Adventure in an Octopuses Garden

Hi Everyone! Welcome Back!!!

I’m finally getting a chance to sit down and write about last weeks Adventure and let me tell you we had loads of FUN from start to finish! It seems that every week just gets better and better! The weather has been just great, the water is as warm as a bathtub and there are fish of every size, shape and color to be seen!!! EVERYWHERE!!! The kids and I have been on a roll and we are ready for Adventure as soon as the day begins. It seems that no matter how early I get to the boat ramp somebody is there waiting for me with a giant smile from ear to ear and ready and raring to go have some FUN!!! Just like me, and that’s just the way I Love It!

group photo with octopus

We began the first day going to the Rock Garden and as soon as we got in the water we spotted big schools of snook chasing menhaden right onto the beach! What a way to begin! The menhaden had arrived by the tens of thousands and everyone loved watching the snook, jacks and juvenile barracudas chase them around us for a meal. Sometimes the schools of fish were so thick you couldn’t see thru them and we absolutely loved that! We all brought little hand nets and tried our luck catching as many different fish as we could. It sure kept us busy having FUN!!!

group photo netting

We searched the shallows occasionally turning over small rocks to see what’s underneath. Every now and then someone would come up with a very delicate brittlestarfish or a purple and blue pistol shrimp and we would check them out up close and personal before letting them go under the very rock we found them. We saw hundreds of seaweed blennies but had difficulty trying to catch them as they darted back and forth from rock to rock. AdventureBeth and Zara spent most of the time having fun searching for Queen Conchs and they came up with quite a few. We all had fun watching as the mollusks would shyly peek back out at us from within their shells.

Beth and Zara find conchs

One of the favorite things we love to do is search for shortnosed pufferfish. Every now and then one of the kids would find one and we would all give chase hoping to catch it in our net. Sometimes we would catch them and sometimes we wouldn’t, but we had loads of FUN all the same! And like I’ve said before, you just can’t believe how quickly a tiny pufferfish can take off straight way, then instantly stop, change direction and race right between your feet never to be seen again! It didn’t take AdventureLeah long before she could expertly catch them like she had been doing it her whole life! Nice JOB!!!

Leah nets a big crab

Occasionally we would turn over a big rock and find ourselves face to face with a nice Big swimming crab waving its claws back and forth in a menacing gesture. We knew they were just waiting for a chance to grab our finger but we were all careful and they never did. These crabs can swim rapidly from side to side and sometimes it takes two or three of us to corner them before we get one. They can give a good pinch if you are unlucky enough to not be paying close attention when the action begins and you’ve got to hold them just RIGHT!!! I learned that one years ago the hard way… This possibility never stopped AdventureNicholas from catching some big swimming crabs and holding them up for us to see! That’s one BIG Crab!!!

Nicholas holds one big crab

One of the coolest things we found and the kids absolutely loved, was a pair of yellow rays lying buried in the sand. I gently scooped one up and after making absolutely certain it didn’t have any venomous barbs, we all took turns holding it and checking it out. We loved when it would pump the water out its sphericals and suck on to us, not even trying to get away! This cute little ray let us hold him until our hearts were content and we all loved that! It would even suck onto the wet hair on our heads and stick there like that’s where it belonged! And did we ever love that too!!!

Zara with a barbless ray

One day during low tide 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 kids favorite things to do. You never know what you may come up with and lucky for us, today was one of those days! Sometimes it just pays to be lucky! On the very first pull of the net we came up with some juvenile barracudas, lots of file fish, tiny yellowtail snappers, grunts, mojarras and a few hogfish, loads of sea grass shrimp and some big pink shrimp.

Finding treasures in the net

The second pull of the net we got even luckier! As soon as the kids brought the net on to the beach I could see some dwarf seahorses. Full grown dwarf seahorses reach about an inch and a half in length for a big one. We don’t get them very often and they are always a cool find! As usual we got more filefish, juvenile barracudas, a couple of short-nosed pufferfish and two checkerboard pufferfish as well. The minute the pufferfish were out of the water they filled themselves up with air and “puffed up” to twice their normal size. The kids absolutely loved that and so did I! AdventureReese came up with a nice one that puffed up in his hand and we nick named it Puff Daddy the pufferfish!

