Tag Archives: puffer fish

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!!!


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!!!


Summer 2009 Week 5: A Starfish, Sea Urchin and Fishing Bonanza!

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!!

We just finished up the third day of our weekly Adventure and let me tell you this week has been just GREAT!!! And I mean from start to finish!!! We’ve just had the very best time and have been having so much FUN that I can promise you nobody wants this week to end!!! Not one day has anybody wanted me to head back on time and I have a feeling they would stay till dark if I would let them! And sometimes I think about it myself, most days after the adventure session ends I’m not ready to go home either! We’ve been having too much FUN!!! And this week I was blessed to have another great group of Adventurers! I was joined by AdventureGeorge, Peyton, Seth, Dawson, Trusha, Rujul, Darby and Madison, and they have had as much energy and enthusiasm as I have EVER seen! Each week seems to just get better and better and this group can swim like fish and go non stop. Like mini me’s… Just the way I love it!!! I can’t believe how much fun we’ve had this week. Wish you all could have joined our group of Adventurers!!! It’s been a Blast!

Island Adventure Fun!
Island Adventure Fun!

We started out the week going straight to the Big Sandbar. The tide was dead low and the bar was exposed for almost as far as you could see. Just Love it like this! We get to go exploring within two minutes of boarding the boat and we never know what we may find high and dry on the bar. As soon as we arrived we could see sea urchins and fighting conchs high and dry. We jumped out and started exploring the bar and within a few seconds found some big baby ear mollusks, netted olive shells, moon snails, mantis shrimp tunnels, box crabs and beaded starfish. Everybody was finding their very own treasures and sharing them with the rest. It was just great to see the smiles!

Seth and Dawson with a beaded starfish!
Seth and Dawson with a beaded starfish!

On the way back to the boat we jumped in the “hot tub” for a quick swim and grabbed our masks to go snorkeling. There were menhaden all around and we saw some small barracudas and snook chasing them for dinner.It was non stop action all around! We found egg clusters to moon snails and fighting conchs and then came upon a nice big nine armed starfish in the shallows. It was a nice find and everyone was excited to see one! We even had a chance to take some “starfish head” photos and after everyone was done looking we placed it back in deeper water. I know George was extra happy to see one for the first time! He had smiles from ear to ear!

George found a nine-armed starfish!
George found a nine-armed starfish!

One morning we went to little Munyon Island to do some island exploration and found hundreds of sea grass hermit crabs in a variety of shells, numerous stone crabs and some really cool looking pistol shrimp. We found short spined sea urchins by the thousands and decided to have a contest to see who could find the smallest one. We found them in every size and color. Everybody was having a ball looking and for a while AdventureMadison was winning with a green one about the size of a dime. A short while later AdventureTrusha found a tiny one about the size of a pea hiding under a small shell. It was a great find and I loved hearing her say, “I found one, I found one” in an excited voice. It was the smallest one I have ever seen in my life and she took the win. I can’t imagine finding one smaller than that! We all had so much fun finding so many sea urchins in such a variety of sizes and colors! We never wanted to stop looking!!!

Searching for the Smallest Urchin
Searching for the Smallest Urchin

Tuesday morning we stopped by the Big Sandbar again and did some exploring and snorkeled the whole way over to Peanut Island. It was absolutely beautiful! On the way we discovered two sunken boats with hundreds of fish and arrow crabs all around them. We saw numerous sharpnosed pufferfish and were able to catch two in the nets which everyone loved!!! Just love watching them puff up with water and air. Of course we nick-named them “Puff Daddy” and “Little Puff” and we all took turns checking them out and taking a few photos.It was just great! On the way back we stopped by the beach for a quick snorkel, caught some sandfleas, collected some shells and beach glass and played with the ctenophores, a non stinging jellyfish like siphonophore, that are common along the beaches this time of year. It was great fun for all!!! We never wanted the day to come to an end!

Darby with Puff Daddy
Darby with "Puff Daddy"

Thursday was the day I planned for us to fish and when I arrived at the dock not only were the Adventurers early, they were ready and willing and in a hurry to go!!! Everyone was asking if I “brought enough rods, enough bait, am I sure, am I sure, etc.” and I smiled and said yes even though I really wasn’t sure at the time. Lucky for me one of my very best friends, AdventureGlenn, came along to give me a hand, bait the hooks, rig the lines, and take off all the fish, etc. And boy, did I need him today! To say it was hectic and exciting is an understatement!!!

