Before I tell you about our night dive, I want to apologize for the blurriness of most of these photos. It’s extremely hard to juggle a camera and flashlight while swimming underwater. But the amazing undersea life is just too awesome not to share!
We head out to our dive site right at sunset. It’s actually the same spot as our first dive several days ago. At night it’s going to look completely different.
I’m eager to get in, but our dive master Fernando tells me to relax and watch the sunset first. He’s not wrong.
We don’t travel very far, just a few minutes from the dock.
When you’re sitting in the boat looking at the black water surrounding you, it can seem like a crazy idea to dive in. What kind of scary creatures lurk under the surface? How do you not get lost? Why would you ever want to do this? But I promise, it’s really cool! Some animals only come out at night, and frankly, I get so consumed trying to see (and photograph) everything that my biggest worry is losing my group in my distraction.
Before we start, Fernando walks us through our dive – what to expect, where we’ll be going and what animals to look for. He tells us if we see a Parrot fish, to quickly move our lights away. Apparently at night they surround themselves with a protective bubble. If we shine our lights on them for too long, they will burst that bubble to get away and cannot make a new one until the following evening. Therefore they are left unprotected for the remainder of the night. Poor fish!
The above picture is not a Parrot fish, don’t worry. I was too paranoid about shining my light on them to take a picture. This is a Squirrel fish.
One of the nocturnal sea creatures we see the most are sea urchins. I’ve seen them in other places during the day, but nary a one here in Roatan. So I’m glad to finally see them now.
It’s a shrimp! They don’t like the light so this guy takes cover further down, but not before I get a quick (blurry) photo.
A lobster hides in its hole, eyes shining in the light.
This anemone fairly glows in the beam of my flashlight.
A tiny Arrow Crab sits on this sea fan.
Another shrimp scurries away back into its hole.
Fernando points out this Flatfish. Check out those eyes.
After swimming around for awhile, we head back to the sandy area where we dropped in. Everyone switches off their flashlights so we can see the phosphorescent lights the male shrimp throw up to attract a mate. It’s a bit gross to think about, but also so cool to see – like stars in the night sky, except under water. We also agitate the water in front of us to see the Bioluminescent Phytoplankton. Too small to see during the day, these Plankton are only visible at night by the tiny light they give off.
It’s so relaxing with all the lights off, floating on the bottom that I almost want to take a nap! But of course, I’d run out of air soon enough, so we ascend back to the boat.
Back on shore, Emma is officially done with her advanced certification! She gets her picture taken for her dive card, wet hair and all. Congrats Em!
And with that, our last dive of the trip is done. We celebrate with a pizza and glass of wine provided by the hotel. Thank you so much to Fernando, Chip and Uys (pronounced Ace), our incredibly awesome dive masters. I wish we could stay another week and do more, but we have a fun day of sailing ahead of us tomorrow. Cheers!