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In most cases, sunset marks the end of snorkeling activities, and in most cases, you have not had enough time as you would have wanted snorkeling. If you fall into this category, I will let you know of a little-known fact, and snorkeling does not have to end because it is nighttime.
Snorkeling at night offers an entirely different experience to snorkeling during the day, and often it is even more fun and exciting in comparison to daytime snorkeling. At night is when the coral reefs become more active with the corals opening up like flower gardens with fish and shrimps which hide during the day darting around like honeybees. Additionally, octopus, crabs, and lobsters which are very evasive creatures also appear along with other nocturnal marine animals which awaken to pick up where daytime inhabitants of the reef left off.
Furthermore, the nighttime offers you an excellent opportunity to see minute bioluminescent creatures showing off their fireworks and you being able to see every move they make.
Having that in mind, snorkeling at night is a specialized activity and there are a couple of things you need to take note. One is you should always carry extra gear such as an underwater light which you and your friend will use. Moreover, swimming at night has risks attached to it such as there is no lifeguard to help you in case you find yourself in need of help; thus it is important to always go as a pair. Discussed below are some of the aspects of this activity divided into the following categories.
When deciding on the best site to go snorkeling, always go with a friend be it during the day or night. Additionally, always choose a snorkeling location which you and your friend are well conversant with and have snorkeled during the day making you familiar with the terrain underwater especially the entry and exit points. Whenever you are planning to go out snorkeling, always let someone know that you and your friend intend to go snorkeling, the specific location you contemplate to go, when you anticipate to be done and what should be done in case of an emergency. Before leaving your room, gather all the gear and incidentals you expect to use and inspect them to confirm that they function correctly.
Always check the weather forecast with the best days to go snorkeling being those the night has little or no cloud cover since this provides the most ambient light from the stars and moon. Furthermore, if the weather forecast predicts hurricanes or storms, you should cancel your snorkeling plans with the best time being during high slack tide, that is, the time frame between the beginning of low tide and the end of high tide.
Understanding your Equipment
When snorkeling at night, you require more items in your equipment bag, and you should always carry gear which you have used during the day before taking it out at night. Having an underwater light is a requirement, and it should be water resistant, with both you and your friend having a personal underwater light for both enjoyment and safety. For those who do not own an underwater light, you can rent one from the local dive store.
For improved above water visibility, it is advisable to use a battery operated beacon light connected to your snorkel or a chemical light if authorized. Moreover, having an exposure protection suit such as a light wet suit, a skin shirt or snorkel socks to keep yourself warm is ideal since water temperatures during the night are lower than daytime and at the same time acts as protection from accidental encounters with sea life. Finally, owning a whistle attached to your snorkeling vest is vital, and this is a standard safety tool which you are always expected to have when going into the water.
The Area Orientation
After you and your friend have decided on the ideal snorkeling location, you should first review a couple of things before putting on your gear and going into the water. Take note of the most noticeable features which you can use as a reference point while in water, and this includes docks, lighted piers or buildings. Double check the exit and entry point to confirm the water conditions are favorable and once you clearly understand your location, follow this up by discussing and evaluating your communication and emergency plans. Always remain with your partner when exploring through the water and when entering the water, your underwater light should be on.
Venturing into the water at night necessitates the use of an underwater light as the primary means of communication between you and your friend since communicating with the shore, or the boat will be more challenging. Hand signals may not work well at night, but you can try to by shinning the light on your hands as if somebody is right in front of you holding the light. However, if your buddy is too far to notice your hand signals, you can draw the letter “O” to indicate you are okay, with the dive beam as the ink and the dive light as the pen. Furthermore, always exaggerate the size of the letter “O” and in case you are giving the okay signal to someone out of the water, make sure the “O’ is drawn to be entirely out of the water.
To get the attention of your friend while underwater, shine your light across their light beam back and forth and never at shining the light on your friend’s eyes.
Snorkeling at night requires you should always go through necessary safety rules since during the night you will be in a more vulnerable position. First, always go with a friend whenever you are going snorkeling at night. Additionally, you must carry with you a whistle and an underwater light which are extremely critical in emergency situations to communicate either to the boat or shore personnel or your colleague. To indicate you are in need of help, you should either blow your whistle or rapidly flash the light above the water, and the emergency personnel or your friend will quickly respond, and having a life vest will significantly improve your survival chances.