Have you tried drift diving before? Are you anxious about diving in current? Whilst some divers love the exhilarating thrill of ‘flying’ along the reef, others find it a daunting and nerve-racking experience, however, there are some general guidelines that can help to make diving in currents both safer and more enjoyable. Here are some tips and techniques to help you “Go with the Flow”….
- Understanding what causes currents will help you to assess the best time to dive. Tidal currents vary according to the time of the tide because the vertical rise and fall of the tides also create a horizontal movement of water moving either from the open ocean in towards shore on a rising tide or from the shoreline to the open ocean on a falling tide. There are also periods (at high tide or low tide) when the horizontal movement of water is minimal or non-existent and this is termed ‘slack high’ or ‘slack low’. As a general rule, diving on slack high is preferable as visibility is usually much better. On days when there is a large tidal range (such as close to new moon or full moon) currents can be expected to be faster as there is a greater horizontal movement of water. When there is only a minimal range (neap tides), currents are least ferocious – neap tides occur twice a month in the first and third quarter of the moon.
- It all begins on the boat! Listen carefully to the dive site briefing and follow the directions of your dive guide. Wait until your dive guide tells you to enter the water to avoid opening up the distance between yourself and your guide on the surface.
- During your dive stay behind your dive guide and watch where he positions himself. Two Fish dive guides are experts in currents so watch and try to copy! Stay close to the reef or the bottom as currents here will be weaker.
- Control your buoyancy and let the current move you along. Use reef formations such as coral bommies as “shelter” if you want to take a breather. Don’t fight the current – it is easy to become overexerted.
- In gentle currents, you can determine the direction of the current by looking at indicators such as soft coral and reef fish (which generally swim head-on into the current)
- Carry a delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB) and make sure you are familiar with how to inflate it at the surface and underwater.
- If you become separated from your group, look around for one minute underwater – if you haven’t found your group in one minute, go up and you will be reunited on the surface. If you cannot see your boat upon surfacing do not wait in strong surface currents – swim across the current, towards the shore if possible.
- Take your PADI Drift Diver Specialty Course! You’ll learn more about currents and how to handle them under the supervision of one of our Two Fish PADI Instructors. You’ll make two drift dives as part of your course and the Drift Diver Specialty Certification counts as one of the 5 Specialty Certification you need to become a PADI Master Scuba Diver – the highest certification level of recreational diving!
Where To Go Drift Diving?
The reality is that all regions of Indonesia experience currents – it’s just a matter of degree. If you are looking for faster drifts then Nusa Lembongan has ideal conditions. There is a good flow of water around the islands and kilometers of coastline to drift along. Belongas Bay in South Lombok is also prone to stronger currents to get your adrenaline pumping! If you prefer more gentle drifts, Bunaken Marine Park and Sekotong in South Lombok are great for developing your skills. And for those who want to minimize currents as much as possible, check out Lembeh in North Sulawesi and Amed on mainland Bali too. Of course, these are general guidelines and you’ll need to factor in the moon phase and tides too.
So are you ready to get comfortable in currents with us? Check out our up-to-date Special Offers here! For more information or to make a reservation, fill in the form below and we’ll get right back to you (if you’d like to take advantage of one of our specials, please mention your chosen offer when booking).