Adapting To The Underwater World
Whether you are a PADI Open water Diver fresh out of class and submerging below the waves for the first time since your scuba diving course or not being diving in some time and just taken a scuba refresher, adapting to the underwater world can be strange so here is some advice and things to expect underwater the ocean when you go diving.
Seeing and Hearing Underwater
Water is a lot more dense than air. Around 800 times more dense in fact, so light, sound act differently to what you are used to on land.
Seeing is believing
You may try to reach for a descent line and miss it all together! Why!? This is not because your eye sight is bad that’s for sure. Its because light travels at different speeds through water and air. The mask traps air in it so allow your eyes to focus however, when the light travels through water and then through air it changes speed and shifts direction slightly. This is called refraction and you learn all about it in your PADI Open water Diver course. Ultimately is means that in the beginning compensating for this change isn’t so easy as it causes magnification which means things appear closer than they actually are. You lean to compensate for this in time.
Where is the multi color reefs we see on TV & Magazines?
They are right there in front of you! The reefs color, and in fact all colors are also affected by the water. Due to the density, the water absorbs light and the weaker light waves such as Red, cease to exist in deeper waters leaving your eyes only able to detect colors such and blue and green and yellow accurately. Want to see the reefs true color? Use a diving flash light to reintroduce the light required to see the true colors! The videos and Photographs use lights to bring the color back, you learn this in the Underwater Photography Course. This is especially effective on night dives, with the absence of natural light you get the full effect and see corals in full techno-color! Ask about Night Diving Specialty or the a Night Adventure dive during your PADI Advanced Open water courses!
What Does The Ocean Sound Like?
You will quickly learn that there are a lot of new sounds to process under the waves! There are so many new sounds to discover when you go diving, such as the blowing of your own bubbles, the crackling of the corals, the grunts of fish and the passing boat engines can be overwhelming in the beginning.
The largest thing to adjust to though is the direction of sound. Due to the density of the water, sound travels four times faster than in air. This results in the sounds reaching both your ear drums much faster and almost exactly at the same time, this result is sound seeming much louder and appears to come from close to above your head. As for talking, unless you use specialized communication gear you wont be saying too much underwater people can understand, so to communicate or get attention try banging a metal clip or such against your cylinder to get attention and then use hand signals once your buddy is looking at you.