KEY LARGO, Florida Keys – 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 to pare subsea jack-o-lanterns — all competing in the annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving contest that took place Sunday in the waters off Key Largo.
Underwater artists of all ages used dive knives and fine carving tools to transform their orange gourds into sea creatures. Participants also were challenged to keep the hollow, naturally buoyant pumpkins from floating off while they carved their critters.
Sebastian Gimeno, 16, and his brother Gabriel, 14, from Weston, Florida, impressed judges with their dolphin and half-moon cutout to win the contest’s top prize, a return dive trip courtesy of the competition’s organizer, Amoray Dive Resort.
Other pumpkin entries included sharks, a sea horse, an eel, sea turtle and a skeleton fish.
The annual contest, scheduled each October ahead of Halloween celebrations, was staged near a shallow reef about five miles off Key Largo.