Diving Amongst Junk and the Night Life
For some people, immersing into the deep sea even at bright day light can evoke a feeling of claustrophobia. Now imagine diving in the sea at the pitch dark of night. Which sane person would willingly be taken into the depth of sea in the middle of the night, even armed with a torch in hand?
The scuba divers. That’s the answer. In the diving world, a popular activity is diving at night time, which is conveniently called as a night dive. What possibly can we be looking at under water at dark anyway? Probably similar to why people go visit Night Safari’s. To see creatures that never or rarely come out in the day, now doing their activities at night. Of course with the help of a torch.
It’s understandable that not all divers are a fan of night dives. Pretty nerve-wrecking to imagine getting into the sea blackened by dark of night, only the sight of a small light from the torch in our hand. More anxious when briefed about the signals to use in case of danger, again only with the help of a torch. Starting to feel the heart beating faster when warned to remember not swimming to close to the bottom due to populous sea urchins and stonefishes (something which should also be kept in mind diving in the day time).
Especially when told that when first getting into the water we must be careful with our torches because there might be what the locals call a “Sori” fish. It’s a long beaked fish that often jumps out of water, aka the Needlefish. Quite known for crashing at high speed into boats when jumping. In this case it could crash into us. My brain was starting to rethink this whole thing but my feet kept moving towards the boat.
This night’s dive, 16 October 2010, is done at Saonek Jetty, the jetty in front of Saonek Village. Diving will be between 5-10 metres. Not too deep. The first thing sighted was a plastic bag. Then a big can of Thinner which actually looked new. Yap, that’s right alright, we were diving amongst junk. There I was taking a chance of diving at night and all I saw was garbage everywhere.
But not long after a big Pufferfish appeared, probably around 40cm long. Followed by a Porcupinefish not smaller than the puffer. A lionfish with the similar size. And a quite big Stonefish as well. All kinds of shrimps and crabs in various sizes. Pillars of the jetty were covered with colourful life. And the most dumbfounding part, a Wobbegong Shark sleeping inside a barrel with its head leaning out. Looking so cute!
Aside from those variety of lifes, all kinds of inanimate objects (junk) spreading around was actually quite interesting to observe. Some starting a new form of life, for instance the baby stroller with its springing corals. The combination of rusting trash, sand, and little particles flying at night time creates a certain effect of its own. Dramatic.
I have to say that the diving that night was very enjoyable. Swimming between the pillars with a slight dim light from the jetty above gave it a different sensation. We even didn’t realize that we were diving for 82 minutes. Almost 1.5 hours!
Apparently diving at night is not as scary as we might’ve imagined, as long as we’re always aware of ourselves and make sure not to stray too far from our dive buddies. Remember the signals to user under water, arm ourselves with a reliable torch, and always keep in mind to never panic under water. Then, voila!, just enjoy the night life under the sea.
[Translated from my post in Bahasa Indonesia, Menyelam di antara Sampah dan Kehidupan Malam]