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I'm newly certified PADI open-water diver, will be in St. Martin during full moon (Dec. 19). Is there anything special about diving under a full moon? (Insert jokes here about werefishes, etc.) Thanks in advance!
Full moon dives are incredible. I've done numerous full moon dives when I was stationed in Guam. The water in Guam was crystal clear and made for some of the most spectacular dives on a moon-lit night. Awesome visibility is a must. You want the kind of water where you can still see the surface from 150+. I regularly hit a spot called the ampitheatre. I was a very steep sloping reef that changed to a vertical dropoff at about 60'. At the bottom of the wall was a "pasta bowl" shaped area of pure white sand at 168ft. We would snorkel out about 200 yds to the edge and drop like a stone to conserve air, then sit in the sand and stare up at the reef which looked like a snow capped mountain under the moonlight. If it weren't for the extreme visibility, I have to say it would just be like any other night dive.
Disclaimer: Those dives were well beyond the recreational limit and I don't recommend those depths...they are dangerous:boom:
I like night diving period. I think you are smart to follow Chiara's advice on the torch. I would add that it would be sensible to have a fleece diveskin or a thin wetsuit for protection. It is still good to wear a glo-stick or other luminescent thing on your tank to make you more visible. Be slow & patient when searching for octopi. Sudden moves scare them away.
Thanks for your replies! The idea of night diving itself was obviously not quite clear to me. Am I right in thinking that there are quite different creatures, such as the octopi, that feed and move at night, and that these are better seen in dark water when illuminated by the torch? So the advantage of night diving is the different animal activity, right?
TravelinTex once bubbled... Thanks for your replies! The idea of night diving itself was obviously not quite clear to me. Am I right in thinking that there are quite different creatures, such as the octopi, that feed and move at night, and that these are better seen in dark water when illuminated by the torch? So the advantage of night diving is the different animal activity, right?
Many reef creatures are nocturnal. They come out to hunt and are sometimes preyed upon by other critters. No small part of this is the coral itself, which often opens up to feed. It looks totally different.
Octopi, eels, certain sharks, coral crabs, Caribbean spiny lobsters and many other creatures are more active at night. Conversely, some daytime creatures are settling in for the night. One of our regular night dive sites has a resident hawksbill turtle which settles under the same overhang night after night.
Places that are alive with fish during day get very quiet at night. A lot of the fish will find a convenient hole in the coral and sleep. There are shoals of fish out that seem to prefer the dark. If you are feeling mishchievous you can steer the shoals with your torch
I seen quite a few shrimps out at night and they are really colourful under torchlight. Lots of feather coral and Nudibranches out at night too.
Something else I havent seen mentioned yet is the COLOR! Colors fade away as your depth increases, and diving the same spot at night with a light (esp an HID) can make the colors not previously seen in the daytime just jump out at you. You can get the same effect by using a light during the day, but it isnt as dramatic.