Floating, weightless surrounded by the blackness of the ocean at night time, that eery sensation of not knowing what lies beyond the glow of your flash light, that’s the first feeling I got on my very first Black Water Dive.
For many, I am sure Black Water Diving is a new term in the diving world, or maybe even something you have never heard of before, so what is it? Well, you head off into the middle of the ocean, where it’s deep. Really deep. At least 300m deep, and deeper seems to be better, of course its “Black Water” so this is at night time.
Diving out in the middle of the ocean at night has its concerns. The main one is the depth, you wouldn’t want anyone sinking down to the bottom. The second, is losing a diver. You’re out in the middle of nowhere and it’s dark. On the first attempts at Magic Island, we had the divers tethered to the boat via a 20m rope with a weight on the bottom and a carabiner clip attaching them to it. This allowed them to slide up-and-down the rope, but they couldn’t slide of the end due to the weight. The issue here is movement. The boat drifts along at a different speed and sometimes direction to the diver, depending on the current and the wind. This results in the divers been pulled along and unable to look at any creatures. In short; it doesn’t work and the freedom you get from diving is gone.
The fix to our issues was somewhat simple and a little scary, at first. After asking around to a few friends (thank you) we discovered you only need one line attached to a small buoy, not the boat, with a weight on the end. Then you need lots of lights and some strobes. The strobes are attached to the buoy, so the boat crew can easily keep watch. The flash lights are attached to the line at certain depths, we chose 7m, 14m and 21m which is the end of the line. Then you jump in and dive around the line. This helps with having a reference and more light to see stuff. And the stuff… that’s why you’re really here at this point, at this time of day.
That eery feeling, been lost at sea, sinking to the bottom of the ocean, all of these concerns soon go to the back of your mind as you become memorised by creatures you never imagined existed. Everywhere you look there’s something to see, the ocean out here is absolutely full of life. Jellyfish, siphonophores and comb jellies are a certain, and they all have their own beautiful display, from neon lights to strange flamboyant dances, or both. Cephalopods are also a common sight, especially small squid that dart around leaving jets of ink in the water as they get spooked. Less common is the paper nautilus, a pea sized animal that clings to debris drifting through the water column. I could fill the rest of the blog with all the critters you can see, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.
The best way I can explain the feeling you get from black water dives, is to imagine mixing the nervous excitement you had when you took your first breaths underwater, and the sense of wonder and awe after completing your most amazing muck/critter dive. If your looking for the next adventure in the scuba world, make sure to visit Magic Island and book on a black water dive.
For more information about Magic Resorts visit their website by clicking here.
Written by: Jamie Gladwin – dive center manager and PADI Course Director at Magic Island Dive Resort.