It happens once a year (less if I can help it!), but tonight I’ve got a Night Dive to conduct. It does, however, mean I get a nice lie in and the day off to potter around and catch up on some housework / washing / cleaning.  Night diving is very much like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. I leave you to decide which side you think I’m on!
So as sunset arrives, I find myself briefing my guests, who are all part of one group of divers on holiday together and this is their last dive.  As we kit up, I realise I have their attention a little more than normal. Torch signs have to be shown (making sure the shining of torch beams in peoples eyes is pointed out as a beer fine offence). One minute rule for a separated buddy team becomes vital and we are sure to set a max time in-case a buddy pair go astray.  With guests looking like Christmas trees all lit up, we head to the water.  It is some peoples first night dive, and I can hear nervous chatter as we prepare to descend. Once down, I do a thorough count of torches, check we have everyone (now is not the time for someone to realise they left their fins in the centre) and it’s off we go.
Buoyancy is especially important at night, as we tend to dive a lot slower to identify fish and corals, and you will spend more time hovering and pivoting that you do on a normal dive. Also, the person in front will not thank you for kicking up sand on an already dark night dive. The effect is something like driving with sidelights in fog.
As we amble around, and I stop every few minutes to count the torches, we see loads. The Lionfish are always the biggest attraction, as they come out to hunt, and use the light of our torches to identify their dinner.  The Urchins are all perched proudly on top of the reef, their little eye roving around (just so you know, they also go to the toilet out of the same place…ugh!).  The red eyes gleaming back at you give away the hiding shrimp, buried deep in the reef plate. Towards the end, the parrot fish start making their nightly cocoons, enabling them to hide their scent and electrical pulses and get a good nights sleep.  Lastly, just before we stand up and de-kit, it’s torches off and dance time. Lost the plot? Nope, we are agitating the water to get the plankton to ‘glitter’, an amazing sight and probably my favourite part of a night dive.
The guests pack their bags for the final time, and we head for a well deserved beverage (later than everyone else obviously). The table is definitely a split one, love it and hate it. But unlike Marmite, no one regrets it!