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Steve, after two years of chemotherapy for Leukemia, entered a Bone Marrow Transplant program at Shands Cancer Hospital at the University of Florida Gainesville, in June. He is blogging about his transplant experience. Please help Steve with some of the $500,000 in expenses by donating here.

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BMT Update and Graft Vs Host Disease (GVHD)

Author: Steven Kerry Brown
23.09.2013

I want to thank all of those that have contributed to the BMT fund by hitting the donate button on the left side.

I really thought I would have my immune system back by now. Most of the BMT transplant patients I’ve met received their shots by the end of the first year. But, now I’m convinced that I may never get it back. I’ve had a few set backs these last few weeks. I encountered a big flare up of GVHD that took over my entire torso. The doctors put me back on prednisone and other immune suppressant medication. I told the doctors I’d rather have the GVHD than the prednisone. But they said this flare up was life threatening, so I really didn’t have a choice.

I wrote a little poem for the doctors about GVHD.

GVHD

Itch, itch, Itch,

Like a son of a 

Bitch, bitch, bitch.

Below is a photo of the flare up. Sorry for the grossness of the photo, but there are grosser photos to come. I hope that by explaining this it might help educate  others that are contemplating have a bone marrow transplant.

 

Graft Vs Host Disease Flare Up On The Torso

 

After being on prednisone again for two weeks the GVHD has almost completely disappeared. That’s the good news. The side effects of the prednisone are the bad news. It causes dizziness, weight gain, swollen hands, feet, and face. We’ve begun to taper off the prednisone but it’s an excruciatingly  slow taper. And then there’s the skin tissue issue. The prednisone sucks the fat out of the layer of skin on your arms and you get these skin tears that you see sometimes on older people. I’m not that old (in my opinion) but below are photos that I took tonight of my left and right arms as they appear right now.

My Left Arm photo taken today. Prednisone skin tears.

 

Right Arm Photo Taken Today, Prednisone Skin Tears

This is chronic GVHD and I don’t think it’s ever going to go way. I have a female friend who is now three years out from her bone marrow transplant and has chronic GVHD. She sent me a photo of her back the other day and gave me permission to use it here.  If you don’t want to be grossed out, don’t read any further.

 

GVHD on Female Friend's Back, 3 Years Out

I have another friend who is also three years out and has chronic GVHD. His has attacked his mouth and makes it hard for him to eat or swallow. (Don’t worry, no photos to come.)

So the battle goes on. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to do more on Haleigh Cummings, but I haven’t given up. I do have some good leads. But at the moment I just can’t be prowling through the state prison system.

20.06.2013

I’m sitting here at 11 pm eating out of a carton of Edy’s Double Fudge Brownie ice cream. Got to love life. On Saturday June 15 I passed the one year mark since some nice guy over in Germany donated his bone marrow stem cells to me. I haven’t checked the statistics this year but when I agreed to enter the BMT Clinic at Shands Cancer Institute in Gainesville, Florida the mortality rate for bone marrow transplant patients was fairly high. Well, high in my opinion because it was my life we were talking about. At that time about 40% of BMT patients didn’t make it through the procedure. That is the first couple of weeks of intensive chemo therapy. The full body radiation treatments etc. If that’s not bad enough, another 20% didn’t make through the first year. That’s sixty percent mortality rate. Well on Saturday I beat the odds.

I’d like to take credit for that, but of course, it was the doctors, nurses, and Physician’s Assistants that get all of the credit. I just swallowed the pills and went for the ride. The entire staff at BMT Clinic at Shands Gainesville are the best, most likable group of people I’ve ever met.

Also, and maybe most importantly, our heavenly father has blessed me and aided me to pull through. I know some people don’t like to talk about God and prayer. But let me tell you, I had people from coast to coast keeping me in their prayers. I went to my primary care physician’s office once and a nurse came up to me  as I was leaving and she said, “Mr. Brown, I want you to know that I’ve had you in my prayers every day.” I told her thanks and turned toward the door to leave. She grabbed me by the shoulders and looked me right in the eyes. “No, you don’t understand. I mean it. You’ve been in my prayers EVERY DAY.” I started to weep. You know, I don’t even know that young woman’s name. I’ve felt like there’s been a down comforter over my head for the last year, protecting. I know that’s a quilt of prayers on my behalf  by people known and unknown. That’s where the real credit lays.

