Fun and Adventure from here to There!

Posted by 11 July, 2010 (0) Comment

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!!!

group photo with palm trees

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!

Trio of netters

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!

netting spottail pinfish

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!

Joshua finds a Queen conch

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!

Puff daddy and Nathan

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!

group photo and pufferfish

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!!!

A bucket of puffefish

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!

Connor and Nick netting

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!!!

Clearing the net of fish

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!

Dylan with a handful of urchins

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.

Beau and Jake with a sponge

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!

Jake with a BIG Lane Snapper

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!!!

surgeonfish and parrotfish

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.

Beau with a pencil urchin

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!!!

Nick catches a slippery wrasse

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!!!

Nice horseshoe crab Max

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!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2010: July 5 - July 8 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Holiday Adventure! Session 1

Posted by 1 January, 2010 (0) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!! We’ve just finished up the first Holiday Adventure and let me tell you, We had a blast!!! It started off a bit cold on Sunday morning, temperature in the mid 40′s, but that didn’t stop us from having FUN!  Not this group of Adventurers! Not for one second! And lucky for […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!!

We’ve just finished up the first Holiday Adventure and let me tell you, We had a blast!!! It started off a bit cold on Sunday morning, temperature in the mid 40′s, but that didn’t stop us from having FUN!  Not this group of Adventurers! Not for one second! And lucky for us it warmed up into the mid 70′s by the end of the week, and we loved that. I knew we were not going to be doing any snorkeling this week as the water temp. was in the low 60′ but this gave us an opportunity to have 2 full fishing days instead of one, a chance to do some island hikes, scope out manatees in the shallows and visit the HMS Bounty docked at Peanut Island. And that was cool too!

Group with HMS Bounty

Group with HMS Bounty

When I arrived at the dock Sunday morning I was greeted by a great group of Adventurers all bundled up to stay warm and ready to go have some FUN!!! As soon as AdventureMegan, McKenzie, Brendan, Brian, John, Leah, Reese, Matthew, Jackie and Lucia boarded the DREAMCHASER, we were off and going. First stop was a visit and tour on board the HMS Bounty moored at Peanut Island. This was the exact boat built in Nova Scotia for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlin Brando and later used in Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest. We had a ball walking the decks, exploring below and learning the ropes so to speak. It was Great!

Group Photo

Group Photo

After we were done we took a hike all around Peanut Island, stopping occasionally to collect some shells and knickerbeans and look for fish and eagle rays in the shallows. Before we knew it, the day had come to an end and on the way back to the boat I could tell nobody was ready to call it a day!  All I heard was, “Is it time to go back already?”  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that before! One thing was certain though, we were all looking forward to tomorrow! It was going to be the first “Fishing Day” and we just couldn’t wait!

Lucia catches a Big Lane Snapper

Lucia catches a Big Lane Snapper

When I arrived Monday morning everybody was ready and raring to go! We loaded up in a hurry and off we went. The minute we were anchored over my secret fishing hole, ten lines went down and simultaneously ten kids had Fish On!!! From that second on, the rest of the day was just a blur! I didn’t even get a chance to look at my watch once until someone said we only had fifteen minutes left. Where had the day gone? How could time fly by so quickly? Man were we ever having FUN!!!

McKenzie catches a nice Flounder

McKenzie catches a nice Flounder

I don’t know how many fish everyone caught, but I know one thing for sure! I could have used 3 of me to bait hooks, take fish off and re-rig lines as quite a few big fish swam back into the reef taking hooks, lines and sinkers!!! I know we caught flounders, blue runners, yellowtail snappers, lane snappers, mangrove snappers, ceasars grunts, tomtates, filefish, sailor’s choice, margates, butter hamlets, spot-tail pinfishand others I can’t even remember! As fast as you could get your line down, something was eating your bait! It was just GREAT and everyone was having FUN!!! Just the way I love it!!!

