(Photo taken from Newredseadivers.com for illustrative purposes only.)
This past Monday evening after a full day of teaching, I met Jez, one of the instructors from Omanta Scuba and 2 other gentlemen at the Marina at 6pm for my 1st night-diving experience. It’s the first of 5 dives to qualify me for my Advanced Open Water Diving Course (which costs 170 rials). It also happened to be the last dive for the other student to complete his Advanced course. (Congratulations, Tom!) I’m glad that I got the “Adventures in Diving Manual” (PADI) beforehand to read up on the 24 pages (plus a 2-page Knowledge Review) which let me know what to expect and to prepare myself for this incredible experience.
You won’t see any of my personal pics for some time as no diver wants to mess around with cameras and get distracted during training. All in due time, dear reader. I do eventually plan to get into underwater photography and video so hopefully I’ll be able to share some of these awesome experiences with you all.
I really loved this experience and didn’t feel any of the scary/tense/stressful moments that the manual states that some divers occasionally experience on their first night dive. It was so cool how the underwater flashlight (or “torch” for you brits!) really brought out the color on the fish and coral. We dove at Cat Island because of its close proximity to the Marina. The last thing a diving centre wants to deal with when doing a night-dive is negotiating around fishnets that fishermen put out in the early evening which can cause boatrides to cautiously crawl along at a snail’s pace!
The coolest part of the night dive was the bioluminescence! Which the PADI Adventures in Diving manual describes as |chemical light flashes microscropic plankton generate when a diver disturbs them.”
Here’s an example of bioluminescense being washed ashore on one of the islands in the Maldives in this photo by Doug Perrine printed in this article from the Daily Mail (UK).
One of the first activities Jez had us do once we were on the bottom was to place our lights into our wetsuits. This essentially put us in complete darkness. Jez then began to wave his arms back and forth and countless numbers of plankton became to glow magically filling our area with light! It really was a beautiful moment that is hard to put to words and has to be experienced. I enjoyed during this time and time again as we spent the next 55 minutes exploring the underwater world around Cat Island. Here’s a nice video from National Geographic about this mysterious underwater phenomenon:If you are a diver here in Muscat and want to do some night-diving, contact Omanta Scuba. (Tel: +968-9770-0564) They don’t do night dives every week but they tend to go out either Monday or Tuesday (depending on the number of people who have signed up for it).
Have you ever experienced scuba-diving at night? If so, how did you find it? If not, I totally recommend it as it is one of the coolest experiences I’ve had here so far in Oman!