I went night diving ! OMG ! Such and exciting aspect of diving I hear you cry !! No, really. My students and fellow divers always question my somewhat “lack of enthusiasm” towards diving at night. Its not the actual diving, I’ll be honest, in actual fact, all the little mollusks, nudibranchs, lobsters, crabs etc , etc that come out at night completely enthrall me, its the whole process of waiting till the end of the day, and then not getting home till late, packing up equipment in the dark, that’s exhausting to me. (maybe it’s as well my freakish encounter with a giant worm alone at night in the water that has something to do with it, but that’s another story!)
I haven’t been for a while so I must say the night waters did start to beckon once more. With 2 eager night dive instructor candidates at +Go Pro Costa Rica I knew my time was here. Armed with a boat full of divemaster candidates and night instructor students we headed off from Quepos marina at sunset, into the waters of Manuel Antonio park for a night of adventure. As part of the instructor specialty we have to cover skills from the specialty. This includes a 3 minute black out, a navigation practice with compasses. Picking a familiar site, we headed down and as we were only a couple of days from new moon, I was hoping we would have a very dark evening. I have found through the years that the best time for a night dive is with less moon. On a few ocassions when I have dived on a full moon it was literally so bright there was need for a flash light, somewhat defeating the object of night diving.
So down the line we went, I was eager to escape the crowd as i was hoping for a nice peaceful relaxing dive. We made our way along the reef, i was early in the night so not too much action right now. On finding a nice sandy spot I signaled to lights out. Pitch black followed. After a minute your eyes become accustomed to the darkness, and with three minutes of it, I could start to see everyones outline in the dark. Cool. Now the even better part, the Harry Potteresque moment of the night dive. The phosphoresence in the water. Whilst waving your hands and fins around in the water hundreds of tiny plankton like brings emit a bright light when disturbed. This in effect, looks the sparks of a wand hence the Harry Potter reference! After playing around with this for a while, we headed onwards, lights on to explore the rest of the reef. Some practice navigation with the compasses and we were nearing the end of the dive. The later it got the more life we started to see around us, including I have to add, hundreds of tiny worms and creatures swimming around us, attracted to the flash lights. As in miniature, tape worm type things, writhing about, in front of your face. Very exciting if you bring your flash light near to seas anenomes and sort corals as the start to feed on them. Exciting stuff. Some great little crabs, and lobsters everywhere and then we were heading back to the surface. I missed my octopus encounter, but next time. Yes indeed, It was fun and I think I am inclined to go on another night dive before the season is out. I admit I needed a refresh on the amazingly great sea life that was around me, you tend to gloss over it during the day, and at night, when the reef transforms itself, it’s back.