Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Accosted by a Goliath Grouper! by Jim

My old dive buddy is visiting and we've been out diving. Today was a memorable dive. It was a two-tank trip on the Scubatyme, a charter boat out of Pompano Beach. We like to hunt for Florida Lobster, the tasty crustacean found in these waters.
 Here's a screenshot of the Inlet webcam. That's our boat going out the Hillsboro Inlet.

Jimmy Lyon and I have been liquidating lobsters since 1974. That's when I became a certified SCUBA diver. Back then we dove in the cold waters off the South Jersey shore. We were both younger then.

Now we dive the warm waters of South Florida. He visits nearly every winter. It's like a tradition.
Jimmy still lives and works on Long Beach Island, NJ. We've visited him there many times in our travels.

The first dive was a fairly routine reef drift. We caught a few spiny lobsters, saw a nice nurse shark and some big moray eels. A nice dive. We returned to surface and the boat for a snack and surface interval.

Only a minute or two into the second dive, I spotted a couple of lobster and snared one. I had just removed the snare and was holding the lobster in my left hand. I turned my head to alert Jimmy to the other lobster in the hole when I felt a sharp tug on my arm. I turned to see my hand and forearm in the gaping mouth of a 300 lb. Goliath Grouper! I pulled my arm out and found I was holding only the tail of the lobster. The grouper inquired into the availability of the tail and I obliged his request.
Now I had a friend for the rest of the dive. He was quite insistent that both Jimmy and I provide more treats, a fish that big can get a little pushy. He would not leave us alone to catch more lobster. Finally, after a half hour of this huge fish's company, we called the dive and surfaced.

We were hysterical bobbing on the surface waiting for the boat to pick us up. We've both had some weird experiences diving over the years but this was really remarkably funny that the fish would just not leave us alone.
If only we had our cameras with us for the dive.

Here's a short video I took on a wreck dive last week.

Thanks for all the great memories, Jimmy!

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1 comment:

Karen and Al said...

Holy cow! It sounds like the Goliath was used to being fed. We had 4 under our boat at Looe Key Reef one time and that could have gotten ugly if they all wanted a snack. Yikes.