22 Jul Diving in currents: tricky seamounts
Most difficult dives with strongest currents are at Seamounts. Seamount is a submerged reef which means we have to do a negative entry and when we jump to the sea, we don’t take time at the surface. We go down straight away to 8-12 meters / 26-40 feet and sometimes even deeper. We approach such dives with no air in our BCD’s. After we enter the water, we change our position head down, swim down and descent straight away to the reef. Don’t forget to equalize properly as we descent much faster than in no-current dives. During such dives we jump 20-50 meters / 65-165 feet away from the reef to reach split point. It depends of the current strength and while we descent we observe the school of fish and swim directly into it. Split point is a corner of a sea mount where the current hits the reef and splits in both ways. If we perfectly reach this point, we will enter the best area to start the dive. Depending on current, sometimes we descent directly to 20-30 meters /65-98 feet. It all depends how the current forms. It can happen that the most safe and slowest current is deeper and it is crucial to get to that point. We will stop than, take time and explore the reef, choosing our way slowly up. At the split points all the best action takes place. There are numbers of schools of fish, sharks, tunas, mantas and all the best we can see during the dive. If someone won’t follow the group and won’t descent in time, he/she can drift away from where everyone is and it can be in some situations even dangerous. We very often use hooks in such dive sites after we get to the bottom.
How to use a hook?
We are not allowed to use hooks wherever we want. We have to look for safe area to protect environment. When you descent, you need to hook yourself to a rock, hole or dead part around coral formation. Always be aware and look for a place where you won’t harm the reef. We normally stay in such area for 15-30 minutes depending on many factors: current strength, scenery, number of fish. When you reach split point you are in best position of the dive site and can swim few meters left or right not worrying to get drifted away. You can just swim away from the reef into the blue and reach neutral area where current is weak. You stay neutrally buoyant and maneuver your position. After some time we choose to go with the current following the reef on the left or the right hand depending where the guide leads us. At some point drift will slow down as we get closer to the other end of a seamount. We also may choose to directly go on top of the reef, as there are usually big coral formations where we can spot groups of fish and mantas hovering above the cleaning stations. We just hook ourselves in safe distance not to spook them away and enjoy the rest of the dive.
There are number of Seamounts in Komodo and Raja Ampat which are the cherries in our dive itinerary. In Komodo there are 2 sites like that and they can be quite hard when the strong current hits. We make our way stopping from time to time and admire huge number of different marine life. In Raja Ampat we have 5 Seamounts and they are usually a little bit easier than those in Komodo. Komodo is famous for strong currents. In Raja Ampat currents are also strong but a little bit more predictable.