The sounds of the oceans: this powerful song

At the beginning of the underwater explorations, Cousteau told us about a certain world of silence evoking a noise-free universe. Those who have already had the chance to dive know that this is not so true. Because very quickly they get to know the sounds of the oceans.

Hear the mighty song of the oceans

Some time ago, I was diving in Mayotte. In the south of the island,suddenly, in the midst of other usual noises, a strange, unrecognizable sound envelops us. Instinctively, I understand what’s going on. The guide comes in front of me and moves in every way making gestures that I do not understand. But he looks happy so I smile at him. Determined to give me an explanation, my guide pulls out his  pad and draws me a whale (quickly made) with notes of music coming out of the mouth. I smile at him a second time… I had felt it.

Deep inside me. Although I had never heard the song of cetaceans underwater, I knew instinctively that this was it. The song of the whale will follow us during all the dive.

The sound is powerful and penetrates each of my cells. If I no longer have the precise memory of the music, that of the sensation remains very present.

The sounds of the oceans

Oceans, far from being silent, offer us a multitude of sounds and noises that vibrate together in our ears. Yet it is not always easy to understand the mixture of sounds that this environment contains.
Especially since sounds in water propagate approximately four times faster than in air. In addition, other factors can influence its propagation, such as temperature. This makes it difficult for our ears to understand its origin and direction.

During our dives we hear 4 different types of sounds.

They mingle and might surprise us in their intensity and the composition of the melody they create. But if we pay close attention to it, our ears will be able to inform us and teach us to hear the powerful song of the oceans.

The sounds of our breathing

During the first dives, it is mainly the sound of our breathing in our regulators that guides our discoveries. It’s so strange at first that mechanical sound reflecting the exchange between our tank, our lungs and then the outside.

In inspiration, the sound is more whistling. At expiration, the one caused by the exhalation mixes with that of the bubbles that come in front of our face.

But as we dive in the underwater world, we are more easily apprehensing these familiar mechanical noises and hearing better the noises that surround us.

Human sounds

The passages of zodiacs and other small motorized boats are generally well recognized by divers. This is also the case of the anchors that have been raised and the TAC, TAC, TAC that comes with their ascents. More complicated, the sound of large ships passing in the distance. The rattling of the material when you or your buddy remove your torch, pick up your SMB… More disturbing, the one on some diving spots of shakers and other metal spikes hit on the tank to attract the attention of divers.

The sounds of animals

They’re all around us. The sounds of coral eaten by fish or turtles. The short and clear sounds produced by certain species of shrimp and other squid. Those produced by the fish themselves. The sounds emitted by mammals: dolphins,  whales… as a song, an invitation to focus fully on the powerful song of the ocean.

The sounds of the oceans

Other noises come across. Those pebbles rolled and carried away by the continuous movement of the waves. Or the one of the swell that hits the coast. The lapping of the water under the hull of the boats also follows us during our dives.

All these sounds give the sea song a continuous and steady rhythm that can give us the feeling of being rocked.

Finally, it’s from this mixture of noises and sounds that the song of the ocean is born. This music so special that makes a set of sounds a melody that takes us into this mysterious universe.

Perhaps, during your next dives you will be even more careful to this very special music that follow our most beautiful dives. To that powerful song of the oceans.

And above all… remember to be happy 🤗

Hélène

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