Matthew catches a Big Margate

Matthew catches a Big Margate

When I arrived at the dock I was greeted by one new Adventurer, AdventureNick, that decided to take the place of McKenzie for the day. We spent Tuesday morning scouting out for manatees and had one nice up close and personal encounter that lasted about 30 minutes over by the Florida Power and Light plant. Everybody loved that!!! From here we took a quick run down to Munyon Island and to take an island hike and explore the trails and all around the shallow estuary looking for horseshoe crabs and what ever else we could find. We talked about the mangrove trees and sea grasses and the critical role they play in providing habitat for the juvenile fish, invertebrates and crustaceans that call them home. As we hiked the island, I pointed out the wild grape and coffee plants, the zebra and swallowtail butterflies and the crab spiders and banana spiders that were everywhere. And I mean everywhere!!! The group decided to nickname the island, “Spider Island”. On at least a dozen occasions as we hiked the trails I walked face first into a nice sturdy web with an impressive banana spider hanging right in the middle just about dangling off my nose. Let me tell you the kids loved that as I danced around wiping webs off my face. They couldn’t stop laughing and I have to say it was fun for all!!!  From here we took a quick run by little Munyon Island then hurried back to make it in time. Each one of us was looking forward to tomorrow and another wonderful day of fishing Adventure!!!

Jackie catches 2 fish on one hook!

Jackie catches 2 fish on one hook!

I expected the action on this fishing day was going to  be similar to the first and lucky for me one of my very best friends, AdventureBill, decided to come along and give me a hand. Let me tell you I couldn’t have done it without him! Baiting hooks, releasing fish, rigging lines, one after another, after another, all day long!!!  Just like before, as soon as the baits hit the bottom, the fish were biting! The action was so unbelievable that AdventureJackie was able to catch 2 fish on one hook at the same time!!!  A feat that I have never seen done before in all my years of fishing!!! What a way to start the day!!! It was just GREAT! And just like before, I couldn’t keep track of how many fish we boated and released that day, but it was non-stop from start to finish! Were we ever having FUN!!!  The last hour of the day we moved away from the reef to try and catch a few different species of fish. The kids caught some nice flounders, some huge blue runners and one very Big sail catfish that in no way wanted to come to the boat on light tackle. By the time Jackie got that fish in her arm was ready to fall off! Nice Job!!! All in all, everyone did great and caught a ton of fish and I just couldn’t have been happier! You guys ROCK!!!

Leah catches a Big Tomtate

Leah catches a Big Tomtate

Needless to say, the week flew by faster than we wanted and none of us was ready to call it quits! We had so much FUN, we never wanted it to end!!! Somehow it always seems to be this way, and I just LOVE IT!!! Lucky for me I have another group coming December 28th and I know one thing for sure, it’s going to be great!  Holiday Adventure, Session 2, Here we come!!! I just can’t wait!!! Hope you’ll join us and live the Adventure!!!

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Holiday Session 1: December 2009 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Posted by 7 August, 2009 (2) Comment

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

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

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

Group Photo!

Group Photo!

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

Rylee and Sydney with a Beaded Starfish

Rylee and Sydney with a Beaded Starfish

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

Daniel with a Big Crab!

Daniel with a Big Crab!

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

Kassedy finds a lovely sea urchin!

Kassedy finds a lovely sea urchin!

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

Jake catches a nice pipefish!

Jake catches a nice pipefish!

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

Michael having fun!

Michael having fun!

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

Seine netting in the shallows.

Seine netting in the shallows.

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

Scrawled Cowfish

Scrawled Cowfish

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

Dylan catches a Big Porkfish!

Dylan catches a Big Porkfish!

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

Maxwell catches a Black Grouper!

Maxwell catches a Black Grouper!

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

Sydney finds an Arrow Crab!

Sydney finds an Arrow Crab!

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

LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

AdventureMike

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

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

Posted by 18 July, 2009 (4) Comment

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

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

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

Group photo at the sandbar!

Group photo at the sandbar!

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

Julia with a Beaded Sea Star

Julia with a Beaded Sea Star

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

Having FUN at the Rock Garden!

Having FUN at the Rock Garden!

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

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

Into the Hot Tub!!!

Into the Hot Tub!!!

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

Finding Sea Urchins!

Finding Sea Urchins!

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

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

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

Dahlia With a Sailors Choice!

Dahlia With a Sailor's Choice!

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

We ALL have fish!!!

We ALL have fish!!!

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

LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!

