Posted by: Anna | September 28, 2011

Night Diving on the Coolidge

I am apprehensive about night dives. I have done two on this trip, and I wouldn’t describe either one as a top experience. It’s a little freaky, being 50 feet down in the ocean in the dark. You never can tell what is lurking right next to you. However, I had read that the night dive on the Coolidge was something special because the Coolidge fills with flashlight fish at night. I didn’t know what a flashlight fish was, really, but it sounds interesting. We signed ourselves up.

In the briefing before we descended, the divemaster explained that we would not turn on our lights until almost the end of the dive because the flashlight fish would vanish if we did. I never imagined we would do the descent by moonlight, barely able to see a few feet to glimpse the next persons fins in shadow ahead. Although it was a little nerve-wracking, the descent was fine. The divemaster led us into a cargo hold, where he parked us on a ledge.

I looked up, and swarming above me were thousands of points of light, blinking and disappearing. Mesmerized, I stared. I’ve never done drugs, but it was the trippiest feeling to watch. Helpless to see a foot in front of me, sixty feet under water, staring up into a shipwreck, watching little lights dance in the blackness.

We stayed at our perch for a few minutes, then we moved further into the ship, where we could see even more flashlight fish in an open cargo hold. To do this, the divemaster had us hold hands in a line, and he swam and pulled us along in a group, like little schoolchildren. This time, the ledge we were holding onto was also phosphorescent, adding to the weird, otherworldly sensation. Helpless to find my way out (without turning on my light…), I abandoned myself to enjoying the light show and the peacefulness of the dive.

Eventually, it was time to go, and the divemaster led us out the same way we went in – hand in hand, through the darkness. After exiting, we turned on our lights and headed slowly back to the surface. The sheer strangeness was such a surprise to me, and it was one of my favorite dives. I never thought I would say that about a night dive.


  1. I think it would seem claustrophobic — my main phobia. Glad you enjoyed it.

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