How to Interact with Marine Animals
Welcome back for our next lesson: how to interact with marine animals.
Diving is a sport that allows you to enter into another world. In this fantastic new environment we are only guests. Therefore it is important to leave nothing but bubbles and take nothing but photos or videos. This should be the motto for every diver.
Here you can find a few diving tips. They will help you to better observe marine life and at the same time preserve it.
Maintain good buoyancy and be streamlined – make sure all your hoses and equipment are well attached. A cable or a camera bumping on the reef can damage fragile life. Remember to always swim in a good horizontal position, 1-2m away from the reef and control your buoyancy.
Go slow – marine animals see us as a disturbance or a predator. Swim slow and give animals time to get used to you. This way they will allow you to get closer. Don’t chase marine life. You will end up exhausted and the animal will disappear. On top you will ruin the opportunity for other divers to see it too.
Acknowledge marine life behavior – a turtle swimming away showing you its shell, a stingray lifting its tail, or a scorpionfish lifting its dorsal fin are signs that they see you as a threat. At that moment you are not welcome to get any closer.
All predators come from behind as they catch their prey by surprising it, approach marine animal from front or the side. This way the animal can see you are coming. Keep a distance of 2m, let them choose if it will stay or leave.
Do not touch – the direct contact with marine life can harm you and the aquatic life. Harmful bacteria can be transmitted by touching. Many marine animals can be vulnerable to our bacteria and we to theirs. Corals have a layer of mucus which is antibacterial, and it protects them, if you touch a coral you will remove this protection.
Using a dive light enables you to see the real colors of this planet. It also helps spotting tiny creatures that live in caves and crevices. You can harm marine life by using it incorrectly. Try to aim the light on a nearby spot to not blind them.
Don’t collect any souvenirs like empty shells, dead corals and sand – they are not there for us to take. They are part of this ecosystem that we need to respect and protect. Everything is there for a reason. Dead coral in the lagoon prevents beach erosion, an empty shell can be house to a homeless crab etc. Speak to your dive guide or to the manager of the dive base if you see an incorrect behaviour – don’t be indifferent.
To watch some close marine life encounters have a look at some videos on Ocean Dimensions YouTube channel.
Now that you know how to interact with marine animals in the next session we will tell you the secrets of how to spot marine life! Don’t miss it.
March 6, 2021