Night diving is…well, amazing! The darkness of night reveals all the critters you rarely see during the day and these fish and (mostly) invertebrates are often slow moving and easier to get a really good look at after dark.
Sometimes you’ll see fish you see every day, but they’ll look different or exhibit a different behavior. For example, at night we still see as many Hawaiian Whitespotted Tobies as we do during the day, but at night they’re often pressed against a coral head trying to sleep and be invisible. Butterflyfishes display muted colors, the white spots on our endemic damselfishes shrink, and many red pencil urchins appear light pink at night!
A typical night dive in Maui will yield many surprises, from squids in four feet of water to sponge crabs lumbering along or munching on urchins. We find lobsters (look for the glowing eyes) and shrimps of every variety, some in the sand, some on the reef, and even some floating through the water column!
Night dives tend to move at a very slow pace just because there is so much to take notice of. I can think of several times that I have checked my dive computer and been amazed to see that an hour has passed and I haven’t even reached the end of the “first reef” at Ulua (a distance covered in just minutes during the day)! Since at night you mainly focus on what’s inside your light beam, the colors are vibrant and you become attuned to even the slightest movements, enabling you to notice life you’d drift right over during the day.
In the dive shop we often hear divers express anxiety about diving at night. I remember my first night dive and I was nervous too! But discovering all of the “sci-fi” critters I’d never seen before made it worth it. Once I got over flashing my light in every direction and just focused on the reef, I became engrossed in all the colorful life right before my eyes. And I had one of the longest dives of my life! To top that off, we emerged from our dive under moonlight and stars that we could see even before we surfaced – magical.
The above paragraphs barely scratch the surface of what night diving has to offer, and whether you’re interested in going on your first night dive or earning the Night Diver specialty, we invite you to come on out with us! We offer night dives most nights of the year and if you’re really the adventurous type, you can even request a pre-dawn night dive around 4-5:AM! Instructor Curly assures us that there’s nothing quite like watching the sunrise from underwater!
Tell us about your first night dive!