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Sign language
hand-signalsFor those of you that have never been diving, you may think that we just speak to each other as we would on the surface, like the presenters in those fancy BBC diving documentaries, wearing full face masks that allow them to have a full-on chin wag underwater. Unfortunately full face masks are pretty expensive items of equipment and require additional training, so you can't just strap one to your face and jump in the water.
Instead we have to go old school and use hand signals to communicate. It's basically underwater charades without the eggnog. Now there are some obvious hand signals, like asking how much air your buddy has, asking whether your buddy is ok, or saying that you want to end the dive. But there are many more that aren't as obvious, but they allow you to dive safely as a buddy team, whilst staying on the same page with minimum fuss. Now, as most people go diving to see marine life, it's good to be able to communicate what you're looking at in addition to sharing information regarding your dive parameters, and this is where the possibilities begin to be endless. As long as you confirm with your buddy before the dive what the sign for this or that fish will be, you can make up whatever signals you like. For example, the sign for an angelfish is to draw an imaginary halo with your finger around the top of your head. But it could also mean that you just saw Jesus behind the brain coral. It would be interesting to see your buddy try and communicate that they disagreed that it was Jesus and thought it was actually Captain Birdseye. Maybe after all that you really saw an angelfish behind the Bryan coral.
One of the weirdest hand signals I know is used during the open water course when a student doesn't quite get a skill right in the pool or ocean, so the instructor uses it to indicate that they want them to do it again. The only way I can describe it is by imagining that your right-hand is an aeroplane and you are going to crash it into the palm of your other hand in a curve-like motion. It makes about as much sense as if someone wanted to beckon you over to them from afar, and instead of gesturing with their hand they just started moonwalking sideways. So I obviously use my own hand signal to ask someone to repeat a skill. What I do is arch my back, puff out my chest, put my hands over my eyes, and then just allow myself to fall sideways and just lie there in that position on the bottom of the pool, motionless... works every time.
If you haven't learned to dive yet, you'll need to learn the hand signals that your instructor teaches you. But once you're qualified, providing your diving with someone you know pretty well, make up some of your own between you. You never know, some of them may even catch on and become diving industry norms.

You're in a tropical country, there are insects everywhere, get used to it. You may as well learn something about them:

- If a man could run as fast for his size as an ant can, he could run as fast as a racehorse.
- Ants can lift 20 times their own body weight.
- With their combined weight greater than the combined weight of all humans, ants are the most numerous type of animal.
- An ant brain has about 250,000 brain cells. A human brain has 10,000 million. So a colony of 40,000 ants has collectively the same size brain as a human.
- Ant brains are largest amongst insects. An ant’s brain may have the same processing power as a Macintosh II computer.
- The average life expectancy of an ant is 45-60 days.
- Adult ants cannot chew and swallow solid food. They rely on juice which they squeeze from pieces of food.
The abdomen of the ant contains two stomachs. One stomach holds the food for itself and second stomach is for food to be shared with other ants.
- There are over 10000 known species of ants.
- Some worker ants are given the job of taking the rubbish from the nest and putting it outside in a special rubbish dump.
- Some birds put ants in their feathers because the ants squirt formic acid which gets rid of the parasites.
- If a worker ant has found a good source for food, it leaves a trail of scent so that the other ants in the colony can find the food.
- The queen ant lives up to ten or twenty years.
- Some colonies may contain millions of ants, all produced by a single queen.

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Read 1251 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 08:24
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