There’s nothing like diving in strong currents and watching marine life as you fly by and go with the flow. Drift diving really is one of the most exciting types of diving out there and you can find out more in our guide to drift diving in 2019.
WHY GO DRIFT DIVING?
Drift diving can be relaxing or fast-paced and exciting, depending on the dive conditions. A steady current can carry you along without having to make any effort as you enjoy the scenery. On the other hand, a strong current can give you a true sense of flying underwater.
You can cover a large area when drift diving and strong currents often attract larger pelagics, making drift dives even more special.
TOP DRIFT DIVING DESTINATIONS
The Tuamotu Archipelago is home to exciting drift dives and plenty of shark action at Rangiroa and Fakarava atolls.
The pristine Fakarava Atoll has drift diving at the Tumakohua Pass, where the waters reach speeds of up to 4 knots. A dive there will take you from the open ocean past a ‘wall of sharks’ at the channel mouth, where hundreds of grey, blacktip and whitetip sharks gather. You’ll be swept past coral-covered walls and numerous fish as you dive before ending up in the lagoon.
Rangiroa Atoll is another great place for drift diving, at the Tiputa Pass. This channel is washed by a strong current during the incoming tide, offering the chance to dive with huge schools of grey reef sharks, plus mantas, dolphins, and plenty of reef fish.
French Polynesia liveaboard diving is suitable for a variety of experience levels, though is best experienced as an advanced diver due to the deep dives. The French Polynesia Master offers diving throughout the Tuamotu Archipelago.
Elphinstone Reef, Southern Egypt
The walls of the Elphinstone reef plunge thousands of meters to the depths and are covered in colourful corals. Sitting in the open ocean, the reef is washed by strong currents that take you along the walls at speed, with little effort needed. This is a great destination for experienced divers looking for more adventurous Red Sea diving and the chance to search for oceanic whitetip sharks whilst enjoying thriving reefs.
The Emperor Elite offers a ‘Simply the Best’ itinerary that includes Elphinstone Reef, Daedalus and the Brothers.
Shark & Yolanda Reef, Northern Egypt
If you want to try drift diving without very strong currents, Northern Egypt could be the place for you. The Shark and Yolanda reefs in the Ras Mohammed national park offer colourful coral reef diving, plentiful fish and fun current diving between the two reefs. The currents are easier going than at Elphinstone but are still reasonably strong. It is one of the top dives in the Ras Mohammed national park and is often visited during liveaboard safaris in the area.
There are numerous liveaboards to choose from and the Blue Pearl is a good choice that has a variety of safari routes to choose from.
The Galapagos Islands
There is no shortage of currents at the Galapagos Islands, which attract numerous pelagic species to top areas such as Wolf and Darwin Islands. Dive in, go with the flow and you can enjoy schools of hammerheads, numerous sharks, rays and more that pass you by. It is a nature-lover’s paradise and offers challenging diving with rewarding marine life sightings.
Once you’ve had your fill of sharks, be sure to visit Cabo Douglas. You’re unlikely to see big pelagics there but you can watch playful Galapagos penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions and turtles as you drift along.
The Nortada liveaboard is ideal for more personalised Galapagos safaris, as there are only 4 cabins on board and a maximum of 12 guests.
WHAT DRIFT DIVING GEAR DO YOU NEED?
It’s a good idea to take gloves when drift diving in case you need to stop yourself during a drift dive. A surface marker buoy is a must and a whistle is useful in case you surface away from your dive boat. Be sure to streamline your dive gear to prevent entanglement and be mindful of the currents as you dive. Stay close to your dive guide, listen to their instructions and enjoy!
This article was written by divers and writers at LiveAboard.com