Hanging Out With Puffer Fish on Spring Break

Posted by 1 April, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everybody, Welcome back! We just finished up the first two days of our first Spring Break Adventure Session and let me tell you we had a blast! It was just great from start to finish! As Usual, and just the way I love it!!! AdventureSheri and I were joined by AdventureJake, Allison and Noelle […]

Hi Everybody,

Welcome back! We just finished up the first two days of our first Spring Break Adventure Session and let me tell you we had a blast! It was just great from start to finish! As Usual, and just the way I love it!!! AdventureSheri and I were joined by AdventureJake, Allison and Noelle from last Summer and three new Adventurers, AdventureJada, Rio and Alex. I love arriving at the dock with everyone raring to go and eagerly awaiting for the days adventure to begin, and hearing the excitement in their voices and seeing the smiles on their faces when we load up. It makes for a perfect day!

Group Photo

We began the day a little differently by motoring over towards the Power Plant to take a quick look to see if any Manatees might be resting in the warm shallow water near the out flow pipes. AdventureJada was just dying to see one and I wanted to make her day. We gave it about 10 minutes and didn’t see any this time so we headed to a nearby beach to do a little exploring. We anchored the boat right on the beach and hopped out and immediately found a nice big Spotted Sea Hare swimming in the shallows. The neat thing about these is they sometimes release a dark purple cloud of ink when disturbed and much to the excitement of the gang, this big fellow released a nice batch right on cue. It was great to see the smiles then! Everyone took their turn gently touching the Sea Hare and then we moved further down the beach to check out some of the large stands of Nicker beans we found during AdventureLauren’s birthday party last weekend.

We stopped and I picked up a few thorny pods to show them the tiny gray beans inside and everyone wanted to keep a bean or two for “good luck”. They are commonly called “Lucky Beans” and the anti-malarial drug Quinine is still made from the gray husks of these beans. You have to keep away from the branches and leaves though since they have numerous hooked thorns to snag both you and your clothing! The first time I found this out when I crawled though the branches left a lasting impression. Ouch!, but it was still fun!

Learning About Nicker Beans

From here we headed to the Rock Garden to do some snorkeling and search the shallow rocks for Hermit Crabs. AdventureJake and Alex came back with some big Coral Crabs while the rest of us were busy finding blue-legged hermits and red-banded hermit crabs. We were having a blast! When I pulled one of the large female coral crabs out of the net to show the group her eggs under her abdomen, she latched onto my finger and hung on for dear life! I wasn’t sure who had who, but I know this group of Adventurers loved seeing that crab hang on to my finger for at least 5 minutes! We were all smiles by then!!! AdventureSheri kept a watchful eye over the girls busy in the shallows finding all kinds of hermit crabs and captured most of the days adventure on film for the rest of us to enjoy later. Nice job!!!

AdventureJake found a sharptail pufferfish and was able to catch it in a small net and bring it back to show us. Not an easy feat for those who haven’t tried this! We were delighted to watch as it puffed up full of water and more than tripled its size. We took a couple of quick photos then released it unharmed and then headed back to the boat for some drinks and snacks.

Noelle and Pufferfish

While they were eating, I moved the boat to a nearby shallow sandbar and got in to look for some lizard fish buried in the sand to show everyone. AdventureNoelle, Rio, Allison and Jada were quick to follow, while AdventureAlex and Jake set the anchor in the shallows. Somehow this searching for lizard fish turned into “netting” AdventureMike and you should have heard the laughter then after I was “netted” and they piled a giant sand ball right on the very top of my head. They were laughing like crazy, having a great time and smiling from ear to ear!!! And that was the perfect way for us to end the day!!!

We laughed the whole way back to the dock thinking about how much fun we had! And I know one thing for sure, I just can’t wait till tomorrow! We are going to have a blast, do some seine netting, short-spined sea-urchin collecting, crab trapping, snorkeling, an Island hike and maybe even visit Starfish Prairie along the way. And who knows what else… As if a day out boating isn’t fun enough all by itself!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!

Stay tuned, or better yet, come join us!!! It’s time to get outside and live life to the fullest!!! I know we are. :-)

Let’s Go Have Some Fun !!!
AdventureMike

Categories : Spring Break 2009: March 31 - April 3,Uncategorized Tags : , , , ,

Our First Adventure

Posted by 20 May, 2008 (3) Comment

This past weekend we had a wonderful time on a one day custom session with a great group of kids. At 9:15 a.m., Hannah, Madison, Jack, Jake and Noelle boarded the Dreamchaser, my 26 foot island runner, and off to Peanut Island we went to begin the day snorkeling. On the way there we spotted […]

This past weekend we had a wonderful time on a one day custom session with a great group of kids. At 9:15 a.m., Hannah, Madison, Jack, Jake and Noelle boarded the Dreamchaser, my 26 foot island runner, and off to Peanut Island we went to begin the day snorkeling.

Ready to Go

On the way there we spotted a large eagle ray foraging and were able to approach within a few feet.

Wow! Eagle Ray to Port!

While snorkeling in the shallows, we saw porkfish, bermuda chub, parrotfish, grunts, sergeant majors and spottail pinfish along with numerous hermit crabs feeding on algae growing on the rocks. Madison was so excited to see 2 very large Giant Hermit crabs fighting over each others Queen Conch shells that she took almost her whole roll of film in just a few seconds.

Bocce!

After Bocce and Snacks we went to the sandbar where everyone was excited to find dozens of fighting conchs, hermit crabs and giant mantis shrimp and southern lugworm tunnels. It was fun to watch Hannah, Jack and Noelle try furiously to dig one up to no avail. Everyone had a blast playing in the shallows, looking for starfish, and chasing seagulls.

Chasing Seagulls

From here we headed to Munyon Island to explore the mangrove estuaries, see what we could find, and take a short nature walk. Collecting Nicker Beans, sometimes called lucky beans, from their thorny pods and finding a few Spotted Sea Hares along the beach were the highlights here. We stopped and pulled one of our crab traps along the way but no luck.

Sea Hare

By now it was time to call it a day and head back to Phil Foster Park. On the way back, “Eagle Eye” Jake spotted a bottlenose dolphin and we stopped to watch hoping for an up close encounter. It was a perfect way to end the day and left everyone looking forward to their next adventure. We’ll be heading out again soon so make sure to check back for highlights of the next trip! And remember, it’s time to get outdoors and have some fun, come join the adventure! :-)

Categories : Week 1 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , ,