Time for me to do a rare night dive again. Much as I tried, no one wanted to swap, so despite my best efforts, it’s going to happen. At least I get a change of scenery and I am diving from the Hyatt on Middle Garden. Now the bay I’ve mastered, as its simply a matter of depth and following the lights from the bay, but the chances of getting disorientated (read ‘lost’) are greatly increased at Middle Garden as I don’t dive it as often. Not that I would actually get lost, more taking the scenic route back to the jetty!
While thoroughly briefed the procedures and plan, it appears that the guests are actually UK divers, and seem to think they may well see more tonight than on a bad day dive in their local lake….They may well be right. As we descend slowly, with torches pointed down to prevent making contact with the reef that is directly below, the visibility is fantastic. I might enjoy this more than I thought.
As the night sets in fully, the reef starts to shed its daytime persona and become a night-time canvas. I can see the torch reflecting the red eyes of the shrimp nestling deep in the reef, and I spot a green reflection on the sandy patch, probably a blue spotted ray, but it’s gone by the time we get that far. As we head to the drop off, I see something in the distance that I can’t quite place as being part of the reef during the day, and it’s huge. On closer inspection, I identify it as a basket star, a type of starfish, but it’s massive. It weaves with the current, feeding on tiny morsels that happen to float by. I’m truly astounded, as this is the first one I’ve ever seen on this scale. My enthusiasm is catching, and as my guest and I sit transfixed, it occurs to me that our time is nearly up and reluctantly we head back. The memory is still burning into my brain as we find ourselves under the jetty doing our safety stop. It’s only then I realise I didn’t even think about how to get back, it just happened!
What a great dive on two accounts. Not again for a while though, I’m trying to keep it strictly an annual event!