Deep Sea Dialogue at S.E.A. Aquarium

Life under the sea is far from silent.

Dive down to a tropical reef and you’ll hear the Parrotfish crunching on coral, shrimps emitting a loud crackling sound to stun a passing crab and even waves crashing in and breaking over the coral reef.

Despite the underwater world being full of noise, Jacques Cousteau, a pioneer scuba diver, called his first book about life under the sea “The Silent World” because he and his fellow divers could not talk to each other underwater.

Divers show the public how they typically communicate using hand signals.
Divers show the public how they typically communicate using hand signals.

Over the years, divers have developed a sign language to help them communicate underwater. Here are a few examples:

  • Raising your thumb means “Time to go up.”
  • Swiping your hand across your throat means “I’m out of air.”
  • Holding your hand on top of your head like a fin means, “Look, there’s a shark!”

Whilst sign language can help you tell your buddy, “I can see a Leopard shark”, it can’t help you learn that Leopard sharks can grow to over two and a half metres and eat crabs, mussels and small fish as part of their diet.

But at S.E.A. Aquarium, you’ll learn all that even when the diver is underwater.

How divers talk underwater at S.E.A. Aquarium

divers-teaching-at-ooh
The divers work together to help describe interesting facts about the marine life in the Open Ocean Habitat.

At S.E.A. Aquarium, good communication between divers underwater is essential to allow them to perform their cleaning and maintenance duties safely and efficiently.

Thanks to modern technology, S.E.A. Aquarium divers can now talk not only to their buddies whilst working at a depth of 12 metres in 18 million litres of water in the Open Ocean Habitat but they can also talk to guests who watch them through the crystal clear viewing panel during the Deep Sea Dialogue  sessions.

This state-of-the-art technology allows the divers to have a two-way conversation with guests.

Deep Sea Dialogue session at S.E.A. Aquarium

Guests watch and hear our Divers at the Open Ocean Gallery.
Guests watch and hear our Divers at the Open Ocean Gallery.

Deep Sea Dialogue at S.E.A. Aquarium is conducted every day at the Open Ocean Gallery at 2:00p.m. Two divers are underwater while one of the marine educators is on the other side of the viewing panel.

The diver wears a “full face” mask that creates an air space around the mouth in which a microphone is mounted. When the diver talks into the microphone, his or her voice is transmitted to speakers positioned outside the tank facing the audience.

The marine educator outside the tank can then reply to the diver through a hand-held microphone and sound will transmit to an earphone mounted in the side of the diver’s mask.

The Divers use a full face mask to be able to communicate to the public.
The Divers use a full face mask to be able to communicate to the public.

During these talks, divers introduce the underwater habitat they are in, share information about their diving equipment and talk about the vast array of our marine animals, from the largest of the animals, the Manta Rays, down to the varied schooling fishes.

Guests get to learn about our marine life directly from the people who dive with them every day.

A communication rope allows the diver's voice to be transmitted to the guests.
A communication rope allows the diver’s voice to be transmitted to the guests.

The experience turned out to be quite interesting for our divers too:

matt-diverMatt

To be able to see the excited reactions of the children and their parents, and seeing them applaud, is just amazing.

diver brianBrian

It’s great to see the surprised expressions when the guests first realise that we are able to talk to them.

Check out the day’s schedule to find out when you can join the divers at Open Ocean Gallery for Deep Sea Dialogue.

Diver Brian Ho in his full face mask right after a Diver Talk session.
Diver Brian Ho in his full face mask right after a Diver Talk session.

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