Dive 36

South Tehran Island to 7.5 m

Night dive on a secret reef. This turned out to be the Mother of all Night Dives. I discovered that the little red reflective dots I had seen on the previous night dive were all the eyes of little shrimps, and saw loads of them. Swam in a little cave. We turned our torches off and saw the dots of Glow fish darting all over the place randomly. This, combined with the phosphorescence of our bubbles and other sudden movements in the water was a breathtaking spectacle: yet another treasure of the Red Sea I have been privileged to witness.

Also saw a sleeping Parrot fish (Dave saw the mucous membrane, but I couldn't make it out) and a huge crayfish lumbering over coral trying to avoid the beam of my torch. Dave spotted a spectacular Lion fish proudly displaying its colourful spines before our floodlights. Later he also pointed out an incredible-looking blob of jelly which was a Triton's trumpet. A little sea worm curled around in front of my torch near the end of the dive. It was about 10 cm long and 1 cm wide and practically flat. I could see through its translucent milky body. Along each side were rows of tiny red fluorescent dots. It curled and uncurled about 5 cm from my torch.

One thing I noticed on this dive for the first time was the crackling of the coral. This is because everything was so still and quiet. On the other dives the clunking, bubbling and glopping drowned out the gentle crackling sound of the coral.

The dive was a little bit uncomfortable for me because I got a couple of bouts of acute indigestion, the second of which made me cough sharply into my regulator twice. I also got rather chilly in my 2-1 shorty wetsuit with a Coors beer T-shirt underneath. In the last ten minutes my teeth were chattering and I was tensing up with cold.

Climbing out of the water I felt exhilarated. The five of us who had dived: Simon, Siobhan, Mac, Dave Trought and myself chatted excitedly about what we had seen. The oldies had whimped out of the dive. This was also a great social dive with the five of us cracking stupid jokes as were kitting up. This had to rate as one of the most enjoyable dives of the trip. So many incredible experiences - in particular the darting Glow fish and fluorescing water - all packed into one mind-blowing dive.

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