I anchored the boat over the same section of artificial reef where we had done so well last week. I watched as 8 lines went down, hit bottom and instantly had fish on. Just like before, it was non stop action. The minute the bait hit bottom something was trying to eat it! Everyone had fish on all the time!!! It took everything AdventureGlenn and I could do to keep bait on the hooks and take fish off. No matter how fast we worked there was always a line of excited adventurers waiting. It seemed like we had 30 adventurers in the boat not just 8, and I’m sure to Glenn it seemed more like 60!!! I didn’t see him get a chance to eat or drink the whole time we were there. Talk about having non stop fun, we did!!! I’ve never seen fish come in the boat so fast, and sometimes we had 8 fish on at once!!! Once we had one big Ceasars Grunt come in with 2 hooks in his mouth. He had eaten two baits at the same time! you should have seen the smiles on AdventureGeorge and Darby when they both reeled in the same fish! It was priceless!!! The same big smiles went for AdventureTrusha and Rujul when they both caught two big fish at the same time too! Just love it when things come together like that! Non stop action from start to finish for every Adventurerer on our boat today!!! IT WAS GREAT!!!

Trusha and Rujul with some nice fish!
Trusha and Rujul with some nice fish!

We were so busy having fish on that I am sorry to say I didn’t get much of a chance to take as many photos of the whole encounter as I would have liked. Next time I may have to have the kids wait while I use the camera instead of bait the hooks, but its hard when you have 8 very happy and excited kids wanting their baits back in the water faster than you can possibly move, all wanting to catch the next “Big One”. I was the exact same way. Oh well…   It seemed like we only spent an hour fishing but when I looked at my watch, three and a half hours had already passed. It was the first time I had a chance to look at my watch all day. We quickly reeled in and headed back to the beach to get in the water and rinse off. Again I found myself wondering just how did the time go by so fast? How can things move so quickly? It seemed to us all like we just started? And it seems to be so true…and often said,

“Time Flies, When You’re Having Fun”!!!! Our 8 happy kids would tell you that today!!!! Nothing but smiles!!! and the way I like it!!! I’ll miss you guys!!! Each day was a real blessing! Thank you!!! God I love this job!!!

See you soon!!!

Let’s Go have some FUN!!!


Summer 2009 Begins!!!

Hi Everyone, Welcome back!!! We just finished our first weekly Adventure and as usual we had a BLAST!!!!! We’ve been so busy adventuring this week I haven’t even had a chance, nor the energy to write about it! As some of you may know, I’ve had such a wonderful response to my camp that I decided to do double sessions to try and get some more of you in, and even then I couldn’t accommodate all the requests I’ve had. Thanks to you all! For those of you who couldn’t get your child in, I’m sorry…. Would love to be able take everyone who wanted to go, just not able to. Please register early next year when I open up registration and get ALL the paper work to me IMMEDIATELY to hold your space when that time comes! I already know I won’t be able to take everyone for sure then! Now on to this past weeks ADVENTURE!!!

 Havin Fun!

When I arrived at the dock bright and early for the Tuesday morning session I could already tell we were going to have another great group! The kids were there, excited and raring to go, and with smiles from ear to ear. Just the way I love it!!! Soon afterwards, AdventureMatthew, Casey, Jaime, Miriam, Katie, Thomas, Nicholas and Neil boarded my Adventure boat, “DREAM CHASER” to begin the weeks adventure. And were they ever ready to go!!! We stowed the gear, off we went and the FUN began…

We spent the week boating and exploring, isaland 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!!! From start to finish it was a blast and each session seemed to end way to soon!

On the Big Sandbar we found hundreds of Florida and West Indian fighting Conchs and loads of short-spined sea urchins in a variety of colors. We checked them all to see what new color combinations we could find. My favorite being the bright white with the deep purple short spines. Just beautiful!!! Along the way we discovered Mantis Shrimp burrows and watched as Tube Worms slowly filtered sand to digest the algae off each grain. We came upon the broken carapace of a very large Rooster Crab, in the family of box or shame-faced crabs known for holding their claws in front of their faces, that had been freshly eaten by a ray and found quite a few Baby’s Ear Mollusks burrowing in the sand. Always love finding those!

