Tips for Finding Cool Creatures Underwater

Scorpionfish- Think you could spot them at a glance?

Do you consider yourself a follower or a leader underwater? Do you find cool stuff easily or wait for someone else to find it for you?

Being able to spot creatures , makes a huge difference on the enjoyment and satisfaction you get from scuba diving.

When I started diving, I was following my Divemasters and Instructors wherever they went. It had it benefits, I would see a lot, but it wasn’t half as fun as finding cool stuff on my own. Question is, how do you get better at it?

1. Move slowly.

It amazes me how fast people go when not following a guide. Although diving fast allows you to cover more area you tend to see a lot less. There are three simple reasons for it:

A. Moving fast scares creatures when passing by them; they’ll hide till you’re no longer there. We’re strangers out there, awkward looking, and blowing bubbles from our regulators. Some creatures don’t appreciate our presence right away. You don’t go to a bar expecting everybody to like you right away, do you? Move slowly, let those creatures get to know you better, when they find out you mean no harm, they’ll show their faces.

B. There is cool stuff to be found everywhere; you need to allow your eyes some time to focus on it. Do you think you could find a Frog Fish or a Stone Fish at a glance?

C. Check all holes, cracks, crevices and overhangs. Some of the most amazing creatures are the smallest or camouflage ones that may lay right next to us.

Learn more about why moving slowly is so important here.

Frog Fish
Think you could find this Frog Fish too?

2. The 3D effect.

Some divers tend to forget that there’s a lot out there around them. I’ve seen it many times, coming back from a dive where I saw a whale shark passing by the reef on Phi Phi Island, Thailand, or seeing Dolphins, Eagle Rays, Sharks and others cruising by the reef, only to find out the rest of the divers never thought of looking out at the blue. I would spend most of my time checking the reef or the bottom, but every few seconds check my surrounding- above me, behind me, beneath and to the sides- you never know what might pass by.

3. Nothing beats Practice.

Dive the same area a few times and you’ll find out your more familiar with the creatures living in it and their behavior. That’s the main reason dive guides see more than their customers.

Learn more about the scuba diving courses available here

4. Knowledge:

When you know what to look for, how it looks like and where to find it, it makes your life a whole lot easier.

Imagine walking into the pub, scanning for a familiar face, then doing the same with a photo of a person you’ve never met before. Who would you find first?

Grab a fish ID book, or fish slates and get familiar with local marine life. You’ll find out that once you’ve looked at a creature once, it becomes a lot easier to zoom on it when diving. Predators do the same; they’ll target a familiar shape a lot faster then on an unfamiliar one.

Finding cool stuff underwater isn’t hard, it takes some time and practice but can be very rewarding and easily make your dive experience a lot better.

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