The Thrill of a Close Encounter on a Night Dive
No matter what level of diver you are, night diving always has a way of raising the hairs on your neck just a little bit more than usual. For me, those hairs raise in excitement and trepidation for what lies ahead. You just never know what you might see.
I had a fairly good idea what we might run into at the Close Encounters dive site in Pemuteran, but once again I was proved wrong. For on the 1st April 2014, Blue Season Bali @ The Menjangan led its first night dive at this little-visited gem of a site. Both myself and our two guests, experienced diving couple Mikio and Ryoko from Japan, were in for a pleasant surprise.
Starting out at Menjangan Resort at 5.15pm, we took a car to Pemuteran. 25 minutes later we arrived at the Pemuteran beach where we met our boat driver. 5 minutes later, we were on the water, traveling north.
With the sun going down and still, quiet water, all around us, a kaleidoscope of colour mirrors off the sea. Behind us is a magnificent view of the Pemuteran hills. In front, the open ocean, flat and fluid. The perfect way to travel to a dive site.
The excitement began to mount, as is it always does. We arrive at the 17m drop line on the northern edge of the Close Encounters reef. Engine off. Silence ensues. The perfect pre-dive environment is all around us. From here you can see Java, Menjangan and of course Bali. A sense of tranquility fills the air but there is something else. A mix of total calm and excitement: a strange paradoxical but pleasant feeling. We enjoyed the scenery, the sundown and we enjoyed the silence for a few minutes. And then we began our dive briefing.
Dropping down a line in what seems like the open sea, in the light of dusk, to a site you have never been to before is thrilling. Even with over 20 night dives at this location, it remains one of my favourite things to do. Objective 1: reach the bottom of the line and give our OKs. Having reached the bottom of the line, I search for the landmark barrel coral that signals the direction we should follow. I turn to Mikio and Ryoko, ask them if they are OK. They respond. Here we go…
No sooner had i turned back round to lead the dive, no later than 20 seconds since reaching 17m, were were confronted with what is the biggest shark I have seen in Balinese waters. It was the most beautiful thing. 5m away from us, eyes shining magically in the torch light, followed by a school/gang of fish, swam a 2m+ shark. Confidently gliding, with a strong muscular body, I was so taken back with surprise I just stared. I turned to my guests, who were still busy sorting out their camera. They instantly stopped sorting out their camera and all torches were on this beautiful creature. I turned back to ID it. No white tip, and what seemed like no black tip either. In any case, I have never seen a black tip or white tip this big and have never seen a black tip at this location. As it swam by I could feel the excitement in our guests. Ryoko turning to me and gesturing her happy nervousness with a big smile and audible fright.
What a start. Possibly a grey shark, possibly a big black tip, I still do not have enough to ID the animal 100%. But the sighting remains clear as day. My favourite spotting to date. With my adrenalin pumping, the shark swam over the edge of the wall, gang in tow, and we didn’t see her again. Not that I didn’t look behind us a few times in case she came back.
With the shark gone we continued the rest of our dive. With beautiful slopes, a section of wall, a 40m drop off, light emitting plankton in abundance and healthy coral everywhere, Close Encounters is a beautiful and memorable dive. It guarantees to excite, it guarantees to impress and it guarantees happy smiling divers at the end of it.
Night Diving has never been so fun. Come and see for yourself. I will happily take you there.
If this posts interest you, you might want to check out a more thorough information on our Blue Season Bali Menjangan website.