We found a variety of starfish every time we went, from Beaded Sea Stars, Cushion Sea Stars and the unusual Nine-Armed Starfish that’s mainly nocturnal. Always a treat!!! That gave me a great opportunity to take some cool photos of AdventureNeil and a few others with “Nine-Armed Starfish Head” a first for the trip!!! On one day we found a very rare and unusual fish resting in a shallow hole with only an inch or two of water remaining, maybe a hundred feet from the waters edge. I was excited to see it was a Flying Gurnard, distinguished by having fan like pectoral fins that often have brilliant iridescent blue lines and markings!!! It was a fabulous discovery!!! These fish have modified ventral fins that allow them to “walk” about and turn over rocks and shells while foraging. A very unusual fish and one that I rarely see. Boy were we Lucky!!! We released it unharmed into deeper water. I know it was glad about that. Every now and then when we would get cold swimming, we would come back to the Big Sandbar and sit in a deep hole filled with hot water that we nicknamed “The Hot Tub” to warm up. It was just great!!! Our very own hot tub…

At the Rock Garden we saw the usual…. Hundreds of fish in every size, shape and color imaginable! From small barracudas to snook, porkfish, parrotfish, sheepsheads, grunts, snappers, angelfish, damselfish, butterflyfish, blennies, etc. Every where you looked there was something else to be seen… We spent hours searching under the shallow rocks and found all types of hermit crabs, box crabs, rock crabs, porcelain crabs, swimming crabs, stone crabs, pistol shrimp, popping shrimp, blennies and more. A plethora of discoveries with every turn. Just love it that way!!!

This week we were lucky to have calm enough seas to run out the inlet and around the South Jetty to park right near the beach and do some beach combing for shells and worn sea glass. All of us came home with a few treasures of our own. We had hours of fun “hill jumping” and body surfing the small waves in crystal clear water. Never wanted to leave here, and in between body surfing and snorkeling, the group played a few games of “chicken” where Casey and Jaime would team up against Thomas and Nicholas and try and wrestle each other over into the water. It was fun for all!!

  Playing Chicken!

We spent one day going to Little Munyon Island to do some seine netting in the shallows and had a ball. We caught numerous mojarra, pinfish, juvenile grunts and snappers, pistol shrimp, popping shrimp, seagrass shrimp, smooth trunkfish and even a checkerboard pufferfish which delighted the group by puffing up with air for a quick photo op! On the way home that day we stopped by Starfish Prairie and hurriedly picked up a few large Cushion Starfish for another quick photo opportunity then released them unharmed exactly where we found them. They were everywhere to be found! Really nice to have nearby…

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 AdventureNeil caught one scorpionfish which I was happy to get back in the water as quickly as possible. You definitely want to stay away from the venomous spines on those!!! I learned that the hard way many a year ago and don’t want to repeat that EVER again! OUCH!!! All in all, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “I NEED MORE BAIT!!!” over and over and OVER!!! Good thing AdventureNicholas from last summer 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!!!

All in all, it was a fabulous first week!!! When it was time to head back, no-one was ready to call it a day!!! We were just too busy having fun!!! And Just the way I love it!!! And lucky for me, I got to do it all over again with the second group of Adventurers for the afternoon session!!! Doesn’t get any better than that!!! Wish you could have joined us!!!! We had a BLAST!!! I just couldn’t wait for the second adventure session to begin!!!

All you guys will be missed, and I can’t wait to see you again!, but it was time to…

Hill Jumpin at the Beach

Go Have Some More Fun!!!


Hanging Out With Puffer Fish on Spring Break

Hi Everybody,

Welcome back! We just finished up the first two days of our first Spring Break Adventure Session and let me tell you we had a blast! It was just great from start to finish! As Usual, and just the way I love it!!! AdventureSheri and I were joined by AdventureJake, Allison and Noelle from last Summer and three new Adventurers, AdventureJada, Rio and Alex. I love arriving at the dock with everyone raring to go and eagerly awaiting for the days adventure to begin, and hearing the excitement in their voices and seeing the smiles on their faces when we load up. It makes for a perfect day!

