Hot Tips: Up Close & Personal!

By Goat Island divers.

Diving is all about exploring, adventure and seeing new and amazing organisms. Nothing feels as good as when you discover something for the first time or get to have a close encounter with the marine environment.

There are several different ways you can get close to the marine life without harassing it. When diving you want to create as little disturbance as possible, so don’t chase the animals, or shove your hands into holes to pull something out just to have a look. There are other ways to make the fish want to show off or have a closer look at you…

An eagle ray takes off.

An eagle ray takes off.

Do not rush your dive

It is extremely beneficial for you and ocean life if you slow down. You have less chance of damaging the fragile marine life and having a more enjoyable dive. Remember you are a big, noisy, and in their environment – you must pace yourself for them to dare show themselves. If you allow them to get used to you, they will come to you.

Success with the rock-tapping trick.

Success with the rock-tapping trick.

Knock pebbles

Take two small pebbles or rocks and gently knock them together. This is the same sound as fish feeding. This will get the attention of nearby fish and spike their curiosity. But remember to do this gently.

Reduce your movement

Larger species that visit shallow water for cleaning will hover motionless as an invitation for smaller fish to come and clean them. You can imitate this by slowing your breathing and reducing your movements.

Tickle the sand

Without causing any damage to sponges or any marine life, gently tap your fingers on a sandy bottom close to some rocks or kelp. The animals living amongst the rocks and kelp will come out and have a look. It also simulates larger fish feeding, like eagle rays, and smaller fish will move in to get the scraps missed by the ray. This trick works well on kelp fish, octopus, goat fish, snapper, blue cod and other bottom dwellers.

As divers we are at the frontier of this amazing environment: protect it, respect it, learn from it and enjoy it.

L-R: Coaxing a kelp fish with a tickle; Success!

L-R: Coaxing a kelp fish with a tickle; Success!