With their favorite marine creatures in mind, a creative group of scuba divers submerged 30 feet beneath the surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Sunday to pare subsea jack-o-lanterns during the annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest in waters off Key Largo.
Underwater artists of all ages used dive knives and fine carving tools to transform their orange gourds into spook-tacular sea creatures. The nearly 15 divers also were challenged to keep the hollow, naturally buoyant pumpkins from floating off while they carved their critters.
Chicago, Illinois, resident Dan Eidsmoe won over the judges with his shark-tastic cutout, complete with strobe light, to earn a free dive trip at Amoray Dive Resort, the contest’s organizer.
Other standout entries included an octopus, airplane, jellyfish, hearts and traditional toothy grins.
Curious finned and gilled yellowtail spectators swam close to the artistic action, hanging around for any bits of “‘food” that floated off.
The annual contest, scheduled around October’s traditional Halloween celebrations, was staged near a shallow coral reef about five miles off Key Largo.