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 : , , , , , , , ,

Sun, Fun and Adventure times Two!

Posted by 14 June, 2010 (0) Comment

Hi Everybody, Welcome back!!! We’ve just finished up the second week of Fun and Adventure. Times two of course doing double sessions, and as usual, We had so much FUN!!! I was again blessed with two more perfect groups of kids, and absolutely perfect weather as well, and all this led up to another fabulous […]

Hi Everybody, Welcome back!!!

We’ve just finished up the second week of Fun and Adventure. Times two of course doing double sessions, and as usual, We had so much FUN!!! I was again blessed with two more perfect groups of kids, and absolutely perfect weather as well, and all this led up to another fabulous week of Fun and Adventure!!! We had FUN from sunrise to sunset for four days in a row!!!As soon as the first session was over, the second would arrive, and off we would go again! It just doesn’t get any better than that! FUN FUN FUN from start to finish!!! Just the way I love it!

A Day at the Beach!

We spent a few hours everyday exploring the Rock Garden. There were fish everywhere and the water was crystal clear! We had so much fun observing and chasing fish, looking under rocks catching all sorts of different species of crabs, finding sea cucumbers, conchs and shrimp. You name it, we found it, and of course we tried to catch it just for FUN! Sometimes we were succesfull, sometimes we weren’t, but we had FUN trying none the less! It was just GREAT! One of the best moments occurred when an inquisitive porcupinefish swam right up to us as if to ask, “Are you AdventureMike?” And let me tell you, we loved that!!!

Are you AdventureMike?

That beautiful porcupinefish swam all around us and we couldn’t help but take a few photos with our new found friend! We were careful not to get our hands or fingers close or near to her mouth as they can deliver a painful bite! They eat barnacles right off the rocks with no problem! We all took turns carefully holding her up close, watching her fill up with water to twice her size, and being very careful to not let our fingers get in the way! A few moments later we released her and watched as she lazily swam into a nearby hole in a rock, turned around one last time to take another peek at us, and then disappear. AdventureJake sure had FUN when it was his turn to hold her. We ALL did!!!

Jake catches a Big porcupinefish!

This week was the perfect one to check out the Big Sandbar! We had exceptionally low tides and each and every day we would stop by to search the bar for starfish, shells and anything else that was out and about. We found so many cool things!!! We found beaded starfish, cushion starfish and 9 armed starfish in a variety of sizes. During one morning romp we came upon the biggest 9 armed starfish I have ever seen! It was just crawling out of the sand into deeper water when we arrived. Lucky for us!!! A few minutes later and we would never have seen it. Adventure Hannah sure loved finding that one!

Hannah finds a 9 armed starfish!

We all took turns checking it out and watching at how quickly it could right itself when turned upside down. This species of starfish is one of the fastest “movers” in this area, and has no trouble burrowing quickly into the sand and disappearing right before your very eyes! We always love finding these and wish I could find one every trip! Of course this gave those who wanted an opportunity to have their picture take with a 9 armed starfish hairdo! After all that was over and done with, we placed it in deeper water in the direction it was going and off we went to discover knew things. I think the photo I love best is of Adventure Trey having fun with his 9 armed starfish hairdo!!!

Trey with a starfish hairdo!

Another interesting thing we discovered while snorkeling along the shallows of the bar was a tiny blacktip shark about 8 inches long lying dead on the bottom. She appeared to be premature or still-born the night before. Blacktip sharks sometimes come near shore to give birth and unfortunately this juvenile didn’t make it. But it did give us a wonderful opportunity to check out a real shark up close and personal and we all were appreciative and thankful for that! On the way back to the boat we found dozens of Florida and West Indian fighting laying eggs. We collected a few to look at happily found some that came in beautiful colors! I always love finding those!

Fighting Conchs

One of our very favorite days was Fishing Day!!! And of course as usual, this day was no different than all the other fishing days we’ve experienced so far! Non-stop action from start to finish!!! Sometimes you can’t count 3 seconds before having a fish on!!! Just the way I LOVE IT!!! This time we caught so many different species of fish that I could hardly keep track!!! The ‘toothiest one” was caught by Adventure Bradley who came up with a nice and impressive barracuda that had the most pearly white dentures you’ve ever seen!!! He gave a great fight and I was amazed that Bradley got that one in with no wire leader at all. When it started jumping out of the water and shaking its head I kept telling Bradley there is no way that fish is going to stay on with out cutting the line! Of course he had to prove me wrong!!! Nice Job Bradley!!!