This last year has not been an easy ride. The first hundred days out of the hospital I was required to have a 24 hour a day caretaker with me. It must have been difficult duty because several times my lovely wife Melanie had enough of it and needed a break. So I have to thank my good friend Jeffrey Philips (co-owner of this blog) who came up from West  Palm Beach, twice to give Melanie a break. And my son Kerry Brown, who came up frequently from Orlando, and my daughter Brookie Brown who left her four children in San Diego with my other daughter Kjristi Brown (who also has four children) and flew out to Gainsville for a week. Brookie says she’d never had so many naps. I was pretty wiped out during those hundred days and was readmitted to the hospital twice. Once when Jeffrey was babysitting me he had to take me to the emergency room when my temperature was running between 103 and 104.

During  the time in the hospital and the  hundred days, I didn’t just lay around. I wrote the 3rd Edition to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating, and after that the new book 5 Things Women Need To Know About The Men They Date. You can click on the link beside the blog here and buy that book, hint, hint.

THE DOWN SIDE?

This last year has not been a cake-walk. Lots of tests every week or two. Lots of pills including heavy, heavy doses of Prednisone. Prednisone is used to keep the Graft Vs. Host Disease at bay. We tapered the prednisone down to almost nothing by the end of the first six months and I got a big flare up of GVHD. For those who haven’t read the earlier posts, BMT is just the opposite of most transplants. Typically if you receive an organ from a donor your body tries to reject it. Well in BMTs, once the donor’s cells have grafted in to my bone marrow they look around and realize this place doesn’t look like home so they began to attack your various body organs. In my case, my skin seems to be their major target. The skin, of course, is the largest organ in the body. So I’ve had multiple bouts with GVHD and am having one right now.

Another thing prednisone does is suck the fat from underneath your skin, making your skin very thin and susceptible to bruising. Below are what my right and left arms look like right now.

My Right Arm

 

 

My Left Arm

 

I hope you weren’t eating when you looked at the above photos. I guess I should have warned you. I use to wear long sleeve shirts but finally said “the heck with it” and now wear short sleeves. I get some funny looks from people, but so what?

Also prednisone gave me cataracts. Now I can’t see squat. Everything is blurry and I have double vision. Plus it does something to your finger nails. It makes them split right down the middle. All ten of my nails are split. 

Right Thumb nail split.

So last week I had my one year check up which included a bone marrow biopsy. Not a pleasant experience. I asked my wife to stay and take photos of the procedure but she refused and left the room.  Basically a physician’s assistant takes the below drill:

 

Bone Marrow Biopsy Drill

And after numbing the outer skin with lidocain, she drills a hole down into the hip bone. Not too painful. Then she inserts a long needled empty syringe and sticks that in the hole. Next she pulls the syringe back and sucks the bone marrow out. Now that HURT. From the hip clear down to the toes. They say there’s nothing they can do to prevent the pain.

I have some photos of my hip after the biopsy but I’m not going to post them. For those of you who  are now saying “thank you the arms were bad enough”, you’re welcome. I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m still taking  drugs to suppress my immune system. Hopefully we’ll start tapering that off next month and then we will schedule my vaccinations again. All of my childhood vaccinations were wiped out by the heavy chemo before the bone marrow transplant. So I get my polio, and all of the rest of them . Once that is done, I can start shaking hands with folks again.

Thanks for the well wishes and the donations. I promise as soon as I can I’ll get back to investigating the Haleigh Cummings case. I do have more posts on that coming up soon.

