This past weekend, scuba divers participated in the wacky Halloween tradition of carving pumpkins underwater during the annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
offshore of Key Largo On Saturday afternoon, underwater carvers of all ages carved jack-o-lanterns out of orange gourds using dive blades and other carving implements. It was a struggle for the 18 participating divers to prevent the hollow, naturally buoyant pumpkins from floating away as they were being carved.
A shark-themed cutout highlighted with a deftly carved skull and crossbones won over the judges for the duo of Emily Beukers of Washington, D.C., and Miranda Potrie of British Columbia, Canada. The pair took home a free two-person dive trip from Amoray Dive Resort, who organized the competition.
A very cool cat, a pirate with a knife in its teeth and an eye patch, a jack-o’-lantern used as a dive helmet, a shrieking ghoul, and various aquatic animals like an octopus and jellyfish were among the other entries that stood out.
Inquisitive finned and gilled yellowtail onlookers swam near to the artistic activity, keeping an eye out for any flopping scraps of “meal.”
The yearly event, held five miles off Key Largo and around the time of the customary Halloween celebration in October, took place close to Horseshoe Reef.