Bradley catches a nice barracuda!

After catching numerous parrotfish, porkfish, grunts, tomtates, hogfish and a few small yellowtail snapper and one rather ugly scorpionfish, etc. I decided to take the kids to my secret snapper hole a bit further up the lake. This spot sometimes holds a rather impressive number of Big lane snapper, and on this day it was no different! As soon as the boat was anchored, the lines dropped down and the action began!!! Non stop snapper action from start to finish!!! I was so busy unhooking and releasing snapper I could hardly take a photo. The minute I stopped to take a picture, 7 more were on the lines!!! How GREAT is that!!! One of my favorites is of Adventure Jackie catching another big one!!!

Jackie catches a Big lane Snapper!

While we were here, AdventurePaul caught a lovely remora that gave a good fight. These are the fish commonly found attached to sharks, rays and sea turtles, etc. and hitch a free ride waiting for a meal. I let it “suck” onto his arm after it was unhooked just for the fun of it. You should have seen his smile! i loved that and he did too! Everybody caught big fish. Over and over and over!!! AdventureMichael caught a big porgy that gave him a good battle too. It took some time for him to get that one up to the boat on super light tackle. Nice job Michael!!! Everybody did Great and I was super proud!

Michael catches a porgy!

One afternoon during low tide we took an island hike to the back side of Big Munyon Island. The tide was as low as I’ve ever seen it! In one deep hole we watched snook, jacks and a big permit chase mullet into the air and almost on the beach! We watched Roseatte Spoonbills search for crabs and shrimp in the shallows and found the smallest horseshoe crabs I’ve ever seen!!! We loved every minute of that!, and when the mosquitos found us, we hurriedly hiked back to the boat and went to the Rock Garden for another quick dip and chase fish with our nets.We had so much Fun on that day too! From the very start to the very end!

Chasing fish at the Rock Garden.

I think one of the most favorite fish we keep our eyes out for is the sharpnosed pufferfish. Even though they are small and rather slow swimmers as fish go, they are difficult to catch!!! They have a habit of darting quickly away, then turning on a dime and swimming rapidly between your feet and disappearing into the silt or under some rock, no where to be found! I can’t tell you how many we lost track of that day!, but we kept trying and were finally rewarded for our efforts! I think this picture of AdventureSara with a pufferfish sums up our enjoyment!!! It sure did mine!

Chasing pufferfish!

One day when the Ocean was flat calm, we took the Dreamchaser south out the inlet and anchored right on the beach to enjoy the day. We looked for sea glass and shells, and scooped up the sargassum seaweed in our handnets hoping to catch some small sargassum filefish, shrimp and crabs that camouflage perfectly with the seaweed itself. We found hundreds and before long had a 5 gallon bucket of “treasures” that was neat to look at! One of the neatest things we caught was a reef squid that propelled itself backwards around the bucket squirting out ink, and this was much to our enjoyment! I know AdventureMadison was thrilled with that! Me too of course!

Madison catches a reef squid!

We spent a good portion of the last day back at the Rock Garden watching small barracudas and jacks chase menhaden and hundreds of parrotfish grazing algae off the rocks inches from our noses! We never wanted to leave as the water was crystal clear and fish by the hundreds were everywhere!!! We had a contest to see who could catch the biggest crabs and everybody came up with something nice! AdventureSeth, Rujul and Trusha caught one nice big one together and that was great to watch them in action! They looked like professional “Crab Catchers” to me. You guys rock!!!

Crab Catchers!

Of course I explained to them the proper and safe way to hold crabs without getting pinched, and they learned that right quick! I decided to show them my very own favorite way to catch crabs without using a net and they followed me until I found a nice one that would cooperate. I gave chase and quickly had it cornered. As they all watched, it began to wave its claws back and forth in a menacing fashion. I knew it was now ready for my tried and true technique! One that works almost every time!!! I took my finger and wriggled it right in front of the crabs nose and sure enough it fell for the bait!!! In one split second I had him right where I wanted him, and I knew there was no getting away now!!! It was latched on like there was no tomorrow and I proudly held it up for everyone to see! For some reason or other no-one else wanted to give it a try??? Maybe next week…

AdventureMike catches a nice crab!

