A creative group of scuba divers submerged 30 feet beneath the Atlantic Ocean’s surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to pare subsea jack-o-lanterns during a weekend Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest off Key Largo.
Nearly two dozen artists of all ages used dive knives and fine carving tools to transform their orange gourds into sea creatures Saturday. The divers also were challenged to keep the hollow, naturally buoyant pumpkins from floating off while they carved their critters.
Detroit, Michigan, residents Josephine Walker and Stephanie McClary placed first with their representation of two moray eels encircling a heart to earn a free dive trip for two at Key Largo’s Amoray Dive Resort, the contest’s organizer.
Other standout entries included a variety of stingrays, an octopus, jellyfish, an anchor and a message to ‘Protect Our Coral,’ among traditional toothy grins.
Curious finned and gilled yellowtail snapper fish “spectators” swam close to the artistic action.
The annual contest, scheduled each October ahead of traditional Halloween celebrations, was staged authorized by sanctuary officials with a special permit.