Group Photo

We began the day a little differently by motoring over towards the Power Plant to take a quick look to see if any Manatees might be resting in the warm shallow water near the out flow pipes. AdventureJada was just dying to see one and I wanted to make her day. We gave it about 10 minutes and didn’t see any this time so we headed to a nearby beach to do a little exploring. We anchored the boat right on the beach and hopped out and immediately found a nice big Spotted Sea Hare swimming in the shallows. The neat thing about these is they sometimes release a dark purple cloud of ink when disturbed and much to the excitement of the gang, this big fellow released a nice batch right on cue. It was great to see the smiles then! Everyone took their turn gently touching the Sea Hare and then we moved further down the beach to check out some of the large stands of Nicker beans we found during AdventureLauren’s birthday party last weekend.

We stopped and I picked up a few thorny pods to show them the tiny gray beans inside and everyone wanted to keep a bean or two for “good luck”. They are commonly called “Lucky Beans” and the anti-malarial drug Quinine is still made from the gray husks of these beans. You have to keep away from the branches and leaves though since they have numerous hooked thorns to snag both you and your clothing! The first time I found this out when I crawled though the branches left a lasting impression. Ouch!, but it was still fun!

Learning About Nicker Beans

From here we headed to the Rock Garden to do some snorkeling and search the shallow rocks for Hermit Crabs. AdventureJake and Alex came back with some big Coral Crabs while the rest of us were busy finding blue-legged hermits and red-banded hermit crabs. We were having a blast! When I pulled one of the large female coral crabs out of the net to show the group her eggs under her abdomen, she latched onto my finger and hung on for dear life! I wasn’t sure who had who, but I know this group of Adventurers loved seeing that crab hang on to my finger for at least 5 minutes! We were all smiles by then!!! AdventureSheri kept a watchful eye over the girls busy in the shallows finding all kinds of hermit crabs and captured most of the days adventure on film for the rest of us to enjoy later. Nice job!!!

AdventureJake found a sharptail pufferfish and was able to catch it in a small net and bring it back to show us. Not an easy feat for those who haven’t tried this! We were delighted to watch as it puffed up full of water and more than tripled its size. We took a couple of quick photos then released it unharmed and then headed back to the boat for some drinks and snacks.

Noelle and Pufferfish

While they were eating, I moved the boat to a nearby shallow sandbar and got in to look for some lizard fish buried in the sand to show everyone. AdventureNoelle, Rio, Allison and Jada were quick to follow, while AdventureAlex and Jake set the anchor in the shallows. Somehow this searching for lizard fish turned into “netting” AdventureMike and you should have heard the laughter then after I was “netted” and they piled a giant sand ball right on the very top of my head. They were laughing like crazy, having a great time and smiling from ear to ear!!! And that was the perfect way for us to end the day!!!

We laughed the whole way back to the dock thinking about how much fun we had! And I know one thing for sure, I just can’t wait till tomorrow! We are going to have a blast, do some seine netting, short-spined sea-urchin collecting, crab trapping, snorkeling, an Island hike and maybe even visit Starfish Prairie along the way. And who knows what else… As if a day out boating isn’t fun enough all by itself!!! It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!

Stay tuned, or better yet, come join us!!! It’s time to get outside and live life to the fullest!!! I know we are. 🙂

Let’s Go Have Some Fun !!!

Things We Seined in our Summer Camp

Hi Everyone,

Welcome back! Today’s adventure session was a little bit different than the normal session I had planned and I can guarantee you, everyone had a great time today! We were going to do a little bit more snorkeling in the morning and then an island romp later but when I saw that the tide was extremely low, I decided to change things up a bit. We made a quick trip to the sandbar just to check things out and see what we might find. AdventureCarolyn and Jordyn wanted to find some Baby Ear snails so we searched the dry bar till we found their indicative cracks in the sand that let us know the snails were just about to pop out into the open. We collected a few to observe and talk about, then released them a few minutes later into deeper water. It is amazing how fast they can disappear right before your eyes! Now you see them, now you don’t. Just great to watch them go! The hundreds of fighting conchs, blue crabs and mantis shrimp were still there but we decided to let them be and head to Little Munyon Island instead to do some seine netting in the shallows.

