If you’re something of a gesture fan you probably heard about diving signals aka underwater hand signals. The Active Divers Association (ADA) keeps pictures of the essentials. Other than that there’s not a lot to check out on the web.

(img source: ADA)

Now here’s the story. Some Dutch divers put up their own creative contributions to diving signals. Their playful sign inventions nicely highlight the way we go about gesturing in our daily lives. I recently invented a joke gesture with my friend A. It was a challenge best translated as ‘do you need dick extension?’. It was done by running the index finger down the nose. We’ll keep the story behind it secret, so we’ll be able to use it as a side joke.

Look Ray, a Fish!

Are diving signals exceptional? Are those Dutch divers, or A. and me, doing something extraordinary? I doubt it. I believe any bunch of people put in the right circumstances will invent gestures, a gesture system, or if so required a sign language. Monkey see, monkey do. Man can say, man can sign.