Diving at Night
Have you ever been diving or snorkeling at night? By using specialized waterproof lights made for diving, you can get a look at how the reef changes over to its nocturnal inhabitants.
Night time is when most of the night life comes out to forage for food. Polyps on many species of hard corals blossom like flowers, stretching outward in search of tiny prey to consume, such as worms and plankton.
If the conditions are just right, you can observe bioluminescence at its finest flowing through the dark water. Douse your dive light and pause in total darkness. Stimulated bioluminescent plankton will glow green appearing as small sparkles of green light.
Basket stars perch themselves on corals, rocks and sponges. During the day they curl up into small balls, but at night they fan out stretching their long arms in every direction so they can filtering the water with tiny fingerlike tentacles. These tentacles grab on to smaller organisms like the bioluminescent plankton, floating in the water.
Eels, lobsters and octopus scour the nooks and crannies along the reef looking for clams, shrimps and other small animals that make and easy seafood snack.
Nurse sharks will poke about the ocean floor and reef with two barbels protruding from the corners of their mouths. When the find their favorite meal a lobster or conch, the nurse shark uses its strong throat muscles and sucks their victim out of its hiding place.
Bright colored Parrotfish swim about during the day, but what do they do at night? They sleep. Parrotfish build cocoons out of mucus that tastes foul to would be predators. Other fish find coral shelters or caves to hide in while resting.
The coral reefs in the Caribbean are always moving, whether it is day or night there is always something to see.