 


Part Three of What Chuck Said

Author: Steven Kerry Brown
11.05.2013

This is the third installment of what Chuck told me on September 11, 2009. I frankly discounted most of what he said because of the throat slitting/alligator allegations. But later, when allegations about Joe Overstreet threatening both Tommy and Misty with a knife to the throat came out, I reviewed this interview and gave it more credence. In the next installment you’ll see what I did with that information and what the PCSO did with it as well. I’m confident that the PCSO did not find any blood in the mobile home. So I think you’ll find the next installment interesting and it does shed a good light on the PCSO and how they follow up on things.

 

Chuck stated that Misty was in court the other day and Misty’s brother received a restraining order against Misty because Chuck thinks Misty is crazy.  Chuck feels that she is psychotic because she is into drugs too bad.

Chuck stated that Jerome is the closest person to the girls.  Chuck stated that Danny was living in the apartment with them but Chuck felt that he would not give any information to Steve.

Chuck stated that he did not have any information regarding the back screen door being propped open with a brick.  He felt like it might be a set up.  He stated that the story has changed so many times he is just not sure.

Chuck stated that Greg Paige (White Boy Greg) was actually dating Misty.  Chuck has Greg’s number but was not able to retrieve it from his telephone.  Chuck stated that Greg was questioned extensively by the police after Haleigh went missing.  Chuck stated that Greg was very helpful with the information he provided the police.  Chuck stated that the even the drug dealers are trying to help the police because this is a baby that everyone is looking for.

Greg Page

 

Chuck stated that White Boy Greg is a drug dealer.  He also stated that Jerome has been a drug dealer for 27 years.  Chuck stated that Greg sells crack, cocaine, pills, weed, everything.  Chuck stated that Greg was dating Misty and that Jerome has actually had sex with Misty.  Chuck stated that at one point Jerome was dating NayNay and at another tine he was dating Amber.  Chuck feels like Jerome will sit down and talk to Steve.

Chuck stated that Amber and NayNay were with another drug dealer and Jerome took them under his care so that he would be able to get information from them so he could find out what happened to the baby.

 

Jerome Williams

Chuck stated that the police tried to link Jerome to the incident for a while because Ronald owes Jerome about $3,000 to $4,000.  Jerome told the police that it did not matter how much money Ronald or anyone owed him, he would not go after the baby, he would go after the person that owed him the money.

Chuck stated that he does not know who actually carried Haleigh down to the river.  Chuck stated that NayNay keeps saying that Misty is 100 percent behind the crime.  Chuck stated that NayNay cries when she tries to tell the story.

Chuck stated that Cobra, the bounty hunter, has been down there trying to help find the baby, but he has been doing stupid stuff and has gotten in trouble with the police.

Chuck stated that Amber Brooks and Khristina Prevatt are both in the county jail.  Chuck stated that Amber could give Steve a lot of information about Ronald Cummings.

Chuck stated that he was planning to meet with a girl, (redacted), this afternoon and that (redacted) is really good friends with NayNay and Amber.  Chuck stated that he could probably get her drunk and could get some information out of her.  Chuck stated that he would call Steve if she would agree to talk to him.

Part Two of What “Chuck” said.

Author: Steven Kerry Brown
28.04.2013

Chuck stated that he has heard that it is Misty that is responsible for what happened to Haleigh.  Chuck could not get specific information regarding who would have cut Haleigh’s throat.  He stated that everyone is pointing the finger at Misty saying she did it to keep herself from getting in trouble with Ronald.  Chuck stated that they cut her throat so that it would bleed and attract the alligators to the body.  Chuck stated that he got his information from Amber Brooks and Kristina Prevatt.  Chuck stated that Kristina was talking to another individual and he was there listening and that is how he got his information from Kristina.  Chuck stated that she was telling this information to Jerome Williams and a couple of other “brothers”.  Chuck stated that both he and Jerome went to the police with the information. 

Chuck stated again that he was not present at the party but Kristina was and he overheard Kristina say that the baby overdosed on drugs and they cut the baby’s throat and threw her into the creek.  Chuck stated that Jerome was there at the same time.  Chuck feels that Jerome knows more about the incident than he does. 

