Embrace The Thrill - 7 Best Places to Go Drift Diving

Drift diving is one of the best ways to explore the underwater world. It is efficient, you cover more area, and it is great fun! There are fantastic drift diving locations worldwide, offering thrilling adventures and laid-back drift dives. Get inspired for your next scuba vacation with our round-up of the 7 best places to go drift diving.

What is drift diving?

Drift diving is a scuba dive where you use a current to push you along a dive site. Usually, you will enter the water in one location and exit at another, to avoid having to fight the current to get back.

Drift dives can be really fun, and you barely have to fin, which means you will save energy and air. You simply relax, let the current carry you, and take in the beautiful view.

The 7 best places to go drift diving.

1.Washing Machine, Bahamas.

In the gorgeous Exuma Cays of the Bahamas, you will find the dive site the Washing Machine, an exhilarating dive that comes with fast current and amazing marine life. 

Divers perform a negative entry from a boat to start this dive and are spun around a few times before being released over a large colorful reef with turtles and nurse sharks. 

This dive is for experienced drift divers and it is a popular highlight of Bahamas scuba diving! Mid-December to Mid-April is considered the best time to visit this dive site.

2. Ulong Channel, Palau.

Ulong Channel is home to sweeping currents as well as snappers, triggerfish and even gray reef sharks. The current is strong, so it is recommended only for expert divers with lots of drift diving experience. 

Divers enter the water and drift for around ten minutes, before reaching the channel mouth. Here they are greeted by coral formations and abundant marine life. 

This is a year-round dive location, but the dry season (October to May) is the best time to visit and explore the many highlights of diving in Palau.

3. Makassar Reef, Indonesia.

Makassar Reef sits in the world-famous Komodo National Park and is one of the best places to spot manta rays whilst enjoying a ripping current diving adventure! 

You are likely to drift past turtles, sharks, eagle rays, parrotfish, giant trevallies, and cuttlefish at this special dive spot. 

Makassar Reef is a year-round dive site but December to February is peak manta ray season.

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4. Elphinstone Reef, Egypt.

Elphinstone Reef is one of the most famous dive sites in the Red Sea. It is a drift dive site that takes divers along a steep coral wall teeming with life. 

It is recommended for experienced divers only due to the strong currents. If you are lucky, you will spot big marine life such as hammerhead sharks, manta rays, dolphins, tiger sharks, and oceanic whitetip sharks. 

Elphinstone Reef is considered to be one of the best drift and shark dives in the world, and you can go diving there all year.

5. Seven Tree Island, Canada.

This tiny islet by Vancouver Island in British Columbia boasts currents of up to 22 knots! It is a remarkable dive spot with a steep wall that plunges into the depths.

Advanced divers can fly along this wall at high speeds and spot red and pink corals, nudibranchs, basket stars, octopi, rockfish, and more. 

March to early May or late August to October are the best times to dive there. The water is chilly, so make sure you pack a good diving wetsuit or drysuit.

6. Palancar Caves, Mexico.

Palancar Caves in Cozumel is home to gullies, tunnels, caves, and excellent drift diving. You can cruise past nurse sharks, eagle rays, moray eels, turtles, and barracuda. 

This is not a strong drift dive and has exciting things to see in the shallows and at depth, making it suitable for divers of all levels. 

Palancar Caves boasts great visibility and a pristine coral reef.

7. Molokini Crater, Hawaii.

This dive location is found just off the south shore of Maui. 

Back Wall is the most famous drift dive at Molokini Crater and has diverse topography covered in vibrant corals. The clear waters around this dive site are busy with large schools of tropical fish. If you are lucky, you might even spot spinner dolphins and manta rays there.

Molokini Crater is a year-round dive spot that offers warm temperatures both in and out of the water. It is one of the dozens of dive sites that make diving in Hawaii so extraordinary.

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Top tips for drift diving.

If you are fairly new to drift diving, here are a few top tips to help it go smoothly:

Use an SMB:

An SMB (surface marker buoy) is a valuable piece of equipment to have when drift diving. It is easier to get separated from your group or your dive buddy on a drift dive than on a regular dive. 

If this happens, you inflate the SMB and make your way to the surface with a controlled ascent. The SMB will make it easier for your dive group or dive boat to spot you.

Do not skip buddy checks:

There is less room for error on a drift dive. Buddy checks are always important, but even more so when drift diving. 

You need to make sure you can rely on your equipment and that you have everything you need before you jump in. The current will be taking you away fast, so there is no time to grab something you have forgotten once you are in the water.

Know the dive site and local area: 

Make sure you research the dive sites in the area in which you want to dive. Being familiar with local currents and tides is vital when planning your drift dive. 

If you are new to the area, it is probably best to dive with a guide from the local dive center.

Plan the dive and dive the plan: 

Make sure the dive group has a thorough dive briefing before entering the water. This should include a plan in case someone gets separated.

Pay attention: 

Extra concentration is needed when drift diving. It is important to try and stay with your buddy or dive group, and to keep an eye on your air consumption and depth. 

It can be distracting when you are whizzing along with the current, so make sure to check these things.

Go with it: 

Do not try to fight the current, stay close to the dive guide and position yourself where they do. If you feel you need to slow down, fin gently against the current but avoid becoming out of breath.

Take a course: 

Get prepared for your drift dive by taking a drift diving course. You will learn all you need to know about drift diving safely, so you can enjoy the world’s best drift dives with confidence.

Are you ready for your drift diving adventure? Check out the SSI Waves, Tides and Currents specialty course and start your training online today:

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