Critter Collecting

When we arrived the conditions were perfect for what I had in mind. It was dead low tide and would be incoming all day and I wasn’t worried about getting the boat stuck in the shallows. And perfect for seine netting! We unloaded the gear out of the boat, brought a large plastic container and a couple of 5 gallon buckets and our masks and snorkels and headed to the south end of the island. AdventureBrian and I decided to make the first pull of the net. He followed me out into waste deep water and then we slowly pulled the net towards shore, keeping the lead line on the bottom and out in front to make a nice pocket. We gently pulled the net onto the beach and sorted thru all the fish, putting the unusual ones in a bucket and letting the rest go. I was amazed at the diversity of juvenile fish.

From the very first pull we found dozens of juvenile barracudas, hogfish, parrotfish, pipefish, grunts, snappers, mojarras, pinfish, tomtates, pink shrimp, grass shrimp, filefish, pufferfish, ballonfish, sea urchins. You name it, we just about found it. It was fabulous!!! We all discussed the importance of maintaining a healthy ecosystem including water quality, mangrove estuaries, grass flats, etc. and how the offshore reefs and fisheries benefited from this natural and delicate balance. As we took turns pulling the net it became obvious to all that the juvenile fish needed the grass beds and mangrove estuaries to provide food, shelter and protection from predators until they could reach a large enough size to move out to the reefs and survive. On one pull, Adventure Dakota, Brian and Jason found a beautiful pigmy seahorse. It was a full sized adult female about 3/4 of an inch in length and the only one I have ever seen here. It was a fabulous find!!! We all loved it! Thank you!!!

Seine Netting

We put away the net, donned our snorkel gear and swam thru the shallow grass beds and found hundreds of short spined sea urchins. AdventureBrian even came up with a nice sized lobster molt and we new what that meant! Somewhere near by was a nice lobster but we never found him. The sea urchins came in all colors and sizes from bright pink to pure white. It was great to see so many! AdventureJordyn, Carolyn, Jason and Dakota spent a good bit of time trying to find the smallest one, while AdventureBrian and I went in search of the elusive 9 armed starfish. I showed him the type of sand and loose coarse shell they like to live in and we began to run our fingers thru the sand searching as we slowly swam back to the boat. It didn’t take him long to find one or me either.

Jordyn, Carolyn and the 9 Armed Starfish

We were in the right spot!!! Everyone came over to check them out and admire them. We then took a few photos, brought one back in the live well to show the parents, and then let them go. We were busy non stop and were having so much fun we barely had time to eat a snack before we had to head back. Somehow the day had come to an end and we felt like we were just getting started. And yes, not one of us was ready to quit! We were just too busy having fun, enjoying ourselves and learning so much! Just the way I love it!!! Today was now over for us, but tomorrow will be another adventure waiting to happen. And we are all looking forward to it! Its fishing day!!!, and we know how much fun that is!!! Can’t wait till tomorrow! I don’t know about you, but we’re going to have some Fun and catch some fish too!!!

See you soon on the return,


From Hungary to Palm Beach

Welcome back all,

We just finished up another great week full of adventure and thrills and at the same time were lucky enough to miss all the rain that seemed to fall everywhere but on us. Most of the showers came thru around 3pm, long after we were off the water. We could not have timed things better, thank you…

Group Photo

We started off yesterdays adventure session with a little bit of trolling down the inter-coastal waterway south along the Palm Beach Island side. I hoped to hook some large jack crevalles or barracudas on light tackle just to give Adventurers Jonah, Annie, Jake and Javier a real tussle trying to bring them in. No luck, but we trolled down to an old tugboat that looked like it had been out of service for the last 50 years or more just to check it out and give Jonah an up close view. We all found it fascinating and pondered its history and years of service.