Chuck stated at the present time Jerome is in the St. Johns County Jail.  Jerome was originally arrested and put in the Putnam County Jail and he requested to be moved to the St. Johns County Jail because he felt like there were too many people that knew him in Putnam County and he was coming forward with his information to help the police to solve the Haleigh Cummings incident.    Chuck stated that Jerome is black.  Chuck stated that Jerome is the one that took care of these girls, specifically the ones on the street with no where to go.  Chuck stated that although Jerome had his faults he was actually a very kind person.  Jerome was the one that would take the girls in and feed them and clothe them when they did not have any place else to go.

Chuck stated that when Kristina is on cocaine you can get any information out of her that you want.  Chuck stated that the day that Kristina was talking to Jerome she was “pretty high”.  Chuck stated that Kristina would only tell someone in her “group” what had happened when she was high, she would not tell just anyone.  Chuck was not sure which other girls were present at the time, but he thought it was Amber Brooks, and (redacted).  Chuck feels that if kept in confidence ….. at this point Chuck named some names of people that he thought might be willing to talk. These names have been redacted as they are not public figures.

 

Amber Brooks Mug Shot

Chuck stated that the sheriff’s office told him that they are hearing the same story that Chuck has told them but they won’t follow up on anything until they know it is 100% accurate. Misty has failed four polygraphs. We’ve told the police that Misty is 100% behind this.

Chuck feels that it is more than likely that whoever cut Haleigh’s throat did it at the river because there was no blood in the trailer.  Chuck felt that whoever committed this crime did a real good job of planning the crime.  He felt that they did not want the baby found.  Chuck feels like Misty is involved but because she is so young there had to have been someone there helping her. He did not hear anything about weighing the body down with cinder blocks.

More to come from Chuck.

 

 

Haleigh Cummings–What really happened:

Author: Steven Kerry Brown
21.04.2013

Hank Croslin called me one night and said I had to go out right then and talk to Chuck. Chuck knew everything that happened to Haleigh. I met Chuck the next morning at the Dunkin Donuts in Palaka.

When I first talked to Chuck and he mentioned that Haleigh’s throat was cut. I completely dismissed what he told me. Later, I came to believe that this might have indeed happened. It was too outrageous for me to get my head around it at that time. I did record this conversation with Chuck and later gave a copy of the recording to the PCSO. We’ll talk about that later. I changed Chucks name and deleted some other names of people who have not been publicly associated with the Haleigh Cummings case. Those known to be associated with Misty and the events of that night, I have left their names in. This conversation with Chuck was  in September 2009, well before anything had been said about shell harbor.

Steve Brown

The following investigation was conducted by Steven K. Brown of Millennial Investigative Agency on September 11, 2009.  The following individual was present:  Chuck.

Chuck stated that he had a great desire to help in any way that he could to help solve this case.  Amber Brooks and Kristina Prevatt (aka NayNay) were known prostitutes.  Amber has a baby by Ronald Cummings.

Chuck stated that the rumor that he has heard regarding the three day weekend involved Misty Croslin, Amber Brooks, Kristina Prevatt, Greg Paige (aka, White Boy Greg) and Luckadue (Chuck did not know his real name, he thinks Luckadue is his real last name)  Chuck stated that Luckadue is Black and White Boy Greg is mixed.  Chuck stated that all of them have been questioned by the police.  Chuck stated that he was not with the above mentioned people on the weekend in question.  Chuck got his information about the weekend from the girls because they were very close with him. Chuck said he has known them for quite a while.  He said that they would get together and “party”.  Chuck defined partying as getting together and hanging out and drinking and maybe smoking some marijuana.  Chuck stated that the girls would do more drugs, but he did not but he did drink mostly Jim Bean and Crown Royal which is his favorite.  Chuck stated that Misty is known to have a drug problem.  Chuck said that he was aware that she has smoked crack and takes pain pills, etc.  Pills like Roxies and pain pills etc.

