Scuba Diving 101: Communication
When you start diving you'll immediately learn the basic hand signals that you're gonna be using to communicate underwater. It's important to learn thinking about the fact that you can't really talk normal through your reg while down there. You can try, but most won't understand what you're trying to say. I have several dive buddies that I can have a whole conversation with while diving. I guess we've gotten so used to it over the years that we exactly understand what the other is saying.
In general, the way to communicate underwater is of course with hand signals. You need to know what your buddy is telling or asking you and you need to make sure that he or she will understand what you have to say. Okay? I'm okay, Up, down, something is wrong, out of air, low on air, how much air do you have?, buddy up, follow me, and look at me are some of the basic signals that we learn. Once we got those under control it was time for the signals that you use to identify marine life. I love these signals, there are many different ones for all the marine life that we see out here along our beautiful Jupiter Ledges. From tiny little crabs and shrimps to octopi, stingrays, eels, and the biggest shark out there. There's a way to describe anything living in the water. I always laugh when we show our divers the goliath groupers, we spread our arm out as far as possible and point in the direction of the grouper. BIG fish! Lately, there've been quite a few juvenile goliaths hanging around the ledges. They're still big compared to most other fish, but tiny compared to the adult ones, So the signal will be arms wide for BIG fish, followed by holding up your hand while showing the sign for small. It's a small big fish. Make sense?
Divers come from many different countries from all over the world where tons of different languages are spoken. When diving together with someone that speaks a different language than you, you're faced with a big challenge. For some reason as small children, we could all play together and understand each other perfectly fine without speaking the same language. Unfortunately, as adults it doesn't quite work that way anymore. It's much more challenging to make sure you understand each other. But as soon as you jump in that water that all changes and it's like you do speak the same language. You're completely in sync and understand each other perfectly. Pretty amazing! It's the power of our underwater language!