Night diving on Bonaire is one of the best ways to experience the Caribbean island's protected underwater environment. And now there's a new high-tech scuba adventure at Buddy Dive Resort that can make it look even more amazing.
What It Is: If you think the lights and colors of the Bonaire club scene are hypnotic, take a night off from dancing to try one of diving’s newest, and strangest night adventures: fluorescent night diving. Using specially designed UV flashlights and lens filters for dive masks that reveal the natural fluorescence of corals and other marine life, Bonaire’s Buddy Dive is one of only a handful of dive operations offering this psychedelic underwater experience. It’s the sort of thing you have to see to believe — an oceanic underworld transformed into a dreamscape of otherworldly pinks, greens and purples. For years, high-tech photographers have documented the neon-like fluorescence exhibited by corals, nudibranchs and other marine life that happens when UV light reflected off them is viewed through a special filter. But now this state-of-the-art technology can be incorporated into standard night-dive gear, making it easy for divers to experience it for themselves. — Travis Marshall
What It's Like: As long time fan of diving in darkness, i'm never one to skip a nocturnal scuba mission. Some of my all time favorite critters are at their best after the sun goes down. And just there's something fundamentally thrilling about the mystery of the dark. During a recent trip to Buddy Dive on Bonaire, I tried the veteran dive op's latest innovation on their thriving house reef. Shining the specialized UV light on the reef as twilight transformed into night added a completely new dimension. Star corals that seem innocuous when illuminated with a standard beam, shone will cosmic patterns of glowing green under UV light. A bristle worm seemed coated in ghostly paint. And anemones not worth much attention normally, were now a dazzling light show. The entire dive became an exciting scavenger hunt for creatures boasting this seemingly secret super power. The experience may have ruined me for all other night dives. — Eric Michael, Editor-in-Chief
Make It Happen: Buddy Dive (buddydive.com) offers all the required equipment and runs fluorescent night dives twice weekly, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.