To a novice diver or even one inexperienced in night diving, the activity can conjure terrifying images of total darkness whilst being stalked by a hungry giant squid! The reality is somewhat different with most divers emerging from their first night dive simply wanting more! Life on the night reef is a new experience as fish sneak off to sleep, whilst the critters you never even knew existed come out to play. Take a look at our hints and tips for this edition as we help find ways to make your night dive as comfortable and exciting as possible.
Firstly navigation at night can present issues as you lose the ability to see vast areas for reference; limited instead to the parts lit by your torch. It is a good idea to dive in areas where you have dived a few times in the day in order to feel familiar with the site and its main features.
Secondly signs are much harder to use at night as unless your hands are lit, your dive companions have little hope of seeing the gestures you are making. Two main ways of signaling are to either shine the torch on your hand when you make a sign, or to use the torch as a means of signal by itself. Whichever you decide, it is important for divers to agree and practice how they will communicate on a dive.
Thirdly stay shallow, often a night dive is done at the end of the days diving and a shallow dive means you stay well within decompression limits. However shallow diving also means that air will last longer. Even the most air guzzling diver should be able to complete a 45 minute dive at 12 metres. This takes away a great deal of stress and allows for the extra consumption first time night dive anxiety can cause.
Fourth, it is a good idea to start the night dive as the sun starts to set in the sky, this way you start in some natural light and can slowly adjust as night begins to fall. The other great thing about this is that you see the reef as it transforms from day into night night and watch the fish pack up for the day and see the nocturnal critters coming out to play. Species such as the Spanish Dancer, Feathered Sea Star and many Urchins will only come out at night and are stunning under the light of a torch.
Fifth you will need to have the right gear, a primary torch and a back up light (at least one per buddy team) to cover the event of light failure. Make sure you know how to use both and secure both via a line to ensure you don’t run the risk of losing one. It is also a good idea to have some kind of marker device to indicate the exit point; for example a strobe or a glow stick.
Remember until 30th March 2012 we have a 25% discount on all courses so this could be a perfect time to take your night specialty. Also we are including the cost of torch rental for all night diving. If you wish to purchase your own torches there are some great deals to be had from our partner simplyscuba.com and as aRed SeaCollege or Red Sea Waterworld guest you benefit from a 10% discount on all underwater lights when you quote reference RSDC10.