Chuck stated that he has heard that it is Misty that is responsible for what happened to Haleigh.  Chuck could not get specific information regarding who would have cut Haleigh’s throat.  He stated that everyone is pointing the finger at Misty saying she did it to keep herself from getting in trouble with Ronald.  Chuck stated that they cut her throat so that it would bleed and attract the alligators to the body.  Chuck stated that he got his information from Amber Brooks and Kristina Prevatt.  Chuck stated that Kristina was talking to another individual and he was there listening and that is how he got his information from Kristina.  Chuck stated that she was telling this information to Jerome Williams and a couple of other “brothers”.  Chuck stated that both he and Jerome went to the police with the information.

Chuck stated that he has heard the following accounts of the morning in question:  They were all partying, they were high, and they were drunk.  The baby got a hold of some narcotics and overdosed on the narcotics.  Chuck stated that there is also a rumor that stated that the baby’s throat got cut and was thrown into the lake.  Chuck said that the people he has heard that was “there” was:  Kristina Prevatt. Amber Brooks was not there because she and Misty had gotten into an argument (about what he was not sure) and they were no longer friends so she left earlier that evening.  Chuck stated that White Boy Greg, Luckadue and Kristina Prevatt and some other people that Chuck did not know were at Misty’s that evening.  Chuck stated that everyone knew that Ronald Cummings was not at the party and most people agree that he was at work.

Now I don’t personally believe the story that Haleigh overdosed on drugs  that caused  Haleigh’s death. We’ll get more into that in the next post. If there is any doubt about Nay Nay’s chosen profession see the below photos taken from the site BackPage:

  


20.04.2013

I know many of you have been waiting for the next Haleigh Cummings blog post. It has been uploaded and will appear on Sunday, probably in the evening. In the mean time, I’d like you to consider taking a look at my latest book, 5 Things Women Need to Know About the Men They Date.

 

It is available on Amazon as an e-book for $4.95 and as a paperback for $7.95. Frankly it’s not very long (77 pages) and can be read in one sitting. However, I think you’ll be entertained by the stories as well as learning some things. It’s good for both men and women who are in the dating scene, regardless of your age. For $4.95 don’t take a chance on a new person in your life until you read this book.

This is from the forward in the book:   This book is not a work of fiction. It is based on true cases worked by the author. The names, locations, amounts of money involved, and in some instances other details have been changed to protect the privacy of my clients and also those scumbags who took advantage of my clients.

Spearman’s Barge

Author: Jeffrey "Hammerhead" Philips
05.04.2013

One of my favorite dive sites in West Palm Beach in Spearman’s Barge. But before I talk more about about this great dive site, I want to thank my good friend Lazaro Ruda for allowing me to use a few of his photos and the video clip at the end. For more images, visit him at the www.thelivingsea.com.

 

Spearman’s has a greater abundance of yellow, blue, black, and silver marine life than any other sunken barge in West Palm Beach and is also tied to a tale of murder-for-hire and a missing million dollars.

Robert Spearman loved snaring spiney lobsters and shooting Nassau groupers for dinner.  In 1966, he opened a diving business named Little Fin and spent his weekends under the calm ocean.  He learned that the big game fish preferred the larger boxy structures of artificial reefs to the smaller crevices formed by rocks and corals.  Business expanded, Little Fin grew into Spearman Marine Construction, and Robert sank his first and only artificial reef.  The large- lipped, heavy-bodied fish schooled to a new home.

In November 1985, Robert found his second wife, Anita, bludgeoned to death in her bedroom.  Anita was the assistant city manager of West Palm Beach and well-liked by business associates and personal friends.  Five months later, police arrested Robert and charged him with his wife’s murder.  Days before the court proceedings started, Robert transferred close to a million dollars to his ex-wife to hold until the good citizens declared him innocent.

During the trial, the prosecutor showed that Robert Spearman answered a murder-for-hire ad in Soldier of Fortune magazine and enlisted two gunmen, one an owner of a strip-tease bar in Tennessee.  The jury convicted Spearman and sentenced him to life in prison, plus twenty years at Zephyrhills Correctional Institute.

