a school of menhaden right up next to us and began to eat them with gusto!!! We could hear the jacks gulping them down as we watched them from underwater. Talk about having Fun and EXCITEMENT!!! We were loving it!!! I’m sure the menhaden felt otherwise!!! By the time it was all over, there were nothing but scales and tails. After this we decided to take a quick plunge into the “Hot Tub” and then head to Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting in the shallows.

Jumping in the Hot Tub!

Jumping in the Hot Tub!

As soon as we arrived we grabbed the seine net and waded out into the shallows. Everybody took turns bringing in the net, sorting the fish and releasing the rest. We caught so many different types of juvenile fish, shrimp and crabs. Our favorites were the small barracudas, the checkerboard and sharpnosed pufferfish, the hogfish, needlefish, grunts, snappers and tiny flounders! Each one of us had a chance to gingerly hold them, take a few photos and release them where we caught them. And just like yesterday, when I mentioned it was time to go, nobody was ready!!! We were having too much FUN!!! After a few more hurried pulls we loaded up and headed back, and yes, I arrived a bit late, Oh well…

Seine netting treasures!

Seine netting treasures!

Today was our fishing day, and when I arrived at the dock everybody was raring to go! Good thing one of my very best friends, AdventureBill was kind enough to give me a hand!!! He’s a captain and ships pilot at the port of Palm Beach and one of the best too! Not only that, he’s my best tennis bud and we take turns showing each other who’s “boss” on the tennis court. I think we are about even there though he may think otherwise…  Nice of him to come along!  We didn’t have the action that I had hoped for today but everybody caught fish and no matter how fast we worked to catch up, we never could!!! I know he won’t ever forget those infamous words either, “I NEED MORE BAIT” without thinking about today! It was just GREAT even though we didn’t catch the hundreds I had hoped!!! I think Jagger caught the biggest one, A nice Porkfish, and Josh caught a few really beautiful parrotfish and everybody caught some nice big Casears Grunts, Tomtates and Sailors Choice!!! We just had trouble hooking the fish today. We lost a few really nice fish to some huge barracudas that took up residence under the boat. Everybody loved when one would dart out, swallow their fish whole and take hook, line and sinker to boot! Just great, at least for us anyway…

Jaggers BIG FISH!

Jaggers BIG FISH!

Needless to say, We had an absolute ball and everybody had fun, and that’s what counts!!! Sometimes fishing is just “fishing” and not always “catching” and AdventureDaniel when you read this you can breathe a sigh of relief!!! Your record of 111 fish in one day still stands! I know you will love that!!! That number still seems mind blowing to me!!! And he’ll be the first to tell you that was no “FISH STORY” either!!! All in all, we had a fabulous day, non stop action, not always catching, but it was Fun from start to finish!!! And you know what the best thing is? We still have one more day left!!! And I can’t wait till tomorrow!!!! How about you?

LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

AdventureMike

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Summer 2009 Week 7: Time Flies When You’re Having FUN!!!

Posted by 18 July, 2009 (4) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! It seems like these weeks are just flying by!!! The old adage about “Time flies when you’re having fun”  sure seems to be true about this week, actually, every week we’ve had so far!!! This Summer has been absolutely perfect from the very beginning!!! It just doesn’t get any better than […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

It seems like these weeks are just flying by!!! The old adage about “Time flies when you’re having fun”  sure seems to be true about this week, actually, every week we’ve had so far!!! This Summer has been absolutely perfect from the very beginning!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!! Perfect weather, crystal clear warm water, tons of fish and an unbelievably GREAT group of kids!!!  And all of us having non-stop FUN no matter which direction we seem to go!!! Laughing and smiling from start to finish and none of us ever wanting to come back home!!! Just the way I LOVE IT!!!

Group photo at the sandbar!

Group photo at the sandbar!

I arrived at the dock bright and early Tuesday morning and was greeted by another GREAT group of Adventurers!!! Matter of fact they were waiting for me and raring to go like there was no tomorrow!!! I always love it when everybody is a little bit early, full of energy and smiles from ear to ear!!! That’s the same way I feel on the way to get everybody! I just can’t wait for the day to begin!!! I just love this “job”!!! As soon as AdventureDahlia, Davina, Julia, Megan, Maria, Dakota, Dylan, Breeann and Vincent boarded the boat we headed off the Big Sandbar to do some exploring and a little bit of snorkeling. The tide was out and the bar was exposed from end to end. We could already see shells and sea urchins popping out of the sand and even a few starfish were visible from the boat. I could already tell it was going to be another fabulous start for the weeks adventure!!!

Julia with a Beaded Sea Star

Julia with a Beaded Sea Star

We ran around the bar finding baby ears mollusks, beaded and banded starfish, west Indian and Florida fighting conchs, mantis shrimp, blue crabs, box crabs, hermit crabs, etc. You name it, I think we found it. It was just GREAT!!! Everybody was finding something no matter which direction we went! After we searched the whole bar for hidden treasures we raced over to the “Hot Tub” and took a plunge into the warm water. Everybody wanted to be the first in! We raced back and forth from one deep hole to another until the tide came in and covered the bar. The water was coming in crystal clear and we decided to head over to the Rock Garden to do some snorkeling.

