Laden with naturally buoyant hollow pumpkins, divers hope to wow judges with their soggy sculptures during the 2013 Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest set for Saturday, Oct. 19. Armed only with their creativity and dive knives, pumpkin carvers are to descend 30 feet beneath the surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to craft their jolly jack-o'-lanterns. As the divers pare away at frightening facial features, quick-swimming reef fish are likely to dart in for a close look at the knife-wielding action. They might even nibble on stray pieces of the natural fleshy gourds.
Past pumpkin entries have featured everything from traditional triangle eyes with toothless grins to shark-mouthed sneers. One past competitor even created an orange-skinned octopus.
Buddy teams can join the fun at Amy Slate's Amoray Dive Resort, located at mile marker 104.5, to compete during the 8:30 a.m. dive. Experienced judges, also known as the crew of the Amoray Diver dive boat, determine which pumpkins are most worthy of praise and prizes. The top three carvers are to receive prizes including a dive trip for two. Entry fee is $85 per certified diver for the two-tank two-location dive including tanks, weights and snorkel equipment. Divers are encouraged to sign up for the contest early, since space is limited. Teams must register by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18.
Event information: www.amoray.com or 800-426-6729 or 305-451-3595.