I can’t tell you how much FUN they thought that was!!! It was just GREAT!!! You could have heard then laughing a mile away!!! I loved every second of it!!! Well almost anyway… It just doesn’t get any better than that!!! Just how much FUN can one have? you’ll have to join us and find out for yourself! See you soon!!!

LET”S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2010: June 7 – June 11 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 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

Categories : Uncategorized Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Posted by 4 July, 2009 (0) Comment

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

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

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

Island Adventure Fun!

Island Adventure Fun!

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

Seth and Dawson with a beaded starfish!

Seth and Dawson with a beaded starfish!

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

George found a nine-armed starfish!

George found a nine-armed starfish!

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

Searching for the Smallest Urchin

Searching for the Smallest Urchin

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

Darby with Puff Daddy

Darby with "Puff Daddy"

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

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

Trusha and Rujul with some nice fish!

Trusha and Rujul with some nice fish!

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

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

See you soon!!!

Let’s Go have some FUN!!!

AdventureMike

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

Summer 2009 Week 3: Summertime Fun!

Posted by 19 June, 2009 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We’ve just finished up the first three days of week 3 and let me tell you it has been absolutely perfect the whole week!!!  The weather, the water, the group, just perfect!!! Things just seem to get better and better and better as the days go on! Everyone in this group […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We’ve just finished up the first three days of week 3 and let me tell you it has been absolutely perfect the whole week!!!  The weather, the water, the group, just perfect!!! Things just seem to get better and better and better as the days go on! Everyone in this group can swim like fish and has so much energy and enthusiasm I can barely keep up with them! Non stop laughter and smiles from start to finish! Just the way I love it!!!

Having FUN in the hot tub!

Having FUN in the hot tub!

This week I was joined by AdventureJoseph, Robert and Acadia who have been with me before and 5 new Adventurers, AdventureKelsey, Ella, Zara, Hannah and Beth. And let me tell you when this group is having fun they sure let you know it! And boy, were they having FUN this week!! My ears are still ringing!!! Had to purposely stick my head underwater a few times and hold my breathe as long as I could just to get a few minutes of “peace and quiet”, and even that didn’t work. In seconds, I’d have 8 kids with masks staring at me and even asking me questions while I was underwater. Oh well, When your having fun, your having fun…

We spent most of the first day at the Big Sandbar finding just about everything you could imagine. The tide was so low we had acres of exposed bar to explore. And Explore we DID!!! Everywhere we looked were short-spined sea urchins, fighting conchs, crabs, starfish, horse conchs, etc. You name it, I think we found it. We hadn’t been on the bar more than a few seconds before this group of adventurers had found Cushion Starfish, Beaded Starfish and even Nine-armed Starfish. And you know this gave us that perfect opportunity to take those now infamous “starfish head” photos that the kids seem to love. I’m beginning to like nine armed starfish head photos even better than cushion Starfish head photos. And of course, the kids love them both!

We found every color combination of short spined sea urchins I think possible around here. My favorite color combination is the pure white body with bright purple spines, but the bright pink ones and the green with pink spines were a big hit for the group too. I think Acadia, Beth, Ella, Zara, Kelsey and Hannah loved every one they found. They had hands full of them the whole time and when ever they found a new color combination we hadn’t seen before, they would make sure to let me know! Just love that enthusiasm!!! I guarantee you we tried to find every color combination that existed before we left here! While they were finding urchins, Joseph and Robert were busy finding starfish and releasing them into deeper water so they wouldn’t dry out or be pecked on by the sea gulls. It was just great and FUN for all!

Acadia and a handful of sea urchins!

Acadia and a handful of sea urchins!