Having FUN at the Rock Garden!

Having FUN at the Rock Garden!

The minute we arrived we could see fish in every direction. Before we even got in we were seeing snook, houndfish, needlefish, blue runners and small barracudas chasing menhaden from end to end. The shoreline was covered with herons and egrets trying to catch their fill too. We donned our snorkel gear, grabbed some nets and jumped in to try our luck at catching fish too. It wasn’t long before we were catching large swimming crabs and stone crabs around the rocks. AdventureDakota, Dylan and Vincent caught some nice big ones while the rest of us tried our luck at catching pufferfish. AdventureDahlia, Davina, Julia, Maria and Breeann found some cool hawk-wing conchs, juvenile queen conchs and tons of blue legged hermit crabs. It was just GREAT!!! Finally I was able to catch a pufferfish and we all had a ball watching it balloon up just for our entertainment. We took turns passing it around then let it go to swim on its merry way. When the day came to an end, none of us was ready to call it quits. We were having too much FUN!!!

Yesterday morning we stopped by the Big Sandbar to spend a few minutes exploring the bar while it was high and dry and AdventureJulia, Dahlia, Davina and Vincent found some more beaded starfish and baby ears mollusks just creeping out from under the sand. Always love when that happens!!! The rest of us romped around and swam in the hot tub enjoying the water!

Into the Hot Tub!!!

Into the Hot Tub!!!

From here we decided to head down to Little Munyon Island to search for short spined sea urchins and green legged hermit crabs. The south end of the bar was high and dry and we could see hundreds before we even got in! The minute the anchor hit bottom we were out of the boat and on our way!!! In seconds we all had handfuls of urchins in every size and color combination you could think of. We all loved having them suck onto our hands with their tiny tube feet and hold on for dear life as we swam and swam and swam. We didn’t have any luck beating the “smallest sea urchin contest” from a week ago but we had fun trying!!! We were finding sea urchins from head to toe, but no small ones around. We didn’t care though cause we were having fun like no tomorrow!!!

Finding Sea Urchins!

Finding Sea Urchins!

On the way back to the boat we found a horseshoe crab crawling around in the shallows and boy did we all love that!!! We had a chance to check out its compound eyes, book lungs, clawed feet and spiny tail up close and personal. A type of blood thinner used in medicine is actually derived from the blue blood of horseshoe crabs and given to stroke and heart attack victims to help in their recovery.We were lucky to find one as they are not too common around here anymore. This was the first one we found this summer. Lucky for Us!!!

We spent the last hour of the day going out to the beach, playing in the shallows, looking for sea glass, shells and of course trying to catch fish and sand fleas with our bare hands. We caught a few sand fleas but no fish this time. We saw some huge tarpon swimming back and forth just a few feet from the beach chasing mullet and we all loved that too! And let me tell you, we weren’t ready to call it a day either when our time was up! None of us wanted to go back!!!

And as you all know if you follow our blog, today was our fishing day!!! And as usual it was non stop action from start to finish!!! With just one of me and 9 kids hooking fish as fast as they could get lines down, I didn’t have a chance to even look at my watch for 3 hours!!! And YES, I heard those infamous words that will for-ever be etched into my brain, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” more than a thousand times I’m sure!!! It was just GREAT!!! JUST LOVE IT LIKE THAT!!!

Dahlia With a Sailors Choice!

Dahlia With a Sailor's Choice!

Everybody was having action the very second their lines hit bottom, and I mean sometimes even faster than that!!! I couldn’t count one second between bites at times!!!! Luckily for me everybody was taking off their own fish, baiting their hooks and dropping down on their own or I wouldn’t have been able to take a single photo!! The action was that hot!!! This group caught some really big Caesar’s Grunts, Sailors Choice, Yellowtail Snapper, Tomtates and Porkfish!!! AdventureDylan caught even caught a tiny Butter Hamlet which tied with the win for smallest fish along with a tiny Tomtate and Lane Snapper. Only one small Scorpionfish was caught the whole day. YEAH!!!  Everybody caught some really nice fish and I was extra glad about that!!! Love it when things like that come together!!! If I might have had help this day, we might even have beaten last weeks record of 419 fish boated in 3 hours. At times I need 3 of me to catch up with all the lines full of fish!!! Non-stop action from start to finish!!!

We ALL have fish!!!

We ALL have fish!!!

The last hour of the day we went back out to the beach to swim in the crystal clear water and wash off all the fish juice that seemed to find its way into every fiber of my clothes!!! And again, we saw the Big Tarpon swimming in the shallows right up next to the beach just where we had seen them yesterday. As if inviting us in for a swim and a cool encounter!!! I think by now we are starting to know each other. It was just GREAT and a wonderful way to end the day!!!! From start to finish, this week has been just perfect, absolutely PERFECT!!!! And the very best thing about it all, WE STILL HAVE ONE MORE DAY LEFT!!!  Who knows what we may find or discover… but one thing’s certain…  We’re going to have FUN!!! Wish you could join us!!! It’s going to be great!!!!

LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: July 13 - July 16 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,