In the cool spring days on chain-gang duty, Spearman handed out hundred dollar bills to fellow inmates for information on how to break out of jail and get even with the prosecutor.

Finally, he devised a plan to charter a helicopter to fly into the grass compound, carrying two machine guns and four hand grenades, and snatch him free.  On the day he presented the cash to his would-be-pilots, he was arrested by undercover agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Three days later, Spearman hung himself with a bed sheet in his cell.

    

Anita’s murderers were tried and convicted.  Spearman’s cremated remains were scattered at sea.  Anita’s children won a libel suit against Soldier of Fortune magazine for 12.4 million dollars for printing the ad.  The magazine has stopped running such ads.  The million dollars given to the ex-wife?  She says Robert gave the money to her as a gift and refuses to return it to the State.

And the sunken barge?  The rectangular structure rests on a rise in a sparse patch of sand and rocks.  A row of rusted iron railings at the southern end has a circling school of grunts and snappers that at times block the view of the barge.  Lobsters and morays peek out along the pitted base.  And a goliath grouper roams the outside greeting divers before he slips inside and hides in the shadows.

Please visit Lazaro Ruda’s The Living Sea to view the video: https://vimeo.com/43056003

Until next time,

 

 

Acreage – Ibis

Author: Jeffrey "Hammerhead" Philips
29.01.2013

Ibis - landing

 
 
The ibis is one of the reasons that convinced me to move to south Florida. On my visits to this area, I’d often see these birds feeding in people’s front yards, acting like they don’t have a care in the world. Peaceful looking. The Acreage neighborhood has lots of canals, ponds, and man-made water features. Excuse the pun, but the birds flock to this part of Palm Beach County.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ibis - in flight

 
 
 
Thus, walking around the 130th street canal ibis are often spotted. Usually hunting along the banks or resting along the water’s edge. This is a pretty bird to photograph, with its black-tipped wings, orangish beak, and bright white feathers.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ibis - posing

 
 
 An interesting face about the ibis, it is the mascot for the Miami Hurricanes. The reason, the ibis is the last bird to leave before a hurricane and the first bird to return. Thus, it is considered fierce and trustworthy.
 
Until next time.

Acreage – The Wetlands

Author: Jeffrey "Hammerhead" Philips
09.01.2013

130th. Street Canal

 
 
The Acreage is approximately forty-one square miles in size and is actually a giant basin that was once part of the Loxahatchee Slough. But over the years, timber men, homesteaders, moonshiners, and people who no longer wished to be part of the general population changed this deeper area of the wetland. Canals were dug and the bottom sludge was used to create dry land. And because of hurricane Andrew, a new building code went into effect that stated all the pads for homes had to be twenty-five feet above sea level. Thus, a lot of truck loads of dirt were hauled in. With all the major and smaller canals, and hundreds of ponds and lakes, I still consider the area a wetland. So, ibis, herons, egrets, and a host of other birds, (and gators), along with me call it home.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Pumping Station

 

 
Since the Acreage is a colossal saucer, the county has built pumping stations in different locations to control the level of water. Too much rain, as in a tropical depression or hurricane, can revert the area back to Everglades’s status. The horses in the backyard would not like that. Controlling the water level does create great fishing habitats. I’m not a fisherman, but several anglers have stated the largemouth bass are plentiful.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Anhinga

 
 
 
I think all of the south Florida’s water birds are present. The anhingas are the most abundant. There is one that likes to sit in a swaying branch of an Australian pine tree and every morning squawks to wake me up. He is a type of a country alarm clock.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ibises

 
 
Sometimes the ibises are so thick that when they take to flight, it looks like a cloud passing across the sky. These birds are not always happy to stay along the banks, because they also like to flock in the open yards searching for different insects. It is a nice way to pass some time, sitting in a rocking chair and watching these birds work their way across a yard. The birds at the end of the pack will do a short flight and land ahead of their companions. Then after a few minutes, the birds that are now at the back will do the hop. And on and on as the group work their feeding from yard to yard.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Box turtle

 
 
The hike along the canal has more to offer than just water birds. In future posts I’ll share about the fish in the water, herptiles, and other critters that call this home.
 
