The adventure continues on Florida Sea Base Munson island. If you missed the preamble, click here.
Sea Base Out Island Adventure – Munson Island
We spent 4 nights on Munson island jam packed with activities. On day two we paddled out to a reef just off the island for some snorkeling. After snorkeling we went back to our camp site for lunch. All the meals where decided on and prepared by the boys. Lunch was mac & cheese with canned chicken and fruit cocktail.
After lunch we wadded out to the floating docks for shark fishing. Unfortunately, the sharks didn’t seem interested in anything we had to offer. The only thing that snagged the bait off the hook was a sting ray. After the failed attempt at shark fishing we changed into dry clothes and our Crew Mates took us on a tour of the island. We learned about the different types of trees on the island, the two types of animals that live on the island (deer and a type of racoon called a vacacoon), the history of the native people who lived in the Florida Keys and all sorts of interesting facts and tall tales of the island.
By the time we returned to our camp site the sun was setting and the boys scrambled to make dinner; spaghetti and canned sauce. We stood around and ate by the fading light of the setting sun and then held the flashlights so the boys on KP duty could clean up. That night the boys built a camp fire and told island ghost stories. The Crew Mates did a good job of giving everyone a little scare before sending us off to bed.
On our third day we went deep sea fishing. To prepare for the trip we all took Dramamine the night before and the next morning to help prevent sea sickness. Some of us were a little sleepy but it was worth it because nobody got sick or complained of sea sickness.
A boat from Sea Base came and picked us up to take us a few miles out to sea. Captain Jared was a great instructor on how to reel in anything we caught and showed us what it was, what we could keep, and what we had to throw back. He kept a few of the fish we caught to use as live bait for larger fish.
Harry was very excited to bag the most unusual catch of the day; a moray eel. We all caught yellow tail snapper and a few grouper. Someone caught a barracuda and proudly posed with it’s toothy grin before throwing it back. The highlight of the day was when something snagged the live bait on the rod meant for bigger fish. Captain Jared leapt across the boat, grabbed the reel and hollered for a Scout to come quick. He handed the rod off and they slowly made their way around the boat, pulling and reeling in something very big. Soon we all saw what was on the end of the line…a nurse shark almost 7 feet long!. They got it all the way to the side of the boat and Captain Jared was about to try and tag it’s fin when it broke the line and got away. The excitement of catching a shark was the perfect end to the day. We pulled in all our lines and headed back to the island where Captain Jared and our Crew Mate cleaned and fillet the fish in preparation for dinner.
Earlier that week, the boys found out that I had been a contestant on Chopped! and were ready for a challenge. They proposed a friendly bet; me and a sous chef against one of them and a sous chef of their choosing. The main ingredient being the fish we caught that day and we could use anything in our grub boxes to make a full meal. The Crew Mates would be the judges.
My group decided to make fish tacos. We pan fried the fresh fish and grilled fresh pineapple. We topped it with caramelized onions and a drizzle of creamy hot sauce (made from mayonnaise and ketchup packets and hot sauce), served a side of black beans with roasted corn.
The other group grilled their fish and pineapple over a camp fire and served it on a bed of Spanish rice. Both meals were delicious but ultimately we won thanks to our Crew Mate, Caleb, winning a game of rock, paper, scissors with his brother Nick.
After a delicious dinner was consumed and cleaned up we got back into the canoes for night snorkeling. Everyone was given a flash light to tie around their wrist, shown the boundary and sent into the setting sun to see what comes out at night. I decided to stay in the canoe and keep an eye on all the lights in the water. I knew the Crew Mates had our safety as a top priority but the mom in me couldn’t relax. Watching a group of kids floating in a vast expanse of darkness felt like the plot of a movie that ends tragically. Thankfully, everyone made back to the canoes and we didn’t have to send out search parties.
Next up: Days four and five and then homeward bound.