Libbie the Lobster

To purchase the children's book "Saving Libbie the Lobster" go to


How Rare Is Rare for a Lobster?

When I began researching the beautiful yellow lobster we later named Libbie, I found articles that reported she was 1 in 30 million, others that said 1 in 20 million. I learned that other lobsters are quite rare too. For example, albinophoto lobster2 lobsters are the most rare, next are the yellow, followed by calico, blue and even a rare two-toned lobster.

So I began to wonder, What causes this anomaly? And, If so many are found, then why are they rare at all?

As with all life it seems, the color of a lobster is determined by both genetics and environment. Slight genetic mutations occur throughout nature. Libbie was likely a result of this sort of mutation. But environment can also play a role. Because yellow lobsters seem to be found in certain common areas along the coast, it has been hypothesized that certain algae could be the culprit.

I believe that genetics and environment co-exist in all manner of life’s evolution.coloredLobster

As to my second thought above, I had difficulty understanding the idea that Libbie is so very rare because she is 1 in 30 million! How many lobsters are there anyway and what does the number 30 million lobsters look like?

Then I thought of an analogy. A friend, who is an airline pilot told me once, that flying is really a very safe mode of transportation. She told me that when a plane crashes, it makes front page news because it is such a rare event. For as many planes as are flying at any one time, when a plane crashes is an anomaly, she told me.

All I know for certain is that when I laid eyes on the beautiful golden-yellow lobster in the Publix Supermarket tank, I fell in love. She was special, unique, an enigma, and I wanted to save her. Thank you Libbie the Rare Yellow Lobster14903_851434018200920_2174728373357695018_n for coming into my life.


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Student and Teacher

Everything having to do with Libbie zipped by so quickly, Heather and I did not stop long enough to even question what we were doing. Every once in a while we would mention what a good team we were to get things done. Heather was so good at some things and I was good at others. We texted, messaged, emailed and phoned each other almost constantly.

Now that I have a few moments to reflect, I realize that we were both students and teachers to each other. I was learning to use the internet and specifically Facebook, Google and messaging in ways I had not known before.  I was having flashbacks to graduate school when I felt overwhelmed but kept going until my brain felt like it could not hold one more piece of information without literally exploding. I sometimes laughed at myself during that first week when I tried to find Libbie a home and the story went viral, and just kept doing what was in front of me to do.

I pictured Heather at home with her daughter preparing for the new school year, taking care of theimages (5) house and her family as she ran back and forth to the store for ice and the ocean for seawater to care for Libbie in her kitchen. If someone had been filming us, it would have made for great comedy I think. Heather was learning too.

From that first week valuable lessons were learned. Heather and I learned about each other and I learned much about myself. Heather became my teacher in many ways as well. And other teachers appeared. Mark Murrell, owner of is a good example. He taught me that a stranger (to me) who sells lobsters for consumption, cared about Libbie and was willing to help because he believes strongly in sustainability.

I have believed for many years that we are all teachers and students. I like being the student. I love to learn. One might say I have a passion for learning. And one of the greatest gifts in my life is to be able to pass it on, to teach what I learn.  I am both student and teacher. I am grateful for my teachers.



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The Moral of the Story

As Heather Chalmers and I began to talk about writing the story of Libbie in a children’s book, we had many ideas about how children may be able to relate to what we saw as Libbie’s experience in the world. Because she was yellow and very rare (one in 30 million rare) we imagined she felt different from the other10609045_10204622361664750_1119253355_n lobsters and we knew from our research the Libbie was more vulnerable to prey because she could not camouflage herself well in the rocks and grasses of the ocean.

I pondered the question of my own experience as a child and the times I felt different, which was quite often as I recall. (It was a really long time ago). I remember feeling sad and afraid that I didn’t fit in with the other kids even though there was nothing so different about me. I wasn’t golden-yellow when everyone else was brownish red. So I began to think that perhaps most children feel different from their peers sometimes.

The moral of the story then is this: Libbie felt sad and alone in her home in the ocean but later became a star because she is an enigma.

Then the real life events began to flow in a fun way as Heather and I began to write the book.

