Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lobster Diving

From Vermont, Matt and I motored over to Massachusetts to meet up with his cousin who organized the diving. I have done quite a bit of SCUBA diving and have an advanced certification, but most of the time when I dive the water temperature is in the 70’s; not so much in Massachusetts.

To dive in water that was in the low 50’s at depth, we wore seven millimeter wetsuits, boots, gloves and hoods. I felt like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man waddling around on the shore, not to mention the fact that I was baking in the sun and sweating fiendishly. In wearing all that gear it not only offers warmth, but it provides additional buoyancy, not necessarily what you are looking for when SCUBA diving. I had to wear a weight belt with 24 pounds of lead to assist in pulling me down.

It took me a good 15 minutes underwater to just get used to wearing all the gear. It took another five to get up the courage to try and grab a lobster that was threatening me with its two open claws. I discovered though that for the most part, having my fingers clamped in the claws of a lobster didn’t hurt all that much. Not while wearing seven millimeter neoprene gloves anyway. I wouldn’t want to get my fingers caught in there absent the gloves.

Lobster diving was very different from the other diving that I had done in that I have mostly been diving recreationally where the goal is just to look around and see what kinds of things you can spot down there. Here I was, with my arm shoulder deep under a rock in an attempt to convince a lobster to come along for the ride.

Some of the ocean bottom was sandy and the lobster were walking along the sand. Mostly though, lobster hang out in rocky areas where they can hide if threatened. I found that going at them with a quick grab worked best (and prevented me from getting clamped). Also on the ocean bottom were quite literally hundreds of commercial lobster traps. I weaved in between the traps as I swam along trying to find lobster.

On the second dive I was far more comfortable in all the gear and had some experience in grabbing the “bugs” as they are referred to. The diving was tons of fun as there was an objective. And in the end it would mean dinner. It made me overlook the fact that in rental gear fees I probably ended up paying about thirty dollars a pound for the lobster.

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