I Found It On a Cancun Night Dive

I have been scuba diving since I was 13 years old. I quit for a while and then started back in my mid-20’s. I am sure you can tell by my other stories that I am always searching for a new adventure and a new way to experience what I already know how to do. Scuba diving is no different. I have done a lot of different types of scuba diving, but I had never done a night dive in the ocean.


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In 2012 we took a vacation to Cancun, Mexico and the stage was set for me to tick an ocean night dive off of my bucket list! I called Manta Divers and made a reservation. My wife and I ate an early dinner and I headed over to the dive shop. As it turns out I was very early and I ended up just hanging out in the dive shop for a while. I found out that this shop operates under several different names for marketing purposes and it is owned by an American. His wife still lives in Texas, but his sons go to school in Mexico. I thought it was a weird arrangement, but whatever works for them.

Beach Front Dinner in Cancun, Mexico

Beach Front Dinner in Cancun, Mexico

After some good conversation with the owner and his son, another couple showed up and we were ready to head out. Just behind the shop there was a small boat dock where the dive boat was parked. The shop is on the lagoon side of Cancun so we had a very nice ride out to the ocean watching the sun go down over the Cancun skyline.

Overlooking the Cancun Lagoon

Overlooking the Cancun Lagoon

When we arrived at the dive site the dive master gave us a good briefing and we all turned our lights on and jumped in. I will do my best to describe a night dive, but it is truly an experience. The water in Cancun has great visibility and we had a mild current to drift with. We didn’t have to swim much, just go with the flow. Our dive was around 60 feet deep most of the time. When you shine your light straight down you could only see the faintest amount of the bottom. For some, this is a nerve racking experience. Its dark all around you and you can only see what is illuminated by your light. I absolutely love this feeling! It feels like you are swimming in nothingness and then things will cross in front of your light like a constant stream of surprises!

Sunset on the way to night dive

Sunset on the way to night dive

When you dive with a group and you know where you are going I find it best to be in the front. That way you can see as much of the wildlife as possible, but in my case, I didn’t know where we were headed so I just hung back a little from the group and allowed the wildlife to return. One animal I really wanted to see was an octopus. The coral formations and fish populations were not quite as good as diving in Cozumel, but Cancun is still a very nice place to dive. I knew different animals were out at night, but many of the fish you see during the day were just floating there asleep. It provided a great opportunity to swim up close and get a good look. As long as you didn’t shine your light directly in their eyes, they tended to hang around and let you look. It was great!

This was not at night, but see all the little fish?

This was not at night, but see all the little fish?

There were also a lot of shrimp out. Have you ever gone out in your back yard and held a flashlight at eye level and scanned your yard? We used to call it spider hunting when I was a kid. The light makes the dew drops show up like little lights in the grass. That is exactly how you spot shrimp and lobster at night. Their eyes glow red in the darkness. It’s beautiful to see in person.

Towards the end of the dive I was starting to get disappointed. I still had not seen an octopus. I slowed my pace down and stayed a little further behind the group. I descended a little lower so I could be close to the bottom. I knew the octopi would have very good camouflage so I would have to look close. The corals were swaying back and forth with the sea in a waving motion. As I was going by I saw something move in the wrong direction. I swam back to check it out and I saw it move again. I finally found my octopus! He was small, maybe 8 inches in circumference and he was fast! I severely underestimated his camouflage. I watched him for several minutes squirting from one place to another completely changing colors every time he stopped. Even while watching him I could lose sight when his camouflage kicked in. I have to say it was incredible!

I could finally ascend from this dive satisfied. Shortly after finding that elusive octopus I got the signal from the dive master to start coming up. When we found our buoyancy at 15 feet to do our safety stop I just hovered there taking it all in. There was a bright moon piercing the sea and creating a cool lunar glow. Few things are as relaxing as floating in a dark sea with moon beams shining down on you! The whole experience was fantastic!

Nightfall in Cancun

Nightfall in Cancun

During the boat ride back the excited passengers that were so talkative on the way out were quiet and reflective on the way back in. The night was beautiful, the sea was calm, and watching the lights of the Cancun skyline bounce off the lagoon was something to behold. As we passed through the mangroves to get back to the dock we started seeing tons of fish jumping along with our boat. I am not sure what kind of fish they were, but it was great fun to watch them pop out of the water and slip back in. Some of them seemed like they were going to jump into the boat! After we arrived back at the dive shop the staff helped us unload. I went out front to catch a taxi and made my way back to the hotel. If you ever have the opportunity to do a night dive in the ocean, take it! Make sure you are comfortable with scuba diving first, but the experience is awesome!

What I Learned:

  • The octopus has some great camouflage capabilities, far better than I expected.
  •  The variety of sea life at night is great fun to explore.

Spirit Strike:

Matthew 7:8 NIV  "For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

One of the main things I wanted to do was see an octopus on my night dive. I was focused on finding one and I was diligently seeking that octopus. Just as the dive was ending and I thought I would have to return another time the octopus showed up. This tends to happen often. Whatever you are focused on and looking for will manifest itself in your life. The thing you have to be mindful of is what you are focused on. Are good things happening in your life? Are you actively seeking for the right things in your life? How could changing your focus change your life?

For more check out: 

Have you Ever Seen God Underwater? 

Mayan Ruins and the Secret to Happiness