We spent some time swimming in the shallows and caught some nice checkerboard pufferfish, sharp nose pufferfish, blue legged hermit crabs and some nice big swimming crabs too! Everyone had a ball trying to catch them themselves and I could see feet flying and nets swishing in all directions. It was just great to see someone catch one then let every one take turns holding it and checking it out before letting it go. Really Cool… We had a another great encounter too when a large Eagle Ray jumped out of the water numerous times right in front of us with a big remora stuck on it. After a few times it was able to dislodge the remora and swim off. Shortly after that we saw a big ray foraging in the shallows over the sandbar and we were lucky to have it swim right under the boat in 18 inches of water and give us a good look. We all loved that! The kids were screaming with excitement the whole time. I never wanted it to end.

On Wednesday we had a chance to do some island and tidal flat exploration around Munyon Island and found some really large sea grass hermits in a variety of different shells that we hadn’t found before. Really nice! Had a chance to take some photos of the group surrounded by weathered stumps of australian pines and mangroves that I thought were great! We’ll see…

Large ray in the shadows!

Large ray in the shadows!

And of course, today was our fishing day and lucky for me, AdventureNicholas came along to give me a hand!! And let me tell you, I really needed it!!! We didn’t boat record numbers of fish today, but the action was non stop and as usual, we couldn’t bait hooks fast enough for three kids, much less eight!!! It was nice to see that everyone was having a GREAT time!!! We boated some nice big (and small) yellowtail snapper, Porkfish, sailor’s choice, tomtates, caesars grunts and had quite a few big ones on that got away. The highlight of the fishing day came when AdventureElla hooked a really BIG fish and after about 5 minutes of trying hard to get it in, she finally turned it towards the boat and was making real headway.  Just as it got near, there was a tremendous swirl and a huge splash and you can guess what happened next. That’s right, a great BIG Barracuda decided to have it for lunch, and after a second or two more of thrashing, Ella reeled in the what was left of a nice Mutton Snapper. It would have been a nice keeper too. Needless to say we took a few photos and then sadly tossed the head back to the waiting barracuda who was wanting the rest of his meal. And with another mighty swoosh, that was gone too!! It was a great thrill for all of us though I am sure the snapper thought otherwise!!!

Whats left of Ellas Big Fish

What's left of Ella's "Big Fish"

From here we took a quick run back to the Big Sandbar and everybody had a ball playing in the hot tub and chasing after Nicholas who was doing his best to play “keep away” from 8 kids with a lot of energy. I think that wore about everybody out and was an absolutely great way to end the day!!! We had such a great week so far, and I know one thing for sure… I can’t wait till tomorrow to do it all over again!!! The Ocean is flat calm, the water crystal clear and shells on the beach as far as the eyes can see. Am thinking about pulling right up on the beach, hopping out and going beach combing and snorkeling, and hopefully if we are lucky like last week, have another wonderful manatee encounter. I know one thing for sure, whatever we decide, we are going to have FUN!!! Wish you could join us, It’s going to be GREAT!!! And after the day is over, I’m off to the Bahamas to swim with some wild spotted dolphin for the weekend! Does it get any better than this? I Don’t Think So!!!

Stay tuned, We’re going to have some Fun!!! See you soon,

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: June 6 - 19 Tags : , , , , , , , ,

Summer 2009 Begins!!!

Posted by 7 June, 2009 (0) Comment

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

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

 Havin Fun!

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

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

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

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

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

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

  Playing Chicken!

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

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

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

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

Hill Jumpin at the Beach

Go Have Some More Fun!!!

AdventureMike

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

Summer 2009 Begins – The Afternoon Adventure!

Posted by 7 June, 2009 (0) Comment

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

Hi All,
I had no sooner finished up the first adventure session and readied the boat when I was joined by my second group of eager and excited Adventurers that in turn were ready for the Fun to begin!!! And so was I!!!
AdventureSheri came along to help me with this weeks afternoon Adventure and she and I were joined by AdventureAnnie and Jonah from last Summer and three new Adventurers, Michael, Brooke and Leah. This group was just as full of energy as the last, and great swimmers to too, another fabulous bunch!!! Love it like this!


Group Photo

 
For the weeks afternoon session we followed much like the first group, but in a different order. The days adventure for the most part is determined by the tides. At high tide we go snorkeling, island hopping and beach combing and at low tide we go seine netting in the shallows and exploring at the Big Sandbar, etc. All subject to change at a whim of course… whatever the group or I may want to do. Sometimes we are having so much fun doing one thing that its hard to quit and go do another. Just doesn’t get any better than that!!!
 
