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Night Dive on the SS Benwood– June 9, 2020

July 1, 2020

By Kennedy Becke

My sister Lindsay and I are Captain Glenn and First Mate Jill’s nieces (and Second Mate Suzy’s cousins) from Williamsburg, Virginia. We drove down to Key Largo at the beginning of June to take a break from quarantining at our house and to get in as much diving as possible.

Jill and Glenn surprised us by making it possible for us to do the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, which you can read about here.

After completing the first four Adventure Dives to certify, we only had one left: a night dive.

Lindsay and I were both particularly nervous for this dive, as we had completed several dives during the day but had never been diving in the dark before. Luckily, Captain Glenn knew everything to do to make the experience as comfortable as possible for us.

boat on ocean at sunset

After napping all afternoon and eating a good dinner, we headed to the marina with all our gear – and Jill and Glenn’s friend Ed, who kindly offered to stay on the boat for us so Jill and Glenn could enjoy the dive as well.

sea turtle

We left the marina at about 7:30 and arrived at the SS Benwood dive site with time to snorkel the wreck and get our bearings and see a beautiful sunset from the boat!

While snorkeling, we saw both a turtle and a nurse shark swimming beneath us, a promise of the exciting creatures we would see when we descended in our dive gear. We also witnessed a school of parrot fish preparing to go to sleep for the night.

After our brief snorkel and enjoying the sunset, we kitted up onboard Lucky Fish and prepared for our first ever night dive!

What we saw on the bottom blew my mind.

From at least half a dozen adorable sleeping sea turtles to lobsters and midnight blue parrot fish, all in the layout of a wreck which looked at least ten times cooler when seen by flashlight. I’ve always loved wreck dives and experiencing the Benwood at night was a dream come true.

I loved swimming along the wreck and seeing all the cool little creatures which we don’t see nearly as often during the day!

We finally visited the anchor at the far end of the wreck, which lies at about 46 feet, before working our way back up the other side of the wreck to end our dive after about 45 minutes.

Female scuba diver

Ending the dive was an incredible experience as well, as we surfaced to a view of a beautifully clear and starry sky. With the stars above us and the tiny bioluminescent plankton underneath us, it felt like we were almost floating in the sky ourselves!

Though we have since left the Keys, I can hardly wait to return and dive with Captain Glenn and First Mate Jill again!

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