Night Diving on Roatan is amazing.
Dive sites familiar during the day, transform into dark wonderlands of sparkling bio-luminescent organisms on night dives.
They only come out after dark. This not only true of vampires (Roatan is certified vampire free for 2016), but also of many reef creatures. Animals normally tucked away in cracks and crevices in daytime, are out foraging and socializing at night. For instance, King Crabs, Lobsters, and the elusive octopus can be rare finds in the daytime, but are commonly seen out and about on the reef at night.
On top of amazing, Night Dives are also the most colorful. Even on the shallowest of dives during the day, the sea water washes out some of the sunlight's spectrum, lending a bit of drabness to the colors of everything we look at. This changes dramatically at night with the use of underwater torches. The white light supplied by our LED torches offers up the full spectrum, and everything explodes with color. Brownish rope-sponges by day, transform into a brilliant red suitable for holiday decorations.
Night Dives last about an hour, and are conducted on the reef at about a depth of 40 feet. Near the end of the dive the group is led to a sand patch and everyone kneels down, or gets comfortable, and as agreed to in the dive briefing, turn out their lights. We know, this sounds a little creepy, but it can be the best part of the dive. First, it is not that dark. The whiteness of the sand reflects what little light there is, and the effect is much like a snow-covered night in other lands. Second, and this is what we are after, as our eyes become accustomed to the gloom tiny points of white light start to appear suspended in the water around us. As our eye continue to dilate to the darkness, more and more show themselves hanging in vertical strings in every direction. These are the "Strings of Pearls". On a good dark night they are out by the zillions, and with a little imagination you can find yourself floating out amongst the stars.
Night Dives start by getting together at the shop around dusk for a dive briefing and equipment check, and then we are on the boat and out to the reef as darkness falls. We will be back at the shop by 8:00 for something cool to drink and a bit of "Did you see that?".