But It’s Dark Out There…

You’ve arrived at your tropical ocean destination and perhaps have even done a day or two of diving already and then somebody asks if you’d like to go on a night dive in the ocean.  Why would you want to go on a nighttime ocean dive?  It’s dark out there.

Ocean night dives are one of my favorite kind of dives to do.  The reef comes alive at night, literally, most of the hard corals that look like a rock during the day come alive with polyps and are actively feeding at night.  These pictures of corals at night with the fluorescent lighting show the polyps really well

The Fish

In addition to the coral, a lot of fish behave much differently at night than during the day.  Some fish come out of hiding and become more active while others going into hiding and sleep.

Other citizens of the reefs that behave differently at night are the invertebrates.  These are animals such as sea urchins, basket stars, brittle stars, shrimp, mollusks, lobsters, and octopus.  These creatures are much more active at night.

Some of my most memorable dives have been night dives.  Several of my best critter photographs have been taken on night dives.  A dive site that may be bland, or boring during that day can turn in to a fascinating and exciting dive site at night.

Want more reasons?

Another reason I enjoy night diving in the ocean is, night dives tend to be more relaxing.  Some of the reasons why I feel that ocean night dives are relaxing are. You are usually diving a site that you have already dove and are familiar with.  The dive sites for night dives are normally shallower and easier than some of the sites that you might dive during the day.  Finally, most dive sites are less crowded and quieter during the evening and nighttime hours than during the day.

Night dives do require a bit of planning and some additional equipment.

Before you go jumping into the ocean at night here are some things you check on and do.  If you are away from home, check and make sure night diving is allowed in the area your wanting to dive. Find out if there are any local laws for the area.  Dive the area during the day so that you’ll get the lay of land underwater, if not, consider having a local divemaster or instructor lead the dive.

If diving from shore you may want to line up some shore support before the dive. This can be as simple as someone to watch your gear and clothes while you are on the dive. As for additional gear, you will want at least 2 lights. You may want to consider additional thermal protection as evening and night time temperature tend to be a be cooler than in the day time, even in the tropics.

Then like any other dive, plan your dive with your buddy, dive your plan and enjoy the dark.

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