A beginner's guide to recognition and appreciation of the marine environment.

What will you be encountering after you have completed your diving course and actually go recreational diving just like the thousands of other divers do daily all around the world.?

Scuba divers are basically divided into few categories, beginners ,advanced and the very advanced who have gone on into very specialized niches of diving.

but thats another story.

If you are in the beginner category , probably you would have less than 10 actual dives placing you in the inexperienced group. And actually puts you are among the fortunate group,because the position you are in now is in a exclusive zone of wonder , excited expectation .everything you see and experience during the next 20 or so dives will be full of adventure and excitement because all of it is still so fresh and mysterious.

What is for the diver who has performed hundreds of dives something common is not common at all to the newbie diver,the colours of the reef and the variety of the marine creatures can be mind boggling and awe inspiring.

Hold on to this mindset of wonder , never be swayed by the seasoned divers who may seem so blase by your excitement and enthusiasm whenever you see something that seems wondrous and enchanting to you underwater because it is exactly that!

Your initial foray into the blue realm exposes you to creatures weird ,colorful and enchanting all at the same time . Trick is to merely pay attention to detail in what you saw and believe it ,makes it more rewarding.Dont be content in just swimming around underwater and observing ,make an effort to memorize the colors shapes and characteristics of the fishes ,corals or anything that stikes your fancy while you are underwater. The more you can identify or recognise the more fun you will have, like a game .

You will get a dive log after your certification,use it well, inculcate a genuine curiousity of what you have seen and write it down,that way you can remember next time you see it again underwater, there are countless photographic books or journals which every dive school will have , start of with the most basic ,

The best foundation of all is to train yourself to recognise

1) at least 2 types of marine plants.. (prepare to be surprised when you

read up on this subject,it will change a lot of your preconceived notions

of the aquatic realm, reversing impressions on what you thought is a

plant is actually not and whats considered a marine animal and so on.)

2) be able to differenciate between soft corals and hard corals....

just skim through selective paragraphs which explain why the corals are hard or soft,

at least be able to understand the difference and why it is so.And try to remember the names of the most common of the hard corals,Forget about the Latin sounding scientific names,just too complicated, memorize the common name, I.E. staghorn coral, lettuce coral,blue coral etc. most books have them.

3) Be able to name at least 5 types of reef fishes...(rather than memorizing the precise

names,train your self to recognise the family grouping of the fish,much easier to identify

general characteristics,out of the thousands of fish species, there are only 10 family


So either its a wrasse or damsel or parrot etc..but if any particular fish you see intrigues you

then of course focus on finding info about it.Thats what makes it fun,

4) read up on whats an invertebrate and whats a vertebrate in the

marine environment..(this subject will give you a good grounding or platform upon which you

can determine where your interests lie and head towards that direction.

There are thousands upon thousands of critters so weird wonderful and bizare in the marine realm,one dont know where to begin to describe it. And actually its much better to not even try.

Then everytime the diver visits ,there will be a feeling of mystery and sense of the unexpected which makes it more exciting and intriguing.

It can be so rewarding to have a curiousity or interest of what lies beneath the waves. The information is freely available to anyone who really wants to know or identify what they have seen or interpret why the marine animal behaves the way it did..

And which isnt complicated at all to understand.There is the simplified form for all to enjoy.
Always dive in with an open mind,be prepared to anticipate the unexpected,
In a nutshell,just pay more attention to detail, colors and shape of the reef, memorize the thing you ve seen underwater and hit the reference book to find out what it is seen.
Ask your dive guide about the sites you will be diving in. The excitement and wonder is increased if an added element of curiousity is present.


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