I have decided to take advantage of my ISP’s web hosting service included with my Internet service to restore my old web site. It has a gallery of some stunning underwater photos from a scuba trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands back in 1995 along with photos of some sights around the islands. Add a page with some online Caribbean radio stations, silly photos of what it might be like to go scuba diving during a hurricane and a page with some miscellaneous scuba stories and the result is my classic web site that first established my presence on the Web. I’m thrilled to have my web site back online. Do visit and enjoy.
Tonight I went on a very spectacular night dive full of mystery and splendor just off the coast of Florida. This was my second such dive and my first night dive in the United States. The very first one was in the Turks and Caicos Islands and left such a lasting impression on me that I still remember it well, even 10 years later.
Tonight’s dive was easily one of the best dives I have ever been on. I had been trying to get on one of these dives for years. The dive shop I do my dives with would schedule a night dive but it would always get canceled due to not enough divers signing up. But tonight there were enough divers on board to ensure that the dive would proceed as planned.
Checking in at the dive shop was just like checking in for a day dive, except I needed two extra pieces of equipment essential for night diving – a flashlight and a glow stick that would be attached to my tank.
Once all the gear was loaded in the boat, the boat left the dock on schedule. The sun was just beginning to set as the boat headed for the open sea. By the time we reached the dive site, it was dark. The ocean looked completely pitch black, but I was more concerned with the water being too cold when I jumped in. Fortunately the water was warm and very comfortable although fairly choppy.
Then the dive began. The divers lined up to jump off the boat one by one and waited until everyone was in the water. I remember taking a peek under water and noticed every time I stirred up the water, I would see little green flashes of light. I have no idea what caused that to happen. Perhaps some research is in order.
Once everyone was in the water, we all descended at the same time. The sight of glow sticks and flashlights shining around in the dark deep was spectacular. It felt like watching UFO’s hover in the sky on a foggy night.
The dive was at 81 feet at the deepest. At the bottom, we shone the flashlights around the area to get a feel for where we were. Nearby were the remains of a sunken freighter that was transformed into a nice artificial reef.
As I was swimming along the bottom and exploring the reefs, my flashlight illuminated a strange, tiny worm like creature that was swimming towards the coral. It swam in a spiral like formation. I’m still curious what kind of creature that was.
As usual, I saw lots of fish but most of them were just resting at the bottom and barely moving. I could have easily reached out and touched the fish but I didn’t want to disturb them. Other fish I saw were staying close to the coral.
Later in the dive I spotted a lobster that was hiding in one of the coral formations. There was a diver in our group that brought along a bag for catching lobster but I don’t think he even spotted the lobster I saw. That’s one lucky lobster.
When I spotted the lobster I was close enough to the bottom for me to stand on the ocean floor. Just then I felt a stinging sensation in both of my ankles and I had to swim up off the floor. I didn’t even see what stung me but I was glad not to be around to be attacked much longer. The stinging went away a few minutes later.
Then we saw a huge stingray that was resting on the ocean floor. It was huge, at least 6 feet long. None of us dared to disturb it.
The rest of the dive was exploring more of the sunken freighter. We didn’t see much fish here. I shone my light around and saw a 8-foot wall that was probably part of the freighter’s hull at one time. I swam up to the top of this wall and looked down to see the other divers in my group. It felt like I was standing on a cliff on a foggy night and looking down to see villagers walking by with torches and pitchforks.
By this time we were running low on air and had to ascend. During the 3-minute safety stop at 16 feet, I noticed another unusual sight. There were small creatures attracted to my flashlight and darting around me while staying close to the light. I even felt some of them nibble on my hand. I could not see what they looked like since they were swimming so fast. Were they fish or maybe shrimp? I may never know.
Then I shone my light towards the surface and saw a larger worm-like creature swimming upwards towards the surface.
After all the divers were back on board, the boat was abuzz with excited chatter about the very memorable dive just concluded. We were soon back at the dive shop where we unloaded the gear and headed home after a very thrilling evening of diving.
This dive ranks high on my list of the best dives I’ve ever been on. I just know that the best dive is yet to come.
One of the most popular pages on my now-defunct web site was one that had information on Caribbean radio stations that broadcast over the Internet. I reprint that page here.
- Caribbean FM – A nice listing of Caribbean stations that broadcast news and music over the Internet.
- Caribbean Radio on the Net – Another directory of Caribbean online radio stations.
- Caribbean Radio – Yet another station list, but it’s got more stations and countries to choose from.
- MadVibes Radio – Enough island music here to get your own Caribbean party going.
- Radio Turks and Caicos – News, music and talk from the Turks and Caicos Islands.
- Jamaica FM – Lots of radio links here, along with a searchable database of online radio stations.
- Reggae FM – A reggae lover’s paradise with plenty of reggae stations to choose from.
These Caribbean radio stations can be easily tuned in with your own radio if you happen to live in South Florida.
- ZNS – Radio Bahamas (broadcasting on 810, 1240 and 1540 kHz AM) – This station is so close to Florida that its signal comes in loud and clear here in West Palm Beach. It has music, news, coverage of local events such as festivals, church gatherings, and more. (Thanks to The South Florida Radio Pages for the frequency information)
- Radio Reloj (Radio Clock) – (broadcasting on 570, 610, 760, 790, 850, 860, 870, 910, 920, 930, 940, 950, 960, 980, 1010, 1270 kHz AM) – This Cuban radio station continually broadcasts the news and weather over the ticking seconds of a clock. If none of the listed frequencies work for you, you can listen to a live stream at their web site. The web site itself is in Spanish, so be sure to run it through a translator like Google or Babelfish. It has a fascinating history and an equally interesting story of how such a station is run.
During my scuba trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands some 10 years ago, I got a taste of night diving. It is totally different from day diving. When you dive during the day, you take the sun for granted as it illuminates the reef, preventing you from becoming disoriented. However, at night, it feels like entering a dark void with no respect for your senses. If it weren’t for your trusty compass and your flashlight, you can easily get confused and get separated from your dive group.
The sun was still setting when my dive group boarded the boat, but when it reached the dive site, it was dark. That did enough to set the mood. Just what would be lurking down there?
We all turned on our flashlights and dove in. Once we reached the bottom, the sight of some 12 beams of light moving in random directions was a sight in itself. We all stayed together and explored the nearby reef.
The dive was eerie but fascinating. As I swam close to the reef, I saw some tiny fish lurking near the coral that were attracted to the light. These fish were everywhere, staying close to the coral. I also saw a large grouper, a fish with a reputation for being extremely friendly. However, this particular grouper was anything but friendly. It darted away from me when I touched it.
We continued diving along the darkness, exploring the wall of coral. The only light we had was where the flashlight beams were concentrated, and since there were about 12 of us on this dive, we had adequate lighting to get a sense of the area. I cannot imagine how it would be if there were two people on a night dive, let alone one. I’m glad I didn’t go alone. Going alone is never a good idea anyway.
As the dive progressed on, I got the sensation of being on a hill on a foggy night watching a group of villagers with flashlights pass by. No wonder it is easy to get disoriented during a night dive. Still, I stuck with the dive group as we slowly made our way back to the dive boat.
That was the one and only time so far I’ve tried night diving. It was eerie but a very rewarding experience. I would definitely go again.