Some divers live to go into the itty bitty of the ocean, some seeks for more adventure with more challenging dive. Drift diving! It’s one of the most difficult type of diving as well as the most exciting, maybe. Drift diving takes the advantage of currents—instead of fighting it—letting the currents to take us where it goes. Is it fun? Absolutely. Is it dangerous? certainly. Drift diving indeed have to be taken with extra caution, but when you done it right, the experience is seriously rewarding. Bali, as one of premier diving destination in Asia, isn’t short in this type of dive. Bali has several dive sites that’s just perfect for drift diving. But before we go deeper on drift diving in bali, you better know the rules and safety of drift diving first.
The Safety of Drift Diving
SMB is Important
Safe Marker Buoys, or SMB, is very important for safety in drift diving. Learn to deploy SMB from depth when you drift too far away with your group. This ‘floating sausage’ help the boat crew spot your position easily, which can be a huge life saver in certain cases.
Learn the Currents
You are going to dive with the currents, so of course you have to learn the currents! Remember that currents at the surface doesn’t reflects on currents at depth. Better check the currents and its direction before descending. While some dive sites in Bali are safe for drift diving, at some time they might be too dangerous. Don’t hold merely on experience and always renew your research on the site’s currents.
Stay Close to the Reefs and Do Streamlining
One of important drift diving techniques you need to remember. Currents break on the reef due to turbulence, so staying at least one meter close from coral reefs help you reduce the effect of the water on your body. Diving far above the reefs could get you dive faster from the rest of the group, or worse, hit by the dangerous down-currents. Streamlining is the best position for drift diving. Being parallel to the reef give you more stable position to swim with the currents. Upright swimming position will allow the currents to hot you with greater force, which could be dangerous.
Stay Close to Dive Buddy
You should never do drift diving alone, no matter how familiar you are with the dive sites Bali you are in. Keeping close with your dive buddy and the rest of the group is the standard practice in drift diving. In a strong current, you could lose sight of your dive buddy in a matter of second!
Bring a Reef Hook
In some Bali dive sites, reef hooks is completely banned. On some drift diving however, they are required. Especially on sites with really strong currents, a reef hook can be a great life saver. Check in with the local operators on recommendation of using reef hooks on the area. Also, make sure you know proper hook technique that won’t damage the corals.
Don’t Fight the Current
You are doing drift diving, of course you shouldn’t fight the currents! Read the currents and swim in its direction. Remember to dive as low as possible. If you need to stop or waiting the group to catch up, dive closer to the bottom and fin against the currents a little bit. You could also find a big rock as a temporary shelter.
Best Dive Sites in Bali for Drift Diving: Nusa Penida
When you have done all the intense planning and learn all the necessary skills, it’s finally the time! Fortunately, Bali is located between the meeting strong currents from the Pacific and Indian Ocean. This means Bali has several dive sites perfect for drift diving. Some of the sites are the Bat Caves on Menjangan Island; the Pura PED in the north hill of Nusa Penida; several region in Amed including the Jemeluk Wall, Pyramid, and Bunutan; and Nusa Lembongan. The visibility in all these sites are usually high, which is important for drift diving. With crystal clear water, untouched reefs, and parade of tropical reef fish, drift diving on Bali surely gives rewarding experience!