We arrive at Goat Island. After a hot car ride, everyone for once is eager to get into the cold water. With a sense of ebullience in the van everyone is looking forward to their first night dive. Gathered on a hill, overlooking the water Pat the instructor assess the conditions. The water is transparent, so clear that the rocks beneath the surface are visible. Today there’s going to be three dives in total one day dive and two night dives. All of us hurry back to the van to get ready and go through our buddie checks. Wetsuits and all of our gear on we set briskly walking down the hill to the water. Approaching the water slipping and struggling over the algae covered rocks that surface through the sand. After a short struggle everyone put there fins on and kicks out deeper, letting there BDCs cradle them and sail over the water. After a while of kicking everyone meets at the flag.
It’s a fun dive and in our buddie teams we chose to do our own dives. With my two buddies Gana and Ella we decide to go out deep and navigate back to the flag in a straight line. Kicking out staying together at around six meters we descend, sinking down the cold water oozes into our wetsuits. Managing to get down and all signaling “okay” to one another, I set my compass bearings and kick away. Ella amd Gana follow my lead as we glide through the water. Gana waves at the snapper that swims next to us. Passing leather jacket fish and blue maomao Ella manages to get very close to the fishes that become curious. Flying over the vast amount of kelp beneath spotting Red Moki that hide. After a 30 Minute dive everyone thumbs up and ascend. Above the water, close to shore, we wait to see the others while raving about the dive.
After reaching shore and getting dressed. Chatting we all sit on the concrete soaking up the sun. The BBQ fired up and Pat cooks sausages and lamb chops with a slaw for dinner, munching on our feed. The sun sets leaving a lingering rosy stain. And Pat briefs us about the night dive ahead. Two dives one skill based and the other a fun dive in buddy teams. We head down to the water suited in our gear torches lighting the way. This time the sand has buried the rocks making it easy to get in. The water is no longer see through but a mirror of the sky. The waves from our fins lined in the moonlight kayaking us through the water. Again everyone meets at the flag regulators in and descend, flashlights creating a tunnel of light. Once down Pat signals us to buddy up and take turns navigating. I am with Thomas, my eyes focused on the glow of my compass I lead us out and back in a straight line. Returning to the group everyone uses their flashlight to do some signals. Then it’s lights out. Torches pressed to our chest, the darkness swallowed us as bioluminescence white dots appear everywhere. After three minutes removing our lights from our chests we ascend.
With the same previous buddies I had me Ella and Gana set off together. Using the same dive plan as before, kicking out deep then navigating back. Getting Deep enough we descend allowing the torches to become our eyes. My flashlight is a Hollis minni so the light beam is small compared to Ellas and Ganas light, that have adjustable beams. But having a smaller beam helps me to direct my eyes to the smaller details. So I did not mind. Being very cautious not to shine our torches in the fish’s eyes we saw colour come to life. Bright blue nudi branches and yellow coral. And noticed small but beautiful details of how snappers scales shine, the tint of blue on an eagle ray and the yellow fins on leather jackets. And Getting shallower I start to use natural navigation watching the creases in the sand become more defined. Low on air and close to shore we ascend kicking back to shore. Back at the van everyone packs away there gear and tell each other about their dives. For the most part of it everyone enjoyed night diving. I loved each moment of it and will continue to do them. Night diving for me helped me appreciate the small details that would be overlooked during the day. And I will always be grateful for night diving as an second option of convenience for those that work.
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By Zara Ata