Hol Chan Marine Reserve Night Dive

March 19, 2014

The best night dive of my life. In summary, sea turtle, sharks, octopuses, so many rays, crabs, hermit crabs, bioluminescence, and blood worms. Blood worms are not as dastardly as they sound but still kind of creepy nonetheless.

My last outing in Belize was a night dive back to Hol Chan Marine Reserve. It was relativity clear and calm so the night sky looked spectacular. Ask of the western hemisphere constellations were out in force.

Shortly after slipping below the surface, we encountered a sea turtle. Very likely the same one from earlier in the day. It was in a hurry and gone before I could train my camera on it.

The real gem on this dive was this octopus encounter. This cephalopod was simply going about its nightly business foraging for food. Over these two videos you can see the octopus change colour about a dozen times. At the very end I pretty sure it caught something as it splayed out before ducking under the coral.


There was an amazing amount of sting rays sleeping on the ocean floor. At one point I lost count of how many there were in one field but it was over 20 rays. Being completely at rest, it's much easier to get up close and study them.

Sting Ray

Our dive instructor knew the site well and had a trick to trigger bioluminescence in some of the reef organisms. All of us turned off our dive lights (which is freaky enough as it is) and he released air from his alternate regulator in short bursts. The bioluminescence appeared in small patches as a ghostly green.

Blood worms are tiny creatures about 10 mm long. They're attracted to light source a night so if you held still for too long, your dive light would attract a cloud of them. Our dive instructor used this knowledge to plant his light in the sand to attract hundreds of the worms with the intention to attract the first that feed on them. It worked reasonably well.

Blood Worms

We surfaced to an incredible view of the universe. There was so much to see we had 75 minutes of bottom time. My longest dive to date.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Location: San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, Belize


Dive Number:   103
Bottom Time: 1h 16m
Time In: 7:06 p.m.
Tank In:
Max Depth: 28.00 ft
Table Used:
Mix:   Air
Safety Stop: 0m
Time Out: 8:22 p.m.
Tank Out:
Average Depth: 15.00 ft
Start Pressure Group:
Surface Interval:  
End Pressure Group:


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