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A Peanut Island Pufferfish Adventure!!!

Hi Everyone!!! Welcome Back!!!

We’ve just finished up another wonderful FUN filled week of Adventure and fun in the sun! It just doesn’t get any better than this! This week I was again blessed with another Great group, another Great week of weather and another Great week of discovery and Adventure!!! And as usual, we had FUN from the very start to the very end of the week! FUN FUN FUN like there was no tomorrow! Just the way I love it!!! And I know I’ve said that before! On weeks like this I just wish everyone could join us! We had a blast!!!

Boating fun at the beach

We started out the week going to the Rock Garden and snorkeling for hours. The water was warm and crystal clear and all kinds of fish were everywhere. It didn’t take us long to find and catch some really cool porcelain crabs, a pile of rock crabs, some tiny mantis shrimp and some small sea-weed blennies. We swam into the shallows to look for some pufferfish, and low and behold, they were everywhere to be seen! We would herd them into the shallows right up next to the beach and all take turns catching them in our nets. AdventureDavina was the very first one to catch one on her own! As soon as she took it out of the net to show me, it puffed up right on cue. Nice job Davina! You ROCK!

Pufferfish fun

A half hour later everyone had had a chance to catch some puffers on their own! Most of the ones we caught were checkerboard pufferfish but every now and then someone would come up with a sharp-nosed puffer or two. After tiring of catching pufferfish, AdventureAlex moved back over the shallow rocks and began to search for some big swimming crabs. After turning over a few small rocks he found a big one that was worthy of his attention. I watched him chase it from rock to rock. It was a touch and go battle for a while as that crab scurried back and forth, but eventually Alex was able to get it in his net. When he reached in and held that big crab up for me to see, I thought it was just Great!!!

Alex's Big Swimming Crab

From here we motored the boat a short distance around to the north side of Peanut Island and dropped anchor. As soon as we got in the water I could hear the kids yelling pufferfish, pufferfish and sure enough they were swimming everywhere by the droves. It didn’t take long for us to fill another bucket. We had it down now to a fine science! Perfected by constant practice! We’d all work together herding those puffers into the shallows and surround them with our hand nets. Before you knew it they were swimming right in to one of our nets! Just like they belonged there. We sure loved that!!! AdventureBeau and Max sure had a blast holding them up by the handfuls!

kissing pufferfish

Another morning we stopped back by the Rock Garden, caught a bunch more swimming crabs and coral crabs and found some really big queen conchs. We watched as snook and small barracudas chased menhaden for lunch and parrotfish and sheepshead ate crabs. Snappers, grunts, seargeant majors, porkfish and angelfish were everywhere to be seen! It was like our very own swimming pool full of tropical fish, and we had it all to ourselves! How cool is that? We swam over to a small boat that had sunk during the hurricanes a few years back. We looked under the hull and found some some nice, long-legged spider crabs that look and jumped about more like spiders than crabs. We picked up a few and checked them out then afterwards, let them go where we had found them. I know Dahlia had FUN playing around with these! We all did! It was just great!

Dahlia and an arrow crab)

Later on that afternoon we went back to the north side of Peanut Island, and sure enough those checkerboard pufferfish were just waiting for us to give chase! They were swimming right down the beach in long lines just tempting us to try and catch them. And catch them we did!!! By the dozens!!! If you ever wanted a pufferfish adventure, then today was your day! I’ve never seen so many puffers all in one place. There seemed to be having a parade, a parade of puffers that is! And we all were loving that!!! I know AdventureParker had a blast trying to hold four slippery and slimy pufferfish all at once!!! Good Job!

four pufferfish

And of course, 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 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. AdventureParker was bringing in a nice flounder when all of a sudden he felt a big yank on the line and reeled in only the head! So much for that flounder! 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!!! It was awesome!!! I know AdventureJoseph sure had FUN reeling in this nice big lane snapper! Nice Job Buddy!!! You did GREAT!

Josephs Big Bad Lane Snapper

On Another day, we spent the morning seine netting in the shallows and grass flats around Little Munyon Island. The kids always love this and you never know what you might come up with! Some days we find so many cool things, from juvenile barracudas to dwarf sea horses to sharp nosed pufferfish. You name it and I think we might be able to find it! On this day the tide was fairly high and we had trouble seining in the areas we wanted. It was just too deep with no real beach to pull on to. We tried a few different areas but just couldn’t find a spot shallow enough to give it a real try. But we still had Fun all the same!

Julia, Max and Parker seining

We decided to move a bit further towards the north end of the island and give it another shot. After a couple more pulls of the net we came up with some cool juvenile barracudas, a bunch of mojarras and pinfish, striped grunts, ceasars grunts, grass shrimp, pink shrimp and some cool filefish. The neat thing about filefish is if you rub your fingers from head to tail, they are smooth to the touch. If you rub your fingers from tail to head they are rough like sandpaper. Years back, they were once dried out and used for sanding or used as a surface to strike matches on. There rough skin feels almost exactly like that of a shark, full of tiny denticles instead of scales. I know AdventureJulia had Fun checking them out!

