So here we are, still anchored in Bima Harbour – at the site of the morning’s rude awakening bomb dive and two more sweet muck dives. There is one more dunk offered this day, a night dive on Fuzzy Bottom – the very same site we explored extensively all day long.
The earlier dives had been very productive in terms of coolio macro subjects, and Michael, our cruise director, opined that the night dive should be pretty epic as well, so I decided to forego the strong temptation of sunset drinky-poos with some of the gang (including Mr G), and instead suited up in a cold and clammy wetsuit to jump in to the black water with the rest of our group’s night diving keeners. The tasty Bintang beer(s) would wait…
A bit about night diving in some of these locations in Indonesia (and elsewhere). In remote locations like we were diving in Komodo National Park, we were often the only boat in view. And as we were diving near some uninhabited (or barely populated) islands, there was no ambient light from nearby settlements. We also had a new moon during our ten day cruise, which meant no moonlight for a few nights either. So some of our dives were very dark indeed. And they were some very buggy dives too – when clouds of little bloodworms, attracted by our underwater flashlights, swarmed our hands and forearms, and even more annoying, got in the way of taking clear images.
The Komodo Dancer liked to drop us in the water fairly early for our night dives, and limit the dives to one hour, so that dinner would not be too delayed for the folks who didn’t choose to dive. That was okay by me – I kind of like dropping in at twilight – it is a little less spooky than descending into an inky sea, especially on sites with poor visibility where the bottom is not viewable from the surface. Also, the bloodworms don’t seem to materialize until it gets very dark.
The downside of twilight diving is that some of the night critters are not yet out, so typically our night dives would be a bit slow on the critter roll call for the first half, and then ramp up for the second, with snake eels out foraging, battalions of crustaceans, nudis spinning egg ribbons, and a whole host of other weird and wonderful stuff. The one hour night dive limit always came too quickly on the dives I did…
So, back to the Fuzzy Bottom night dive. I had shot my Nikon 105mm macro lens for the three daytime muck dives, but I thought I’d give a newish Sigma 17-70mm (bought to replace a dead 28-105mm) a whirl at night. I had only tried out the lens on a few dives on previous trips, and wasn’t totally hooked yet, although it does have an impressively quick autofocus. You can’t go as wide as 17mm with the lens in a macro port (the port cuts off the corners of the image), and it seems counter-intuitive to shoot macro through a dome port, but having fooked around with the lens on a few dives on this trip, I think that is going to be the way to go in the future.
So, the pix. Once again I’ll give scientific names to the stuff I can find in my books (Humann & Deloach), and an idea of the size of things.
Next up – we get our heads out of the muck and back into the blue. And things need to start speeding up on the final instalments of the Komodo Chronicles – a dive trip looms… ;^)
Chapters of the Komodo Chronicles:
Chapter 1 – Here We Be
Chapter 2 – Time to Rock and Roll
Chapter 3 – Champagne Diving and Nudibranch Dreams
Chapter 4 – Things That Go Bump in the Night
Chapter 5 – Getting Bombed in Bima
Chapter 6 – The Muck, And Nothing But The Muck
Chapter 7 – Rinse & Repeat
Chapter 8 – Back In The Blue