But I think the moral of Libbie’s story will touch adults as well. In fact I think there is another powerful moral to the story. My hope is that people may see the other moral too; that the determination of two women who barely knew each other, came together for the purpose of saving one beautiful, rare lobster from someone’s dinner table. Maybe people will see that change can truly happen if one or two of us get together for good purpose. Within 24 hours of when I took the first photo of Libbie in a Publix Supermarket and posted it to Facebook asking for help, many, many people in our community came together. Change takes action and it can start with one person, which turns into two and then into many.

I am in awe of the goodness in people.




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Coincidence? Fate? Chance? Part II

This is where Part I of Libbie the Rare Yellow Lobster’s amazing story left off:

As if things weren’t happening fast at that point, they began to move at jet speed. I found The Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire, whose Aquarist, Rob Royer just happened to receive my email andmain_slideshow_noflash responded that he would love to have her. I gave Mark Murrell, Nadine King and Rob Royer each other’s contact information. Mark sent me instructions on how to pack Libbie for shipping, where to take her, and provided the tracking label for her overnight flight to New Hampshire.

What happens next? Part II of course! It unfolds thus:

Mark Murrell, Nadine King , and Rob Royer just happened to be able to reach each other right away. I doubt everyone was waiting by their phones for the calls. They just happened to each be in the right place at the right time.

Heather Chalmers and I carefully placed Libbie on top of crumpled newspapers, dampened with seawater, over frozen gel packs in a sturdy Styrofoam container as instructed, and said our sad goodbyes to our beautiful golden treasure. We worried about her making the trip to New Hampshire safely after all she had been through. We wondered whether she would be cold enough and whether she’d be tossed around in the container and maybe her shell would break (which is not a good thing for a lobster).

I drove Libbie to Daytona, about a half hour from my home in Flagler Beach.  My senses were heightened as I watched for every possible event which could deter me from my mission. As it happened, the traffic lights stayed green, traffic was at a minimum and it was smooth sailing directly to the UPS facility.

Closing the lid on Libbie’s container, I said a prayer that she would arrive unharmed to her new home in the Seacoast Science Center. Following what felt like an eternally long, sleepless night for20140731_103647 both Heather and myself, I received a message from Nadine that Libbie had arrived safe and sound with a picture of she and Rob at the science center. With a deep sigh, I phoned Heather to give her the good news.

That part of our journey had come to a close but another was to begin before that day was out. I wanted the children who would visit Libbie to be able to read her story. I suggested to Heather that we could write a children’s book. She smiled her beautiful smile and said , “Yes, I thought about that too!” So our labor of love continues and Libbie will remain a star!

So could all that happened from the time I first saw Libbie on a late Sunday afternoon until early Thursday morning have been just coincidence? Was it fate that brought Libbie into my life and Heather’s too? Was it just one lucky event after another? Or was it something else? You decide and let us know your thoughts.

Keep watching for more. Coming soon…the writing of Libbie the Lobster’s storybook.


Coincidence? Fate? Chance? Part I

Could every event that occurred in just one short week have been by coincidence, an act of fate, just pure luck or something else? I will let you be the judge.

The events unfolded thus:

One recent Sunday, I decided to stop at Publix for some quick food shopping on my way home from the gym and just happened upon a friend who told me that there was a very rare lobster in the lobster tank in the seafood department. I went to see for myself despite the fact that being vegan I don’t like to see live lobsters in a tank to be sold as food. The seafood department manager just happened to be standing there and told me that14903_851434018200920_2174728373357695018_n he had researched about “her” (he said she was female) and she is one in 30 million rare. I took a picture of her and posted it on Facebook asking if anyone knew where I might find her a home.

Heather Chalmers (who I had only met twice before) just happened to be on Facebook at the time and responded that she would like to help. She went directly to Publix and discussed details of the rare golden-yellow lobster I had seen with the seafood department manager. (And by the way, Heather and I just happen to both be writers.)

Amazingly by the next day, Heather and I had spoken several times and had begun to put a plan together to rescue the beautiful yellow lobster from becoming someone’s dinner and to get her to a cold water tank, which we had learned she needed to survive.