Julia with a filefish

The latter part of the afternoon we spent swimming around Sea Urchin Shoals looking for the largest and smallest sea urchins we could find. Some of our favorites were the big black ones with short white spines or the bright pink or dark purple ones that were more difficult to find. The big black sea urchins would stick to your hands using their tiny tube feet. When you would turn your hand upside down, they would hold on like they were glued in place. The most common ones we found were white with greenish pink spines and you could pick them up by the armfuls! You can tell AdventureMax had a ball collecting his big bonanza of sea urchins!

Big bonanza of sea urchins

The most special day of all occurred when we decided to spend the day out by the beach. The ocean was flat calm and the water was warm and crystal clear. After snorkeling for a bit, the girls decided to have FUN racing “slow-mo” style up and down the beach. The object of the game was to look like you were running as fast as you could, but in reality, be barely moving. It was fun trying to take pictures of them moving so slow and at the same time, trying to make it look like they were moving fast. After that we all had fun racing up and down the beach to see who could run the fastest. I can tell you, it wasn’t me that won!

slow motion race

As we moved further down the beach taking pictures, I looked down in the seaweed and saw three dead sea turtle hatchlings stuck in the weeds. They seemed to have gotten stuck in a deep hole they couldn’t get out of and dried out or got over heated as the sun came up. As we sat and looked at them feeling a bit saddened, we saw movement in the seaweed and discovered there were 5 more turtle hatchlings stuck with the rest, but still alive underneath. It seemed the seaweed had kept them sheltered from the sun just long and lucky enough for us to find them. We gently picked them up and moved them to deeper water where they could swim away on their own. As we let them go and watched them swim away, we felt lucky to have had such a wonderful opportunity and encounter to lend them our help.

Saving sea turtles

As we raced back to the boat, we had one last chance to take a refreshing splash and AdventureJoseph took the win for the day! Way to go Joe!!! You can run like the wind!

refreshing splash

All in all we had a fabulous week!!! The kids were just GREAT and we had FUN from start to finish!!! The days just flew by, and thats a sure sign of having FUN!!! What a way to end the week, with smiles from ear to ear!!! We had sea turtle encounters, a pufferfish adventure and a BLAST the whole week long!!! Now it just doesn’t get any better than that!!! AdventureJulia seemed to sum things up best when she said, “I’d give up all my other camps just to come to this one”. I couldn’t have said it better myself, and it left me thinking just one thing!!! I just can’t wait till next week to go do it all over again! We’re going to have FUN, its going to be GREAT!!! Wish you could join us and be a part of the Adventure!!! See you soon…

Let’s Go Have Some Fun!!!


Fun and Adventure from here to There!

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!!!


Another Week in Paradise!

Hi Everyone! Welcome Back!!!

I’m finally getting a chance to write about last weeks Adventure. I left immediately after camp on Friday to spend the weekend in the Bahamas swimming with Spotted and Bottlenose Dolphin and some nice big Tiger Sharks on the ridge. Saw quite a few big grouper on some sunken wrecks too which I loved. Wanted to do a little underwater photography! Let me tell you I had FUN doing that too, but that’s a another story for another day! Needless to say, its been FUN FUN FUN and I didn’t get a chance to write my blog!!! Oh well…Now is as good a time as any…

Having FUN at the beach!

Like always, I began the week with another great group of kids!!! We had perfect weather and perfect water conditions and boy were we ever ready to go have some fun!!! Like Fun all the way from here to there kind of FUN! Just the way I LOVE it! We spent the first morning visiting the Rock Garden and having a ball finding all kinds of things! There were so many fish in every direction we didn’t know which way to start swimming. Parrotfish, snappers, grunts, seargent majors, porkfish, barracudas, wrasse and snook! Everywhere!!! While we were looking at fish, AdventureDakota found a Big Sea Urchin which we all checked out and AdventureRocky found a nice one too. This photo of Rocky with a nice sea urchin shows you just how much fun we were having!

Rocky finds a nice sea urchin!

We spent a lot of time looking for new things and catching blennies, gobies, beau gregories, flounder, brittle starfish, short nosed pufferfish and conchs, etc. in our hand nets. It didn’t take long for everyone to get the hang of it! The kids would work together corralling the fish and before long someone had it in their net. The schools of fish were thick near the shallow rocks and this kept the kids busy for quite some time. Nobody wanted to give up! They were too busy having FUN chasing fish at the Rock Garden!!!

Chasing fish at the Rock Garden

After one of the kids turned over a rock and found a Big swimming crab hiding underneath, fish chasing turned into crab catching and off in that direction we went for a while. We didn’t care what we were doing, but boy were we ever having fun and keeping busy doing it all the same! Almost every single rock we looked under we found ourselves staring eye to eye with a nice BIG swiming crab, stone crab or coral crab! We even had schools of sheepshead and parrotfish following us around trying to eat the crabs we were finding out from underneath our fingertips. Were we ever loving that!!! It was cool to see!!! I watched AdventureJagger chase down a nice BIG crab and finally catch him and hold him up for all to see. Nice Job, and not getting pinched either!!! Alright!

