Known for its picturesque reefs and an extensive variety of marine life, Raja Ampat has become a popular destination amongst experienced divers. But while its striking beauty has divers from all over the world mesmerized, one should take precaution and understand the power of strong currents that await below.
Understanding strong currents
Strong currents make diving tricky. The one thing to remember though is that you can’t fight them. They are a strong force of nature that just can’t be beaten. In order to enjoy your dive off the coast of Raja Ampat, you must simply learn to understand them and know how to dive with them.
The lowest velocity of a strong current is at the point where it meets the reef. As you go deeper, the velocity reduces. As currents go around the sides of a reef, however, their velocity increases dramatically. And where it goes over the top of the reef, especially if it’s shallow, is where the velocity is at its maximum.
Safely dealing with strong currents
Timing is crucial when dealing with strong currents. You need to get into the water in the up current and go down as fast as you can to find that spot where the currents are manageable. This spot is also likely to be the point where most fish are found.
A technique commonly used when diving in Raja Ampat is known as a negative entry. A divemaster sets a buoy at the dive site and uses it as a meter to gauge the strength of the current. If the buoy is visible on the surface of the water, the site is safe to dive in. If however the buoy is forced beneath the surface by the strong current, the site then isn’t safe for diving.
Once determined that it is safe to dive, negative entry ensues. All the divers in the dive-tender are fully kitted up and ready to get into the water and the BCDs are completely empty. When given the all clear by the divemaster, the divers roll backwards and enter the water at the same time going straight to the front of the reef where the velocity of the current is at its lowest.
Aside from knowing the information shared above, it should also be pointed out that it is important to have a safety sausage handy while diving in Raja Ampat. This is in case you get caught in the current and losing your group and dive guide. Staying close and following your dive guide is extremely important for your safety.
Remember, when choosing dive operators, choose only those with an exceptional experience. With over hundreds of dives done in Raja Ampat, our dive professionals at Papua Paradise Eco Resort will make sure you have fun while staying safe. Contact us and let’s get to diving!