When the sun falls below the horizon it initiates a stir amongst the nocturnal ocean residents, those who harbor in cracks and crevices during the daylight hours now emerge. Shrimp begin to leap and wander, sea urchins appear to wobble along the bottom and even the Pacific Octo might make an appearance. If you’re up for it, night diving can be a unique opportunity to witness some of the most spectacular moments underwater. It allows us to experience old dive sites in different and exciting ways. If you’re a night diving pro and diving in complete darkness with only your torch to lead has lost its exhilarating quality, recharge your night dives with UV light dives!
Corals and sea creatures have florescent proteins that can’t be seen by the diver’s naked eye or with the type of light emitting from our torches. An ultra violet light (also known as a black light) emits the correct fluorescence wavelength and the coral then emits a wavelength that is captured by a yellow filter that divers can place over their masks. With the UV lights and filters we can experience the true colours of the ocean life that we as divers have become so comfortable with but now seem so beautifully foreign. The crab shells are bright-blue, kelp are deep-red, the shrimp glow and white anemones are psychedelic multicolour! UV night dives have quickly become a favorite between the girls at the shop, and we find ourselves making a special trip after work at least once a week, usually kicking off our weekends on Fridays.
We know it’s finally “Friday Night Lights” after we close up shop, load the van and start blasting our favorite oldies (we’ve been enchanted with the sounds of the fifties for the past two weeks). Keep your eye open for the “Locker’s” big white van with the dazzling trio of women driving through the city and heading to Horseshoe Bay. Once the playlist is prepared we then make the crucial decision of what site we will explore that night. The main two sites for night diving are Whytecliff and Kelvin’s Grove however as of late we have become interested in Caulfield Cove. Here we descend to a view of Stanley Park as the sun casts its final shadows and ascend to the Lionsgate Bridge sparkling amongst the stars. Caulfied Cove is less of a wall dive and more of a cluster of reef formations. Purple sea stars clinging on to every rock, flounders the size of bath mats and the supply of frosted, leopard, and hooded nudibranchs are endless.
The UV light makes every square inch of space new and captivating. We always ascend with more mysteries then we started with; a bounty of fresh crab shells as the elusive octopus still hunts unfound, and an encounter with an unfamiliar fish – could it be a baby wolf eel?
Photo cred: Chelsea Cameron
If you still feel nervous about venturing out for a dive after sundown and would like a guide, or if the idea of using an UV lights spark an interest for you and your dive buddy, come join the Diving Locker on Monday nights! Start your week right with a UV light night dive!