Dive #122 - Rich Torkington's Dive Log
© Copyright 2010 Rich Torkington Mesa, Arizona

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Bottom Time to Date:


Dive Info:

Dive Start:

Bottom Time:
71 minutes

Maximum Depth:
26 feet

Safety Stop:
3 minutes

Beginning Air:
3000 psi

Ending Air:
1000 psi

Weather Conditions:

Surface Conditions:

Surface Water Temperature:

Bottom Water Temperature:

70 feet
* * * *
July 5,
Linda, Janel, and Johnny
Lind descends into the dark waters.
Videograph by Rich Torkington in Florida Keys 2002 
Dive Journal: It’s Friday night and the evening is just beautiful. John and Pat, the Ocean Quest shop owners, have had some difficulty in rounding up enough divers for a night dive outing, and so they end up calling some friends onboard to go with us. The boat is mostly filled with diving professionals, including Kathy (instructor from NJ), another instructor with curly grey hair, an AOW student of his, and a couple of Kathy’s neighbors. John captains the boat while Pat is also diving with us.

The ride out is nice and we really enjoy talking with the others. Kathy and Pat are especially a lot of fun.

When we reach the site, we take our time getting ready while the darkness sets in. The instructor with the curly grey hair makes fun of me when I reach for my BC-tank-reg assembly to find it still bungied around the tank neck to the boat rack. I think he’s getting me back for an earlier crack I made about an arrogant instructor (not him of course).

Chemical light sticks are attached to our tank valves, while a flashing strobe is fastened to the boat’s dive ladder. The lights in the water at night are both peaceful and surreal, part of what makes night diving fun. We’ve got our shockwave lights with us again, and find them as bright as anyone else’s on the dive – seemingly a good purchase.

We head out of the flats in search of the ridge. When we find it, the first task is to find the golden Buddha, and Linda and I both rub its belly for good luck tonight. It’s truly a wonderful place to be doing a night dive, with a lively ledge wall in front of us, and a broad expanse of sand flats behind us. Our lights pick up all the wavy ridges in the sand flats in vivid contrast. We soon see several gorgeous yellow stingrays and one Southern stingray winging over the flats through our lights.

There are lots of lobsters! Most of them are just emerging out their cracks and crevices in the wall, and we see both Caribbean spiny and spotted spiny varieties. We slowly make our way down the wall, covering little ground as we study everything going on. There are lots of cleaning critters to examine, fireworms, cleaner shrimp, brittle stars. Linda spots a group of 2 or 3 squid up over the wall in the darkness. We shine our lights on them but they flee us fairly quickly.

At the turnaround, Linda and Janel are examining an eel, while I come across a big free-crawling Caribbean spiny lobster on the flats, legging along over the sand. I’ve never seen one out so conspicuously – what a show. Linda and Janel soon join me in gliding over the lobster and checking him out from all angles.

Back on the wall, there is a very pretty pale cardinalfish out. We also come across dozens of stunning rainbow parrotfish asleep in pockets along the wall. We’re careful not shine our lights directly at these guys so as not to disturb them too much. On the way back, we spend more time on top of the wall, and find a few more eels, including a big green moray and a smaller one, maybe a purplemouth moray. We also enjoy dense swarms of little wormy things in the water, probably some kind of plankton, attracted by our dive lights. Janel and I do the trick we learned in the Turks and Caicos, to shine our dive lights closely onto the surface of soft corals. As the plankton swarm in the bright reflected light, the soft corals feast on them, stunning them and drawing them in. Cool.

About halfway back to the Buddha, Linda and Janel start flashing their lights all around. Down on the flats in front of the wall is a HUGE stone crab. Must be 18” across! MONDO! We spend a lot of time checking this guy out. He’s not too perturbed by us, but does not seem to care for all the attention or bright lights very much.

Nearing the Buddha, we spend several minutes with dive lights off, and see a good deal of bioluminescense, especially off the edge of a flicked fin or waved hand. Always a treat.

The swim back to the boat is easy with the pulsing strobe serving as a beacon. Emerging onto the surface, the black sky, the stars, the comforting dim lights of the boat, the specks of light on the distant shore, and the large silence…once again the best part of night diving.

Mares Avanti Quattro
U S Divers Matrix
80 ft3 Al
SeaQuest Spectrum 4
Dive Type:
Body of Water:
Caribbean Sea
U S Divers
Spectrum XR2
plus Oceanic
Slimline octopus
6 lb
Water Type:
Video Equipment: