Nautical View

Posted on 25 July 2012 by LeslieM

By Jim “Chiefy” Mathie

Imagine being able to dive off of a white, sandy beach and catch your own spiny lobster for dinner. Taking the plunge into the crystal blue Atlantic Ocean and diving down onto a pristine reef with abundant marine life sounds like some tropical paradise in some far-away destination — but it is right here and it’s almost right now.

Most Florida divers are gearing up for spiny lobster mini-season, being held this year on July 25 and 26. This annual event takes place the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July. Its purpose is to allow the recreational lobster hunter the opportunity to catch some “bugs” (the spiny lobster nickname) before the commercial start of the season which begins on August 6.

Some mini-season special events will take place this year at Lauderdale-By-The-Sea from July 24 until July 28 — including a Great Florida Bug Hunt contest, cooking demonstrations, and an underwater photography competition. My role in this event will be conducting a lobster hunting seminar on Tuesday, July 24 from 3 to 5 p.m., including a hands-on demonstration of how to catch the tasty tails.

You can find out more information by visiting www.bugfestbythesea.com

We are very fortunate to have the warm gulfstream waters so close to our shores. These tropical waters allow the reefs to prosper in close proximity to our beaches. Just a few hundred feet off the beach you will see formations of reef that serve as great hiding spots for the spiny lobster. The water depth at these locations is only 15 ft. Out a little further, there is another reef line, running north and south, in about 40 ft. of water. The third reef is in about 65 ft. of water, with the top of the reef dramatically rising to about 50 ft. All three of these reefs are at a distance of less than one mile off shore.

So the next time you see dive flags from the beach, realize those divers are probably on a reef. If it’s lobster season, they are probably trying to catch the bugs to bring home some dinner. Now that’s an appetizing ‘nautical view.’

 

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