AdventureMike

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

Summer 2009 Week 6: Snorkeling and A New Fishing Record!!!

Posted by 10 July, 2009 (3) Comment

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We just finished up the third day of our weekly Adventure and let me tell you it has been absolutely FABULOUS!!! This week has been just perfect!!! I’m not even sure where to begin! We’ve had so much FUN since the very first second we left the dock!!! It seems like […]

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We just finished up the third day of our weekly Adventure and let me tell you it has been absolutely FABULOUS!!! This week has been just perfect!!! I’m not even sure where to begin! We’ve had so much FUN since the very first second we left the dock!!! It seems like this adventure has been going on for weeks, not just 3 days! Just love it like this!!! On Tuesday AdventureGeorge, Peyton and I were joined by 6 New Adventurers, Adventurer’sLeah, Nicholas, Emily, Daniel and Joseph. And the best thing, this group not only swims like fish, they know how to make the most of an Adventure!!! It doesn’t get any better than this!!!

Group photo at the Rock Garden

Group photo at the Rock Garden

We started the first day going to the Rock Garden. The tide was high, the water crystal clear and fish everywhere by the thousands! As soon as we got in the water we saw big snook chasing menhaden, small barracudas on the prowl, parrotfish, surgeonfish and sergeant majors by the hundreds! Everywhere you looked there were fish in every size, shape and color. So many different species of fish just too numerous to mention!  It was just GREAT!!! The first wonderful highlight of the morning occurred when we caught a small sharpnosed pufferfish and watched as it puffed itself up as if on cue with water to almost double its size. Always love catching these!!! Had a chance to take some nice photos as everyone had a chance to hold it and check it out. Everybody had smiles from ear to ear as this was going on! Everyone was on the hunt with nets and catching swimming crabs, blennies, rock crabs, hermit crabs, pistol shrimp, etc. You name it, we just about caught it!!!

Emily with a pufferfish!

Emily with a pufferfish!

The second fabulous highlight of the morning occurred when we discovered a nice yellow ray swimming along the bottom without a barb.  We quickly surrounded it and were able to catch it in a net. This gave everyone a wonderful chance to check it out up close and personal since it was totally harmless. It was just great!!! We brought it back to the boat to take some photos and give everyone the opportunity to check out the mouth underneath and the sphericals on the top behind the eyes. It would lay in our hands like it belonged there without even wriggling! Did we all love this!!! Just GREAT!!! After a few minutes we let it go and watched as it swam back to the bottom and continued on its way. We spent the whole day snorkeling here. We never wanted to leave we were having so much FUN!

Yellow Ray with no barb! Nice find!

Yellow Ray with no barb! Nice find!

The second day we went back to the Rock Garden since we had so much FUN the previous day and found a baby octopus peaking out of his hole at us as we swam by. It seemed he was as curious about us as we were about him. We would stare eye to eye for minutes and boy did we all love this! We also found some cool jawfish and a baby flying gurnard crawling across the sand with its modified ventral fins that act more like legs than fins. Such a cool find! From here we went to the beach and spent the rest of the day snorkeling, collecting sea glass, shells and body surfing in the waves. We were having so much fun nobody wanted to call it a day when it was time to leave!  On the way back to the boat we saw some big tarpon in the shallows! Really cool seeing that! And on the way home we saw 2 big eagle rays swimming slowly side by side and we were able to motor right up next to them just a few feet away. They didn’t seem to mind that we were there and we loved that too!!!
And of course you all know that Thursday is our fishing day. And let me tell you, DID WE HAVE FUN TODAY!!! We set all kinds of records that may never be beaten! And I mean NEVER!!! Unfortunatel 2 adventurers couldn’t make it this morning so AdventureGeorge and Joseph missed the boat since their moms called and let me know they weren’t going to make it. They won’t believe what they missed! We had so much FUN today!!! Sorry guys…

Another quadruple hook-up!!!

Another quadruple hook-up!!!

