by Pamela Day
(Daytona Beach, FL, USA)
A thrill is exactly what I was in for that day!
I proudly donned my brand new, beautiful BCD especially made for a woman's figure. I was queen for a day as I anxiously anticipated my dive in Jupiter Beach for the famous Florida mini-lobster season.
It is the time of year that scuba divers from around the world descend into the ocean to catch their 6 lobster limit as sort of a precursor to the main lobster season.
Truthfully, I could care a less if I actually caught a lobster this time, I was merely in it for the thrill. If I caught one, that would be a beautiful thing but, at the very least I would learn the "tricks" for my lobster dive.
I descended, like a pro, to my 72-76 foot depth, equalizing perfectly as if I was born a scuba diver.
Trouble down below, though.
I gently tapped my bc valve to gain my buoyancy control. I was a little light and dumped some more. Somehow, it seemed a bit difficult to stay down. But, no worries, I managed, after a few moments to achieve my “Peak Buoyancy Control“.
The excitement began immediately as the “professional” lobster fisherman found a ledge crawling with the little “bugs”. Out came the tickle sticks, out came the lobsters… it was lobster heaven.
Being the amateur that I was, I quickly devised a plan…. They tickled them out of their caverns and if they got away, they were quickly forgotten. There must have been 20 of the forgotten creatures making their way across the sandy bottom without a care in the world. They would scoot backwards and then stop on the beach and then scoot a bit more.
I decided, since I didn’t care if I caught one to see if I could chase them down. So, I meandered a bit away from the crowd and began quietly talking my prey. I gently swam to where one of them was and began to hover carefully as I let my net down behind him and watched him enter my trap.
Unfortunately, the lobsters got away every time. But, I was so very close, I could almost taste the butter dripping down my chin. Again and again, I came so close but never made the “catch”.
I didn’t care though. I was doing it!
I was surrounded by perpetual beauty, as far as the eye could see. It was me. It was my paradise.
I was surrounded by angel fish and corals and rocks and ledges and reefs. I was playfully chasing cute little lobsters on the sandy bottom of my underwater world, which was, at that particular moment in time, made especially for me.
Soon, I realized that I had lost the crowd.
But, I quickly spotted the Master Diver’s yellow fins in the distance. Aaah. The comfort of knowing my guide was near, gave me a sense of relief.
Now, I curiously watched as my mentor snatched the little buggers out of their havens within the depths. I secretly wondered if the Moray eels would attack as they dug into the lobster’s dens which were also the eels favorite place of rest. The eels never ascended but the anticipation kept me inwardly grinning.
All too soon, the dive was coming to its conclusion. I loved the thrill and was not disappointed that my bag was coming up empty.
I reminisced about the adventure during the entire safety stop. I secretly wondered if the Master Diver would hold true to his word when he promised that no one would leave the boat without a few lobsters.
We entered the boat and I watched as the divers each stepped onto the boat, displaying their wares that they had harvested from the depths below. I smiled as they appeared to be bigger and bigger or, the occasional joke about the legal trouble that would be caused if we were caught with that midget lobster on the boat.
I did have such a wonderful time. Good people, beautiful water, sunshine and near-perfect seas left no one without a smile.
As we approached the dock, and dismounted the vessel, the Master Diver called me over saying, “If you want to bring home lobster, you will have to earn it.”.
He showed me how to clean a lobster with his own tentacles. After cleaning 6 of them, he handed me two beautiful lobster tails which he hand-bagged into perfect freezing packages. I stopped at the first convenience store, bought a bag of ice and encased the tails in the bag of ice.
All the way home, I thought of my day and chasing those lobsters in the sand and the divers bringing up their goods. I thought about those lobster tails in the back and as I was smiling and thinking, my mother called me on my cell.
I told her how I did on my trip and the lobster tails in the back. Then it came to me… “Hey Mom, Dad can’t get out of the house any more (My dad is on HOSPICE), how would you guys like to enjoy a lobster dinner?
With that, I designated my first catch to my Dad who will probably eat the last lobster of his life on this planet. The day was a resounding success and my soul was filled to overflowing that day!!!!
Next time, though, those Lobsters better watch out because I am not coming for observation only.
I am coming for dinner!
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