The Real Night Life- Night Diving The Great Barrier Reef
When planning a vacation one of the items most people include in the selection process is the types of nightlife that is available. Some vacations are almost strictly about the night life such as those doing a spring break. For the normal vacation we will make sure that the night life has a good selection to chose from: places like restaurants, movies, theaters, pubs, and nightclubs. The experienced scuba diver will also ensure that there are a number of dive sites for night diving.
Night diving is one of those activities that surprises people the first time they do one. Before the dive emotions run from bored, there won’t be anything to see, to anxiety what else is out there. After dive reactions are WOW it is so different and not what I expected. One of the advantages of taking a Liveaboard excursion on the Great Barrier Reef is that you will be able to do a night dive each evening.
When Is The Best Time For A Night Dive?
The best time to do a night dive is right before dusk. This will allow you do don your gear with some light and help you avoid disorientation when you enter the water. The first few times doing a night dive some divers will become disorientated, especially if they are doing a back roll entry. With a few dive experiences it will pass. As you descend a few feet you will see that night has already started to fall on the reef.
Is There Anything To See?
Many experienced night divers refer to diving at dusk as the shift change. It is the most populous and active time on the reef. The creatures that have been on the reef during the day are heading to the places they will spend the night and the night dwellers are getting active. Then there are the larger species who look upon this time as a free buffet. The reefs have many dwellers that only come out at night. While you might see an octopus or squid during the day, they will be numerous at night. Normal dive procedures have a night dive on a site that you have already been on before so that you have some familiarity with the site. If you have ever walked across your living room during a blackout with only a small flashlight, you will know even the familiar is unfamiliar.
The fist thing that the new night diver will notice is the color. The reef, especially the corals and smaller fish will seem to have taken on more color at night. What is really happening is that you are seeing the true colors in the beam of your underwater torch (flashlight). During the day, sunlight illuminates the reef, however as it travels to the depths the water filters out some of the colors. At night the torch is your light source and it is close to the objects you are seeing, so the filter effect is very small. Another consideration is that the area that your torch is illuminating is a small area and you will be concentrating more on that area than items outside of the beam. You will observe many items that during the day you would have just overlooked. Remember to sweep your light around every so often, there may be a turtle or manta ray shyly hanging just outside your light beam.
Who Can Night Dive And What Special Equipment Do I Need?
Any certified diver who is comfortable with their equipment and basic diving skills can do a night dive. Some dive operators may require advance training or a night dive certification, however most do not have that requirement. Night divers need a primary and a secondary light. Most divers already have a small pocket light kept in the BCD pocket which will work fine as a secondary light. As a general rule if the primary light fails the diver should switch to the secondary light and start to end his dive. Often a group leader will have a second secondary light that can be passed over so the diver still has a back up and continue diving. Many divers also have a tank light. Often these are simply chem-lights (glow sticks) attached to the tank yoke or a low power light. The purpose is to help locate your dive buddy if their back is towards you. If diving from a dive boat the boat will have some type of light to mark its location or dive line.
If you never done a night dive then by all means take one while on a Liveaboard, the experience will last a lifetime. If you are out for a few days consider taking the night specialty course