HERE'S ONE FOR THE BOOKS........
There are moments in one's life that stand out as rare occasions. I've had two in recent weeks that I will never forget, both having to do with giant lobsters. I previously wrote about the one encountered when snorkeling in the vicinity of Sailboat Beach. That one was backed into a crevice and used its claws to threaten me as I shared its water world. I didn't get a picture, but did go back with campers who probably didn't believe my report of the encounter. (We didn't find it.) Well, this week I had another large lobster episode and this one didn't get away. Actually, it wasn't as pugnacious, probably because it was a big old female carrying a load of eggs. It too was wedged under a ledge, but I was able to coax it out with a little poking. As it moved out, I used a large net to capture it with the help of my brother standing by in a rowboat. We brought it to shore to share the excitement, and people couldn't believe their eyes. The animal was quite blue and was rather docile, certainly not threatening with its large claws. Its tail was enormous and underneath were eggs. After enjoying the moment, and studying its many attributes, the lobster mama was released near where it was found. The lobster was found very near the shore in about six feet of water very near Bailey Beach that stands north of Sanddollar Beach. I found it while snorkeling and picking up dozens of Sea Urchin tests that had apparently been washed to shore by recent surf. I certainly didn't expect to find a giant lobster, but that I did.

My niece from Florida, Beth, is shown holding the lobster, while my brother Dan peeks into the picture. We are on my brother's dock, and in the background you can see a bit of Sanddollar Beach. The lobster was netted north of the dock. In the picture to the right, you can see the eggs being held under the abdomen. Below is another picture showing the abnormal size of the claws. These crustaceans can live to grow to enormous size, too large to crawl into a trap. Females are also thrown back if carrying eggs, especially the large ones that may be netted by draggers. They are here, however, and quite close to our shoreline. The one I netted weighed ten pounds!

I am including a portion of the sea urchin tests I netted when snorkeling. They are such beautiful, but fragile remnants of an animal's life. They range in color from purple to green and show the attachment of their spines and tube feet openings. The hole in the top is not the mouth; as most of you know, their very unique tooth structure guards the mouth on the underside. Some of these still had their teeth rattling around inside the empty skeleton. A friend of mine has made paper weights out of these tests (the name for an urchin's skeleton), and I may scout around for plaster of paris to use for that purpose. So from my giant lobster encounter to the bevy of urchin, my report is complete (until the next snorkel!) 9/8/09 Ronnie, the lobster hunter.