Jagger catches a big crab

I watched as AdventureMaxwell perfected a fine technique of turning up a rock and snagging a Big Crab in his net all in one swift motion. That is not as easy as it sounds. These crabs have a habit of rapidly swimming under the next rock nearby or right under your feet before you can blink your eye! Sometimes they swim right under the next kids feet before they know whats going on, and that sure can get things exciting in a hurry. You should have heard the squeals of laughter when that would happen! We all loved it!!!

Maxwell nets another crab!

Another day we stopped by the Big Sandbar to look for mantis shrimp, fighting conchs, blue claw crabs, hermit crabs and anything else we could find to check out up close and personal. It didn’t take us long to find something we loved! We always love coming here and seem to come up with underwater “treasures” on every occasion. On this day I re-learned that important lesson why you should NOT wiggle your finger in the hole of a nice big mantis shrimp to see what might happen! And that’s because he might think its a fish and reach out quicker than you can imagine and grab that nice little finger with his sharp dagger like claws before you can move it!! When I pulled my finger back bleeding with 2 nice punctures in it, the kids thought that was just GREAT!!! I’m sure they learned an important lesson and so did I!!! AGAIN… ouch! When will I ever learn? One of the neatest things AdventureBeau found was a nice big 9 armed starfish that he shared with all of us, and we loved that too!!! Good JOB!

Beau finds a 9 armed starfish!

We spent one afternoon seine netting in the shallows and grass flats around Little Munyon Island. The kids always love this and you never know what you might come up with! We find so many cool things from juvenile barracudas to dwarf sea horses to sharp nosed pufferfish. You name it and I think we might be able to find it! Each time we pulled the net we found something new to share! On this day the tide was extra low and we had a chance to seine net in places we weren’t able to before. It was just great!

seine netting the grass flats

On one pull of the net on to the beach we came up with a lovely checkerboard pufferfish that everyone wanted to see! thes fish are commonly in the shallows eating barnackles off the rocks but aren’t easy to get in a seine net. I showed them the powerful jaws and dentures that these fish posses and made sure no one held this fish but me. Didn’t want anyone to get nibbled on. They are capable of giving a nasty bite if you by chance mistakenly slip your finger in their mouth when you are not paying as close attention as you should be. I’ll bet you would never guess how I found that outlong ago… ouch again… Needless to say we loved checking out this checkerboard pufferfish and his toothy dentures!

Checking out a checkerboard pufferfish!

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 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… AdventureSamantha sure had FUN fighting and catching this nice BIG one all by herself!!! YOU ROCK!

Samantha catches a BIG lane snapper!

I’m not sure how many snapper we caught here, but it seemed to many for me to keep count!!! A few of the kids caught some nice big porgies and they had to work hard bringing those fish in on light tackle! A few times I heard the kids say their wrists were getting tired from reeling in so many fish and thats a “complaint” I love to hear!!! It seems our fishing day is always like this! On one occassion AdventureDakota came up with a nice BIG blue claw crab hanging on his bait and thats the first one anybody has caught during my summer camp! Lucky for us he let go on his own and fell over the side to swim away! Nice catch Dakota!

Dakota catches a blue crab!

The last day we spent a bit of time swimming at the Rock Garden chasing more fish and darting after swimming crabs and having so much fun trying to catch sharpnosed pufferfish when we would see them. When first spotted they don’t appear to be able to swim fast but don’t be fooled by their diminutive size. They can dart away quickly and disappear before you can say, “Where did he go?”. That happened more often than not!!! AdventureMichael came up with a nice one and everyone loved watching it puff up to more than twice its size!!

Michael with a pufferfish!

We ended the day going back to Little Munyon Island and walking around in the shallows finding thousands, and I mean thousands of short spined sea urchins, hundreds of hermit crabs and juvenile blue crabs and a few beaded starfish that everyone loved to see! The tide was so low we had a chance to walk all the way around the island and look for shells and what ever else we could find. AdventureJake came up with a juvenile striped burrfish that had short little spines on top and blue and yellow polka dots on the bottom, and let me tell you we ALL loved that!!! Nice Find!!!

Jake with a juvenile burrfish!

Before we knew it the week had come to an end and none of us was ready to call it a day! We had so much FUN we never wanted it to stop!!! But I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to drop off the group and head to the Bahamas and I knew it was going to be a long day, Having FUN that is, before I cleared customs and I couldn’t wait to get started!!! . And just like I thought, it was wonderful! Wish you all could have joined me! It was just GREAT!!!

Having all this Fun left me looking forward to this week. And one things certain, I couldn’t wait to head out in the boat with the kids and have fun doing it all over again! I know its going to be great! I can just feel it!!! Hope you’ll join us in the Adventure!!! Stay tuned, it will be here before you know it! Time Flies when your having FUN!!!! And we’re going to have it from start to finish!!! See you soon!

Let’s Go Have Some FUN!!!