Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lobster Tales

Drawing a Spiny Lobster

Prints, posters and signed fine art reproductions are available 
for purchase in my Etys shop at: 
Spiny Lobster. 11x17" Ballpoint Pen and Ink wash

I'll never forget the first time I went scuba diving into the Atlantic Ocean on a mission to catch a lobster. Not a warm water spiny lobster like the one is this drawing, but a Maine lobster with BIG Scary Claws! (that drawing is still to come) That was the prize worth more than gold to the hardcore divers that my brother Tony and I would venture 2 hours out into the ocean in search of. Leaving before sunrise and on a small dive boat crammed full of divers and their equipment "Lobster tales" was all the divers could talk about. 8 pound, 10 pound monsters they had caught on previous dives. I was only 17 and had no idea what to expect on my first open water dive into the cold, dark murky waters of the Mid-Atlantic ocean off the coast of Maryland. When the captain finally anchored on the shipwreck, which was a 500 foot cargo ship called the Washingtonian which rested in 100 feet of water and sank in 10 minutes after it collided with another ship, I couldn't wait to get in the water.

SS Washingtonian before it sunk. My first shipwreck dive

This wasn't glamor scuba diving in in the least. No clear, calm, warm waters, this was "mud diving" as they called it. Deep, dark, cold and strong currents that you would have to hang onto the wreck not to get swept away in. And all while surrounded by mangled, sharp, rusty metal of a shipwreck covered in fishing line that was invisible to see and would catch you like a spiderweb in a second. To me is was as if I was an astronaut going into sumerged haunted world. The two coolest things ever. Being able to venture into a creepy alien world where all you could sometimes see was what your flashlight illuminated a few feet in front of you. It was too cool to be true!

The entry from my dive log book from 1984

Here's what I wrote in the entry from my dive Log book. "As Tony and I dropped down the anchor line the vis dropped from 40 feet to 10. The wreck was full of life. The ship was broken up and pipes were everywhere. I looked over to Tony and to my surprise he had his weight belt in his hand. I helped him with it back on and we started across the wreck. The ship was a 500 foot freighter, so I knew we wouldn't see it all. Suddenly we say another diver appear through the silt. He was caring a 13 1/2 pound lobster and heading for the anchor line to go back up to the boat! Then we started to look but found nothing. Lots of fish but no bugs. The ship was covered with fishing line and we had to get tangled in it. Tony cut us free. We surfaced only to see the others prizes and us empty handed. It was a blast! The ocean was no quarry.

Me off the coast of Maryland 1984

Now about my Spiny Lobster. Also know as Rock Lobsters, Spiny Lobster are found in almost all the warm seas of the world. They live in crevices of rocks and coral reefs and only occasionally venture out of their holes in search of food. They produce a rasping sound that repels predators by rubbing the base of their antennae against a smooth part of their exoskeleton to create frictional vibrations. Fossils of Spiny Lobsters have been found that date back 110 million years. 

Diving off the Florida Keys

Picture of me Wreck diving in Micronesa
Airplane wreck in Micronesia
My brother and dive buddy Tony
Me and Tony from my log book 1984

Here are some photos taken during my drawing process

Prints, posters and signed fine art reproductions are available 
for purchase in my Etys shop at: 

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