Blackwater dives are all the rage in the underwater photography scene these days. Social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram host hundreds of photos of bizarre and amazing looking creatures on a daily basis. However, many people get a confused look on their face when the phrase “blackwater diving” is used. There is a bit of confusion about what Blackwater diving is in the general diving public. Here we try to explain a little bit more about it.
A blackwater dive is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, diving in the water column surrounded by blackness! There are several ways of doing a black water dive, either on or near a reef or out in the open ocean.
For new participants, the best way to become acquainted with black water diving is to try a “reef” dive first. Colloquially known as a “bonfire” dive, this means setting up a series of strong lights on or near the reef and diving in the water column nearby. Most divers feel more comfortable when there is a bottom in view. This is different than a normal night dive as the divers are not checking out critters on the reef. Instead, the goal of a “bonfire” is to hang around in the water column to spot what sort of creatures are attracted to the lights. Critters found on these dives are usually juveniles of common reef species such as mantis shrimp, octopus, and reef fish.
The “classic” Blackwater dive is done by suspending bright lights on a drop line suspended in the open water column. This is usually done offshore and the divers drift with the line as it’s carried along by the current. The goal of a true Blackwater dive is to attract bizarre and wonderful critters that rise up from the deep during the night. However, this style of dive is not for everyone. Many people don’t like the idea of drifting over hundreds of meters of water in the dark!
One thing to be aware of on open water dives is you ears! As you drift along in the open water following tiny creatures with a camera, it’s easy to lose position. The small fish may be going up or down the water column at random. Pay close attention to your ears and monitor your computer to avoid rapid ascents or going too deep.
The Underwater Tribe offers Blackwater dives in Bali. At the moment we offer these in the Tulamben and Amed areas. Let us know during your next diving trip in Bali with us and we can set up one of these truly unique dives! At the moment we offer “Bonfire” style dives only. These dives are available only during Bali Safaris or stays in the Tulamben area. We don’t offer these on day trips from the south of Bali.
Our friends at NAD Lembeh Resort in the Lembeh Strait also offer incredible Black Water Diving opportunities. If you are booked on our July 2019 Photo Workshop let us know and we can set up one of these dives during the event. If you haven’t booked your space yet, let us know, we do have a few spaces remaining.