Hi Everyone! Welcome back!!! I’m just now finally getting a chance to write about last weeks Adventure, and as usual we had a blast from the very start!!! It seems I just can’t catch up from taking that weekend off a bit back for the photo shoot in the Bahamas. Been trying to make up [...]
Hi Everyone! Welcome back!!!
I’m just now finally getting a chance to write about last weeks Adventure, and as usual we had a blast from the very start!!! It seems I just can’t catch up from taking that weekend off a bit back for the photo shoot in the Bahamas. Been trying to make up for lost time ever since! Oh well, sometimes you just can’t put Fun and Adventure on hold! This week was another one of those truly fabulous weeks!!! Great Kids! Great Weather! Great FUN and ADVENTURE!!! It just can’t get any better than this! I think I’ve said that before, maybe dozens of times!!!! From here to there, we had FUN FUN FUN!!!
We began the first day going to the Rock Garden as the tide was high and the water crystal clear! I wanted to make the very best of this opportunity to show the kids just how many fish are swimming around the Rock Garden now! As the water temperature has warmed up, thousands of fish have moved in to the Rock Garden and everywhere you look there are dozens of different species in every size, shape and color imaginable! And thats just the way I love it!!! The kids were as excited to get in as I was and that made things even better!!! We just couldn’t wait to get in!
We all took a small hand net with us to test our luck catching fish! It didn’t take long before we were chasing fish in every direction. From top to bottom, side to side, over and under, this way and that, we chased fish non stop!!! Everybody was on the go and having FUN like there was no tomorrow! We had the best luck catching seaweed blennies and sharpnosed pufferfish. Juvenile spottail pinfish were massing by the hundreds all around us just under the waters surface. They were feeding on plankton and seemingly oblivious to us, and this gave us a chance to perfect our technique catching them as well!
Some of us were chasing fish, some of us were chasing crabs and others were just having Fun watching all the commotion and keeping a sharp look out for new things to show us when we took a breather. No matter where we swam, there was something to see and something new to discover! Under every rock there were crabs, sea cucumbers or pistol shrimp and we found them all! It was just GREAT! Some of the kids spent time searching for blue legged hermit crabs or nice pink queen conchs and it didn’t take AdventureJoshua long before he found a nice big queen conch to show us!
The second half of the day we went to the north side of Peanut Island to search the shallows for checkerboard pufferfish and did we EVER HAVE FUN doing that! Everywhere we looked there were puffers! It took us a while to get the hang of it, but eventually we figured out if we all worked together and slowly hearded the puffers into shallow water we had the best luck of getting one. AdventureNathan would stand in the shallow water, quiet as can be, and as we hearded the pufferfish in his direction he would quickly swoop out with his net and give it his best shot. Every now and then he would be rewarded for his efforts and proudly hold up Puff Daddy the pufferfish for all to see! Nice Job!
After about an hour of this we had caught more checkerboard pufferfish than I had ever caught with any other group of kids so far! We had it down now! We would slowly swim around in the shallows as one big group. As soon as someone spotted a pufferfish they would point it out to the rest of us to see. We would spread out around the fish, herding it towards shore and before long one of us had it in their net. It was so much Fun! This was the first day I was able to take a group photo of everyone holding a pufferfish and boy did we love that!
By the end of the day I think we must have caught every checkerboard pufferfish that swam around Peanut Island! Most of the ones we missed at first I think we found later, buried in the sand trying to stay hidden from our wandering eyes. It didn’t take us long to get those too! We were so busy having Fun I never realized the day had come to an end and it was time to go. How quickly the time flew by! None of us wanted to call it quits and leave, but we had a bucket full of pufferfish and smiles from ear to ear to last us until tomorrow! And that’s just the way I love it!!!
Another day 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 things the kids love to do most! You never know what you might find when you pull in the net and we all wait with eager anticipation as the net comes up on the beach! On the very first pull of the net we came up with some juvenile barracudas, lots of file fish, tiny yellowtail snappers, grunts, mojarras, a few hogfish, some small sharpnosed puffers, loads of sea grass shrimp and some big pink shrimp as well. A nice way to start!
