Having never done a night dive, Halloween seemed like a great excuse to get into the water under the cloak of darkness. I met the Frog Dive crew at Clifton Gardens where we enjoyed a few tasty treats and did a little pumpkin carving. It’s an amazing group, and I’d highly recommend joining a few of their outings if you can.
As the sun started to set we kitted up, had the dive briefing, and checked our torches. I was concerned the water was going to be chilly, but I was pleasantly surprised as it was a comfortable 20°C. We opted to do a walk in, in order to minimise any impact on the few fisherman out on the jetty. And then, as the sun slipped below the horizon, so too did we slip below the surface.
Initially there was a little light penetrating the surface from the setting sun. But it quickly vanished, and soon we were shrouded in complete darkness. I was amazed by just how comfortable I felt, having thought I’d be more nervous about being in the water after dark. It was surprisingly calming.
I switched between two torches, the Mares EOS 10RW and the Hyperion HFL-1000R, both of which were 1000 lumens. The Mares is a wide beam torch, with a beam angle of 120°. It doesn’t have great reach, but it illuminates a large area, making it perfect for both night dives and photography (or videography). The Hyperion, on the other hand, has a powerful 8° beam, which cut through the darkness like a knife. But while is has good reach, the narrow beam means you only have a small window into the darkness. Both worked well, and I happily switched between them depending on the situation. That said, I probably marginally preferred the Mares for the night dive, and used it for 75% of the time.
We saw some amazing critters including nudibranchs, baby cuttlefish, decorator crabs, and multiple fish species. Somehow I didn’t manage to find any seahorses, which is unusual for Clifton Gardens. That said, we made up for this by seeing an abnormally large number octopuses, one of which decided to make his way up the divemasters arm and hold on.
After exploring under the jetty, and along the nets, we swam through a hole in the net and made our way back onto the beach. We were in the water for just over an hour, and it was magical. I’ll definitely be doing a few more night dives in the near future.