Divers explore mysterious underwater world by night in the Galapagos Islands
Scuba diving is a thrilling experience for those adventurous enough to strap on tanks of air and slip beneath the waves. The underwater world is mysterious and beautiful, fascinating and intimidating, and those who experience it by day are often compelled to explore the same depths by night. This is a vastly different experience, as the reef is a completely different world in the dark. Some of the creatures of the ocean become more active, emerging from hiding spots to hunt for food. Other creatures that are seen by day will go into hiding at night, hoping to survive until daylight.
Divers see with the aid of powerful lights but their vision is limited to what is in the beam of their lights. This creates an even greater sense of vulnerability as much of the water around them is a dark void. Animals with greater vision and perception swim all around, moving silently past, and often very close to the divers.
These scuba divers in the Galapagos Islands first encountered a Moorish idol, a beautiful black and white fish with long and graceful fins. They came across a spotted eel, slithering between the rocks on a nightly hunt. These eels have poor vision, but an excellent sense of smell, and they move stealthily through narrow gaps and under rocks to ambush fish and octopus seeking shelter.
A beautiful and graceful Pacific green turtle swam among the divers, possibly curious about their lights. It appeared out of complete darkness, startling the diver with the camera before bumping into him. After a moment’s inspection, it slowly swam off into the darkness as gracefully as it had come. A hermit crab with a shell covered in barnacles blends in perfectly with the rocks over which it climbs. These scavengers feast on decaying plants and animals, leaving the oceans and reefs cleaner in their wake. They will retreat into the shell that they carry at the slightest threat of danger.
A spotted puffer fish drifts clumsily over the rocks. It’s a beautiful fish with a unique adaptation that allows it to inhale water and increase its size by many times, making it difficult to swallow. A long trumpet fish drifted past, within inches of the scuba diver. These fish can blend in with plants and sea fans by tilting their bodies vertically to hide among the stems.
To explore this mysterious underwater world is a rare privilege by day, or by night.