The last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July are two days looked forward to in the Keys of Florida. This is what is called Lobster Mini-Season. These two days are for individuals to get lobster legally before the commercial fisherman set their traps on August 1. I got to go out with Chuck this year, my first of many to come.
The plan was to leave the dock behind Chuck's house at seven o'clock sharp, and five other people were to go with us. One after another called and cancelled for one reason or another. By seven o'clock, it was just Chuck and I. With the boat loaded with all the equipment, snacks and drinks... off we went.
Chuck lives right on the Atlantic, so we didn't have to go far to find the coral heads that the lobster call home. I snorkel out with the marker, scout the area to find the big coral heads. I mark the area and Chuck comes over with his light, net and tickle stick to see what he can find hiding under the coral. The tickle stick is just that, a stick to tap the lobster and make him move in the direction you want him to go. You are required to measure the lobster before you bring him up, it is illegal to remove one from the water if he is not legal size.
The water was about 10-12 feet deep, and most of the people out lobstering in that area, did not have dive tanks, they were just using a snorkel. We had the advantage of an air tank, so Chuck could stay down and get the smarter lobster that took a little more work to get out.
Speaking of scuba diving, I have never learned. Living in the deserts of West Texas, and then the murky waters of Galveston Bay, I never felt the need to spend my hard earned money on something that I would have to travel a long distance to enjoy. But now, living here in Key West, I do want to learn. In fact, I want to do everything the waters here have to offer. Two of which are scuba dive and spear fish. I was introduced to scuba diving yesterday. I donned the gear, stepped into the water and got used to breathing. This is something that may take me a little while to get comfortable with. I was not wearing enough weight for me to get to the bottom, but I got a feel for the whole scuba diving thing, and I can tell I will love it. I decided to just snorkel and follow Chuck around, so he didn't have to babysit me.
Later in the day, I tried using the hookah system; tank stays in the boat with a 50 foot hose. I started out with about 10 pounds on the weight belt, having to add more weight a couple times. I know y'all have seen the movies where someone is being pulled under the water to their death, with that panicked look on their face. For a few seconds, that was the feeling that flooded my mind as I strapped on the weight belt while bobbing in the water. Slowly, I was pulled down, down, down to the bottom... but Mom, don't worry, I was holding on to a rope with Chuck on the other end to pull me up if I had a problem. After I was close to the bottom, my attention went from "I don't feel like I'm getting enough air", to "how cool is this, I can swim around and get closer to everything"... so I let go of the safety rope, and imagined a big 'she did it' smile on Chuck's face. I wasn't down for long, just enough time to know that this being able to stay underwater for a long time is really cool, and I want to learn to do it.
We got back to the house and I learned how to get the lobster ready to cook. It is very quick and simple. We had 'Surf and Turf' for lunch.
I thank the Lord everyday for getting me here, to the place I now call home. It was a bumpy road, but totally worth it! More adventures are right around the corner, just waiting for me to jump in and enjoy!