While Heather prepared a fish tank, she just happened to have, and filled it with ocean water from our awesome Flagler Beach, I kept up with our many friends on Facebook who responded with suggestions of who may be willing to take her. I emailed, called, and messaged at least 30 facilities in the State of Florida, including SeaWorld, MarineLand, and The Florida Aquarium. Although people were very kind and wanted to help, no place in Florida had cold water tanks.

Heather it turned out  just happened to be the perfectly right person for the job of helping me liberate the rare lobster. Her love of all living things is equal to mine and her ability to do what ever it takes bolstered my own. Without saying it to each other, we both seemed to be saying the same thing, “We can do this!”

And in the meantime (and we’re only 2 full days into this), A friend contacted The Palm Coast Observer (our local newspaper) who wanted to do the story. I had contacted ABC News 13 in Orlando thinking that news about this would help me find a home for our now named lobster, Libbie (short for liberation). “The human interest” story as the press called it, went viral after Heather, her daughter, Ava and I were filmed and interviewed with Libbie for TV.

A friend, Nadine King, of Christmas Come True , who lives in my town of Flagler Beach, just happened to be in Maine at that time. She just happened to know a man named Mark Murrell, owner of and sent me his email address thinking he may be of some assistance. I emailed him and he was eager to help. And by the way, the busy man he is, just happened to receive my email right away and responded with an immediate phone call.

Day three, Heather and I bought Libbie from Publix OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand placed her in the fish tank in Heather’s kitchen surrounded with bags of ice and frozen water bottles inside to keep the seawater cold, a temperature gauge, water filter, aerator, and plenty of scallops for her to eat.

Soon I was spending every waking moment answering email requests from news stations, including CNN, Huffington Post, and ABC News, New York to use our pictures of Libbie in their articles, and contacting science centers and aquariums outside the state for a home for Libbie.

Heather diligently cared for Libbie in her kitchen meanwhile, checking the temperature, water level and Libbie’s overall condition, as well as making several trips to the store for more ice and to the ocean for more seawater.

As if things weren’t happening fast at that point, they began to move at jet speed. I found The Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire, whose Aquarist, Rob Royer just “happened” to receive my email and responded that he would love to have her. I gave Mark Murrell, Nadine King and Rob Royer each other’s contact information. Mark sent me instructions on how tho pack Libbie for shipping, where to take her and provided the tracking label for her overnight flight to New Hampshire.

All the pieces were fitting together and everyone just happened to be in the right place at the right time to make it happen quickly. If Heather and I had even a moment to stop to see it all, we would have been amazed by the unmistakable synchronicity of it all.

Oh and there is more to this incredible story, much more! See what happens next!

What do you think so far? Is it coincidence, fate, chance, or something else?



How Did Libbie get to Publix?

Heather Chalmers and I have been so excited by the large number of fans Libbie the Lobster has acquired since our adventure began to liberate Libbie from becoming someone’s dinner feast. People love to talk about the story of her rescue.

I cannot help but smile when I see people’s’  faces light up when they see me and know about I’ve been told this is a great “human interest” story, so I imagine people are thirsty for good news these days. If some happiness can be brought into people’s’ lives in the form of a beautiful yellow lobster now named Libbie, then I’m all for it!

In talking with people about the story I have found that the most frequently asked question about Libbie is this: “How did she (Libbie) end up in a Publix Supermarket if she’s so rare?” I wondered the same thing myself a couple of times. So I went to the expert (Mark Murrell, owner of and asked the same question. In short, this is what Mark had to say:

“There is a part of the (Northeast) coast that has a higher propensity of producing a yellow lobster. There is an algae there that has a chemical reaction with the lobster’s shell.” This time of the year, demand for lobsters is high. In most cases lobsters like Libbie would have been “tossed back” before ever reaching the dock. “In this case Libbie was likely an oversight and included with all the others.”

So it seems that an apparent oversight on the part of those who handled Libbie has brought tremendous joy to so many of us.

Watch for more blogs about Libbie and her soon to be release children’s book, Saving Libbie the Lobster!