In case you have been living under a rock, lobster season opens Saturday morning, 12:01 a.m., on September 28. (For those of you who have trouble figuring it out, that’s Friday night, September 27.) If you are a true California diver, you should be asking yourself, “What am I doing the opening night of lobster season?”—the same way any red-blooded American would have plans well in advance for New Year’s Eve.

To make the analogy of the lobster season opener with this holiday is actually not too far off. First and foremost, you don’t want to be alone. The beginning of lobster season is something to be celebrated with your fellow divers. It is a social function!

On the dive boats a party atmosphere prevails in the darkness counting down the minutes and seconds before midnight. Within a few minutes divers return aboard with their catches showing off who or what, if anyone or anything, they got to dance with and kiss at the stroke of midnight. Just as with New Year’s Eve, you want to get “lucky.” But it’s more clean fun than that. Camaraderie prevails and all have a good time into the wee hours of the morning. Bleary-eyed and with sore hands, we greet the dawn together. Shared are stories (and sometimes fables) of underwater conquest and perhaps even a lobster omelet for breakfast. For the real hard core, this is a party for the long-haul lasting into the daylight hours, often for several days, then on a more extended basis into the following weeks and months.

The social atmosphere shows up a popular beach dive sites as well. You know you will be competing with other divers and the beaches can get crowded. It’s kind of funny to see all the lights dancing just offshore in the middle of the night. It looks just like some kind of invasion. Say “Hi” to the guy or gal next to you on the beach or in the water. It just might be your classmate from a dive class years ago.

Another popular social function is the “Lobster Contest.” Who can bring in the biggest lobster? Check with your local dive store, only a few run them but participants run into the hundreds. Small bugs (slang for lobster) come in as well as the big and as the sleepless divers show up early in the morning, they get punchy — silly, people wear lobsters on the heads, dress up lobsters in little costumes. Its all good fun, albeit pretty stupid. This all just before they take home their favorite pet for the night to boil and eat them. See what the combination of sleep deprivation combined with excess nitrogen in the system and “lobster fever” will do!