Scuba Bonaire: Ostracods at Oil Slick, June 29

Shortly after sunset, 3-5 days after the full moon, the ostracods come out to mate in a glorious display of bio-luminescence. Chains of lights flicker up and down out of the branches of the soft corals. Every time you move, dozens of points of light flicker in your tiny wakes. The GoPro is entirely un-equipped to capture this.

But after it finished, we turned on the flashlights and spent some time looking around. The thing you see the most of on a night dive here are worms, which swim creepily as if they’re burrowing through the water, and seem annoyingly attracted to dive lights. This is not our favorite critter. The motion blur gives you a sense of the wriggling motion.

But the cool part about night dives is that different critters come out. Like this giant lobster who was absolutely motoring along the sea floor, when he stepped over and disturbed a scorpionfish (right picture, colorful striped fins). That’s not a tiny scorpionfish, either; it’s just a really big lobster.

We sometimes see spiny lobsters like that during the day, hiding in cracks. We’re much less likely to see a slipper lobster like this little guy. He kind of looks like a horseshoe crab, but it turns out that that’s a lobster.

And finally, the stars of the show. At night, the morays are more likely to be out skulking around, instead of poking their heads out of the coral. Likewise our favorite, the octopus. This one was pretty skittish, skulking around the rocks and doing its best to blend in.

Despite going in with almost a dozen divers, we were the last ones out of the water, and we were thankful for the easy exit up the ladder.