I am currently going through the PADI Advanced Diver Certification course. I am doing this training through Aquatic Safaris and they have been great. Andre Nel is my instructor and he is excellent. Anyone wanting to get training there, I highly recommend Andre. He is an excellent instructor who makes learning very fun, but is very thorough and professional.
As part of my PADI Advanced Diver Certification course I did the night dive last night. I must admit that prior to this dive I was very apprehensive about diving at night, but after doing the dive I highly recommend it. We did our dive on a shipwreck called the Hyde. The Hyde sits upright in 85ft of water 18 miles from Masonboro inlet. We did 2 dives and they were excellent! The ocean cooperated with us as the visibility was good and the waves were not bad. We did our first dive as a “dusk dive.” My dive buddy for this dive was Evan who is a good diver and we worked well together. We had enough light to navigate the wreck on the outside, but just enough. As we slid down the anchor line the hull came into view fairly soon. The first sign of aquatic life I saw was a large female Sand Tiger Shark. She was hovering over the hull next to our anchor line. She was beautiful! As we continued we began seeing numerous other Sand Tiger Sharks everywhere we turned. It was great and after a little while of having them all around us I got used to the idea and continued on with the dive. (Andre told us that would be the case, and he was right) Andre took us to the bottom of the ocean and showed all of us who doubted him that Narcosis affects everyone. We knelt on the ocean floor in a circle and he used a slate with simple math problems written on it and presented it to each one of us to solve. Boy did we need to have that test graded on a curve!! Point made. (Thanks Andre) So after feeling really stupid, we continued the dive training. We penetrated the hull of the ship and swam through the compartments and that was quite fun. I had been diving on this wreck before, but had never been through the hull like that. We continued until our air ran low.
We had a good surface interval and discussed what we had learned and saw as well as what we were going to do on the next dive. I was happy to see that there was a noted difference with my nitrogen saturation diving with Nitrox as opposed to Air. This was my first Nitrox dive since that certification. That too I highly recommend.
Our second dive was truly a night dive. There was no moon and it was as dark as dark gets. As we entered the water, we assembled on the hang bar und took a moment to settle down before going deeper. Andre gave me the go ahead signal and I ended up being the first one down the anchor line which was very cool. And once again there was my big girl (or one of Andre’s girlfriends as he calls them) waiting for us. Immediately we began seeing aquatic life that I have never seen on daytime dives. The crabs, the huge snails, and much more. Way too much to mention. It was truly awesome to see them, and using a light brought out all of the colors. Once again we penetrated the ship and went through the compartments. That same sea life was abundant inside the ship as well. As we began coming out of one part of the ship I looked up to check for over head obstructions and caught a glimpse of something through my bubbles, so I paused. Good thing I did, it was a HUGE shark hovering overhead. I smiled to myself and quickly swam under her. We eventually ended up on the deck of the ship where Andre got us to turn all of our lights off for a minute. He then waved his hand just over the deck of the ship. This produced a gorgeous display of tiny luminary organisms. They floated in the water and wafted around and glowed like underwater pixie dust. It was magnificent. As with all dives our air eventually ran low and we had to surface. It was interesting that before this dive I was apprehensive, but now I didn’t want it to end.
It was a late night getting back, and I actually lay on the floor of the boat and took a really nice nap on the way back in. For anyone considering a night dive or taking the PADI Advanced Diving Course, just let me say do it!! Don’t wait. You will be glad that you did.