Diver in the dark.
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO -- I just returned here from Cozumel, after spending the evening doing two night dives.
You might wonder what point there is in diving at night, when it's dark
outside, and you therefore can't see anything.
In reality, however, night is a great time for scuba diving, because, contrary to one's likely intuition, you can see more
than you can during the daytime.
During the day, you have to rely on light from the sun. Sunlight is okay, but the water filters sunlight, and the deeper you go, the fewer colors you can see, until finally, at the greatest depths, you can see only dark blue.
At night, however, you use an underwater flashlight. With the light source so close to what you're looking at, you lose none of that color, and see things you never knew were there.
In addition, you see things that were not, in fact, there during the day. Coral looks stony and non-living during the day. At night, it becomes "fuzzy" as its tiny mouths open up for it to feed, and you can see that it is indeed a living creature.
While the fish from the daytime are still present (though many are asleep--giving you a great opportunity to see them up close), other nocturnal creatures emerge as well. For example, on these dives, I saw five octopuses in 50 minutes, in addition to squid, sting rays, spotted eels, and even great barracuda on the hunt.
I had a flashlight on my morning dives today, too, because they were in underwater caves. It's breathtaking to observe the formations from floor to ceiling, which have grown at a rate of 1 centimeter per 100 years.
I dove today is called Dos Ojos
, and it is connected to the second largest cave system in the world.
What makes some people nervous about this kind of diving is that once you are down in the cave, there is no opportunity to come up for air until the end, come what may. My fellow divers and I had some relief from this condition, though, because we were able to rise above the surface in one of the cave's rooms--to observe the bats hanging and flying throughout it, inches above our heads.
If you know anyone who suffers from claustrophobia, lygophobia, fear of diving, and fear of bats, by all means, send them down at once to be cured.
- posted by J. H. Huebert at 1:32 AM