Dive #182 - 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:
55 minutes

Maximum Depth:
54 feet

Safety Stop:
3 minutes

Beginning Air:
3000 psi

Ending Air:
800 psi

Weather Conditions:
Clear 75įF

Surface Conditions:

Surface Water Temperature:

Bottom Water Temperature:

100+ feet
* * * *
March 18,
Linda, Janel, and John
Turneffe Island Resort - Belize
Sunset from the boat
Photograph by Rob in Belize 2004 
Dive Journal: There is no afternoon dive today because the Lodge schedules its only night dive of the week on Thursdays. We learn that the dive will start after dinner, and Rob says thatís because this is a ďrealĒ night dive, not one of those twilight dives.

Janel is already excited Ė night diving is one of her favorite things. Johnny is ready for this one, too.

Lizette gives us a dive briefing on the dock and we suit up for the dive around 8:30pm. Both dive boats take off together and head west across the atoll. As we speed away from the lights of Turneffe Island, our eyes slowly adjust first to the blackness, then to the beautiful stars in the night sky. Ricky careens the boat through the dark mangrove islands without use of lights Ė Iím glad heís done this before. From the gunwales we see increasingly bright flashes of bioluminescence that fire when the boat roars by.

We emerge from the atoll and head to the mooring sites, which are already marked with tiny strobes. The site here is called Jillís Thrill, and the Lodge likes to do night dives over here because there is a shallower and better defined bottom than on the outer wall.

Iím Janelís buddy and I can seen her eagerness in the water immediately. The bottom is pretty flat about 50 feet down and she excitedly flits from sight to sight as I watch her. The proverbial kid in a candy store. There are some cool sights to see, and early on Bo finds a big sleeping turtle in a cavelike overhang. Weíre careful not to shine our lights too close.

We then come across a palm-sized slipper lobster Ė way cool. This is only the second slipper lobster Iíve ever seen. Then we find a big stone crab, who doesnít care for our lights at all and scurries away over the sand flats.

Soon Janel locates a beautiful young octopus, and we all crowd around his to watch his weird slithering locomotion. I find a humungous hermit crab near where the stone crab was, and we play with him a while too.

As Lizette has predicted, the water is loaded with blood worms, and all four of us really enjoy finding the brain-type and other corals who feed aggressively on them when we hold our lights there. This is one of Janelís favorite things to do on a night dive.

Lizette has also told us something new, that the bioluminescent animals tend to congregate on the outside walls of barrel sponges. Janel and I find a huge barrel, turn off our lights, wait a minute, then wave the water hard. Wow! The sparks fly off the sponge like fireworks streamers Ė wicked cool.

Bo finds another big hermit crab, and Janel and I watch very amused as he rolls it onto its back pinning it in the sand. The crab eventually tries to regain control by reaching out for the sandy bottom. It almost looks like it will come completely out of its shell, and everytime it stretches way out Bo gives it another big dose of his dive light. Man, that hermit crab was pissed.

All too soon itís time to make our safety stop. We rise up to the now-submerged strobe and everyone turns off their lights so we donít accidently blast each other. In the pitch blackness, save for the strobe, the image is truly memorable as the bioluminescence fires off the exhaust of each diver.

I again enjoy one of my favorite things about night diving. I make an unusually slow ascent, gently break the water surface, open my eyes to the starry night sky, and roll onto my back. Ah-h-h-h.

Hot chocolate back on the boat. Heavenly. Got to love those night dives.

Mares Avanti Quattro
U S Divers Matrix
80 ft3 Al
SeaQuest Spectrum 4
Dive Type:
BOAT, Cool Dive
Body of Water:
Caribbean Sea
U S Divers
3mm full wetsuit
Spectrum XR2
plus Oceanic
Slimline octopus
8 lb
Water Type:
Video Equipment: