One of the most unique offerings at West End Divers is our weekly Blackwater dive. Each week, just after sunset we take three to six customers out to the edge of the reef, where the bottom drops off to more than 1,000 feet, and tether everyone to the boat. Armed with flashlights and cameras, we jump into the abyss in our SCUBA gear and watch as the abyss stares back.
To our knowledge, we are the only dive shop offering customers a Blackwater experience anywhere in the Caribbean, and are one of only two shops offering Blackwater dives in the Americas. As a result of our particular expertise in this area, we are able to share a unique underwater world with our customers that few people even know exists.
The first thing you will notice on your Blackwater dive is that it is a full sensory experience. You will feel the current pull against your BCD, and hear the water rush against your ears. Adrenaline courses through you body, and you work will work to control your breath. The second thing you will realize is that the ocean after dark is filled with unexpected light; even without your flashlight, far away from the lights of Roatan’s West End, nearly microscopic phosphorescent creatures will react to your body in the water, highlighting your shape with light.
As you turn on your light, you will peer into the black night. At first, you may not notice the rush of life around you, but as your focus narrows and your breathing slows, you will notice creatures in the deep you have never even seen pictures of before.
Sea butterflies abound. Tiny squid gambol in front of your light. Stray banded reef crabs are swept by into the dark nothingness beyond you. Juvenile filefish, pipefish, seahorse, pipehorse, octopus, and a million other creatures you will not even begin to be able to identify will fly by your face. Our resident Blackwater specialist Courtney Blankenship calls them “tiny aliens.”
This nightly migration of creature from the deep search for resources like oxygen and food is on full display during our weekly dives. While we can’t guarantee you any specific creatures, we can guarantee that you will see many things you have never seen before.
Contact us today to schedule your Blackwater diving experience. And to see some of our recent finds, check out photography, author, and friend of the shop Mickey Charteris’ blog. If you want to work on your Blackwater photography skills, ask us about our course offerings with Mickey and Courtney!
Can’t wait to dive with you soon and share this experience with you!