Are you an old salty dog when it comes to diving? Have you gone on so many dives that you’ve ‘been there and done that?’ Do you feel like you need something new and exciting to keep your SCUBA passion alive and kicking? The answer probably is no. It doesn’t matter how often we dive or how many dives we have under our belts. Every dive is new and exciting, right? Well, what if you could add a new dimension to your sport, one that brings a whole new level of wonder? I’m writing about fluorescence, and how it’s generating waves of excitement in the diving world. Don’t know what it is, or want to know more? Read on.
The Thing About White Light
We see the world through a white light, and we are used to seeing the normal reflections of this light in the form of colors. The sky is blue. Grass is green. Fish are, well, all kinds of colors. When we dive, we usually bring along a flashlight that emits white light and renders the underwater world in those same colors. However, white light is severely limiting with respect to the entire color/light spectrum. It allows us to only see a certain small range of colorations. In 1927 all that changed. Mr. C. E. S. Phillips, decided to shine ultraviolet light on some sea anemones and discovered a whole new world, the world of fluorescence.
The World of Fluorescence
Without getting into the science, fluorescence merely means that certain things glow a certain color when an ultraviolet light is shined on its surface. It’s a simple enough concept, but also an intriguing one. All around us, every day, objects fluoresce and we don’t even know it. It’s not until we use a special spotlight (available at most dive shops) that we can see a whole new world. Dive sites that you thought you knew like the back of your hand become new again. Creatures that may have looked ordinary and bland under white light take on a whole new live with UV. And there are so many creatures that glow under blue light—sharks and coral and nudibranchs—with new ones being discovered seemingly all the time. Consider this Hawksbill Turtle that was recently discovered in the Solomon Islands—the only fluorescent reptile in the world. My thought is that there are more fluorescent reptiles. Many more. We just have to go out and find them.
Where to Fluoro-Dive
If you are pondering a fluorescence experience on your next dive trip, you won’t be sorry if you decided to go for it. By listening to others who have done it, it’s certain you’ll never look at night diving in the same ‘light’ ever again. Dive centers all around the world are now offering fluorescence night dives with ultraviolet equipment. It only takes a quick search to find where the best fluoro-diving is. Here are a few starting points:
• Red Sea
Sources: scubaboard.com | nightsea.com | vipdiving.com | washingtonpost.com