Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D.

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On my first Caribbean night dive, I was diving with someone from Canada that I had met at the dive site resort. It was our first dive together. About ten minutes into the dive, my buddy, quite agitated, came over to me holding up three fingers in one hand and five fingers in the other. Since I was trained (and train others) to use fingers (one hand only ... each finger represents one-hundred psig) to indicate remaining cylinder pressure, I assumed my buddy was telling me that his cylinder contained only 800 psig. This upset me 'cause we had only been in the water a short time and I was surprised at such an apparent rapid consumption of air. I assumed our dive was about to be terminated and I was most disappointed.

Later, I learned that the eight fingers was this group's signal for an octopus and my lack of understanding had created a missed opportunity.

Fortunately for me, on a later dive I was able to view the incredible turquoise splendor of the Caribbean octopus when viewed at night.

The point is

The lack of understanding signals may prevent acquiring some awesome experiences.

So, prior to the dive, especially in a "new buddy"  situation, it is wise to establish methods of communication 


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About The Author: 

Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D. is a biochemist and Diving Safety Coordinator at the University of Michigan. He has authored more than 200 scuba related articles. His personal dive library (See Alert Diver, Mar/Apr, 1997, p. 54) is considered one of the best recreational sources of information In North America.

  Copyright 2001-2024 by Larry "Harris" Taylor

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Use of these articles for personal or organizational profit is specifically denied.

These articles may be used for not-for-profit diving education