Reese with puffdaddy

On the very last pull of the net we got even luckier!!! We caught more pufferfish, parrotfish, pipefish, barracudas, hogfish, snappers, pinfish, etc., and the very Best Of All, a very large male Lined Seahorse!!! This seahorse was about 7 inches long and absolutely beautiful!!! What makes this so cool is that it is the very first one we ever caught seine netting in this area. everybody wanted to take a closer look and we had so much FUN checking it out! We were so lucky to have caught the only two known species of sea horses found in this area all in the same hour! Now just how COOL is that! It was great to be able to check out both species side by side at the same time!!!

We find a lined seahorse

After we released our “treasures” where we found them, we took a quick hike around the island and found hundreds of sea urchins, dozens of big hermit crabs and loads of blue claw crabs with the bluest claws you’ve ever seen! We even came up with 7 beaded starfish in a variety of sizes and some nice crown conchs as well!!! It was just GREAT!

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! And on this day it was no different!!! I took them to my secret snapper hole and we caught snappers non stop till we were almost too tired to bring any more in!!! And that’s just the way I love it!!!

A bunch of snappers

After a couple hours of snapper fishing we went to the artificial reef to try and catch some different things. We came up with some yellowtail snappers, tomtates, some Big Ceasars grunts, dozens of large spottail pinfish and a few beautiful parrotfish. The kids hooked a few BIG fish we could not get to the boat and I think on more than one occasion they became lunch for some big barracudas!!! AdventureChristopher was the first to catch a nice big colorful porkfish and everybody loved that!

Christopher catches a porkfish

Every now and then we will get into a school of porgies that are aggressive feeders and hard fighters for their size! Today was one of those days! Before long everybody had one on and you should have seen the kids work hard to reel them in on ultra light tackle! Just about the time the kids would get them next to the boat, the porgies would take off swimming hard again and the kids would have to reel like crazy to bring in the line they just lost! It was just great! AdventureJacob caught quite a few nice ones and I loved that!

Jacob catches a porgy

On the morning of the last day we stopped by the Rock Garden to enjoy all the fish and had a ball swimming thru schools of menhaden, watching snook and just checking out the thousands of tropical fish that live here. The water was just beautiful and we never wanted to get leave! As the tide dropped we decided to head to the Big Sandbar and have FUN looking for Mantis Shrimp, fighting conchs, starfish and playing in the Hot Tub! AdventureChristopher and Nicholas loved finding a big red Cushion Starfish that was one of the largest I’ve ever seen here! Nice Going Guys!!!

Christopher, Nicholas and starfish

We ended the day finding a lovely octopus crawling about in the shallows looking for crabs and I know that was one of the very best things the kids loved all week. Me Too!!! We rarely see them out and about in the day time and boy were we LUCKY!!! I think I’ve said that before! This was the very first one I’ve seen in over a year and I’m always looking! It was great to watch the kids lie nearby and watch the octopus reach out with an arm and gently touch them! We had so much FUN watching it change colors from light brown to bright red and the kids were smiling from ear to ear!!! Me too of course!!!. I know AdventureBeth loved watching that octopus crawl slowly past, right in front of her nose!!!

Beth watches an octopus

As I watched the octopus head into deeper water and the kids following closely behind, smiles by the miles in view, I couldn’t help but think how lucky we were to have spent the day in an Octopuses Garden! All to ourselves. Just how COOL is that!!! I know I LOVED IT!!! WE ALL DID!!! IT JUST DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS!!! And I can’t wait till next week to do it all over again!!! Who knows what we may discover or adventure we may have, but one things certain, we are going to have FUN!!! From start to Finish!!! I guarantee it!!! Hope you’ll join us in the Adventure!!! It’s going to be GREAT!!! Stay tuned… See you soon…..

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!


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