James’ First Night Dive

James’ job required him to be on-call every few weekends and because of this diving during the day is not an option.  In order to stay sharp on our dive skills, we’ve decided to start making night diving part of our weekly routine (whenever possible).  This entry is about our first night dive and what we saw and experienced…


It was a bit chilly outside but James and I were excited to go diving.  Two days earlier James had picked out some really nice dive lights at Tsunami Scuba on Camp Foster, and he was anxious to test them out.  We slipped into our wet dive gear (I had done 5 dives throughout the day and James had earlier done some Stand-Up Paddle boarding in his gear)…such a miserable feeling!  After running through our pre-dive safety check, I reviewed our dive objectives and signaling procedures.  On came our dives lights and off we went down the steps and into the water.


We kicked out to where the reef dropped off and made our descend.  Our first task was to just relax and control our breathing.  Night diving can be a bit freaky so we just took a few moments to get comfortable….then we both turned off our lights.  To James’ surprise (and delight), there was enough ambient light for us to see each other and the basic contours of the reef underwater.  James enjoyed being in the dark so much in fact that he unexceptionally turned off his dive light a few times later on when we started going into deeper water.  To say the least, I was not too happy about this (thinking I had lost my husband ever time his light went out!) and motioned for him to leave the light on for the rest of the dive.


James Diving At The Ark Dive


After a few minutes of relaxing on the bottom, we turned our lights on and began to head south along the reef wall.  At first, I faintly heard what I thought were whales singing underwater.  As we got deeper, the noises became louder.  I wrote on my dive slate, “WHALE SINGING!” and then showed it to James.  He signaled back a big “OK” with his dive light and we continued our dive.


At one point, we spotted two cornetfish grouped together and when we approached they didn’t even try to swim away…in fact, they swam towards us.  I’m not sure if our dive light were attracting them or not but they came within an arms reach of both James and I.




After giving up hopes of seeing anything awesome (haha), like a cuttlefish or octopus, I decided to focus on the micro-fauna of the reef.  First I noticed hinge-beak shrimp staring out at James and I from within the coral.  On day dives, I never see these little guys, but at night they are everywhere!  It can be kind creepy seeing all their beady, little eyes staring at you!  I slowly maneuvered my camera into place a managed to get a few good pictures of them.


Hinge-Beak Shrimp


Next I came upon what I originally thought was some type of nudibranch – turns out it’s a type of flat worm that goes by the name Pseudobiceros hymanae.  I posted the photo of the supposed nudibranch on a prevalent the facebook group  “U.F.O.’s – Underwater Flying – Okinawa Scubadivers” asking if anyone knew the name.  To my delight Randy Birt responded back with the correct identification and also informed me that this type of flatworm was thought to be living in areas further to the south of Okinawa.  As he said in his post, “Can you say range extension?”  haha. I also had another fellow diver post the following link to show the flatworm swimming away from the reef (http://www.footagesearch.com/video_clips/NH10_170).  After having taken several pictures of it, I turned away from it to get my husband’s attention so he could see it.  When I turned back around the flat worm had completely disappeared!  At the time I thought, “Wow…That nudibranch sure moved quick.”  Now I know better!


Flat Worm – Pseudobiceros hymanaeh


As we neared our exit point, I noticed something that looked like a crab with some sort of crazy plants growing on its shell.  I slowly approached so as not to scare the mysterious creature.  Because my husband was running low on air, I quickly snapped some photos (most didn’t turn out!) and then we started our safety stop together.  After speaking with a fellow instructor, she told me I had seen a decorator crab with tube worms growing on its shell.  Below is a the best picture I took.


Decorator Crab With Tube Worms


Night diving is awesome, and I’ve learned more about several underwater creatures in the past week than I have in a long time!  James and I are planning to make some more night dives this coming Friday.  Our plan is to stay in the shallows for at least of of the dives to see if we can find another decorator crab (so I can get better photos) and other neat creatures.  I’ll keep you posted on what we find!