Night diving in the ocean is an extremely rewarding experience. The same reef you visited during the day turns into a radical display of the ocean’s finest out to search for food in the cover of night.
I have done numerous night dives in my scuba diving career, but I recently had the pleasure of doing one of the best night dives I have ever done in Cozumel, Mexico with my group from Dive Utah.
We hopped on our boat from our resort, Sunscapes Sabor, and in less than 30 seconds we were at our dive site, Columbia Reef.
The divemaster gave us the briefing about what we might see on our dive. How often do you see everything they mention? For us, this was true! We couldn’t believe the amount of life we saw.
Being in Cozumel, this was a drift dive. We entered the water and floated along as the boat followed our lights. As we descended on the reef, the dark became light with the multitude of divers’ lights. Fish were scattering about as our lights reached the reef. We kept a close eye on the reef below us with the dark, open ocean on our left hoping to see some cool creatures. Our maximum depth was 37 feet.
First, we saw the usual spiny lobster and king crab, but then, a southern stingray came out of the sand and glided out into the darkness. As we drifted along, sea snakes and spotted moray eels appeared and were out swimming around. Suddenly, a squid darted off in front of us! Then, an octopus was spotted moving about the reef, changing color over and over again. Seeing an octopus camouflaging itself was a sight to see! To our surprise, we saw another octopus doing exactly the same thing as the first one!
After we thought we saw it all, hawksbill sea turtles (3 to be exact) gracefully exited their overhangs and swam to greet us! To top it off we also saw a cuttlefish, cushion sea star, and stonefish. There were also numerous fish including sergeant majors, butterfly fish, trunkfish, porcupine fish, trigger fish, skates, yellowtail snapper, French and Queen angelfish, scrawled filefish, parrotfish, and durgon fish.
As the dive went on, the annoying plankton began to hit our hands, as they were attracted to our lights. The numerous plankton brought out a bait ball at the end of dive. The bait ball seemed to hang out with us on our safety stop, moving in between and dancing around our group.
As it was time to ascend, we pointed our dive lights towards the sky so the boat could see us. We had a very short boat ride back to our dock where we were in the comfort of our resort rooms in minutes!
We were diving with very experienced divers and nearly everyone agreed that it was the best night dive they had ever done! That’s saying something. Get yourself to Cozumel!