Five Tips for Safe and Enjoyable Night Dives
Most SCUBA enthusiasts are happy to travel to far-flung locations in order to experience new dive sites; however, one of the most captivating ways to experience the underwater world in a fresh way is under the cloak of night. Night diving instantly turns the beautiful blue of a daylight dive into a beguiling world that is, quite frankly, magical.
Night Diving Takes You to Another World
Night diving gives you a glimpse of marine life in a way that feels like you are a lead actor in a science fiction motion picture. Enveloped by inky water that is illuminated by the soft light of the moon, you definitely feel like you are in another world.
Hidden Marine Life
Night diving is particularly enjoyable because you will have the opportunity to see animals that typically hide away during the daylight hours. I remember the pleasure of seeing an octopus gently swim near me on a night dive. After several minutes my dive buddy reached towards the octopus and she fired her ink and elegantly propelled away from us. A dive in the night sea is slow, giving you time to navigate the reef, exploring nooks and crannies as you seek out lobsters, crabs, free-swimming eels, brittle stars, and sleeping parrotfish.
Turning your dive lights off is when the real magic and adventure begins. You will see the underwater world light up naturally. For novice divers, it’s a good idea to find a sandy spot where you and your buddy can anchor within view of one another. Sweep your hands through the water and experience a visual feast as the water lights up with an ethereal blue light. This is the result of bioluminescent plankton and is something you can only see on a night dive.
Like all diving, there are certain protocols that are critical to your dive safety.
1. Dive with Two Dive Lights
Always be prepared for the unexpected. Check your lights before you dive, clip them onto your BC or use the wrist strap to prevent losing the light during the dive.
2. Carry a Safety Strobe Light
There is always a risk of becoming separated from your buddy. A safety strobe light is a piece of precautionary equipment that will allow others to locate you quickly and easily if the need arises.
3. Don’t Shine Your Dive Light in Your Dive Buddy’s or Marine Animals’ Eyes
While this tip sounds obvious, there’s always that one guy who thinks it will be funny to blind someone or scare a sleeping fish with their light. Don’t be that guy.
4. Plan Your Dive and Dive Your Plan
This is true for all dives but especially so for a night dive when the dive site will look quite different than it does by day. Plan the navigation before you get in the water, and if you are diving from shore, mark the entry point so that you can use it for visual navigation at the conclusion of the dive.
5. Be Aware of the Reef
Take care to manage your speed and buoyancy. You will perceive your proximity to the reef differently than by day. Stay aware of fins and maintain a distance that will allow you to maneuver without bumping or touching the reef.