Friday 31st of the August 2018, was celebrated by doing a night dive at Fort Wetherill State Park, Jamestown, Rhode Island. Matt proposed to get to the park at around 7:30-8 PM and make not one, but two-night dives. I thought that was a splendid idea and by 8 pm I’ve arrived in the Fort Wetherill.

Fort Wetherill

I was anticipating to see a few guys, but I did not expect to find the parking lot almost completely occupied by the divers, I’d say there were at least 10. In total darkness, among those whom I have never seen before, I was happy to recognize Asli, Bert, and Andrea. A nightly underwater exploration was going to be very interesting.

Northern pipefish (Syngnathus fuscus)

I dove at this location before, but at that time the site ToDiveToday did not exist. Otherwise, I would not fail to mention that this was the place where I met Matt Wills for the very first time. I would also indicate that I was not very impressed with the “results” of diving, it wasn’t bad, but I expected more. On a scale from 1 to 10, I wouldn’t mark it higher than 5, otherwise, I’d come back to Fort Wetherill more often than I had.

Black sea bass (Centropristis striata) Courtesy of Matt Wills

But the pictures of Asli and Andrea, recently posted on Facebook, refueled my interest in this location and I decided to give it another try. Plus, during summertime, marine life is migrating through warmer parts of New England, populating waters of Rhode Island with tropical species. Hence, you can find lots of “visitors” that normally are not present in these regions. Personally, I was hoping to see the Lind seahorse.

Lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) Courtesy of Matt Wills

Anyways, after brief hellos, Matt and I, at 10 pm exactly, began our first dive. The water was clear, motionless and very warm. Personally, I couldn’t recall when the last time my dive computer registered 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the waters of New England.

Summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) Courtesy of Matt Wills

Diving

Since there were a lot of divers in a relatively small and very shallow bay, Matt and I picked an opposite side from the entrance, the area where we did not see any underwater lights. As we were swimming on our backs towards the wall, occasionally I was looking down, to check if I can still see the sandy bottom. And at one moment, my attention was attracted by silvery shimmer, reflected off a beam of my flashlight. I began descending slowly, powering up my substrobes and the camera.

Northern puffer (Sphoeroides maculatus)

I saw Asli’s and Andrea’s pictures depicting a squid holding in its tentacles unlucky prey, and now I had a chance to make a similar shot of my own.

Hunting squid

Longfin squid (Doryteuthis pealeii)

The next surprise – was a blue crab. I am following this creature via Marine Life North Atlantic Application, hoping to get notification from someone who had observed this specie. Now, right in front of me, I saw quite a large carapace of a Callinectes sapidus. To be frank, I did not recognize it as a blue crab, until it rose from its sandy lair and assumed defending stand, displaying its legs and internal sites of its claws, painted in striking blue.

Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus)

Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus)

Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus)

A minute later Matt pointed to me at large Black Sea Bass. Unlike Matt’s camera, equipped with the 18-55 mm lens, my Canon was outfitted with a glass, better suitable for a macro. Thus, due to copious backscatter, that greatly lessened the possibility of a good distant shot, I could only snap a part of a big fish.

Black sea bass (Centropristis striata)

But, I was better prepared for a tiny Sand shrimp and small Northern Searobin.

Sand shrimp (Crangon septemspinosa)

Then Matt pointed to me the Planehead Filefish.

Planehead filefish (Stephanolepis hispidus)

At one moment, I looked at my computer and couldn’t believe that we were underwater for 112 minutes. The instrument also has indicated that a 1000 psi was left in my tank and I could have definitely stayed longer. But nature was calling, and very loudly at that :),  so after confirming with Matt that he wished to continue diving, I got out.

Lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) Courtesy of Matt Wills

I really was surprised to observe so many animals that I did not see before. An hour and 52 minutes, that I’ve spent underwater, produced plenty of good pictures, but I did not find the seahorse. However, Matt kept diving and during an additional 45minutes, he spotted 2 Hippocampus erectus.

Northern pipefish (Syngnathus fuscus) Courtesy of Matt Wills

Conclusion

Besides, that I would like to thank Matt Wills for organizing this excursion, I also wish to express my appreciation to my dive-buddy for pointing to me many animals that I would miss otherwise. I had a great time and hope to go back for more. Oh yeah, we did not do 2 dives, but I’m sure you’d agree with me that 157 minutes can be counted as such.

Northern searobin (Prionotus carolinus)

We bid goodbye to Asli, Andrea and Bert, packed our gear and at about 3 am I arrived home. I was tired, but very happy that I rediscovered a place, previously considered as least interesting. So, I guess there are no boring dive spots, we just need to keep diving them.

 

Safe diving and new awesome discoveries to all.