A few days after the harvest moon some friends and I decided to go out on a night dive. We met up at 5pm so our instructor could give us a proper briefing on special procedures for night dives since another diver and myself were both doing our first night dives. We also spoke about how to best respect aquatic life at night since some species are sensitive or sleeping at night, and how others are more active. After a few jokes about bioluminescent coney island whitefish, (an invasive species on weekends), it was time to head off to Bell Hall Beach to a dive site in Douglas Bay called ‘Daycare’, a site Kayla has written about.
I’ve been to daycare plenty of times, to free dive, snorkel & scuba dive during the day, with Kayla & friends. The depth ranges from 10-25ft, generally crystal clear aquarium like conditions with enough vibrant aquatic life to look like one. Being familiar with the site eased some of my anxiety about this new experience, but my excitement for the dive washed away the last of my nerves and I was ready to see what the darkness would bring. This was also the first time I would be trying something new in the dive world without Kayla, since she was in Las Vegas doing our buying at DEMA, but I’m lucky to have other competent dive instructors & dive masters as friends!
After arriving at the site and watching the last of the sun disappear over the horizon we went over the dive plan a final time, geared up and performed a buddy check. The mood was set and we walked into the water, accompanied by stars and moonlight we swam out to the north east end of the site. Lights on, regs in, okay, let’s dive!
I kept my light on low to help my eyes adjust as I descended. I watched bubbles ascend and reflective eyes appear in the distance beyond my light. There were stingrays all over the place, more than I’ve ever seen there during the day. Of course I saw the usual large schools of Sargent Majors, Porcupine Fish, and Trumpet Fish. We broke off in pairs to do a lights out drill, and stimulate the bioluminescence in the water. We waved our hands around in the water and they were followed by a yellow wave. Then I got a chance to play with a ‘night light’ or black light that brings out the fluorescence in underwater creatures. The purples, greens, oranges, yellows and blues were so vivid, I had never experienced so much color on a dive. It was something I never expected from a night dive.
Normally we plan our dives so that the swim back to shore is done below the surface, but this dive we wanted to enjoy the duration of our dive on the site itself so, after a few loops and investigation of the deepest parts of the reef, it was time to ascend. Plan your dive, dive your plan! As a group we swam back to shore already talking about the highlights of our night dive. This might have been my first, but it certainly won’t be my last night dive! It’s a good thing Kayla is a PADI Night Specialty Instructor so she can certify me for that specialty, maybe I can even get her to take video on one of our next night dives!
(NOTE: Friends & Family, sorry it took me so long to write a blog, this is a whole new world to me, so new in fact that I wrote all this in pen on paper and gave it to Kayla to type up!)