Richelieu Rock is often the very reason divers want to go on a Liveaboard to the Similans & Surin Islands, it is the dive site people most want to visit and the reason is justified. The dive site itself is breathtakingly beautiful, covered in purple soft corals, Anemones, Gorgonian Fans, Knotted fans, Sea Whips and full of life, it is easy to see why divers want to come back again and again.
No two dives are the same, and it is impossible to see everything in just 1 dive, for that reason the Scuba Explorer spends a whole day at Richelieu Rock making 3/4 dives. We have had the added pleasure of doing a night dive on Richelieu Rock, very few Liveaboards offer this due to currents, depth, customer experience or time. So of course we all jumped at the chance, kitted up and jumped in before the tour leader could change his mind.
The excitement of descending onto Richelieu Rock in the dark was apparent in all us Instructors, I don’t think the customers realised that a night dive here was not often done as they laughed at us all fighting to get in the water first. As we all descended with our torches turned on the colour of the corals light up under the artificial light, glowing in the beam it looks even more beautiful at night. The peacefulness of the Ocean at night and the fact that we were the only Liveaboard diving there made me feel utter calmness, like I was floating through space. I love night diving and this dive was definitely one to remember.
The depth of this site and the previous deep dives meant we did not have as much bottom time as we would have liked, so we descended straight away to find the Seahorse deep before coming up shallow for the majority of the dive. The Seahorse was out and put on a little display to us, we did not spend too long there as we did not want to blind him with our lights. Nothing was going to prepare us for our next encounter.
As we came up over to the North Pinnacle we were meet by the huge and amazing Whale Shark, these creatures are known as the gentle giants of the Ocean, the sheer size of them is impressive and powerful, to see them during the day is a wonder in itself, but to see them at night you suddenly feel so small and insignificant as they swim silently past you. Sharks do not scare me but not being able to see this creature until he was close enough to bump into you does make your heart skip a beat, until you stare in amazement as your torch beam shines over the full length of him. Words can not describe the feeling of coming face to face with this magnificent Whale Shark at night, caught on camera by Freedom Divers National Geographic and Animal Planet Vidoegrapher, see below.
Night dives never disappoint me, so much life comes out at night and as you can only see where your torch beam shines you are so absorbed in concentration you never know what you may see. Come and try a night dive for yourself in the Similans & Surin Islands on board the Scuba Explorer, you never know, you may be lucky enough to dive Richelieu Rock at Night and also encounter a Whale Shark.