The NHRCP is proud to now offer UV Night Dives as an option for students who are looking to enhance their night diving experience! A fluorescent night dive is an altogether different kind of diving experience, so let's go into a bit of the background about what makes these dives so special.
SEE THE REEF IN AN ENTIRELY NEW LIGHT
Fluorescence is a phenomena that humankind has only been aware since the mid-1800s. Since it's discovery, fluorescence has been found in a vast array of different minerals, but most importantly for us, marine organisms. These organisms use fluorescent proteins to absorb light in the high energy ultraviolet spectrum, and re-emit it in the visible light spectrum. Under normal conditions this is difficult to observe with the naked eye, as UV light only makes up a fraction of the amount of light radiating off the sun and other pigments in coral like those that come from xoozanthellae block out much of the fluorescence. However, if we train a UV torch on organisms that contain these fluorescent proteins and look at it through an interference (a.k.a dichroic) filter, the photochemical reaction can be easily seen.
Studying organisms under ultraviolet light has already yielded a wealth of novel discoveries to the field of marine science, and in particular has revolutionized the fields of fluorescent microscopy, genetic engineering and psytrance festivals. For us here at the NHRCP it gives us the chance to see the coral reefs we love in an entirely different light.
We supply optional ultraviolet dive equipment when we head out on our night dives. UV torches are another tool that we can use to help us evaluate coral health, locate and observe reef organisms normally well camouflaged or hidden, increase our understanding of the reef, and open us up to a different way of observing this fascinating environment. As the use of the technology in SCUBA diving is relatively new, the potential is still unknown, and we are excited to not only enjoy the amazing visual effects of florescence, but also explore the frontiers and push the boundaries of its applications in coral reef science and conservation. Coral Spawning, an integral part of the programs work.
A list of all the equipment you'll need for your Fluorescent Night Dive:
Underwater Kinects SL4 eLED Torch
Things to Remember
UV Light from your torch isn't easily observed with the naked eye, so ensure it is turned on and that the wrist band is securely fastened around your wrist before entering the water. If for any reason the torch beomces lost during the dive, it will be much more easily found if it is turned on.
Secure your dichroic filter to your mask using the fluorescent mask protector to your own mask strap before you enter the water. This will keep the filter from coming loose during the dive and from getting lost.
UV Light at high intensities can give you a sunburn and can even cause phenomena like coral bleaching to occur when they are exposed to it for prolonged periods of time. To stop your eyes from getting iritated make sure you're looking through the dichroic filter provided for the duration of your dive and try not to shine your UV Torch at any one organism for too long to limit the amount you're disturbing the reef.
It's easy to lose your orientation on a UV Night Dive as many glowing organisms will catch your attention, so pay attention to your surroundings and look up every 15 seconds to ensure you stay close to your group.
Enjoy this incredibly rare opportunity and see the reef in a way that very few others have!