Steph and I had been night diving before in Mauritius just over a year ago, it was a nervous first dive, but amazing once we got into it. On this trip we were going to get two night dives which we were really looking forward to.
When it came to the evening of the first day we had dove three times already and had settled down to dinner when a small storm hit! When I say small I mean a tropical storm with thunder and lightening and moderate winds that picked up the swell, now not one’s to wimp out we were all set to go but there was a little concern that we were a little exposed once in the water to the elements! Oscar the dive leader assured us all was fine and was no issue, so off we jumped into the black abyss!
Now for those of you who have not Scuba’d before or night dived before the best way to describe what it is like down there is driving down a country lane without any street lights, you rely solely on your headlights and you see only what they allow you to see. When you do see something it is often like a rabbit in the headlights.
At night we only dive for 30 minutes for safety reasons and this first dive the friendly German instructor Steffen guided us through the dark. 30 minutes is enough time to spot the night life and also see the reef in a whole new colour scheme, torches cutting through the blue and green hues of the ocean that we see during the day and shining brightly on the colourful array of marine life. This was a great dive.
Day two, again we had dived three times and were settling into dinner and the Reef afforded us a calm evening with a fantastic sunset.
That calm was somewhat broken for some of the dive boat when we heard a call of Sharks from the back of the boat! Everyone rushed out and low and behold we had sharks around the boat. Rightly or wrongly plates are rinsed with sea water into the ocean, this leaves a small trail of crumbs in the water that attracts fish into feed, each size of fish attracts a bigger fish until eventually you get the sharks coming in, that’s what we had a Fish Battle Royale off the back of the boat! Oh and did I mention we jump off into the melee? Oh and did I mention this was also going to be a self guided dive, our first!!! Now the thought of this made us nervous and excited at the same time, and the thought of sharks just elevated the adventure.
Now I have to admit the White tip sharks were not going to do anything to us, but the thought of diving with Shark’s sans cage that were longer than I was tall is still a little intimidating. We got suited up and we jumped into the middle of the melee.
The dive was fantastic it was great to go off on your own in the dark and following your own route, we did not see another dive group as we swam through the reef seeing all sorts of nightlife including a massive crab, a plethora of reef fish, sea cucumbers, nudebranchs and a Lion fish. The later is a varietal that can pretty much kill you if you’re young or old and if you are in the middle and in good health you might be lucky with a couple of weeks of excruciating pain!!
Once it was time we headed back towards the boat which is a big glow on the surface, but the scene is like something out of the film the Abyss with torchlight’s and bubbles illuminating and filling the ocean beneath the boat as all groups head back, it’s a pretty awesome sight. On the way up I had a shark swim about a metre from me and then at the surface Steph saw another one come even closer as I was waiting to climb up the ladder!