There are many global events that occur around the world with the aim of uniting people over a common idea or goal. The Olympic Games, where the world comes together to celebrate its athletes and competitive spirit. Meetings at the United Nations, where world leaders converge to solve the Earth’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. The World Cup, where fans assemble in giant stadiums to share their passion for football and their countries. And DiversNight 2015, where SCUBA divers around the world drive to the beach so that they can jump in the ocean at night and eat cake.
I learned about DiversNight, a global night of diving meant to promote diving communities around the world, from a friend 4 days before it was scheduled to happen. DiversNight happens on the first Saturday of November each year and was started by a Norwegian woman who wanted to promote the social aspect of the sport. The idea is that groups of divers in any country can register a location for a night dive on the DiversNight website (www.diversnight.com), and others can join in to share an evening of SCUBA diving and eating cake. Cake is apparently a rule of DiversNight, because, as the website states, “everybody loves cakes!!”
So when I heard about this event last week, and that some of the people who live/work at my university were planning to organize such a night dive in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, how could I refuse? Controlling my buoyancy and eating things that make that task more difficult are two of my favorite activities; I was on board. So on Saturday afternoon, I grabbed my fins and my abaya and jumped into a car heading south for Jeddah so that I could participate in my first DiversNight.
I had only been SCUBA diving a few times in the Red Sea, and never at night. In fact, this was only the third time in my life that I had been on a night dive, so I was quite excited to see some new things. The community underwater definitely changes with the daylight, and at night, things like lobsters, crinoids, and soldier fish were out in stronger numbers that during the sunny Arabian daytime. As with any of the other night dives I had been on, it was a bit eerie to be swimming through the ocean only being able to see the patch that your torch illuminates in front of you. For me, this added to the fun. I had dove on this reef before during the daytime, and seeing it at night with a new biotic community and new limitations on what I could see made it a completely different experience, both spooky and fascinating at the same time. The underwater photographers and physicists out there will also be able to appreciate the fact that warm tones of all the red and pink corals, fish, and multitude of encrusting invertebrates really popped since the light coming from our torches only had to travel a few feet to meters, and the red wavelengths didn’t have a chance to get filtered out before hitting our eyes and cameras. Despite the close-by light source, my night-time photography skills were still bad enough to make almost every picture that I took blurry.
And true to the spirit of DiversNight, one of the other divers in our group supplied us with two cakes, both of which were delicious and made me appreciate my hobbies of eating and diving even more (see happy faces above for reference.) All in all, a great night and a great concept for bringing people together. If you are interested in participating in DiversNight next year, check out their website (www.diversnight.com) and see what dives are going on in your area. Or if you should host your own!