Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing great!!!!!!!! Before we jump into “Lobster Mini Season in the Florida Keys 2014 Part Four”, I want to give you an update on our local Real Estate Market in Southwest Florida.
Properties continue to sell as long as they are priced within market value. Tear down houses on Gulf access canals are selling from the mid $200,000 range and up. Homes in the $500,000 plus range are selling as are the homes priced well over $1,000,000. There seems to be a steady balance at this time; as properties are selling, others are coming on the market. I am also seeing another trend, many of the homes that have been on the market for a while are now getting price reductions. We’re seeing more activity with them going pending and then sold within a few weeks. This is a great thing! This also tells me that Buyers today are not dummies! They keep track of what is on the market for sale, they see when a property goes pending and then what it sells for. Buyers today are better informed than ever. It doesn’t appear that the waterfront market is getting stupid crazy like it was during the “boom”.
If you’re interested in knowing what’s happening with prices on properties in a particular area or neighborhood, please let me know and I’ll set you up on my Listingbook program. It’s free and allows you to search whatever houses or lots you’d like. It will notify you of new listings on the market and it will also let you know when properties go pending; it’s a great tool. Even if you’re not looking to buy or sell at this time, it’s a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of our local Southwest Florida Real Estate Market.
If you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to help you anyway I can…:-)
Okay now on to the fun stuff…..Lobster Mini Season in the Florida Keys 2014 Part Four..
To recap: Last week we left off with our crew going out in the boat scouting out our Lobster spots. After that we took the boat to Sombrero Key Lighthouse for an afternoon of snorkeling on the reef.
Well today is the big day!!!! The First Day of Lobster Mini Season… Holy cow you have no idea how exciting this is… We got up early, early, like before the sun came up and headed over to pick up our friends, the Mazzola’s. We headed out to our spots approximately 10 miles out in the Gulf in the pitch black early, early morning night sky. It’s quite an eery feeling. The water is flat calm and the wind is whistling through the T top tubing on the boat as we cruise 35 mph. You cannot see a thing until you look up in the sky and see trillions and trillions of tiny little stars. If you look up long enough you will sometimes see shooting stars – meteors entering the atmosphere and burning up. It’s a really cool sight to see…
It’s also really neat to watch the dimly lit GPS while it’s taking us to our secret Lobster holes. The anticipation builds as we get closer and closer – 8 miles, 6 miles, 3 miles, 1 mile to our destination… beep beep beep, you have reached your destination. All the while, you have that feeling of not knowing if you are going to get to your Lobster spot to find that all of the Lobster have moved during the night. Or not knowing if you are going to encounter a big Moray Eel living on the same ledge as all your lobster; or a Nurse Shark resting in front of the ledge which holds all of your Lobster… Ya just do not know!
By this time the sun was just getting ready to come up as we jumped into the water. Underwater is pure darkness. You can’t see a thing and you don’t know what sea creature may be watching you invade his home. All you see is the beam of light coming from your waterproof flashlight that you threw in to mark your spot. But now it was time, Wade and I jumped into the water right on top of our spot..and SCORE!!!!!!!! – packed full of Lobster. Wade yells up to the boat, “throw in the scuba tank, cause we’re gonna need it”! When you’re on some of these spots, the Lobster go way deep back into their ledges and it can take some time to get them out. Sometimes you have to reach way up under and feel your way around with your hands (on a serious note, unless you are experienced, do not ever do this, it can be very dangerous and you never know what’s living in the ledges, again DO NOT do this). I know you’re thinking “well Shane, why do you do it? Are you brave or just stupid?” I am neither. I have been doing this since I was a little kid growing up in the Florida Keys. Yes, there is a technique I use to minimize any damage to my fingers and hands. Yes, I have been bitten by Blue Crabs, Stone Crabs (those are almost the worst – ouch!) small Moray Eels, and other things that have tried to latch on to my hand. To this day, I still have no clue what animal it was that I made very angry way up in that ledge?? I’ve been stuck with Black Sea Urchin spines and even a few very close calls with the poisonous Lion Fish. On this ledge there were none of those creatures, just us and the Lobster. Wade and I started pulling Lobsters out one by one. We handed them to Annie or Paige and they would swim them over to the boat where Craig would measure them a second time to be sure they were legal size to keep. Once we harvested all the legal lobster from that hole, we moved on to the next hole, then the next one. With each stop we were getting closer and closer to our daily limit of Lobster. Take a look at some of these photos of our ride out to our spots. Remember it was pitch dark and the kids were half asleep…
As we hit our other spots the sun was beginning to rise – how beautiful is this?! Photos do the sunrise no justice; words can’t explain the sheer beauty as this part of the world awakens. Now the darkness is turning into light. Now we can see the thunderstorms that had surrounded us in the night sky. All you could see were the flashes of lightning, way, way off in the distance…
Before we knew it , we had our limit and were headed back in. The sky was so beautiful as sunrise approached creating a bright orange glow….