Everytime we visited the Big Sandbar we had as much fun as the first group. This was really a great week for low tide exploration since we had lower mean low tides than normal and we found so many different starfish, shells and sea urchins that we couldn’t keep count. Everybody had fun collecting their own and sharing their finds with the rest. And of course, I had to take a few photos of “starfish head” with this group too. Always put a smile on their faces and mine and that’s what counts! AdventureAnnie, Leah and Brooke would be busy finding starfish, conchs and sea urchins while AdventureJonah and Michael would be busy finding crabs, mantis shrimp, baby ear mollusks, sundial shells, bristleworms and netted olives, etc. I was careful to gently pick up a bristleworm and point out the mildly venomous spines and to make sure they knew not to play with them unless they wanted to learn a painful lesson of their own. They don’t call them fireworms for nothing. Yes, I learned that too? Over and over and over, still learning I guess?…


9 Armed Starfish!

 
 AdventureSheri would over see the gang, bring us drinks and snacks, entertain the kids, keep things running smoothly and occasionally find some cool treasures of her own to share with us. Very Nice to have her along!!!  :-)  We had such a great time!!! We would stop and jump into the “hot tub” every time we came just for the fun and to warm up of course. We even practiced to see who could hold their breathes the longest. It was close for all…and left us breathless…
 
We visited the beach and found some cool shells and treasures of our own, checked out some fresh turtle tracks leading up to their nests, found numerous ghost crabs that we couldn’t catch and did some body surfing too. Its nice when the water is crystal clear along the beach and we hoped we might see a few manatees like last year as an extra bonus. No luck, but maybe next week. I hope! We had as much fun here as the first group and none of us wanted to leave!
 
We spent one day 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 thousands.  Almost every urchin was covered and camouflaged by little shells held tightly to them by their tiny little tube feet so they looked more like the bottom than urchins themselves. Neat to see them this way. We had a contest to see who could find the smallest one and for a while I had the winner. Later I was usurped by Michael who was later dethroned by Brooke and Leah who some how found one about a quarter inch in diameter. It was a really fun way to spend that afternoon. We even did a little seine netting and came up with a beautiful blue, scrawled cowfish, complete with two tiny “horns”. One over each eye. Everybody had a chance to hold the fish and check out its small mouth, rubbery lips and wiggly tail. They subsist mainly on a diet of small invertebrates and sponges. Very Cool!!! As usual, we stopped at Starfish Prairie along the way to check out the Cushion Sea Stars and found some really nice big red ones to everyone’s delight. Nice Finds…
 
Our fishing day was just as exciting with the same fast paced action, maybe even faster than the first groups. AdventureBrooke and Leah were neck and neck till the very end, both catching almost 40 fish each!!! AdventureJonah, Annie and Michael were following close behind! We had double, triple, qraduple and quintuple hook-ups all at once! Numerous times! Was too busy to take all the photos I wanted. Yes. I lost count of how many times I heard, “AdventureMike, I NEED MORE BAIT!!!”. Oh well…  AdventureJonah caught a big mutton snapper and Michael caught some nice sailors choice and a big black margate. Just another great day of fishing by a great group of “fishermen”! Right on!!!  You guys ROCK!!!


Quadruple Hookup!

 
On the last day we had to cut the adventure session a half hour short and head back to the dock because of a big rain storm to the north of us. Luckily the rain held off till after we arrived and we spent the last minutes glad we were inside out of the wind. We had so much fun this week! Non-stop from beginning to end! None of us wanted this session to end either! It was such a great week and a real adventure for all of us. One I won’t forget anytime soon!  And I’m sure neither will they… That’s what I love about running this camp!!! Sharing the things I love and appreciate with a great group of Adventurers, each one having as much FUN as I…. I can’t wait till next weeks double sessions begin too! Let the Adventure begin!
 
Will miss you all. It was a Blast!!! Hope to see you soon… :-) Until then…
 
Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!
 
