Currents: How to Safely Dive Them
Introduction to Komodo National Park’s currents
What causes the currents in Komodo National Park?
Komodo National Park’s stunning biodiversity and famous currents are due to its location between two seas. These two seas are the Flores Sea to the north and the Sumba Strait/Savu Sea to the south. The Pacific Ocean feeds the Flores Sea and the Indian Ocean feeds the Savu Sea. On a daily basis these waters rise and fall through a channel, called the Lintah Strait, which causes the formation of currents.
While diving with us, you’re likely to be diving in the Lintah Strait. Once you see the dive sites that are here, we know you’ll be happy about it.
How do we know when it’s safe to dive?
Before we dive into the deep we check the current. Dependant on whether the tide is rising, falling or slack we’ll make our decision on when, where and if it’s safe to jump into a dive site. Our trained guides know that sometimes the currents in Komodo can be unpredictable, and put safety before any possible risk. We want to make sure you return to our boat, Hiu Bodoh, with huge smiles on your faces and eager for the next dive.
How you can stay safe in Komodo’s currents
Despite the in-depth knowledge our dive guides have on all the dive sites in Komodo National Park, it’s important that you also know your stuff. While diving is about having fun, it’s also about being able to manage yourself in stressful situations, such as currents. So below we’ve put together a non-exhaustive list of the ways you can help yourself when you’re in a current.
Like you may have heard before, how you start your day sets the tone for how the rest of the day will go. So, to ensure you will have memories of a dive day where you felt like a superhero flying through the blue, you should start your day right. Come prepared, well rested, hydrated and in good physical and mental health.
We do dive briefings for a reason. We want you to be well informed of what you are heading into, especially if there are currents involved. The pre-dive briefings will help you to get to know the topography of a dive-site, any interesting features it has and how to keep you safe. Remember to listen to entry and exit techniques and what to do if you get lost in a dive. At Scuba Republic it’s a rule that if you get lost in a current you should look around for 10 seconds and then cancel your dive straight away if nobody is around. Our primary goal is that you stay safe.
Pre-dive safety check
Diver error is the leading cause of scuba diving accidents. It’s important for every diver, whether they have years of experience or have only started to dive, to check their equipment. Every time you dive you should ensure you have your dive computer on you, so you know your depth and no decompression limits.
When it comes to currents it’s important to stay streamlined. You should ditch the camera and anything else that could cause a problem in strong currents. We recommend snapping some memories with only your eyes. Try not to dive overweighted as this will affect your ability to swim against currents.
Before you dive, you should take some time to relax. It’s likely that if you are going to dive in a strong current that you won’t have much time to relax while in the water. So take some deep breaths, focus your mind and get ready to feel the oceans force.
Positioning and behaviour underwater
Our dive guides are professionals and know exactly what to do in Komodo’s currents. So, you should always stay behind your dive guide and mimic his actions. If your dive guide turns horizontal to the current, you should do the same. Positioning yourself horizontal to the current will increase your drag and slow you down. You want to be able to enjoy the view.
The closer you are to the reef the less strong the current will be. Stay close to the reef and remember to breathe. Focus and pace your breath to to keep yourself calm and reduce your oxygen consumption. Remember to start your safety stop when you reach 50 bar.
Observation of the coral cover will allow you to find areas of the reef where the current may not be as strong. Table corals and acropora mean currents are lighter, while sponges, tube corals and whip corals mean the current is stronger in that area. Learn more about these corals and see exactly what they look like in our last blog post on coral conservation.
Take a speciality course
At Scuba Republic we offer the opportunity to learn more about currents by signing up for a day that focuses on you getting to know currents. We’ll help you to explore how it feels when you are closer or further away from the reef and the techniques involved. If you want to start your Advanced Course in Komodo, one of your adventure dives will be a current dive. Learning more about currents will make you feel more comfortable on any dive and help you on your journey to master SCUBA.
Our final current briefing to you
We want to make sure that you feel as comfortable as possible when going into a dive. We do dive for enjoyment, after all. So, if you are feeling stressed out after finding out there will be a strong current at a particular dive site, don’t feel afraid to sit it out. It’s better to come back to strong currents when you feel experienced and calm enough to handle them.
As a rule of thumb, we only take Advanced divers into strong currents. So, if you want to feel the power of Komodo’s currents chat with us on Facebook and book on for your Advanced Course.
We can’t wait to see you in the deep.