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Have you thought about a night dive but just weren’t sure? Here are some great reasons to get you in the water at night!
During a night dive, everything takes on a new look. Your focus changes as you move about the dive site, observing life around your dive light and seeing ambient light from the surface.
At dusk and again at dawn, nocturnal and diurnal species “trade places” on the dive site to seek food and engage in social activities. Rockfish seek out holes and ledges in the reef to sleep while other fish species, such as Ratfish, become more active. Our famous Giant pacific octopus is also more active at night, sometimes venturing out of their dens to hunt for food. Harbor seals are especially enthusiastic, occasionally following divers around Puget Sound dive sites and hunting using diver’s lights to illuminate prey.
Even a familiar dive site can look completely different at night. Wrecks and small boats underwater become compelling and mysterious. Reefs light up with your dive light and display colors not seen in the daytime.
During the fall, billions of small microorganisms in Puget Sound become excited by water movement, which causes light emission in the microorganism. While on a dive safety stop, simply point your light down or towards you (for safety, do not turn your light off) and wave your free hand in the water. You’ll see thousands of light pinpoints, an amazing experience to end your dive.
The PADI Open Water Diver course taught us that colors degrade underwater, first starting on the red end of the spectrum. A dive light can bring back the “true” colors of fish, invertebrates, and corals. Vermilion rockfish (Sebastes miniatus) become a beautiful red, Stubby squid (Rossia pacifica) can turn red to deep purple, and California sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) reveal their deep reddish-orange to yellow colorings.
Go diving after work or even later in the day. Night diving is great way to squeeze in a dive after work or in the evening hours. We offer night dives every day of the week, and they can be scheduled anytime after sunset. A night dive is a perfect option for visitors to Seattle with a full daytime schedule of meetings, conferences, or even just sightseeing.
Our busy Spring diving season is in full swing right now, with travelers coming from all over the United States, plus Spain, Singapore, and Panama to experience diving in the Pacific Northwest. On a recent dive we came across a Stubby squid, one of the more interesting and unusual invertebrates we see on our Guided Dive Tours as they look similar to Cuttlefish and exhibit Bioluminescence. As we’ve mentioned before, Puget Sound itself has beautiful Bioluminescence in the water during the fall season.
Stubby squid, also called a Bobtail squid, are closely related to the Cuttlefish and are a member of the cephalopods order in the family Sepiolidae, with the scientific name Sepiola atlantica. They have eight arms and two tentacles, and are roughly golfball sized. With the help of Bioluminescent bacteria in it’s skin, Stubby squid can change colors and patterns to match the environment or confuse predators. They can be found at all the most popular dive sites in Puget Sound, plus the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. We typically see them on night dives or during times of lower visibility, and in shallow water near eel grass beds.
With a 1-2 year life cycle, Stubby squid will mate and then die shortly afterward, leaving their egg clutches buried in the sand to hatch by themselves. Baby Stubby squid hatch as tiny versions of their parents, able to forage and hunt immediately. Adults and juveniles eat shrimp that they catch with their tentacles and eat with a horny beak inside their mouths.
Stubby squid are not considered threatened, and do well in urban waterways such as Puget Sound. Ready to see s Stubby squid? Now is a good time to book your dive tour and see these amazing creatures in their Pacific Northwest habitat.
Seattle is starting to settle in to its familiar fall weather pattern of warm, sunny days and clear cool nights- a perfect time to try scuba diving in the Northwest and explore the best dive sites in Seattle and Puget Sound. Water temperatures remain relatively warm while visibility improves to some of the best of the year. Fall also brings with it stunning bioluminescence, with millions of microscopic invertebrates creating a glow in Puget Sound water during night dives.
Both Steller sea lions and California sea lions have returned from their breeding rookeries in Alaska and California to join our year-round Harbor seal population to rest on Seattle beaches. As always, Seattle Dive Tours works closely with Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network to identify and protect resting seal pups.
Underwater, fish and invertebrates look even more stunning in the clear, cool water. Copper rockfish and Brown rockfish are plentiful, while Nudibranchs such as White-lined Dirona, Opalescent Nudibranch, and Yellow margin Dorid are all reaching their largest sizes of the year, plus our own Puget Sound Giant Pacific octopus is usually around for a viewing by our scuba divers.
Our PADI professional dive guides will be at the Northwest’s best dive sites in Seattle this fall to show both visiting and local divers the amazing beauty of Puget Sound.
Fall scuba diving is finally here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Visibility is improving daily as well as the chances of experiencing bioluminescence during night time diving. We’ve also been seeing some dramatic fog in the early afternoon as light breezes carry it in from the coast. Harbor seals have also returned to Puget Sound after being out to sea for the summer, and we are seeing several seals at each dive site.
Throughout the fall, Seattle Dive Tours be offering our daily dive tours starting at 9:00 am weekdays, while our night dives will progressively start earlier as sunset pushes into the late afternoon.