KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Divers should pack their pumpkin carving tools when they gear up for the 24th annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest set for Saturday, Oct. 29, in Key Largo waters.
This year’s theme is “pirates” and crafty carvers are to descend to “Davy Jones’ Locker” approximately 25 feet beneath the surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Their task: transform naturally buoyant orange pumpkins into masterful sculptures incorporating frightening facial features, playful sea creatures or traditional toothy grins.
As dive knives pare away stringy shreds of pumpkin flesh, quick-swimming reef fish typically dart in for a closer look and a nibble before the tidbits float away.
Divers can join in the competition and celebrate the fall harvest fun with Amoray Dive Resort, located at mile marker 104.5.
The top pumpkin worthy of praise from the experienced judges (who double as the crew of the Amoray Diver dive boat) earns its carver a complimentary dive trip for two.
The entry fee is $115 per certified diver for the two-location dive including tanks, weights and a pumpkin ready for carving. Check in is at 12:30 p.m. and the boat departs at 1 p.m.
Space is limited, so contestant divers are encouraged to sign up early for the special event. Call 800-426-6729 for more details.
Divers sculpt jack-o-lanterns during the annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo, Fla.
The prize for top pumpkin is a dive trip for two to Amoray Dive Resort in Key Largo, along with bragging rights.
A yellowtail snapper waits for scraps as a diver sculpts her pumpkin in the wacky annual contest staged by Amoray Dive Resort.