I arrived at the dock at 9AM, and AdventureReese, Leah, Peyton, Nicholas, Emily and Daniel were quick to load up and as excited as you could be about fishing! Man were they raring to go!!! Luckily I had 5 pounds of squid already cut up into bite size morsels and 20 extra rigs already made! I wasn’t going to be having any help today so I had prepared everything as best as I could! Little did I know then how unbelievable our day of fishing was going to be!!! I quickly motored out to one of my “secret spots” and  when I drove over it with the fathometer on, we marked thousands of fish from top to bottom! The bottom was litterally “swimming” with fish!!! I anchored right above the rocky ledge, got the rods ready and handed them out. From the very minute we baited the hooks and dropped them down the rest was just a blur!!!
Instantly, and I mean INSTANTLY everyone had a fish on. AdventureReese, Leah, Peyton, Nicholas, Emily and Daniel caught fish faster than I have ever seen, and I mean EVER SEEN!!! Like in my whole life of fishing! You didn’t have 3 seconds from the moment you dropped down till you had a fish on, most times I couldn’t count to 1 second! EVERYONE had fish on ALL THE TIME!!! The action was so unbelievable that everyone was baiting and taking off their own fish!! I couldn’t even keep up with just one adventurer by myself today, the action was so hot!!!
The kids caught all kinds of fish in every size shape and color you could imagine. They caught fish I have never seen caught on rods before. From Parrotfish, snapper, grunts, cottonwicks, sailors choice, tomtates, scorpionfish, banded pufferfish, threadfin herring, porkfish,  butter hamlets, etc. You name it, I think they caught it!! We had groupers eating our bait and fish left and right and cutting us off in the rocks!!! Just Unbelievable. We had one very exciting moment occurr while AdventurePeyton was waiting for me to take his big Caesars Grunt off a big shark came up and ate it right at the side of the boat; hook, line and sinker!!! Just about splashed us in the frenzy. And while that was going on, a huge barracuda came up and ate Reeses fish off too!!! Man was that exciting too!!! Talk about having FUN, we were having it NOW!!! I know none of us will ever forget this day of fishing!!! I didn’t get a chance to look at my watch for 3 hours. It was just that crazy!!!
By the time 3 hours were over and done with, we had boated 419 fish!!! That’s right, you read that number correctly!!!  419 FISH!!!  BROUGHT IN THE BOAT!!!  And that does not include what we lost, had on or got eaten by something else!!! As fast as we could catch them and release them, we had 6 more on!!! I have NEVER seen anything LIKE THIS!!! I may never again!!! It set an all new fishing record for AdventureMike’s that may NEVER be beat!!! And I mean NEVER!!!  It never let up!!! From BIG FISH TO SMALL FISH, WE CAUGHT THEM all!!! God I love this job!!!!!
Somehow or other AdventureDaniel caught this tiny pufferfish on a hook that I had never seen done before and I bet him he would never catch another one like that again. Well just to prove me wrong, not only did he catch another one, he caught another two!!! Talk about losing a bet, Oh Boy…. I loved every minute of it!!!!!!!!! Just GREAT!!!  :-)

Daniel catches his first pufferfish!

Daniel catches his first pufferfish!

In the end, the final tally was: AdventurePeyton with 43 fish, Reese with 54, maybe even more? Lost count, oops.., Leah with 67, Nicholas with 71, Emily with 73, and the new all time winner, AdventureDaniel with 111 fish!!! I can’t tell you just how good I feel right now!!  Today was one of those “ONCE IN A LIFETIME DAYS!!! Is it possible to get any better than this or have more FUN? I don’t think so… What a day it was!!! I will never hear, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” without thinking about this day! never!!!
We caught so many fish!  I can’t even begin to guess how many we had on besides that. It was amazing!!! I would have given anything to have it all on video!!!  I have no idea what made the action so extra special, or what made the fish bite like they did, but I know one thing for sure, not one of these adventurers will ever forget this day, and neither I !!!!
We had fun!!! We had a blast!! ! We had a once in a lifetime day!!! And we all had a story to tell!!! It may sound like a “fish story” to some, but we all know differently! WE LIVED THE ADVENTURE!!! And if you saw the smiles on the faces that I did today, you would never forget it either!!! Thank you !!!

God, I love my job!!!! How can we have this much fun!!! I must still be dreaming… YOU GUYS ROCK!! I can’t wait till tomorrow!!!

LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN!!!!!

AdventureMike

Categories : Summer 2009: July 6 - July 9 Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,