From here, everyone wanted to go back to the Rock Garden to go snorkeling, search for hermit crabs and try and catch pufferfish and lizardfish. Adventure Annie spent her time trying to catch pufferfish barehanded. Her technique was so good that I can guarantee one day she will get one! We made a bet to see who could find the smallest shell with a hermit crab in it, and for a long while I was in the lead. Just when I thought I was going to win, Javier came up with one that I knew was going to be tough to beat, so back to work, Adventure Jake, Jonah and I went looking. We all wanted to win and I was going to give it my best. I planned on winning just to set an example that you could do anything with persistence and determination. There was just one thing I neglected to think about or seemed to overlook. And that one thing was the fact that “eagle eye” Jake could see a hermit crab about half the size of a head of a pin and not just see it, but pick it up and sure enough he won! I had to take it back to the boat and look at it with my glasses on just to see if it was a shell, and sure enough while I was looking at it, out came the tiniest blue legs I have ever seen. I had to declare him the winner. The only way I’ll ever beat that is to go have some prescription lenses put in my mask and then use a magnifying glass on top of that. Its funny how age has a way of catching up with you and evening the odds. I thought I had the better skill and experience, he just had the better eye sight. Oh well… and of course maybe skill too.

From here we took a quick trip around the island, stopped on the west side to play a little bocce ball, do a bit of snorkeling and fishing then had to hurry to get back to the dock on time. We all had a great day!

Today was a little bit different than the normal routine. A week or two ago I was contacted by a very nice lady, Elizabeth, calling from Hungary in Europe. She had google searched “summer camps” and found my website. After reading about it, she thought it might be fascinating for her children to attend so she decided to call me. After speaking for a while, she told me she was going to come to Delray Beach, FL with her two children and would like to meet me and that she would arrive on Tuesday. I told her Friday morning, (today) would be the best opportunity for us to meet, and speak with some parents and kids who are attending AdventureMike’s and get a real feel of what it is all about. Its not your “normal” summer camp experience. I love what I do too much!

Fishing Buddies

As Adventure Jonah, Annie, Javier and Jake were boarding the boat she arrived with her son David and daughter Dina. While we were speaking, Adventure Annie and Dina became instant friends and Annie did not want me to leave without taking Dina along. She asked me, (more like insisted), if Dina could go. I looked at her mom and she looked back at me and shrugged, and I said, “Lets go have some fun!” and we were joined by Adventure David and Adventure Dina and off we went. I had planned on spending the morning fishing, and then snorkeling the last half of the day and we stuck to the plan.

I dropped anchor by the artificial reef 400 yards away and baited the hooks. I watched as four lines dropped down, hit bottom and instantaneously hooked up in unison. The adventurers began to scream with joy. It was nonstop action for three hours. They all took turns reeling fish in, while I baited the hooks, unhooked the fish and de-tangled some lines. I cannot describe how fabulous it was to watch the 6 kids working together, sharing rods, helping each other reel the fish in, letting go the fish and smiling from ear to ear, and doing it all on their own. I think the real highlight came when a very large barracuda took up residence under the boat and left his mark on one nice yellowtail snapper that Adventure Jake was reeling in. The kids got to see first hand just how “toothy” a big barracuda is. The excitement in their voices reached a crescendo when I threw the head back in and the water exploded right next to the boat as two large barracudas fought for the spoils. I think every one in the boat had to catch at least 10 to 15 grunts, yellowtail snapper, lane snapper, cottonwicks, or porgies each. I know we boated over a hundred fish total and only 2 break offs. Not bad for 3 hours of fishing! I know the kids will never forget that, especially Adventure Dina and David! Their non stop smiles from ear to ear summed up the day! I don’t think they catch fish like this in Hungary!!!

When the bait came to an end we headed back to the Rock Garden to snorkel. I wanted Adventure David and Dina to see just how beautiful is. They are considering coming next week and I wanted them to have an idea of what they would encounter. Adventurers Jonah, Jake, Javier and Annie showed them around and brought them to the best spots. The boys hung together chasing fish and catching crabs with nets, while Adventure Annie and Dina were inseparable and collected shells. It was fantastic to watch and be a part of! As usual, the time seemed to fly by way too quickly and none of us were ready to head back when it was time to go. I’m going to miss this bunch too…

I just can’t tell you how personally rewarding it is for me to look into the eyes of the adventures, see their smiles and hear their laughter and know, you have left them with some truly wonderful and special memories they may never forget. For me, it is times like these that make me feel life has come full circle. To have the opportunity to share with others the things I love, the things my parents so freely shared with me, the things I will never forget, always cherish, and forever be thankful for is truly a blessing!!!! Thank you…!!!!

I can’t wait till the next adventure to begin!!! Come join us. I don’t have many more spots left. Lets go have some Fun!!!