Halloween festivities just got a little spookier.
Instead of carving pumpkins in the well-lit, dry safety of their own homes, local divers took to the seas and carved pumpkins in the bone-chilling dark green waters of Morro Bay, participating in local dive shop SLO Ocean Currents’ annual “Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest” at Morro Rock on Sunday.
The 20 divers hollowed out their pumpkins, drew their designs and headed into the water, descending approximately 15 feet before settling on the silty bottom to carve.
“I’m stoked beyond belief,” mechanical engineering senior Graham Garvin said while putting his fins on. “I have a very sophisticated smiley face drawn out on my pumpkin.”
Carving pumpkins is not as simple underwater, however, are they have a tendency to float. The silty bottom of the harbor also gets stirred up, making it difficult for divers to see where they are carving.
Biological sciences senior Cate Webster put weights inside her pumpkin to keep it from floating away, but she said fish enjoyed snacking on the pumpkin while she was working.
“It was really pretty cute, but mostly I was just focused on the carving,” Webster said.
Webster’s pumpkin won “best dive-theme” in the contest.
“It’s the best one,” Webster said of her pumpkin. “I was the last one in the water so my hypothesis is that I saved the best for last. It is a shark about to eat a diver swimming to the surface, and it is entitled ‘Almost.’”
Other pumpkin creations included an angler fish, a trick-or-treating shark and a raven.
SLO Ocean Currents shop manager Morgan Richardson said people get creative for the contest.
“I had a guy come out two years ago who was dressed as a pirate and carved a parrot and wore it on his shoulder,” Richardson said. “I still remember that one, that was a really good one.”
Richardson called Morro Bay the best location for local scuba divers for its wide range of animals and wildlife, because there are no waves and because it is the perfect place to carve pumpkins underwater.
Of the seven awards handed out Sunday, three went to Cal Poly students. Prizes included free boat diving trips, scuba gear, dive maps and guidebooks.