Everything you do underwater transmits information to the fish around you. When diving, you become part of a new world with its own interaction rules. It is important to understand those rules. Knowing how fish interact with other fish will help us to enjoy the company of some animals much longer than what you can imagine. Let's put the case of touching. When we cares another human being we communicate love and care. If you cares a fish you will communicate aggression or the will to eat it. Two very opposite meanings for one same action. Such is the difference between our two worlds.
Although most of the fish are very curious, it is important to understand too that divers are very big animals in comparison to underwater life. Lets say an average man of 1,75m tall, plus 1m fins, this means we are a 2,75m "fish" when underwater. The size already makes us fearsome. However, there are few things you can do to seem less scary for the fish. The most important is to understand that since you are underwater, you are a fish and you have to learn the language they speak. It will never be the other way around.
7 TIPS TO REMAIN NEAR THE FISH
1-Never swim straight towards the animal:
A fast and straight approach is very aggressive. It means one of those 2 things: "I want to eat you" or "I want to fight for the spot you are using". Try to approach slow and maybe in a diagonal way or making a little round. Swim slowly. You will see your objective in alert, observing you and your movements. He will analyse you to decide either you are dangerous or not. Whenever you swim directly into it, it will not doubt that you bring bad intentions.
This is easy to understand. Fast movements are scary for most of the living beings in this planet, fish are no exception. Never be surprised if a fish scares and runs away after one fast movement of your arm or leg.. Time to improve buoyancy!!
3-Don't face the animal:
Fish fight face to face. Try to avid to face the fish with your body aligned. This position communicates to the fish that you are ready to start a fight. Try to put your body the way the fish sees your side. When fish want to surrender they show the side of their body. If it moves around, don't follow it with your entire body, do it with your eyes. Imagine you are dancing with it and the only rule is not to face the fish. And don't forget to enjoy the dance.
4-Breath Very Slowly :
Our bubbles scare fish. If you breath hard, you will make a lot of scary bubbles and a very strong noise. Try to breath out really slowly and try to be constant in your breath. Constant little bubbles will be less scary for the fish than if all of the sudden you blow out a massive amount of bubbles.
5-Avoid eye contact:
Eye contact is very aggressive underwater. If you realise that you are scaring the poor animal, try to look somewhere around and avoid the eye contact for few seconds.
6-Avoid corralling them - lower your level:
You must leave some escape options for the fish. Corralling is a technique some animals use to haunt. For many animals is scary too if you swim in a higher level. Try to go to their level or, if possible, lower. Avoid hovering over them.
It is very hard to remain close to a fish when it is already scared, but you still have a chance. Try to pretend you are scared too and that you run away. Put your fins between you and the fish. If the fish moves, kick a bit backwards as if you would be scared of it. You might have one chance to communicate to the fish that you feel threatened, which might stop it to flee from you.
Approaching a fish and remaining close to it for a while is not always easy. It is neither an exact science. If you are willing to spend some time and practice, you will start understanding and interacting with them and you will discover that each fish has its own behaviour. You will learn which tips work better with every animal you interact with. And the best, you will start enjoying an unknown part of diving for you. You will have unaccountable moments such the feeling that you are dancing with the fish or even better... You made a new friend!