Night Diving, Anyone?

These night time dives into the coral world teach us a great deal by showing us a new aspect of what we see during the day.  For marine life exhibits, in those magic hours of darkness, the fullness of its wealth.   ~Jacques Yves Costeau~

Corals spawning during dusk

As a novice, I thought diving at night was too dangerous and uncanny, and doing it will require much courage in its truest sense.  My turn for such experience was two years later after I got certified for the OWD course.  Although it was an optional dive for the AOWD, I chose to undergo it with the recommendation of my mentor.  I trusted his judgment that I can do it, confident that he will be with me for the dive.  I made it without him though, he entrusted me to equally able divers who have become my friends too.  It was a completely different experience, I promised myself to do it again!

The darkness can be a limitation but there is nothing to be scared about it, in fact night diving is more relaxing than diving during the day.  It is because, extra care and proper preparation is necessary – familiar site, comfortable gear, favorite dive buddy, shallow areas and definitely no diving in difficult conditions.  Diving at night is slow and steady, thus this pace makes it very relaxing for many divers.

Sleepy green eyes….

My few night dives has been pleasant, my dive buddy and I see to it that we are pretty conditioned for the extra activity during the night after our day dives.  My three night dives after my lessons with my mentor, were all with my favorite dive buddy.

  • Agutayan Island, Misamis Oriental   22 June 2009

Just a month after my AOWD lessons, planning for three dives I requested my mentor for a night dive, though informing him that my dive buddy is not certified for such.  He had no qualms about it, I remembered my dive buddy was worried for me more than for himself.  It was wonderful, variety of night critters showed up and I was amazed of the night organisms that glow in the dark.

  • St. Peter’s House Reef, Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte     20 March 2010

My dive buddy and I decided to have a night dive when we went to Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte.  It was a different experience as we were in a different site totally new to us. But I did stupid mistakes before we could descend, it was a shore entry.   Like losing my mask twice while struggling with my tank, my buddy have to search it for me.  We were in the waters when I had difficulty controlling my buoyancy, we went back to the shore for more weights.  But once down, we were treated with the variety of marine life in the area, we stayed 58 minutes in the waters – that’s almost an hour!

Crab lurking in its chamber
  • Talisayan Shoal, Misamis Oriental     23 July 2011

This night dive was a filler after we missed the morning dive schedule of the resort, it was just our second dive for the day so we still have enough energy and we look forward to it.  The site was totally new to us but I think we were confident enough for it, and I guess too excited to discover new sightings.  My dive buddy and I were left alone as we explore on our own in the darkness, we were down for over an hour!  The night critters abound in the area and the bioluminescence struck me once more….

  • Apo Island – Southwest, Mindoro     25 February 2011

My dive buddy said it was not a night dive technically, but we descend at 5:48pm and had our torches on until we ascend at 6:34pm.  Our aim was to maximize our time while at Apo Reefs, thus do three dives despite the limited time.  The refilling of tanks took much time thus the additional time requirements.  Watching the pinkish horizons as we descend was so calming and the display of pelagic, plus the friendly turtle was a real treat in our last dive.

The feather star looks different at night!

Indeed, diving at night is completely a different experience – wonderful experience I must say.  When dark falls, diverse species come out – those that can not be seen during the day dominate the reef like crabs, shrimps or lobster and even octopi, barracuda and shark.  The coral reef at night is a strange place.  And there’s one moment I wanted to witness again – the spawning of corals as it release thousands of bundles of eggs and sperm – it look so alive. An undeniable truth that corals are animals and not rocks as mostly perceived it to be. I think I need to have one night dive before the year ends!

NB.  Photos courtesy of Angel using Olympus Tough 8000 with PT 045 casing.