by Casey Quon
We had just left our Nitrox lecture and we headed down the hill to prepare for our third dive of the day, the infamous night dive. All of us were moaning and groaning about the dark and thinking about the stories we were told about the sea lions suddenly appearing in our faces and blowing bubbles in our masks. We were joking, yet serious about holding each other’s hands underwater. When Dr. Ginsburg first mentioned we would be doing this night dive he was excited to hear everyone give “Ooh’s” and “Ah’s” and not “Oh my gosh I’m going to freak out” reaction, except I was probably that one person. I have always been passionate about the ocean, but it was also a legitimate fear for me growing up. The ocean combined with the dark was a double hit for me! Ultimately, this whole experience of getting over my fears has been extremely exhilarating.
As we put on our gear I took a moment to lie on my back, stare out into the night sky, and took in a breathtakingly beautiful sight of the stars. Jupiter was the brightest I’ve ever seen it and it usually already is the brightest object in the night sky. As we got in from the dock, we were greeted by some flying fish and the cold water seeped into our wetsuits giving us a good wakeup call.
As we descended, our flashlights and glow sticks were our only source to follow each other and not get lost. Being down there was surprisingly calming. You don’t really pay attention to how dark it is around you because you’re concentrating on trying to follow the person in front of you and making sure you don’t get lost. We saw bat rays, a leopard shark, and lobsters everywhere! Gerry, our dive instructor, grabbed a 5-pound lobster with a swift motion of his hand and pointed at the really sharp spiky appendages. We all touched the spikes while one of the students tried to grab the lobster from Gerry to hold it for himself, but it ended up escaping extremely fast. Gerry made his signature grunting noise and made a fist underwater as if to say “seize it with a strong grip!”
Afterwards, we took a moment to sit at the bottom and shut off our flashlights because we wanted to be able to see the glowing bacteria. We thought we saw the moon shining through the water, but it ended up being a huge light from a ship. However, when we surfaced we definitely saw the moon rising over Mount Wrigley and it was a spectacular sight. Hopefully, I can relate to all the people out there who restrain from taking chances that would otherwise lead you on amazing adventures because your fears should never let you miss out on the incredible opportunities life has to offer you.