Real Time Florida Lobster Diving
Lobster diving is a long tradition in my family. When my dad and uncles were kids, my grandfather took them out diving every weekend of lobster season. It’s in their blood. After my family moved to Memphis, we usually scheduled our annual pilgrimage back to Miami around the four-day lobster mini-season at the end of July. We gradually transitioned to August, after the regular season was open. Then, when my Uncle Mike moved to Marathon (the halfway-ish point of the Keys), we took the show on the road.
If lobster diving is a big question mark to you, check out my informational post from a few years back. Good now? Okay. Here’s a very typical day of lobstering with my family!
6:15 am: My parents, brother, Uncle Dave (mom’s brother), and I pack the rental van and depart my grandfather’s house in Miami Shores. As usual, my dad accidentally gets on the Palmetto Expressway instead of the Turnpike; panic ensues even though they both go to the same place.
8:00 am: Breakfast stop at the McDonald’s right at the entrance to the Keys. They now have fruit and maple oatmeal, but no fancy coffee options.
9:00 am: Get our lobster licenses at Kmart in Key Largo. We used to get them at the Yellow Bait Shop, until the owner started requiring passports. ??? The Kmart clerk remembers us from last year.
10:20 am: Arrive at The Compound – what we call the small apartment complex Uncle Mike and Aunt Claudia run – in Marathon. My other paternal aunt and uncle are also there, visiting from Texas. The three brothers haven’t dived all together in 28 years. Our longtime friend Dale, who’s basically family, is also joining us as usual. Load up the boat and head out to the Gulf of Mexico, armed with my uncle’s prized personal atlas of lobster holes, given to him by an old sailor after Uncle Mike earned his trust over many years (true story). He says it’s our inheritance.
11:25 am: The first lobster is caught! I’m not a good scout, so I usually don’t get in the water until someone establishes that there are multiple lobster in the hole. Spoiler alert: I am not in the water much this day.
1:00 pm: Despite not doing much actual work, my mom and I attack our traditional Dion’s fried chicken with the fervor of wild animals.
3:00 pm: After missing a lobster because I used up all my oxygen chugging down to get it, I decide it’s way past time to retire the fins I’ve had since I was ten.
6:20 pm: Fifteen lobster short of our limit, we arrive back at The Compound. I’m thankful the men were willing to hang it up. One year, they were still diving as the sun set and then we got caught in a huge storm, prompting my cousin Cliff to shout the instant catchphrase, “THIS LOBSTER DIVING’S TEARING THIS FAMILY APART.”)
The bros! (My dad is on the left.)
7:00 pm: Head back to the only hotel in Marathon to shower and change.
7:45 pm: Drag all of our exhausted selves to the Marathon Grill & Ale House. Eat delicious food while watching the Dolphins’ preseason game. They win! Confer with aunts and mom about whether we ladies are really up for another day of lobster struggle tomorrow. (We decide we’re not. I feel wimpy and relieved in equal measure.)
10:00 pm: Collapse into bed, still feeling like we’re on a boat. Make lobster-catching motions in our sleep.
About Brenda W.Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's iced tea. View all posts by Brenda W. →
Posted in family, florida, ocean