Planning an Indian Ocean holiday? Two lodges on either side of the Mozambique Channel offer a new dimension in underwater exploration: fluorescent diving (or fluo diving)…
What is fluo diving?
A pair of crocodile fish glow pink in my torchlight. Nearby hard corals are covered with bright green polyps resembling underwater flower heads, while mushroom corals appear to have tentacles sprouting from their vivid red and blue centres. The most bizarre are the tube anemones. Some look like delicate bowls on a velvet cloth; others resemble Medusa’s heads.
With the aid of special a UV torch and a yellow filter over my dive mask I’ve entered a different realm. Tiny crabs appear in different hues of pink and violet; lizard fish are livid green and the eyes of little shrimps glow yellow while their bodies don’t fluoresce at all. It’s weird, but wonderful.
I’ve just discovered fluo diving. And I’m hooked.
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5 Facts about Fluo Diving
- In the ocean – an environment dominated by blue – bright colours are quickly absorbed in just a few metres of water. Fluorescence adds sparkle, bringing back the brilliant colours and allowing you to see marine life that would pass unnoticed on a day dive or even a regular night dive.
- Fluo diving is best on calm sheltered dive sites. It requires divers to have excellent buoyancy control.
- It’s clear that some marine organisms such as corals, anemones, crabs and certain fish produce proteins that react with light to cause fluorescence. But the jury is out on the reason why!
- Jacques Vieira, a South African dive instructor based at Sakatia Lodge, just off Nosy Be in Madagascar recently wrote the Flourescent Night Diver Specialty Course for NAUI, one of the big scuba diving training agencies. He introduced me to the surreal world of ‘fluorescent’ or ‘glow’ diving.
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- Jon Wright and Yara Tibirica, instructors at Nuarro Lodge in northern Mozambique also offer this extra-ordinary window on the underwater world.
Here is a gallery of some of the highlights Fiona experienced
Words Fiona McIntosh
Photography Jacques Vieira and Yara Tibirica