A viral video showing what it’s like to go black water diving has panicked and captivated social media users.
Black water diving takes place at night. The diver is tied to a boat above very deep waters and witnesses the unique creatures that emerge from the depths.
The video was created by Instagram user Brittney Weidemann and reposted on TikTok by ocean exploration and diver training organization Padi, begins by showing the diver’s feet, barely visible above the black water.
Strange sea creatures then begin to emerge from the depths below, including a ctenophora, also known as a comb jelly. Ctenophora can be seen flashing the colors of the rainbow, which can only be seen in the dark.
Creatures that live in the depths of the ocean are often bioluminescent, caused by a light-emitting chemical reaction in their bodies.
The video, which has over 9,000 likes, is captioned “Dare you try black water diving?” Many people in the comments make it clear that they wouldn’t.
One TikTok user, tailsofamermaid, commented, “I feel totally comfortable knowing that I will go to my grave without having done any black water diving.”
Another, paulbruneau9 said, “I would have to fight every inch of my being not to scream silent bubbles.
The video was also reposted on the Thalassophobia Reddit community, where many expressed fear at the prospect of black water diving.
RighteousAudacity commented, “Great to see these creatures, but I’ll let others film, thanks.”
However, Eric Albinsson, an instructor development program specialist at Padi and an expert in black water diving, said Newsweek that while many express fear of the sport, divers themselves are not very deep underwater and are safely tethered to a boat at all times.
“Some divers may find it frightening or intimidating to be above such deep water, especially since it takes place at night. However, as each diver is tethered to the boat and each has their own own set of lights, it’s actually a very easy form of diving,” Albinsson said. “No swimming, no sailing! Just hold on to the line and gently drift away enjoying the magical experience of seeing creatures very few on our planet will ever see!”
Most of the creatures black-water divers will encounter are planktonic, Albinsson said, meaning they live in the water column between the ocean floor and the surface, drifting with ocean currents.
“The creatures you see on eddy dives are almost impossible to describe here, which does justice to their diversity, magnificence and uniqueness,” he said. “They’re usually small, an inch or two, and many are larval or juvenile stages of more familiar animals.”
The creatures could be reef fish larvae and pelagic fish species, Albinsson said. It could also be octopus larvae, squid, tunicates or anemones.
“There are also a multitude of species of jellyfish that migrate from the depths to the surface to feed each night. It’s a real kaleidoscope of life,” he said.
Before divers enter the water, Albinsson said bright lights mimicking moonlight are turned on underwater to attract microscopic zooplankton, which in turn attract the bioluminescent creatures.
The ocean remains largely a mystery to humans. About 80% of the ocean has never been seen. Humans have explored a higher percentage of the moon and planet Mars than the ocean floor.
Albinsson said black water diving is a “magical experience”.
“Suspending weightless in this darkness and seeing the sparks of light reflect off the surface of the tiny creatures around you has to be the closest thing astronauts experience when they embark on a spacewalk. between the blue of the Earth and the twinkling of stars in the darkness of space,” he says.