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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Night Diving... A Divemaster's Challenge!!!

The biggest challenge of my Divemaster course was undoubtedly the night dive. 

As part of the Divemaster course, one of the requirements is to gain experience of a night dive, in the event that one day; I may need to guide one. For many this would seem very exciting and alluring, at the thought of diving into the unknown and to see the creatures that come out at night in a whole different light. 

Yet for me, I was a nervous wreck, filled with anxiety at the thought of descending into darkness.  This may seem unnatural behaviour as being a UK diver who is used to horrendous visibility and the volatile silty bottoms of Stoney Cove, night dives should be easy in comparison!

So the day had finally arrived! Everyone was relaxing at the dive shop eating chips and curry, talking about the day's dives and events while the sun was setting in the background. In reflection, this was quite calming, as the presence of the others made the run up to the dive a lot more bearable. I felt great comfort in the fact I was surrounded by awesome people and was going to be diving with the people whom I trusted the most.

Although I had dived Green bay so many times during my DM training, at night it seemed completely different as the typical scene changes. The fish and other creatures that are most active during the day retire and the nocturnal ones come out to play! Although I felt terrified, I was comforted by the fact that this was a site I knew well and had dived many many times before.


Once we had kitted up, we headed into the water.  Dropping down into the water, the first thing I noticed is that your vision narrows to only what is lit by your torch.  Yet when you look up, the reflection of the moon and stars and the lights from nearby hotels and restaurants can be seen through the surface of the water, which was really cool to see!  

It took a while for my eyes to adjust and for me to mentally get used to my surroundings. I had Shelley right next to me the entire way round, with the rest of the group in front and Pete leading the dive. 

A lot of my fears I had psychologically built up in my head, yet in reality, it wasn’t as bad as I had envisaged. Although it is pitch black, you can see your buddies dive light and know exactly where they are at all times, which for an anxious state of mind was very calming! 

Along the way, we saw a Lionfish and octopus swimming out in the open, a sea horse, shrimps and other really cool little creatures, which instantly took my mind off of the fact I was diving in darkness.  Towards the end of the dive, I was beginning to get used to night diving and I was shown possibly the coolest thing. We shielded our lights and waved around our hands, by doing this, we were able to see bioluminescent phytoplankton glowing in the water around me, emitting swirls of blue and green and yellow that had me captivated.  The process behind this is a chemical reaction called Chemiluminescence, where a creature produces light within their bodies! Although I wasn’t a fan of Night diving in the beginning, this certainly made the whole experience worthwhile! 


I really can see why some people find diving at night so appealing, I’m so pleased to say that I did it as the thought of a night dive filled me with dread, so I felt so proud of myself knowing I had overcome my biggest challenge and that a lot of my worries were purely psychological.

So the old saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” became apparent...in that what didn’t kill me, did make me a better divemaster!