This coming weekend, my diving buddy and I are going to be teaching an advanced open water class. The class consists of some classroom presentations, and two days of diving. There are two required components - navigation and deep. The other three components are up to the discretion of the instructor. However at the local dive store (LDS) that I teach at, we all teach the same optional components for the advanced class. The advantage is that everyone is on the same page and it makes logistics etc. easier.
One of the modules that we will be teaching this weekend is naturalist. The aim of this component is to expose the students to the various types of animals and plants they might encounter in the various types of diving they will be doing in the future. From my own perspective, I can attest to the fact that I have enjoyed my diving a lot more since I have started to pay a lot more attention to the various species of plants and animals on dives.
My diving buddy, the navigating phenom (NP) is an avid photographer and videographer. He has a keen eye for detail and manages to get spectacular shots on just about every dive. The secret is that he knows the habitat and habits of the various species. This knowledge enables him to find the various animals in areas that most other divers just swim over. A lot of divers just zoom over a dive site and mainly want to see all the big animals. On a lot of dives, these "speedy" divers will miss the most beautiful and interesting animals right under their noses.
In our class room session last night, we tried to encourage the students to spend the time to learn what the various species look like in the places where they will be diving. We showed them some of the video that NP shot on one of our dive trips and I think we managed to get the point across that it is not always the whale shark or giant grouper that makes for an interesting dive.