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Summer 2009 Week 3: Summertime Fun!

Hi Everyone, Welcome Back!!! We’ve just finished up the first three days of week 3 and let me tell you it has been absolutely perfect the whole week!!!  The weather, the water, the group, just perfect!!! Things just seem to get better and better and better as the days go on! Everyone in this group can swim like fish and has so much energy and enthusiasm I can barely keep up with them! Non stop laughter and smiles from start to finish! Just the way I love it!!!

Having FUN in the hot tub!
Having FUN in the hot tub!

This week I was joined by AdventureJoseph, Robert and Acadia who have been with me before and 5 new Adventurers, AdventureKelsey, Ella, Zara, Hannah and Beth. And let me tell you when this group is having fun they sure let you know it! And boy, were they having FUN this week!! My ears are still ringing!!! Had to purposely stick my head underwater a few times and hold my breathe as long as I could just to get a few minutes of “peace and quiet”, and even that didn’t work. In seconds, I’d have 8 kids with masks staring at me and even asking me questions while I was underwater. Oh well, When your having fun, your having fun…

We spent most of the first day at the Big Sandbar finding just about everything you could imagine. The tide was so low we had acres of exposed bar to explore. And Explore we DID!!! Everywhere we looked were short-spined sea urchins, fighting conchs, crabs, starfish, horse conchs, etc. You name it, I think we found it. We hadn’t been on the bar more than a few seconds before this group of adventurers had found Cushion Starfish, Beaded Starfish and even Nine-armed Starfish. And you know this gave us that perfect opportunity to take those now infamous “starfish head” photos that the kids seem to love. I’m beginning to like nine armed starfish head photos even better than cushion Starfish head photos. And of course, the kids love them both!

We found every color combination of short spined sea urchins I think possible around here. My favorite color combination is the pure white body with bright purple spines, but the bright pink ones and the green with pink spines were a big hit for the group too. I think Acadia, Beth, Ella, Zara, Kelsey and Hannah loved every one they found. They had hands full of them the whole time and when ever they found a new color combination we hadn’t seen before, they would make sure to let me know! Just love that enthusiasm!!! I guarantee you we tried to find every color combination that existed before we left here! While they were finding urchins, Joseph and Robert were busy finding starfish and releasing them into deeper water so they wouldn’t dry out or be pecked on by the sea gulls. It was just great and FUN for all!

Acadia and a handful of sea urchins!
Acadia and a handful of sea urchins!

We spent some time swimming in the shallows and caught some nice checkerboard pufferfish, sharp nose pufferfish, blue legged hermit crabs and some nice big swimming crabs too! Everyone had a ball trying to catch them themselves and I could see feet flying and nets swishing in all directions. It was just great to see someone catch one then let every one take turns holding it and checking it out before letting it go. Really Cool… We had a another great encounter too when a large Eagle Ray jumped out of the water numerous times right in front of us with a big remora stuck on it. After a few times it was able to dislodge the remora and swim off. Shortly after that we saw a big ray foraging in the shallows over the sandbar and we were lucky to have it swim right under the boat in 18 inches of water and give us a good look. We all loved that! The kids were screaming with excitement the whole time. I never wanted it to end.

On Wednesday we had a chance to do some island and tidal flat exploration around Munyon Island and found some really large sea grass hermits in a variety of different shells that we hadn’t found before. Really nice! Had a chance to take some photos of the group surrounded by weathered stumps of australian pines and mangroves that I thought were great! We’ll see…

Large ray in the shadows!
Large ray in the shadows!

And of course, today was our fishing day and lucky for me, AdventureNicholas came along to give me a hand!! And let me tell you, I really needed it!!! We didn’t boat record numbers of fish today, but the action was non stop and as usual, we couldn’t bait hooks fast enough for three kids, much less eight!!! It was nice to see that everyone was having a GREAT time!!! We boated some nice big (and small) yellowtail snapper, Porkfish, sailor’s choice, tomtates, caesars grunts and had quite a few big ones on that got away. The highlight of the fishing day came when AdventureElla hooked a really BIG fish and after about 5 minutes of trying hard to get it in, she finally turned it towards the boat and was making real headway.  Just as it got near, there was a tremendous swirl and a huge splash and you can guess what happened next. That’s right, a great BIG Barracuda decided to have it for lunch, and after a second or two more of thrashing, Ella reeled in the what was left of a nice Mutton Snapper. It would have been a nice keeper too. Needless to say we took a few photos and then sadly tossed the head back to the waiting barracuda who was wanting the rest of his meal. And with another mighty swoosh, that was gone too!! It was a great thrill for all of us though I am sure the snapper thought otherwise!!!

Whats left of Ellas Big Fish
What's left of Ella's "Big Fish"

From here we took a quick run back to the Big Sandbar and everybody had a ball playing in the hot tub and chasing after Nicholas who was doing his best to play “keep away” from 8 kids with a lot of energy. I think that wore about everybody out and was an absolutely great way to end the day!!! We had such a great week so far, and I know one thing for sure… I can’t wait till tomorrow to do it all over again!!! The Ocean is flat calm, the water crystal clear and shells on the beach as far as the eyes can see. Am thinking about pulling right up on the beach, hopping out and going beach combing and snorkeling, and hopefully if we are lucky like last week, have another wonderful manatee encounter. I know one thing for sure, whatever we decide, we are going to have FUN!!! Wish you could join us, It’s going to be GREAT!!! And after the day is over, I’m off to the Bahamas to swim with some wild spotted dolphin for the weekend! Does it get any better than this? I Don’t Think So!!!

Stay tuned, We’re going to have some Fun!!! See you soon,