AdventureMike
Categories : Summer 2009: June 2 - June 5 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Things We Seined in our Summer Camp

Posted by 10 July, 2008 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome back! Today’s adventure session was a little bit different than the normal session I had planned and I can guarantee you, everyone had a great time today! We were going to do a little bit more snorkeling in the morning and then an island romp later but when I saw that the […]

Hi Everyone,

Welcome back! Today’s adventure session was a little bit different than the normal session I had planned and I can guarantee you, everyone had a great time today! We were going to do a little bit more snorkeling in the morning and then an island romp later but when I saw that the tide was extremely low, I decided to change things up a bit. We made a quick trip to the sandbar just to check things out and see what we might find. AdventureCarolyn and Jordyn wanted to find some Baby Ear snails so we searched the dry bar till we found their indicative cracks in the sand that let us know the snails were just about to pop out into the open. We collected a few to observe and talk about, then released them a few minutes later into deeper water. It is amazing how fast they can disappear right before your eyes! Now you see them, now you don’t. Just great to watch them go! The hundreds of fighting conchs, blue crabs and mantis shrimp were still there but we decided to let them be and head to Little Munyon Island instead to do some seine netting in the shallows.

Critter Collecting

When we arrived the conditions were perfect for what I had in mind. It was dead low tide and would be incoming all day and I wasn’t worried about getting the boat stuck in the shallows. And perfect for seine netting! We unloaded the gear out of the boat, brought a large plastic container and a couple of 5 gallon buckets and our masks and snorkels and headed to the south end of the island. AdventureBrian and I decided to make the first pull of the net. He followed me out into waste deep water and then we slowly pulled the net towards shore, keeping the lead line on the bottom and out in front to make a nice pocket. We gently pulled the net onto the beach and sorted thru all the fish, putting the unusual ones in a bucket and letting the rest go. I was amazed at the diversity of juvenile fish.

From the very first pull we found dozens of juvenile barracudas, hogfish, parrotfish, pipefish, grunts, snappers, mojarras, pinfish, tomtates, pink shrimp, grass shrimp, filefish, pufferfish, ballonfish, sea urchins. You name it, we just about found it. It was fabulous!!! We all discussed the importance of maintaining a healthy ecosystem including water quality, mangrove estuaries, grass flats, etc. and how the offshore reefs and fisheries benefited from this natural and delicate balance. As we took turns pulling the net it became obvious to all that the juvenile fish needed the grass beds and mangrove estuaries to provide food, shelter and protection from predators until they could reach a large enough size to move out to the reefs and survive. On one pull, Adventure Dakota, Brian and Jason found a beautiful pigmy seahorse. It was a full sized adult female about 3/4 of an inch in length and the only one I have ever seen here. It was a fabulous find!!! We all loved it! Thank you!!!

Seine Netting

We put away the net, donned our snorkel gear and swam thru the shallow grass beds and found hundreds of short spined sea urchins. AdventureBrian even came up with a nice sized lobster molt and we new what that meant! Somewhere near by was a nice lobster but we never found him. The sea urchins came in all colors and sizes from bright pink to pure white. It was great to see so many! AdventureJordyn, Carolyn, Jason and Dakota spent a good bit of time trying to find the smallest one, while AdventureBrian and I went in search of the elusive 9 armed starfish. I showed him the type of sand and loose coarse shell they like to live in and we began to run our fingers thru the sand searching as we slowly swam back to the boat. It didn’t take him long to find one or me either.

Jordyn, Carolyn and the 9 Armed Starfish

We were in the right spot!!! Everyone came over to check them out and admire them. We then took a few photos, brought one back in the live well to show the parents, and then let them go. We were busy non stop and were having so much fun we barely had time to eat a snack before we had to head back. Somehow the day had come to an end and we felt like we were just getting started. And yes, not one of us was ready to quit! We were just too busy having fun, enjoying ourselves and learning so much! Just the way I love it!!! Today was now over for us, but tomorrow will be another adventure waiting to happen. And we are all looking forward to it! Its fishing day!!!, and we know how much fun that is!!! Can’t wait till tomorrow! I don’t know about you, but we’re going to have some Fun and catch some fish too!!!

See you soon on the return,

AdventureMike

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

A Manatee Encounter and More

Posted by 18 June, 2008 (0) Comment

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

Hi everyone,

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

Group Photo

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

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

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

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

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

Look!  A Manatee!

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

A Friendly Manatee

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

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

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

Ciao,
Adventure Mike

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