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Our planet’s oceans are vast, and there are still countless beautiful reefs out there to discover.
Planning to head off into the blue to find new dive sites is an exciting prospect, but you need to be sure that you know what you’re doing, that you have the right level of experience, and that you’re properly prepared for the endeavour.
Here are a few things to take into consideration if you’re tempted to head off to dive an unexplored patch of ocean.
6 DOs of Discovering New Dive Sites:
- Talk to local dive shops and dive pros to get an idea of what divers already know about the area, the places that have yet to be mapped, and the kinds of conditions they normally encounter.
- Make sure you have the right experience for the conditions you’re likely to find, and make sure the same is true of the divers you will be diving with. You need to be confidently prepared for conditions like dangerous currents or low visibility.
- Talk to local fishermen – they will know where there are fish to be found, and where there are fish, there is likely to be good diving! If you can, think about inviting (and paying?) an experienced local fisherman to come on the trip with you.
- Make a plan and stick to it. If you’re diving an unfamiliar place, you need to be even more stringent about sticking to your dive plan. If you find something interesting, don’t extend your dive time, mark the spot on your GPS and come back to it.
- Take the right kit! If you have access to a depth finder, it will make it easier to identify interesting underwater topography worth checking out. Take a GPS, SMBs, dive flags, and proper safety equipment, including a reliable means of communicating with your land support.
- Be sure your boat captain and crew are experienced and know the area. A good surface support crew will make all the difference to a safe and enjoyable expedition. They should be able to read the conditions and advise you accordingly.
6 DON’Ts of Discovering New Dive Sites:
- Dive beyond your limits. We don’t recommend that novice divers go out on exploration dives, but if exploration is something you’re excited about doing, you can work up to it with the right courses, and build on your diving experience.
- Be disappointed if you don’t find anything. Part of the fun of exploratory dives is the exploration itself. The ocean is huge, and there is always tomorrow!
- Leave without telling people where you’re going. Make sure you have a solid plan in place and people who know where you’re going, when you’ll be back, and how to contact you. Check in with your landbased support regularly and keep them updated.
- Go off on your own. This should go without saying, but solo exploratory diving is a recipe for disaster. You might feel confident of your abilities, but you don’t know what conditions you might encounter.
- Forget to check the weather forecasts and tide tables and make sure you’re planning your dives when the conditions are on your sideslack tides and calm seas are your friends and will make for a more enjoyable adventure.
- Explore dangerous places without the proper training and equipment. Leave the exploration of caves and cavern systems, and areas known for very strong currents and unpredictable weather, to the professionals.
To discover more intriguing stories and tips, check out Asian Diver Issue 2 / 2017 here.
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