Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Scuba Night Dive

There are advantages and disadvantages to night diving the most obvious difference being the fact that it is completely pitch black. Why, then, you ask would anyone in their right mind want to scuba dive during the night? Because the amazing manta rays surface during the evening hours to feed on krill. There are also an amazing variety of fish that swim in schools around the water column of plankton.

This dive I was able to scuba by myself while Dennis snorkeled the dive site with the kids. Austin wanted to scuba, however you must be a certified diver in order to safely join the underwater campfire.

Darby not as enthusiastic as we were to be there. She made her way out with the help of another diver, Ryan, who was also a researcher and videographer. Austin and Dennis followed and he was able to take a few snapshots while wrestling his gear which included a BCD, flashlight, camera, and two kids! He is a good man!

Campfire? In order to attract or trick the krill into thinking that sunlight is present in any given location you bring with you light. Flashlights were given to each diver. The campfire as the dive master called it was a high powered luminous light that was set into the rocks it's column of light ascending toward the surface around which each of the scuba divers found a place void of sea urchins to settle in for the manta ray ballet.

After a short descent to the bottom, I found a space and with as few spiny creatures as I could spot and hoisted a large boulder into my lap to stay in place to watch the show just overhead. From the depths of darkness the graceful and majestic manta slowly approached. It was a little erie at first especially knowing that the only creatures visual to me were those directly in my light path or in and around the campfire. I watched the female manta with about a seven foot wingspan barrel roll up and over then fly from side to side narrowly missing other diver's heads by mere inches. She was a joy to watch even when she came over my own head I was less than intimidated, I was engrossed with the beauty of the dance.

The manta here is directly over head and the reflection of Ryan's videography lights are on the underbelly of the manta. I am the diver in the foreground.

Darby was ready for bed as soon as she got aboard the boat and quickly found a life vest for a pillow, towels for blankets and Captain Russ to sing lullabies!

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