Now I like a good dive as much as the next fish, but night diving is always great as it adds an extra dimension to the possible things you get to see that you wouldn't normally see during the day time.
We fell in the water just before dusk and scoured the hard pan for the little critters and see what we could see. On the travel out, it pays to pay attention to the sea fans in the shallows as they are an excellent place for sea hares and especially tritonia hamnerorum and their accompanying egg ribbons. The only down side is getting a steady enough shot in the shallows whilst being buffeted by the surge. Good times.
And not only did the sea fans provide a veritable macro bounty, but there was an abundance of bristle worms out and about as well. I love these things. They're so fluffy!!!!
Cruising out to the mini wall and scrutinising the barrel sponges gave us some more wonderful surprises with a nice selection of long eared favorinus. Which of course were in the most difficult position imaginable to get a camera rig and human body into. I should get some part time work as a circus contortionist........
Also managed to find the smallest flamingo tongue known to man kind. Well certainly the smallest I've ever seen. If anyone has seen one smaller, then let me know. I would say this one was about 3mm long, maybe 4mm at a push. This was a really lucky find.
With the night drawing in, the reef was starting to take on a different tone and noticeable colour palates with hard corals coming to life and feather stars out for a stroll.
In among the hard coral under strobe light, the secretary blenny makes a contrasting subject against the radiant surrounding glow.
And whilst i was busy taking a shot of the blenny, I completely missed a channel crab that was feeding beneath me although if you know how big these things get, you'd wonder how I managed to miss it. I do get rather focused on a subject some times.Couldn't get it all in frame either.
A little ways of, Jill was busy focusing her light up to the surface and it took me a good few attempts to figure out what she was watching as all I was catching was the odd bit of movement here and there in the water column. Once i got the modelling light trained on it, it looked like some sort of jelly. It doesn't match up with anything in the Reef Creature bible, so if anyone out there has a clue, let me know.
And of course by this time the blood worms started to make an appearance and they tend to get annoying and in the way of things when your shooting macro. Being attracted to the light, it's fun shining it on the hard coral and watching them exploding in little puffs of viscera. Cruel, but fun. That'll teach the little blighters. They don't like it up 'em Captain Mainwaring!
Swiftly moving on to avoid the following clouds of worms I found a really nice example of a christmas tree worm and I don't often see ones of this particular colouring, so it made a pleasant change from the norm. The pink/red fringes really popped against the white main body.
Heading back to the shallows and over the hard pan gave me one last shot during the safety stop with a nice little star eyed hermit crab shimmying up some fire coral. Say cheese!
Night diving is always entertaining on so many levels and we don't do nearly enough of it (it's not everyone's cup of tea) but hopefully we'll get out in a few weeks and see if we can drag Miss Leslie with us to. She loves a good old fashioned night dive.
Till the next time, safe diving!