This dive is not for the inexperienced, the faint of heart, those subject to vertigo, or those who have issues with the dark. Only advanced divers with night diving experience are welcome on these expeditions.
The Black Water Dive expeditions start with a 6:00-ish PM meeting at West End Divers dive center. After a detailed briefing, getting the gear on-board and checking it twice, we depart to a deep water mooring we maintain in conjunction with the Roatan Marine Park called “Fiasco’s in Paradise”. Attached to an anchor 100 feet deep on the vertical outside face of the reef wall, the prevailing trade winds push the mooring ball into deeper water. Tying on an additional hundred feet of mooring line, the perpetual Trades push the boat over depths exceeding 1000 feet. In a few minutes the boat, the currents, and the winds find a happy medium stabilizing over the depths. With the boat positioned we deploy our unique tethering system in the water and the divers get geared up.
The tethering system consists of 6 lightweight anchors which the crew drops over the side equally spaced around the gunwale of the boat. These anchors are suspended at a depth of 60 feet, and their ropes form the foundation of the system. Each diver is issued a High Intensity dive light, and then the diver is clipped to a 10 foot lanyard (leader) and is escorted to the dive platform for a giant-stride entry. The Divemaster or deck hand will have a hold of the other end of the lanyard and follow the diver to their assigned anchor line and clip it on. The lanyard slides up and down the anchor line with the diver to a depth of 40 feet (where a stop is attached) allowing the diver to move up and down in the water column and in a twenty foot diameter circle. The diver is connected to the boat at ALL TIMES. Although this may seem restrictive, it has been our repeated experience that establishing neutral buoyancy and hovering in the water will bring as much, if not more opportunities to experience the marine life in this unique environment.
At West End Divers we take safety very seriously. Although our normal day dives are light hearted and focused on fun, all safety rules are followed and the proper equipment is on board in the way of first aid, oxygen, and communication. Given the logistics of the Black Water Dives, at night and far offshore, we have ramped up our safety protocols to also include mandatory use of personal flotation devices by the non-diving crew, and we carry life rings, sea anchor, flare gun, and redundant ship-to-shore communication.