the terrors of the night

Like a lot of kids, I was scared of the dark.

the terrors of the night...
the terrors of the night…

Now that I’m big,  I’m  ….still afraid of the dark.  I run from my bed to the bathroom at night,  I run from my car to the front door.  I’m fairly certain there’s a zombie infestation every time the sun goes down, the dark is scary and full of the unknown.

So you can imagine I was pretty uninterested in doing night dives, from the beginning of my diving career.  I’m already fairly certain there is a boogie man, why would I possibly jump into the water….where all my senses are dulled and all my physical actions slowed by drag…at night? The only thing I could possibly see would be caught in the beam of feeble light from a flash light, while my imagination conjured creatures unknown in the rest of the space not lit.

My first night dive was, for lack of a better word, a shit show.  I was in Barbados, certified only months previously in California.  A fairly large group of us decided to give night diving a try, and the sketchy operation we were using agreed to it.  They took us, either newly minted divers/almost newly minted divers, to a “dive” sight in the middle of the bay, with no reef to follow, and nothing too exciting to see.  WE jumped off the boat in full darkness, and proceeded to flounder around in the warm water for 20 minutes approximately, trying not to kick each other in the face/get eaten by sea monsters/keep the damn lights turned on.

i don't know for sure, and i have no scientific evidence of this, but these guys are definitely waiting for me every time I park my car.
i don’t know for sure, and i have no scientific evidence of this, but these guys are definitely waiting for me every time I park my car.

So you can imagine I had enough of that.  I could see no real benefit of diving at night (i’m diving to see stuff under water, you can’t see in the dark) and the anxiety it caused was enough stop me from seeking it out.

I did some more night dives.  Really infrequently.  They didn’t interest me.  I spent most of the dive trying not to get separated/panic about what was coming for me.  It wasn’t until I was in Honduras that I finally found peace with the night dive.  I remember leading my first amazing, eventful, and perfectly navigated night dive at Bandeau beach….surfacing right at the ladder of the Neptune.

a common stargazer...and this is the kind of shit i am looking for!
a common stargazer…and this is the kind of shit i am looking for!

There are many specifically nocturnal creatures that are truly a treat to see.  That night an Bandeau I saw a Southern Stargazer, multiple octopuses who hung around, squid, a southern stingray….all the things I saw, I can’t even remember.  I felt exhilarated and accomplished.

What happened was,….I didn’t lose my fear of the darkness (it’s still there, I still run to my car), its that the excitement and passion I feel about sea creatures (night or day) outweighed the fear.  Seeing the mucus membrane around a sleeping Parrotfish, or normally shy Angel Sharks out and about….Leopard sharks on the prowl, octopus dancing in the beam of a flashlight, the green glow of a bat rays eyes…it suddenly became worth it.

nightbubbles this weekend…


(here’s a secret though, a seal swam at me last weekend on a night dive and I got pretty worried.  A small, torpedo shaped object speeding at you out of the dark….spooooky).

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