mad in pursuit memoir

DISPATCHED FROM THE intersection of marvel & memory


1980: Lobster Caper

One thing I love about Jim is how he always kept us one step ahead of the sheriff. But were we really outlaws to hunt lobsters in scuba gear?

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Jim and the lobsters


Roy bought a cabin on the coast of Maine, so we went there for a weekend party. Jim and I were at the height of our scuba-mania, so we brought our equipment and Sunday morning, hangover bedamned, we suited up. Roy was nervous to start with because his neighbor was already disputing his right of way to the rocky beach.

Jim didn't give a hoot about the neighbor and grabbed his net before we put on our flippers and walked backwards into the surf.

Where the sea meets the shore, the water is turbulant and crashing loud. As soon as you sink beneath, the world in silent and calm. I still remember how colorful those shallows were. We paddled around till Jim spotted a cluster of rocks and reached into the midst of them. Suddenly he was in hand-to-claw combat with a big old lobster. We were both amazed at how it could fight. I unhooked the net from Jim's weight belt and we bagged the beast.

The hunt was on. Jim found five more, each one meaner than the last.

We finally dragged our heavy bag up on the shore, exchanged our flippers for shoes and headed up to the cabin.

Were these illegal lobsters? The lobster traps were much farther offshore than we had gone. We were wise enough to know that poaching lobsters from someone's trap could get us shot — like cattle rustling, no questions asked. But we thought we'd captured these guys fair and square, with Jim truly risking his neoprene-covered fingers in the ordeal. (Picture that scene in "Annie Hall" when Alvy and Annie are trying to get the live lobster into a pot — that was us, only under water.)

Roy rolled his eyeballs when he saw the catch. Our friend Bob simply declared, "Breakfast!"


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