I did a combined dusk/night dive at Folly Cove Saturday night. It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and this weekend seemed to be the perfect time, with the days getting shorter, but before the cold descends upon us. So I emailed Nick at East Coast Divers, and he found someone interested in doing the late afternoon dive.
The plan was to do the first dive in the light, around 4:30 – 5ish, with the camera, for an hour or so, do a surface interval, then go back in around 7, as it was getting dark.
We got into the water for the first dive around 5:30, and underwater, it was already dusk. I’d forgotten one of the really cool things about a dusk dive – you still have enough light to see, but if you have a light, you can really bring out the colors of the underwater life. I’ve loved doing dusk dives in the tropics, but have never done one here, and in fact, hadn’t thought of the first dive as a dusk dive, so I hadn’t brought my light along.
Fortunately, Neil, my dive buddy, had a light, and once we reached the wall, was busily spotlighting one thing after another. Also, the new strobe has a targeting light, which, while somewhat useless during the day, turned out to work pretty well in the twilight. Even better was that Neil has great eyes — he was able to spot all sorts of things that I would have missed, like a small eel just barely peeking out of its hole. He also spotted one small anemone under a rock. Folly used to be covered with anemones, but they all disappeared a couple of years ago. Hopefully, they’re coming back.
We started out over the sand, and went out quite a ways over the sand, before hitting the left side wall. Saw lots of small lobsters, a couple of skates, and a couple kinds of flounder, including a couple that were very well camouflaged. We also saw some fish– probably pollack, schooling up the side of the way, and a bunch of starfish.
For the second dive, I put the camera away, set up a propane lantern on the shore as a landmark, and got out my lights. In the meantime, the tide had dropped. Folly Cove is a very easy site to get in and out of when the tide is high, but at mid-tide, the 2 – 3 foot zone is covered with very slippery round rocks, with very little space between them. It took a while to get out past them to where we could get our fins on. For this dive, we headed right over to the left hand wall, and just followed it along.
The two things that are fun about a night dive is the mood– it’s dark, it mysterious– and that more things come out in the dark. Within one 20 foot stretch of sand, I saw 3 different skates. Also, we saw lots of little lobsters, and some medium sized ones.
We had a great dive, despite the fact I’d forgotten to zip up my wet suit and had cold water running through it. It turned out to be fortunate that we left the lantern, since we surfaced quite a ways out. Happily, the tide had dropped even more, leaving some sandy spots in the shadows, and exposing the round rocks altogether, so our exit was fairly simple. All in all, a great pair of dives.