 
Until next time.

Peanut Island – Summer of 2012

Author: Jeffrey "Hammerhead" Philips
18.12.2012

Peanut Island

 
 
My true intention was to do a post each time I went snorkeling at Peanut Island last summer. That didn’t happen, maybe next summer.
 
Even though the island and intracoastal looks packed, which it is, most sun worshipers don’t venture far from their boats or the picnic area. This leaves the snorkeling site with very few people. And those that do walk down the concrete walkway, rarely swim on the outside region of the rocks, leaving plenty of salt water to explore and fish to observe.
 
One reason Peanut Island is fun to visit are the people you meet.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Paddle Boarders

 
 
 
One popular water activity is paddle boarding. Looks like a lot of work to me, but the interest is growing. The key is to ride the tides. Some people like to strap a lunch and beach towels into a plastic crate and paddle to the island.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Italian greyhounds with their owners

 
 
 
Peanut Island is pet friendly and so is Captain Joe’s Ferry service. And those who take their cats and dogs are considerate of other visitors. I have never experienced a loose dog running through a volleyball game or jumping over people lying on blankets. Also, the owners pick up after their pets so there is never a worry about stepping into something unpleasant.
 
This is author Diane A.S. Stuckart and her hubby, Jerry, and their two Italian greyhounds. Ranger is the one in the orange life vest. Rylee is in the yellow vest, a baby at seven months old. Some of you may recognize Ranger. He is the Pio the Hound, in the Leonardo da Vince mysteries that Diane authored. Ranger was also the model for the cover.
 
 
 
 
 
 

French Grunt

 
 
 
But the main reason to snorkel Peanut Island is what’s under the water. Fish and lots of them. The french grunts are abundant. You can find them at every set of rocks. They seem to like relaxing on the ocean side versus beach side. And these guys do not mind being photographed. They’ll stay in one place all day smiling at the lens.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Peacock flounder

 
 
 
These oval bottom scooter peacock flounder is always around. Often, they are difficult to find. Their favorite place seems to be the two sets of northern most rocks on the beach side. Usually they prefer the sandy area about ten to fifteen feet away from the mounds. The reason, because they are bottom dwellers, their colors blen into the sand minicing the shadows from above. They are ambush predators that lie in wait and then swoop in and get their dinner.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Queen angelfish

 
 
 
The blues and golds of the queen angelfish pop out against the brown and off-white rocks. This fish likes to play hide-and-seek with the snorkelers. He waits until spotted and approached before slipping into a crevice. While a swimmer waits for him to come back out and play, this beauty slips through a back door, circles around, and watches the watcher. This is one of the most curious creatures at this spot and he loves to observe people. I find him mostly at the most southern set of rocks and on the inlet side.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Spotted Scorpiofish

 
 
 
The spotted scorpionfish is one I give a wide berth. I do not need to be hit by one of his spines that are part of his fore dorsal fin. Puncture wounds cause severe pain, illness, and are venomous. But they are fun to watch. They like to hop along the sand instead of swimming like most fish. Their camouflage is so effective, that if they are lying next to a rock, they will go unnoticed. I find these guys on the second set of most southern rocks, beach side.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dusky Blenny

 
 
 
 
The rocks of Peanut Island are fairly young when compared to the reefs offshore. But the diversity grows each year. For those who prefer to drift, instead of swimming, to be still, instead of thrashing and splashing, will be rewarded to the uniqueness of this gem in the ocean. This dusky blenny can be found usually when the sun is not blocked by clouds. It is as if he too, wants to get a tan. The blennies are unafraid of snorkelers and will allow you to approach closely.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mermaid Kitty

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 I could be prejudiced, but I don’t think I’m wrong, the prettiest fish is mermaid Kitty.
 
Until next time.