Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL (PRWEB) July 17, 2014
The Great Florida Bug Hunt will soon be underway, or, to be more precise, underwater.
The Great Florida Bug Hunt is an annual lobster hunting contest where scuba divers compete for $15,000 in cash and dive gear prizes to catch the biggest and prettiest spiny lobsters or, as the divers like to call them, "bugs."
The contest is held during Florida's popular two-day lobster mini-season, where divers can catch up to 12 lobsters per day north of the Florida Keys a full week before wooden commercial lobster traps can be placed in the water.
Started by the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea (FL) and now in its third year, the Great Florida Bug Hunt is part of BugFest-By-The-Sea (July 25 - Aug. 2, 2014), a dive festival featuring video and photo contests, wreck diving workshops, a beachfront lobster cookout, reef clean-up, a seminar on the best way to catch spiny lobsters, free beach diving clinics, a short coral reef film festival, and The Sinking World Art Exhibit by Austrian artist Andreas Franke.
With a cultural education grant from VISIT Florida, BugFest is also offering divers a snorkeling trip on Aug. 2 to the wreck of the SS Copenhagen, a state archaeological underwater preserve off Lauderdale-By-The-Sea that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Franklin H. Price, a senior archaeologist with the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, Division of Historical Resources, will later deliver a presentation on the history of the Copenhagen.
BugFest's primary sponsor is Reef Safe, a Daytona Beach firm that makes a biodegradable suntan lotion and other non-toxic products that do not harm marine life or the ocean environment. Other BugFest sponsors this year include Guy Harvey Outpost, Scuba Radio, ScubaNation TV and Gold Coast Scuba.
"Catching lobsters is fun, but with the BugFest parties, music, all the prizes and the lobster cookout, it's ten times better," said Brian Gagas, co-owner of Gold Coast Scuba, a Lauderdale-By-The-Sea dive store. "Plus you get to drink a beer with your dive buddies and brag about the big one that didn't get away."
BugFest is expected to attract more than 200 divers to Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, making it the biggest dive event in Florida. The Sunshine State's popular two-day mini-season (July 30 & 31, 2014) annually attracts tens of thousands of lobster-loving divers.
The Great Florida Bug Hunt will give away $1,000 in cash for the biggest lobsters caught off the beach and a boat. There is also a $100 cash prize for the prettiest lobster bagged by a female diver. In case of a tie, the tiebreaker will be the lobster's weight. There are also prizes for total lobster weight over two days. Other prizes include regulators, wrist computers, wet suits, BCs and other gear.
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida's beach diving capital, is the most popular spot for beach diving in the state. Divers can walk off the beach and be swimming over a coral reef within 100 yards of the shore. On the Atlantic north of Fort Lauderdale, the Town (population 6,000) oozes Old Florida charm. Town visitors entering on Commercial Boulevard are greeted by an 18-foot tall coral reef sculpture. Colorful reef-themed artwork is located throughout the seaside village.
Divers can register online for the Great Florida Bug Hunt by visiting http://www.bugfestbythesea.com. The cost to register is $20. Divers receive a BugFest T-shirt and Reef Safe 'Goody Bag' with a sample kit of Reef Safe products, Mote Marine Lab 4REEF koozies and other free stuff worth an estimated $25. BugFest-By-The-Sea also has a Facebook page with pictures and other info.
For more information, contact BugFest coordinator Steve d'Oliveira at steved(at)lbts-fl(dot)gov. His numbers are [o] 954-640-4209 or [c] 561-523-8198.