If you find scuba diving at day-time fun and exciting, wait until you try night diving because descending in the cover of darkness presents you with a world unlike no other. It might come as a surprise to you that diving at a known location during the evening becomes a whole new experience as everything becomes a little more interesting and mysterious.
Diving in the evening can be twice as rewarding as day-time diving given the proper training. You can venture into this after getting your Open Water Diver Certification to learn the essential skills that you need to be able to descend safely and confidently in the darkness. Your instructor will not only help you get the most from your dive but he will also teach you to be proactive in the water so you can handle whatever situations may arise.
Scuba diving essential tips
The majority of the equipment used for day-time diving is the same with night diving but you’ll need a primary and backup torchlight when exploring the underwater world in the dark. It’s also advisable to attach some sort of beacon light or snap light, preferably on your tank to make you more visible to your buddy and other divers behind you.
When selecting a location for your first evening plunge, the rule of thumb is to choose a site that you’ve already visited during day-time. This way, you already have an idea of the topography of the site which can make navigation easier. Settling on a familiar area also gives you a chance to observe the stunning changes that take place as darkness slowly dominates around you. Experiencing the same location while the sun is still out and when the sun goes down is like having access to two amazing parallel realms. However, if you’re going to a location that you’ve never been to before, it’s best to learn the layout of the area during the day before attempting an evening dive.
For beginners, it’s better to gear up while there is still a fair amount of light above so you can conveniently check your equipment especially your torch (test by turning it on and off) before making your descent. If possible, use the same type of scuba gear that you’re already familiar with so that you can feel more confident and comfortable in the water.
What better way to experience the spectacular nightlife scene than to go on a Cabo Night Dive? The best time to make your descent at Cabo San Lucas Bay is at dusk so that you can watch the amazing transition as some animals retire for the night while others find a fresh surge of energy as darkness falls. Not everyone can have this kind of privilege so you should never pass up on this amazing nature show. See critters like crabs, lobsters, parrotfish, eels, and octopuses come out of their sleeping chambers to play and hunt. For instance, the octopus is a shy creature and prefers to hide during the day but it finds comfort in the darkness as it emerges to hunt. Get a chance to see this intelligent creature swim after its prey and change color to match its environment. Eels also tend to hide in cracks and crevices while there is still light and pursue prey when the light fades. Wouldn’t it be exciting to see this long-bodied creature gliding in the water? If you’re lucky, you might also encounter a shark passing by or a majestic manta ray cruising in the moonlight.
Reefs are crawling with tiny inhabitants that rest and seek protection in the corals from nocturnal predators including different kinds of fish that snooze in small holes. Although it might be fascinating to see sleeping marine creatures, do not attempt to touch them for your own safety. Some marine animals possess certain defense mechanisms and waking them from their slumber might make you a target of their sharp spines or razor-edged appendages. Regardless if the marine creatures are sleeping or awake, touching can hurt them especially those with sensitive physiology. For instance, Groupers that have been subjected to repetitive petting by divers may lose their protective coating and become susceptible to lice and other parasites. Groping and grabbing marine creatures can also put them in a lot of stress so keep your hands to yourself and just admire them from a safe distance.
Another equally important thing to remember while you’re exploring the underwater world is to be aware of your torchlight. Don’t shine your torch directly into the eyes of marine creatures because the beam can stun or startle them. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t focus your torch on the eyes of fellow scuba divers as well because it can disorient them.
If you’ve heard of some people speak of how magical diving is in the dark, they are probably referring to bioluminescence. This so-called “magic” is actually the natural production of visible light created by tiny plankton type organism’s chemical reaction. This astonishing underwater display of colors and light is almost like an LED light show but there are no cables or crew operating the switch because it’s all part of nature. Hearing about it is incredible enough but witnessing it with your very own eyes is priceless.
You’ll get to experience all these with a dive buddy so it’s important to coordinate closely with one another. Proper communication is vital in every underwater descent but unlike during the day when you use hand signals, you need to learn various light signals to coordinate with your buddy in the darkness. Prior to the dive, you can practice light signals with your partner to determine what light movements you will use to attract each other’s attention and convey different messages. Remember that you are responsible for each other so it’s crucial that you keep a close eye on one another at all times.
If you’ve never done an evening dive before, don’t you think it’s about time to change that? Even if you are not new to night diving, there is always something fun and exhilarating waiting to discover.