Last fall, I decided that I wanted to become a certified scuba diver. I went to Indy MPH Watersports (it’s the closest dive shop, actually not too far from where I live) and started to learn more about this popular pastime. I talked to a good friend of mine and we decided to get certified together. A few months later, we were certified and ready to start diving all over the world. My first dive trip was actually only a couple of weeks after we were certified, as I went to Aruba the first week of December.
That same buddy and I are planning our first dive trip together. Looks like we have decided to start in Key West, Florida and then hop on a plane to Nassau, Bahamas for a few more days of fun in the sun. But there will hopefully be more than just fun in the sun, as I want to go on a night dive.
Night dives are different… well, because they are at night! But the process is totally different. Sure, you wear the same gear and prepare yourself the same way, but on night dives you have to carry lights with you. From what I have heard, regarding night dives, they are actually better than dives during the day as you see more (and different types) of fish, and the clarity is much more vibrant. But you still need a light.
I have no idea where to find the best lights. Of course, I usually shop on a budget, and tend to rent most of my gear when I travel. I am sure lights will be the same way. I just started my research in case I decide to buy a light, and have found that ikelite makes some pretty solid lights. They are actually considered the brightest lights in their class. They offer four different types of lights.
PC Lite Series LED & Halogen
These lights are small. This is a light that you would consider buying if size is important to your dive. The PC, PCa, and PCm Lites are available with LED or halogen lamps and are extremely bright to make them equally suited for day exploring as they are for night diving. Their small size makes them ideal for backup lights as well, as they are easily stored for easy access.
These lights also utilize an innovative snap-ring and halogen lamp, while the rotating switch provides quick one-hand on and off controls. These lights pack a lot of punch considering how small they are.
C-Lite 8 LED & Halogen
The C-Lite 8 is compact and lightweight, but nowhere near as small as the PC Lite. This one features the ikelie infamous quick release clamp system, and it guarantees easy opening and assures dependable resealing. This light also offers a large rotating switch and slide lock to afford easy operation when wearing bulky gloves. (Think cold water diving where gloves are a necessity.)
The LED light had three five-watt LEDs and provides a chokingly bright, even spot beam for up to ten hours or more with no waning effect. Considering more dives take about an hour, you can use this light quite a few times before it needs new batteries.
The halogen uses alkaline/NiMH “C” cell batteries that provide it with fourteen watts of maximum light for about five hours. So no matter which option you choose, you are going to get a lot of bottom time with this light.
This light uses a revolutionary clamp design. It has a flip-lock action that guarantees to be easy opening and assures dependable resealing. That is a crucial element when it comes to your underwater lights.
The large rotating switch and slide lock afford easy operation, even when wearing those bulky gloves we talked about. In my open water dives, the water was freezing. I wore extremely thick gloves for my check out dives, so I know just what they are talking about.
This light takes four alkaline “D” cell batteries and offers maximum light exposure for up to ten hours. Again, that’s a lot of down time for one set of batteries.
The SUPER-8 RCD is an eight-cell version of the RCD light. This light is extremely intense, with a fourteen-watt light. This is hands down the brightest light in its class. The SUPER-8 is provided with interchangeable pistol and lantern grip, as well, for maximum control over your light. This one also provides up to ten hours of life on a single set of batteries.
As I start to look at different lights, I am going to be learning a lot as I go. Granted, my first few, if not all, night dives I will just rent the lights. That way I know the batteries are good, and if something should happen, I don’t have to replace it.