RATs – Week 5 – Night Diving

RATs Week Five: Night diving

Naryan Kalliecharan , Year 9

The RATs team from the British West Indies Collegiate, along with Miss Rankin, Marcia Gutierrez from Big Blue, Jackie Walker from Amanyara, and Don Stark from the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund, were fortunate enough to go on a night dive on Friday, 10th February. The team met at Coral Gardens around 6:00pm to prepare and gear up. For all of the RATs it was their first night dive, and some of us are doing our Advanced Open Water course, so we had to have a briefing and Marcia (our instructor) checked we had read (and understood!) all that we had done in preparation for this dive. We also went through the appropriate use of a flashlight underwater, learning that it would have to be switched on even before entering the BWIC Reef Action Team (RATs!) 2017 water to prevent flooding. We also had a glow stick attached to the regulator on top of our tanks – to help ensure our guides didn’t lose us I think!

After our briefing we headed down to the water just as the sun was setting. We soon got into the sea, with Don remaining on the beach as our surface support, and the reef quickly started to get dark.

We dove out to the coral reef where most people snorkel. Personally, I have been diving at this dive site twice before this night dive and felt like I knew it quite well, but I am sure a lot of other divers would agree with me: the site looks totally unfamiliar in the dark! The dark atmosphere and all of the undersea life that emerged in the darkness made Coral Gardens look like a whole new place.

We saw a massive lionfish (one to certainly be wary of getting too close to as their spines release a painful venom!). There were also two or three stingrays at the bottom of the sea floor, lobsters, Parrotfish and even a friendly turtle – who seemed to enjoy following my buddy Oliver Downes and I! We were only down at about 30-40 feet max, yet we saw so much undersea life. In faint light, we also saw the plaques that the RATs team cleaned earlier on in the school term.

Overall the dive was successful. The RATs team enjoyed the experience and that was really what we were there for: to experience and enjoy our beautiful ocean.

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