It was interesting coming back into Vaca Cut. We already had our limit, however, the late sleepers were just heading out to start their search for Lobster…
We got back to the dock and unloaded our catch into a livewell to keep the Lobster fresh…
You are only allowed to harvest 6 Lobster per person per day so we had 18 more Lobster to catch. Three of our crew members had decided to sleep in but still wanted to catch Lobster, so we picked them up, loaded more supplies, and headed out. This was going to be much more challenging now due to the fact that EVERYONE was up and out on the water looking for Lobster! No fear .. we’ve got our numbers and we will find more Lobsters!!!!! It was a beautiful ride out. The water was calm and the sun was coming out, making it so much easier to see our spots from above…
We arrived at our spot and “splash!”, Wade was in the water. He went down for a look. He shot up to the top of the water and yelled “DAD!!!!!!! come on!!!!! We have got some monsters here!!!!!” I said “Wade are you sure”. Wade replied ” Dad, seriously!!!! Come on!!!!!!” We were on a mission. The others in the boat couldn’t resist so they also got into the water to check it out. Well, Wade was right, there were some really big ones and they moved way back into the ledges. Well, they can’t hide from us… so we went in after them!!!!!!!!!! Wade, Craig, Annie, Paige, Tyler and Peyton. They would be our look-outs in case any of these Lobsters tried to escape through a back hole.
It did take a little more work to get our Lobsters this time, and a little longer, because many of the holes were cleaned out, but we did reach our limit and decided to head back in. We had plenty for our family and we wanted to make sure we stayed within the law.
The ride in was a great ride, the seas were calm, the sun was out. As we approached Vaca Cut we noticed a couple of wave runners with guys on them – they really looked out of place. These guys were fully clothed, hats on, and what appeared to be some type of utility belts. I said to Craig, “something doesn’t look right”. All of a sudden one of the wave runners spins around, heads right at us, and comes up from behind. It turns out he was an undercover police officer checking all the incoming boats to make sure they were following the law by keeping within proper Lobster limits. The officer was very nice. He asked us if we caught anything and we said “yes”. He asked us to open our livewell and he pointed at what he thought was the smallest lobster and said “Please pull him out so I can measure him”. Without any hesitation, we reached in, pulled the Lobster out, and gave it to the officer. He said “you’re all good and free to go”. Soooooo, ya see right there, we were following the rules, complying with the law, and being respectful. And of course, we didn’t have any “shorts” (too small Lobsters) on board. By the way, if you get caught with a short Lobster or Lobsters onboard, it’s a $500 fine per Lobster, a court appearance, and even possible confiscation of your boat. I took a few photos of the officers on Wave Runners; that’s something you don’t see everyday!
We went back to the dock to admire our catch and start cleaning the Lobster. But of course, we had to get photos first…
Now comes the part that many people think is gross. By cleaning the Lobster you have to twist off their tails. Then you have to clean out the “pooper trail” with one of the lobster tentacles.
Everyone got involved with this (well, not everyone). It’s actually kind of fun!
A few hours later after we cleaned all of the Lobster, as well as the boat, the kids hopped in the Lake and Bay and headed over to our friends’ place by water.
The rest of us decided to join them and have a cold beverage and share stories about our great day on the water. Come to find out, the other five families in our group also did very well Lobstering that day. They cooked up some of their Lobsters and we grilled the fresh Mahi Mahi we caught the day before. We had a seafood feast!!!!!!!
What another amazing day on the water with family and friends. I just wish I could show you all first-hand how much fun this is. I can show you thousands of photos and write 20 pages of words, but nothing compares to the real thing. Being here and experiencing this. These are memories and experiences our children and friends will remember for ever.
Remember make time to do the things you want to do. Make a plan and work your plan. Just make it happen.
Until next time, make it a great weekend!!!
Shane “Waterfront” Wilson