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Your Guide to Drift Diving in 2019

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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

French Polynesia

Fakarava Atoll in Tuamotu Archipelago and its ocean passes are famous of very large schools of sharks.

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.

A cloud of anthias (Anthias: Serranidae: Anthiinae) on the Brothers dive site, Red Sea, Egypt

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.

Diving the wall, Red Sea, Egypt

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

 

 

LiveAboard.com is the easiest place online to book liveaboard diving holidays around the world. Their team has completed well over 20,000 dives and can help you plan your best scuba diving holiday.

Gear News

Jeff chats to… Sean Webb, Director of O’Three, about diving in the UK and the O’Three brand

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Sean Webb, Director of O’Three, the well-known UK-based manufacturer of custom drysuits and wetsuits.

After a bath time quarrel with his sister, Sean’s Mum taught him a lesson.

She held his head underwater for what she thought was long enough for that lesson to sink in (We are talking the mid 60’s here), but the lesson learned wasn’t the one that was intended. It was then that Sean realized he was comfortable, in or under the water. He was six.

The coasts of Devon and Dorset became his playground. 17 years later, with a trip around the world and some incredible diving under his belt, Sean Webb founded O’Three.

Now in its 32nd  year, O’Three has evolved from a business with roots that are unashamedly rooted in UK diving, to a niche brand being enjoyed all over the world by discerning recreational, technical and commercial divers alike.

Find out more at www.othree.co.uk


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Cool Drysuit Dives

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In the mood for a snowy holiday when you can get back into the water? Why not get back to your favourite underwater sport instead of hitting the slopes like everyone else? Check these incredible dive sites and explore a new underwater world in your drysuit!

Rummu Quarry, Estonia

The quirkiest and spookiest ice diving site in Europe is only 45 minutes driving from the capital of Estonia, Tallinn. Rummu Quarry used to be a limestone mining site and a prison. When the excavation labour ceased in the 1990s, pumps that kept the quarry dry were shut down. Soon water started flooding the entire site. After the prison closed in 2012, Rummu became an adventure centre where you can practice different outdoor sports including diving in the crystal-clear waters of the quarry and explore the sunken ruins of the prison. Diving in Rummu Quarry is also available in the winter, making it a one-of-a-kind ice diving spot. Will you dare to do it?

Who to Dive With:

Adventurecenter Rummu

PADI 5 Star Center

Sireli Tanav 11, Harju Maakond, Rummu Quarry, Estonia 76102

+372 588 733 78

info@barrakuuda.ee

White Sea, Russia

Image by Viktor Lyagushkin

If diving in frozen lakes, which have almost no aquatic life, is not exciting enough for you, Russia is the place to go to practice marine ice diving. At the level of the Arctic Circle, the White Sea is the only sea that freezes in winter as all other places are warmed up by the Gulf Stream. Leaving from the shores of the region of Karelia, between St Petersburg and the border of Finland, you can go ice diving from December to April. In addition to impressive ice formations, you can also enjoy on the rocky sea-bed a surprise abundant marine fauna with soft coral, starfish, crabs, shrimps, sea urchins and sea anemones. An important point to remember, salt-water freezes at -1.8°C!

Who to Dive With:

Arctic Circle

PADI Dive Center

Nilmaguba, Loukhski Region, Republic of Karelia, Russia

(7) 495 105 7799

sever@dive.ru

Switzerland

You won’t find salty seas in Switzerland, but alpine lakes and rivers make for unique and mystical scuba diving.

Lake Geneva has a variety of dives to discover. Wall dives and freshwater scenery can be perused beneath the surface. There is even a wreck dive – a stellar spot for more advanced divers to take the plunge.

Another is Lake Zurich, where you can head to excellent scuba spots right from the shore. The lake is serene, with lofty mountains cascading upward from the lakeshore. Glacially fed, the lake has sublime visibility.

River divers will be blown away by the Verzasca, an impossibly clear river found just south of the Alps near the border of Italy.

Who to Dive with at Lake Geneva:

Scuba-Shop Villeneuve

PADI 5 Star Center and Instructor Development Center

Route D’Arvel 106, Villeneuve, Switzerland 1844

+41 21 9601535

phil@scubashop.ch

Austria

Salzburg Lake Image by Manfred Steidl

Landlocked Austria wouldn’t seem a good place for diving, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.

The Salzkammergut region of Austria has almost 170 lakes. A favourite is lake Attersee, where there are dive sites galore to check out, in this, the largest of the area’s lakes. Nazi treasures were once held in Wolfgangsee, and though you can’t take them with you, you can still see them on a dive.

During a trip here you can swim in the cold, gin clear water, checking out park benches, trees, and trails, all on a carpet of green grass. It’s unreal!

Who to Dive with at Salzburg Lakes:

Joe’s Wassersportcenter

PADI 5 Star Center

Innsbrucker Bundesstrasse 53, Salzburg, Austria 5020

+43 662 890259

info@wassersportcenter.at

Inspired to start your own ice diving adventure? Find out more about the PADI Ice Diver specialty and head to PADI Travel to look for amazing destinations.

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Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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