Summer 2009: Week 2 Morning Session (Last week of double duty!)

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! Finished up the second weekly Adventure session and finally getting a few free minutes to write about the wonderful week we had!!! Just don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to get everything I need to get done, done, when running double sessions per week. At this time I don’t have any other afternoon sessions scheduled but may later . Will keep you up to date on that. Wish I had room for everyone who wanted to go!!! Will have to come up with something! Now on to the Second Weeks Adventure!!!

AM Group Picture
AM Group Picture

Left my dad’s dock early Tuesday morning and stopped to pick up AdventureZach, Matthew, Hanna and Max on the way to Phil Foster Park. They live just down the lake a bit and this made it easier for all to just grab them and then run for the rest. When we arrived at Phil Foster Park we were greeted by AdventureKatie, Lauren and Andrew from last year. Seems that everybody arrives early and with smiles for my camp and I just love it! We had perfect weather for this week too, calm winds, sunny skies and nice clear water along the beach! Doesn’t get any better than that! We spent the week boating and exploring, island 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!!! And Lots of it!!!

We spent about an hour or so each morning going to the Rock Garden and just having a ball snorkeling along the rocks and finding hundreds of crabs of all kinds. From hermit crabs, arrow crabs, swimming crabs, rock crabs and stone crabs, etc. You name it, we probably found it! And as usual there were the hundreds of different species of reef fish to enjoy and admire along the way!!! Had a lovely stingray glide past us foraging for food and saw quite a few small barracudas and loads of Bermuda Chubs, Parrotfish and Doctorfish every where we looked. AdventureZach was able to catch a nice sharpnosed pufferfish which we nick-named “Puff Daddy” and as if just on cue, it puffed up perfectly. We absolutely loved that!!! Everybody had a chance to take an up close and personal look at “Puff Daddy” then we let him go happily on his way. Always love coming to this spot, never know what we might see.

AdventureZach with Puff Daddy
AdventureZach with "Puff Daddy"

We stopped by the Big sandbar every time it was out of water for a quick romp around and to check out the fighting conchs, starfish, box crabs and anything else we could find. One afternoon we found a nice big Horse Conch trying to chase down a fighting conch for a quick meal. I was going to say “easy” meal except that every time he got close to a fighting conch and was almost able to get his foot around to hold it, that fighting conch would literally start jumping away as fast as it could go! Was fascinating to watch this interaction between a large predatory mollusk trying to chase down a meal. Never saw it get one but was cool to see!!! Horse Conchs are the largest species of Mollusk found along the east coast of North America, can get up to 38 inches in length and eat other shells by wrapping their large “foot” around the other shell then literally “sucking” it out of its shell and swallowing it whole. First time I saw one here. Nice Find!!! Its always exciting when we find something new we haven’t seen before…

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 even a Butter Hamlet. First time for one of those. We had a bet to see who could catch the most fish and AdventureAndrew took the win!  Nice Job!!! Most of the time the girls win this bet. The guys are busy talking and the girls are busy fishing!!!! And as usual, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” over and over and OVER!!! Good thing AdventureNicholas from last week 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 too!!!

One morning we stopped by Starfish Prairie on the way to Little Munyon Island to check out some of the large starfish that are found here. Always love finding the large Cushion Sea Stars that inhabit this hard rock, sea urchin covered bottom. Have to be really careful when walking around here or you will find yourself with a nice short-spined sea urchin stuck to the bottom of your foot. Been there, done that on numerous occasions, hence those water shoes I always wear now a days…. Spent an hour or so seine netting the shallows behind Munyon Island and came up with some nice juvenile grunts, tomtates, permit and snappers. After this we took a romp around the island and then headed out towards the beach south of the Lake Worth jetty.

Horse Conchs and Starfish
Horse Conchs and Starfish

Every day we were lucky to get a chance to go out the Inlet and along the beach to do some snorkeling, beach combing and shell collecting, etc. The Ocean was flat calm all week and the water beautifully clear along the beach. We were so lucky! Wish it was always like this!!! Just love it!!! It was so much Fun being here!!!  We never wanted to head back in and call it a day!!! One day the group dug such a large hole by hand the whole gang could fit in it. Couldn’t imagine if they had shovels! Another day we were saddened to discover a large dead Green Sea Turtle washed up along the beach. It had been run over by a boat and you could see that the propeller gashes had penetrated deep into the carapace. It was a good lesson for us all to keep a sharp eye out for sea turtles resting on the surface while boating, and especially now during sea turtle nesting season when they are much more likely to be encountered. As we walked further down the beach, our spirits quickly lifted when we observed a large manatee swimming slowly in the shallows along the south jetty. We hurriedly donned our masks and got in. The manatee swam over as if to take a closer look and for a few seconds we stared eye to eye, each checking the other out. We watched as she slowly swam away into the distance…

Friendly manatee
Friendly manatee

It was just GREAT and a fitting way to end the weeks adventure!!! We had such a BLAST and not one of us wanted to call it a day!!! Such a great week with such a great group!!!  Just doesn’t get any better than this!!! And for me, I just couldn’t wait for the afternoon session to begin and to get back out, and… HAVE SOME FUN!!!

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!


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