By Suzan Meldonian
- Kirk:“Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. It’s 5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
Dive Log 2, Sea date May 22nd, 2017 The SS Sirena departs in pursuit of unidentified beasties from beneath the sea five miles south of the Lake Worth Inlet. The plan, to drop divers into the Gulf Stream Current to drift with the current and to visually capture whatever strange creatures they can find.
Black water diving can be an entirely new experience. For folks who love to do night dives, you should be a natural for this environment. However and even so… with 500 feet plus below you, with no visible reef to reference, even the most experienced diver can experience some anxst. So how do you deal with this? The easiest way to acclimate one’s self in-water, is to begin your dives close to the drift line buoy, which is well lit up. You can hold on to the line, and the glow from that lighting system will afford even the less experienced with a really cool opportunity to see plenty of wild looking critters, and feel safe.
As with any dive, you should prepare yourself and be physically fit. Make sure you test out your camera at home, and don’t forget to turn off the system until the dive! Batteries charged is super important!
Personally, I carry 3 focus lights; 2 for photography and one for back-up. Why so many? Well have you ever driven down a road that was so dark, that your headlights just seemed to be eaten by the vacuous darkness ahead? Sometimes you just want more light. Sometimes you want one pointing off further into the distance to keep an eye out for what is drifting your way.
Always have a cylume or light on your tank. We have come to prefer that the other divers do not to use blinking lights, because the lead line that we follow has blinking lights . . . and if that is the only blinking light in the sea, we will follow the right one! Keeps the disorientation down to a low roar.
All your equipment should be in tip top condition. And you should be familiar with all your equipment. If you have new equipment, perhaps it would be best to do a beach dive at the BHB, to acclimate yourself, prior to a Black Water dive. On Black water dives you need to be paying attention to everything.
Your buoyancy is super important. You don’t want to overweight yourself as it becomes exhausting if there is any current. You need to be just right. Better buoyancy= better pictures!
We dive rather shallow, to no more than perhaps 40’. Stay with the group. It’s easy to do, everyone has lights. If you dive shallow, you can always surface to see the boat, and realign yourself with the lead line, although that can wreak havoc with your ears.
The Sirena is now equipped with multi colored (disco) lighting, which is super fun and makes it very easy to spot from below, and they have a cool colorful recall system, in the event the weather kicks up.
Stay tuned for more blogs about Blackwater diving with Pura Vida!
Check out Suzan Meldonian’s images in the gallery below. To view more of her work, visit her website at: www.niteflightphoto.com.