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Cayman Night Diving

28 February 2016

Probably my favourite night-dive in Cayman is a site I am also familiar with during the day – Macabuca.  It is in the North-Western corner of the Island, an easy shore dive from a protected little pool in the Ironshore with a well equipped dive shop and a bar afterwards.  There is a mini wall which we tend to stay on at night, and lights in the water help guide you back to the bar for a well deserved beer.

I have recently been experimenting with the Light and Motion Sola Photo 1200.  At US$450 it took me quite some time to talk myself into finally taking the plunge but I wanted to work on capturing images from my night dives as well as having a back up dive light for a more relaxing dive.  I was initially torn between the Sola Photo 1200 and the Sola Video 1200 as I couldn’t see the benefit to the Photo version (neither is slaved to the flash on the camera) but an exchange with the helpful online sales rep convinced me that the Photo 1200 was best for my situation.  It has a red or white light function, with 1200 lumens on white, 300 lumens on red.  Each setting has 3 power settings, and the top power really does light up your subject like being in the broad daylight.  Red is useful if you want to just explore and not disturb the fish at night.  The white will do away with all the usual issues of underwater photography by bringing back all of the colour spectrum that is lost at depth.  I will experiment with the torch for daytime photography but below are some of my initial attempts, using the torch on a mount on the Ikelite underwater case for the Canon G12.

Whilst I initially thought that a night dive would be more nerve-racking than a normal day dive, I actually find them really calming, particularly when taking photos. We tend to cover ground more carefully, combing the reef for something to see, whereas during the day with 80 foot visibility you will tend to spot most things on a quick scan. Perhaps this is how diving in the UK feels?! As such, we don’t tend to cover as much ground, but air consumption is much more efficient. It really is a great way to unwind after work, jumping into the water as the sun goes down and then watching the change in the sea. Many of the fish that you see during the day bunker down for the night, hugging close into an overhang of reef, looking rather startled when the artificial sunrise of your light hits them. Octopus are more active at night (I’ve seen them on about 80% of night dives, and never during the day), eels are more active (although they are more active since Lionfish culling started, see my post on the Lionfish Menace) and lobster, crabs and even conch get a little bit more out of their shell (so to speak…). A selection of night dive photos are below.

See more posts about diving. Let me know if you have any tips for diving photography at night!


  1. Those are amazing! I like the one of the little terrapin- it’s very cute. The last photo of the ray is just a gorgeous shot and the lighting is just perfect. I’m very impressed 🙂

  2. Very interesting. I recently bought an Intova Action Light to use with my GoPro. It is only 640 lumens, but a quite reasonable $170 price tag. I find it hard justifying to myself high expenditure on dive equipment that I will use at most 3 times a year. As yet I haven’t had a chance to use it, but fingers crossed.

    • Yes, I’m very lucky to be living in the Cayman Islands at the moment so get more use out of it than I obviously otherwise would, but it still took me a long time to commit to it! Great torch though!

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