Black Water Drift Dive

Ambon Jellyfish night drift Ned DeLoach
At night in  Ambon Harbor: a soccer ball-sized jellyfish pulsed upward from the depths

April 2013, Ambon Indonesia ~ Ned loves night dives. I do not. So when Marcel Hagendijk, manager of Maluku Divers, started talking about the cool creatures that drift through the harbor at night, I started sliding down into my chair.  “You know we could put you out there on a line and let you drift,” said Marcel casually. Ned perked up; that was all he needed to hear. The next night, he and our guide, Semuel Bukasiang, drifted in the middle of Ambon harbor, hanging at a depth of 65 feet on a line tied to the boat, aided only by the small beams of their dive lights. I spent the two hours trying to eat dinner with friends but jumping up intermittently to gaze out into the darkness, looking for the distant running lights of their boat. Ned returned with the photos but his tale of having to let go of the line every time something interesting drifted by, swimming to keep up (jellies move quickly), trying to focus (he uses manual focus), then looking for Semuel’s light (to guide him back to the safety of the line), confirmed that I had no business out there – but I’m glad he likes it – and I think his results are beautiful.

Unidentified plankton at night Ned DeLoach
Less than 2 inches across, a larval tube anemone drifts by.
Strange Night drifter Ned DeLoach
An inch and a half long heteropod (thanks, Laz Ruda, for the id) 
Pelagic Ctenophore at night Ned DeLoach
A pelagic ctenophore; we had seen many similar to this during the day
Shrimp in drifter at night Ned DeLoach
..And a little shrimp, riding along on one of the ctenophores