This was scheduled to be the only night dive of the week, the revised plan being three dives per day and two on the last day and maybe a swap of one dive for snorkelling with Whale Sharks if they are found later on in the week.
Alimatha is an island with a hotel and the usual tourist facilities which included a pier with bright night lights shining down onto the water. Hence lots of big fish were attracted to the lights to hunt.
As usual, there is a strong current, this time off the shore and heading to the right of the dive plan. So it was a giant stride off the Dhoni to the left of the pier, drift to the area of the pier, reef hooks out so you could hang around before drifting further down the beach for a pickup from the Dhoni in the darkness.
Immediately we were in the water we were surrounded by large fast moving rays which came very very close, sometimes between our legs or over our arms. Rays of length approaching 2m were common and the barbs on their tails were easy to see and avoid.
The currents and the fish stirred up a lot of sand and hence there was a lot of back scatter from the lights.
These three images were snatched as fast rays zoomed by carefully avoiding us and our reef hooks. No matter how close they seemed to be coming, no ray hit any of our dive group.
As well as Rays, there were large numbers of Jacks
hunting for food – typical lengths would be 1m and numerous reef and Black Tipped Sharks circling us a little way out attracted by the lights and hoping for easy smaller fish for tea.
The ubiquitous Lion Fish was of course present and the usual care had to be taken to ensure they did not hide under divers in order to make their hunting easier.
As well as macro beasts, there were numerous small fish and above a couple of snails getting very close together under the spot lights – discovered during an intimate moment!
Upon surfacing, it was then time to put on our flashing beacons and illuminate our SMBs so that the Dhoni could see us and come by for a pickup.
This was a great shallow night dive, probably the best I have had and everyone of the boat came out of the water excited with what they had seen.