Some hints to help you keep the reefs alive and well
- Keep your eye on the reef!
Eye movement is also important when hovering or maintaining body position over a reef. Keep your eye fixed on an object and it is much easier to stay motionless. Move your eyes around and you are out of control. Try walking in a straight line from point A to B and have your eyes wander all over the place while not looking at where you are going and you’ll have some idea what happens underwater too. Don’t try this while driving your car to the airport for your vacation. In fact, don’t try this while driving, period.
Streamline all your gear. There is no excuse for dangling gauges, or other dive gear. Nothing attached to you should ever come in contact with the reef accidentally. Use tropic weight equipment too. The less the better for diving on coral reefs. Some experienced hard core divers show up in full 7 mil wetsuits looking like they’re making an assault on the deep diving record in a cave. It is nice to let others know what kind of diving you do back home, but you’re as out of place in the tropics geared up like that as we would be showing up for a New Jersey wreck dive on a cold November morning in a shorty and a 63 cubic foot tank on our back.Keep it simple
- Make like a submarine and dive!
One of the most important things you can do as a diver is to dive. If you haven’t been in the water on scuba since your last Caribbean vacation (6 months to a year or more), do a refresher course back home. At minimum, get in a pool and practice buoyancy and other skills. If you can’t take off your mask and replace it comfortably underwater, you are not up to speed. But don’t take your word for it, get in a pool and do it! Don’t waste your precious holiday time thrashing around awkwardly in the water for the first few days. You’ll have a better time, so will we and the reefs will be the better for it.
The keys to being a good coral reef diver are easy:
- Be willing to change your style of diving to suit the diving you are doing. Keep your fins up and your head down when exploring those nooks and crannies on a coral reef;
- Be aware of yourself, especially fin tips and the reefs. You can kick the rocks on your dives back home, but coral reefs can’t tolerate it;
- Wear as little weight as possible. Even though you may start a week of diving in the tropics with a certain amount of lead, aim to cut it down day by day. Then note it in your log for reference next time you’re diving in the tropics. Couple this with good breathing and eye movement and you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish in just a week’s time;
- The keel of a sailboat is not on its deck. Position your weights from your sides forward, more across your stomach, not on your back. Your weights will keep you face down and you won’t have a tendency to roll over onto your back or side;
- Streamline your equipment and keep it to the absolute minimum when diving on coral reefs. Less is better;
- Dive! Get back in the saddle before you arrive on island. You’ve worked all year to get here for a week. Maximize your enjoyment by being prepared;
- The most important key is attitude. We all need to remember, whether we have 10 dives or 100 dives or 1000 dives or 5000 or more dives, we can learn something new as long as we don’t think we are too experienced to learn especially when it comes to diving on our coral reefs.
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