No matter where in the world you are diving one of the main reasons that you are probably heading underwater is to check out the marine life. The marine life that you see on a dive can often make the difference between an amazing experience and one that is so so. If you want to get the most out of the experience there are a few things that you can do to ensure the marine life are happy with you sharing their environment. Our top 10 tips are below:
1. Relax and dive slowly – You want to appear non threatening to the marine life around you and by panicking and blowing lots of bubbles you may find that you scare most fish away.
2. You may think that the sea is a location for anyone to enjoy and it is to an extent but don’t let ignore the fact that is the natural home of almost all the marine life you will encounter. Respect their home and try not to disturb their natural surroundings. Don’t harm the coral and try not to kick up sand when you dive. It’s a good idea to also stay at least 1metre away from all marine life to lower the risk of them being scared.
3. Following on from tip number 2, try and give the marine life a clear exit path. If you corner them from all angles the fish will feel threatened and you will not be able to enjoy the experience as much as you may otherwise.
4. Don’t feed the fish – a lot of divers unfortunately do this and it is a bad idea for many reasons. For more information about this check out our article on should scuba divers feed fish?
5. Don’t poke, stroke or touch the fish in any way. Not only is this seen as threatening behavior but you could actually be damaging their health too. Some fish will harm you if you try to touch them so it’s best to just watch them from afar.
6. Don’t be afraid to explore rocks and caverns a little bit more than you usually would. Large rocks and hideaways are popular sanctuaries for amazing species such as manta rays. You may also find starfish and crabs here. Again try and practice your buoyancy so that you don’t kick up the sand and disturb them.
7. Four eyes are better than two so speak to your buddy before you dive and let them know what marine life you are specifically looking out for. By agreeing on the specific things that you are interested in you can cater your dive accordingly.
8. Make sure you are comfortable with your equipment – if you are uncomfortable with it you are going to spend the whole dive worrying about it and you will use your air supply a lot faster than normal. This will leave you with less time to explore the dive sites and even when you do have air you will struggle to focus on anything other than your equipment.
9. Pay attention to the seascape – sometimes frightened fish will disappear as soon as they hear divers coming and will take another peek after you have gone. By paying attention to everything around you you may just get a glance of some elusive fish which can really make your dive.
10. Understand more about the fish in your dive site before you dive – stone fish and nudibranches etc. may not be easily visible on first site but this doesn’t mean they are not there. By understanding more about the dive site you will know what to look out for and where which will increase your chances of spotting rare fish.
Most of all however just try and have fun. The more nervous you are the less you will see so take your time and enjoy.