While some divers may look at a sandy bottom below the surface as a barren wasteland, there is plenty of life an intrigue within the sandy or muddy substrates of marine ecosystems. Many organisms rely on the innocuous appearance of the muck for habitat, protection from predators, and as places to ambush their own prey, which means there will always be more than meets the eye in these environments. If you want to try your hand at muck diving, there are some very important principles that must be adhered to in order to preserve this unique type of environment:
- Practice your buoyancy. Take care to not overweight yourself, so that you are able to hover perfectly just above the substrate.
- If you must stabilize yourself on the seafloor, use a small tickle stick instead of your hands to avoid unnecessary injury to yourself and marine creatures.
- Before stabilizing yourself, be sure to scan the area to make sure you are not disrupting a habitat or crushing any animals. Never grab onto corals or organisms affixed to any surface to stabilize.
- Do not harass marine animals. Keep your hands to yourself at all times, and respect the personal space and life of aquatic creatures.
Image via Stephen Childs