Night Snorkelling is one of the nicest and weirdest experience, which any avid snorkeller should once try.
We get in the water as the sun is setting, when some of the creatures are getting ready to “disappear” for the night and some others are getting more active. Each of the snorkellers has their own torch which brings light to a small portion of the reef, the colours of the reef finally reveal themselves, with the striking red of crustose coralline algae and midnight corals, looking pretty pale during the day (in fact the sunlight filtered by the water, reduces the intensity of reds). Animals change their colours and get to darker tones to better camouflage with the darkness: butterflyfish false-eye become much wider, the yellow stripe of the moorish idol becomes dirty yellow-grey, the white stripes of oriental sweetlips (if around) become grey… Animals that during the day hide under rocks or in crevices, come out at night. Feather stars, pencil sea urchins, lionfish, moray eels, flatworms, hermit crabs…Animals that dominate the show during the day, go to sleep, some parrotfish make their cocoon under rocks and lie on one side, triggerfish (my “best friends”-read sarcasm here, please!) find a hole in the reef and (finally) leave us to relax in the water!
Soldierfish start swimming around and at times, pointing the torch in the right direction, you may see a copper like round dot swimming parallel to you…the light of the torches reflect inside the eyes of sharks which make the night their favourite moment for hunting.
Octopuses come out and rapidly change their colours to match with the background, becoming quickly to a bright white rough surface that emulates that of a rock. But it’s not all… switching off the torches, everything starts glowing around you, not only a starry sky above our heads, but starry water between our bodies. Glowing plankton gets activated by the movement of our fins and hands, like living in a fairy tale.
Can I describe all of the encounters we may make during a night snorkel? Not at all, come join us in one of this incredible experiences.
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Photo credits: Ismail Shihan