When it comes to Blackwater Diving we get a lot of questions of what to bring along to be properly equipped for diving in the darkness! There are a few things we would recommend, but even with a simple torch and camera you are good to go.
In terms of exposure protection, we typically recommend our guests to cover up. Not because it is colder at night, but to protect yourself from jellyfish! On a good Blackwater Dive, we may encounter some jellyfish, and if so you do not want to be bothered by this the entire dive. A 3-5mm wetsuit would work great, and I personally always dive with a hood to protect my face and I always tend to go for a rashguard with slightly longer sleeves to cover wrists and the back of the hands. If you have a good raincoat or a hoodie that can also be nice to have to warm up with as soon as you exit the water.
On a Blackwater Dive we tend to swim quite a bit more than on a day dive, as we are actively trying to cover some more area in the water column to see what we can find. This means that you want to wear comfortable fins. If you have open heeled fins it might be a good idea to bring along some socks to make sure you do not get blisters. There are scuba diving socks available, but regular cotton socks work just as well.
For BCD’s, regulators, and masks goes the same recommendation as for any night dive. Do not use new equipment and stick to something you are comfortable with! Taking new equipment means you might have to deal with a foggy mask, a not properly fitting BCD or free flowing regulators. If possible, we recommend a mask with a black skirting to not get distracted by the hang line lights or other divers shining through your skirt as you are trying the get a photo.
One piece of equipment that might be worth looking into upgrading would be your torch! If you can find a torch that is sharp beamed (around 10-20 degrees) then that would be ideal. You can attach your torch either around your wrist or onto your BCD, however the latter means you get a more secure connection. If it is around your wrist it might bang into your camera, and you might accidentally attract the subject you are trying to shoot to this light source instead. Do not be that person that loses their torch as you back roll into the water, make sure it is properly attached even before beginning the dive!
Lastly, cameras. There are a lot of different options, but it is good to start with something you are comfortable with, where you know the settings well enough for quick changes in the water. Depending on how big the subject is, or how transparent it is, you might have to adjust your exposure and your strobes. We have seen some excellent photos come out of simpler cameras, like an Olympus TG4/TG5, so there is not necessarily a need for a DSLR or a mirrorless camera if you are just starting out. However if you do want to go down that route, a camera with a fast focus is preferred as Blackwater subjects never really stay still and it is key to be able to keep focus on your subject without losing it in the viewfinder! For the lens we typically recommend a 60mm lens for a wider angle of view and a shorter working distance. If you are a beginner do not use diopters, as this makes focusing even more difficult, and for small subjects you should be able to get close enough as on Blackwater dives we have the benefit of nothing obstructing the subject.
Hopefully this was helpful and now you can make sure you come ready to do some Blackwater Dives with us here at NAD-Lembeh!
Why Dive with NAD-Lembeh Resort?
NAD-Lembeh Resort is a small, owner-operated, photography-oriented dive resort in the Lembeh Strait. We are situated in a private bay on Lembeh Island, away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. We guarantee a 2:1 guest to guide ratio as standard, which makes for a private dive experience and lots of time to take pictures.
ROOMS & BUNGALOWS
All our rooms (10 Beachfront Rooms, 5 Seaview Bungalows) offer ocean view, air conditioning, hot water, WIFI, including full board. Our resort has only few steps, which makes our layout extremely convenient to get from your room to the restaurant, camera room, bar and floating jetty.
Our dive team consists of 15 full-time guides, with over 100 years of combined experience! Air as well as Nitrox and various cylinder sizes, both DIN and Yoke, are available on site.
BOATS & FLOATING JETTY
NAD-Lembeh has 4 large, purpose-built dive boats. Each at around 15m long, they offer lots of space and comfort for the divers. Boats feature onboard toilets, towels, drinks and snacks and first aid/100% oxygen.
Our jetty allows our guests dignified and quick boat entries – all our dive boats can be moored simultaneously, so there is no wading through the shallows to get on the boat for the dive!
Our focus at NAD is to take your underwater photography to the next level. We offer 1:1 photo classes and our guides are all proficient with photography, using our rental equipment for fun dives when not diving with guests.
We shoot video up to 8K, along with Nikon/Canon SLR and mirrorless setups. This gives us a rounded knowledge of all cameras. We are also the go-to location for natural history filming in the Straits.
Our newly renovated, huge camera room offers on work space for each and every guest. The spacious, individual benches with lots of power points were purposely built for underwater photographers. NAD’s dedicated camera room is also the perfect place to work on and edit your pictures.
Several rental cameras and strobes are available onsite. We have basic tools and spare parts in our gift shop in case of minor camera problems as well as a drying cabinet, and computer for you to work on and edit your photos.