We would all take turns pulling the net thru the shallows. Everybody would gather along the net and sort thru what we got, keeping a few “special treasures” to check out later and quickly releasing the rest! You should have heard the excitement when a few large pufferfish, some big needlefish, a load of juvenile barracudas and a mess of blue crabs came in. The kids didn’t take long to sort thru the catch and clear the net of fish! We absolutely loved it! We didn’t get any dwarf seahorses this time around but we were hoping! Maybe next time!!!
When the tide came in we decided to put the net away and spend the rest of the afternoon looking for sea urchins along the rocky bar to the south of the island. We searched and found sea urchins by the hundreds in every size and color you could find! We spent a good bit of time to see who could find the smallest urchin and today was my day to shine. I found one about the size of a dime, but I was hoping to find one about the size of a pea. We loved having the sea urchins stick on to our hands using their tiny tube feet as suction cups and before long everyone had them by the handfuls! I could tell AdventureDylan was sure having a good time!
Sometimes we would find big blue crabs and sea grass hermit crabs scurrying about and we would always give chase to those as well. I kept my eyes out for a lined sea horse wrapped around a piece of sea grass but didn’t have any luck either! I’ve only seen one all summer but you never know when you might get lucky and find a nice one so I’m always looking. Occasionally we would find some nice sea squirts and tunicates to check out and a few big conchs hidden in the sea grass. AdventureBeau and Jake came up with a nice red sponge that we thought was cool then it was back in the boat to head home.
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 , “My wrist hurts from reeling in so many Fish”, 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, and did we ever love that too!!! AdventureJake came up with a few nice big ones, one right after another! It was just GREAT!
The last day we went back to the Rock Garden to snorkle and the water was absolutely perfect! It was sparkling clear and fish were everywhere! One of the best things about it too was we had the spot all to ourselves and I just love it like this! As soon as we got in the water we had some large sheeps head following us hoping we would feed them some crabs. And of course we had to oblige them with that. We would turn over a rock and find a crab and the sheeps head would just about eat them right out of our hands! We just loved it!!! All around us were schools of parrotfish and surgeonfish that we could just about touch! They would swim right up to us as if to say hi then lazily saunter off. And we just loved that too!!!
Every now and then as we turned over rocks we would come up with something cool. Sometimes we would find some pink and purple pistol shrimps that would dart quickly away under another nearby rock. Its amazing how fast a tiny shrimp can move and how accurately it can swim backwards into a hole to disappear forever. We had FUN watching these!!! AdventureBeau came up with a few nice pencil urchins to show us. They use their stout spines to securely lock themselves in place between a crack in the rock so that waves and swifts currents can’t sweep them away.
After a few minutes of turning over some small rocks we would have a hoard of wrasse following us hoping to snag a quick meal. They are not easy to catch in a small handnet but sometimes they can be quite curious and sometimes easily fooled. If you place your net near a small rock, kick up some dirt and patiently wait you might be lucky enough to have one swim in all by itself! It takes a bit of practice and a swift hand to lift the net, but it didn’t take AdventureNick long to get the hang of it! Before I knew it he was catching one right after another and we all loved that as well!!! Nice job!!!
The very last part of the day we went back to the north side of Peanut Island and had a ball catching checkerboard pufferfish and some nice blue crabs. Just as we were about to leave an extremely large horseshoe crab crawled up on to the beach right at our very feet and did we ever love THAT!!! She was just huge and we all took turns checking her out up close and personal! You could pick her up and hold her close and she wouldn’t even wriggle to get away. This was the largest one I have ever seen and we all were so excited and happy she came by for a visit! AdventureMaxwell was sure having a great time making a new friend!!! We all were!!!
What a way to end the day!!! I can tell you none of us was ready to go back when it was time to leave! We were just too busy having Fun and Adventure from here to there, never knowing what we might find, but having FUN all the way!!! It just doesn’t get any better that that!!! I can’t wait till next week to do it all over again. Hope you’ll join us and be a part of the Adventure!!! See you soon!
Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!
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!
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!!!
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!!!
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!
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!!!
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!
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!!!
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!!!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!!!
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…
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!!!
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!
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.
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!!!
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!!!
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!!!
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.
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!
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!!!
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!!!