Okay, a moderately embarrassing admission. Despite having lived here since late 2004, this is the first year I obtained a lobster license. Actually, I don’t ever think I can be successful at “bug hunting”, but I can spot and who knows, perhaps there will be a few really slow ones out there. Anyway, my point is that this was my first year to go into the water for lobster during mini-season. For those not familiar with it, in Florida a 2-day mini-season precedes the opening of the 8 month regular season. Mini- season is always the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July and in the Keys, that includes a restriction of stopping one hour after sunset if you are physically in the water catching (or attempting to catch) lobster. Make it easy and say 9:00 p.m. each of those days.
Thousands of additional people flock to the Keys for these two days and that includes people who don’t dive at other times of the year, or perhaps who have not been diving for a while, but decide this will be it for them. Each dive shop has its own policy for how to handle mini-season, and some choose to not participate at all. The fact is that people can also exercise really poor judgment during mini-season or ignore the rules, and there is almost always one or more deaths that occur during the two-day period. Like most people, I heard the reports in the past about a death or injury and wondered, “How could someone get so intent on catching a lobster that he or she ignored warning signs of problems underwater?”. You see, the death or injury is often linked directly to violating one or more basic safety rules in diving.
So, as hubby and I were in pursuit of this one particular lobster, it was determined not to be caught. Having passed on some that were “short” and therefore not legal to take, hubby was equally determined to capture this one. We had plenty of air and were shallow, but as the “bug” shot from rock pile to rock pile, I realized how someone could become fixated to the point of either not watching their air or depth, or over-exerting, and getting into a dire situation that then spun out of control. It was not an issue for us and the lobster did wind up on the grill the next evening. I do, however, now grasp the concept of how someone could lose sight of safety precautions. It’s one of those “sad, but true” things.