Despite working in Andavadoaka for over 6 months now and racking up over 100 dives I had never before done a night dive, mainly due to an extreme fear of the mysterious ‘unknown’ of the sea (useful you might think for a marine biologist!). After 4 expeditions the opportunity finally arose for me to have a go so I set my alarm for 0400 on a chilly August morning and off I went.
Despite the extreme cold it was amazing when we first went down. Although there are less fish than usual and the coral looked a bit dull some of the fish we did see looked really different …… the Moorish idol goes from yellow to dark green! and we were fortunate enough to see some unusual ones including a large porcupine fish.
Continuing on, my extremely patient buddy Ida (another field scientist with numerous night dives under her belt) soon had me clutching her leg in a less than elegant fashion as I shone my torch to the left where a small eye was shining back at me! First thought was SHARK (hence the clutching of poor Ida’s leg) second thought, oh actually its just a ray, then panic set in again it actually IS a shark… Turned out to be a guitar fish about 1.5m long, large and shark like in appearance but with a mouth about the size of a cats and not the most threatening of creatures! Panic over! We were very lucky to see them as they have been heavily fished in Madagascar for their fins.
As the dive went on we also spotted an enormous octopus, several lobsters (hmm tasty…) and a moray eel. Not too shabby for a dive where you can only see about 2m in front of you! Not sure I want to do it again though…
Sophie, Field Scientist.
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